Understanding The Process
How Reserved Powers Work
The government and the people are always redefining the scope of what constitutional law can do. The United States Constitution is a dynamic document. It often, but not exclusively, uses broad terms. So, it is rarely in legislative format. It can be interpreted in a number of ways. However it is interpreted, though, must result in the legal principle always being true regardless of its application. In that sense, the Constitution does not have to specify every application in order for its statement to be true, such as the concept of a federal recall. The word "recall" does not have to appear in the text of the Constitution in order for a recall to legally exist. But, there must exist some level of its application found in the text or precedent. And, words may be defined in a new way by the user for how they are used in practice, such as new technology. But, the definition must be related to the etymology of the original. One may also add words that help with analysis, such as using "when" or negative logic as a tool to infer the intended meaning. But, the addition cannot expand the definition or application that the original wording doesn't include. This body has been granted the authority of the people to provide educational and historical information.
What happened when the government acted to erode the U.S. Bill of Rights in the Constitution?
The people revoked their consent to be governed. "Consent of the governed" is the terminology used to describe the historical American (and, to some degree, English) restraint on government by the people. It is assumed to be embedded in law, and exists in precedent (Declaration of Independence, 2nd Par.), but is not expressly written in law. The Tenth Amendment implies that the people have at least whatever powers the federal government does not, and this "consent" is assumed to exist to enforce the rights and freedoms of the people. Historians guess at what "powers of the people" mean in context to their perspective, but there is very little legal precedent to define how it might be used.
When federal branches of government made laws and decisions that had vague definition and broad application, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution) were being redefined by legislative and judicial processes. Congress and the Courts also acted to preserve corporations at great cost to the middle-class, working poor and small business. People claim those laws and acts are not authorized of the Constitution, and, exist for the detriment of the people. Legal documents contested them (click on pop-up box for details).
The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom... or the right of the people." "Abridge" is an archaic word, meaning "to not bridge" and could be an extension or forerunner of the legal premise "obstruction of justice", but is assumed to have broader application as it is used in English law. The Tenth Amendment defines federal powers as "delegated" and assumes the branches of the government can delegate powers to themselves or its entities as needed, as they currently do. Regardless, Congress and the Courts have no proper Constitutional authority to erode the Bill of Rights, so the people reprimanded the government by revoking their consent.
What happened when the people revoked their consent?
The people first contested federal powers by holding a Continental Congress. The recent Continental Congress 2.0, held July 2 - 4, 2012, penned a formal petition to the government when public protests failed to have effect. A Continental Congress is called upon whenever there is something horribly wrong with the existing government and cannot be repaired by existing law and practice. A Continental Congress was formed three times before, when one includes the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederacy, and the U.S. Constitution (the Declaration was under British rule for the formation of a new government, and the United States did not formally exist until it was signed).
The Bill of Rights imply the government is answerable to the people. The First Amendment says the people have a right to the government providing them "redress for grievances". "Redress" is an archaic word, meaning "to put on a new coat". It suggests that the government must be answerable to whatever the people say is causing them grief, and implies the government is subject to address the issue with the intent to correct it. When the government failed to properly answer the protests and Continental Congress, a constitutional order was broken, so a federal recall election was filed with elections offices in the United States and U.S. Territories.
Isn't there supposed to be a signature drive and electoral college for a federal recall?
When the formal petition Continental Congress 2.0 failed to generate an appropriate response on the part government, a people-initiated Federal Recall election was held. A federal recall, where federal officials are removed by the voter from office, has been attempted before, but not successfully.
According to a Congressional Research Service report in 2012 on the "Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office", court decisions have ruled out any state-initiated recall of federal officials due to a "conflict of powers". The people are not restricted from holding a recall by this standard. In this instance, there were no "requisite signatures" to propose a federal recall because a Continental Congress was already held, and one cannot be issued under states powers. Also, there cannot be any process that involves a conflict of powers. Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2 says that States are responsible for appointing state electors (not changed by the Twelfth or Twentieth Amendments). Effectively, this means any federal recall must have a popular vote if the President or Vice-president are effectively recalled. This is true because the Tenth Amendment powers clause amends and modifies the Articles.
All state elections officials refused to notify the public of the election, but it was successfully filed in California and Rhode Island and the federal recall was legally held Jan. 14, 2014. (Obstruction of the election does not make the election illegal; it only means it was obstructed.) No matter if the authorities disagree with use of the popular vote, the states do not have the authority to refuse a recall by the people, because the Constitution guarantees it according to George Washington. Washington is considered both an authority and an expert on the subject, regardless of his professional and educational credentials, because he was there and participated in each step of the founding of the U.S.
What are "reserved federal powers"?
When the Federal Recall was held but not implemented (did not result in immediate removal from office), the federal government became illegitimate, ceased to legally exist, and its powers were returned to the Constitution. When people continued to assert their authority to hold government to the standard of the Constitution using reserved accountability powers, the people inherited federal powers necessary to enforce the federal recall and restore government of the Constitution. "Reserved power" is the authority that cannot be taken away, but at times, has been shown can be duplicated.
The federal government, according to the Tenth Amendment, has constitutionally delegated powers that contrast powers the states prohibits it from taking, and that contrast powers of the people. Federal government is not authorized to have powers outside of the Constitution, nor can it act against the Constitution, in order to protect the people from tyranny. This compartmentalization of authority is also known by some as "constitutional order". If government acts outside of the Constitution, it is said to "not have proper authority" (literally, "not have authorization of the Constitution"). If government acts against the Constitution, it is said to be illegitimate (is either not of the Constitution, or is another government).
Now, the federal government does not have the power to resist rights of the people, because the Constitution guarantees those rights. So, the people had to increase their authority to enforce their rights. People protested in the streets the laws and acts attempting to erode the Bill of Rights that should guarantee rights and freedoms to the people. People then enforced their right to peaceably assemble in protest by constructing a petition in a continental congress. Then, people enforced their right to petition for wrongs committed against the people by filing for a federal recall election. In each of these instances, the federal government acted outside of the Constitution for laws and acts set against the Constitution that it was not authorized for.
Before the government refused the will of the people, those laws and acts were mistaken and could be removed, rescinded, or overturned by any number of legal processes. When the government refused to be accountable, however, it refused the order of the Constitution. By doing so, it first became unauthorized, then it was determined to be illegitimate, and finally lost its authority to govern. The federal government cannot both write laws against the Constitution and refuse to be accountable to it, while supposedly still retaining proper authority of the Constitution. This has become known as a "conundrum of governance". It is the duty of every American to challenge that.
This created a situation where the Constitution was in jeopardy of having either the Bill of Rights be replaced by default or leave the people to overthrow government. Neither are ever a viable option. The people have refused to live under any other Constitution, whether by redefinition or revolt, and the government cannot remain devoid of law. So, the federal government's delegated powers were revoked by the enforcement authority of the people in retraction of consent of the governed and temporarily redelegated those federal powers for the people to authorize a government that affirms the Constitution by constitutional order (the process of returned powers) after the Federal Recall is implemented. This is believed to be the true intent behind the Tenth Amendment, and the people reserved it.
Doesn't the Senate have sole impeachment powers according to Article I, Section 3?
When the Constitution authorizes certain powers to one group, or restricts a group, it does not always mean others cannot use the same power or another means to accomplish the same thing. Understand, the federal government, states, and the people all have separate but equal powers. Same with the branches of the federal government. Sometimes those powers overlap; they do not automatically have to conflict with each other. So, just because the Senate has power to impeach the president, does not mean that other branches or other powers cannot excercise the law to have someone removed from office by another legal process. The Senate has the sole power to impeach, and the House has power to expel members of Congress when things are normal, true, but the President and Congress can be removed by assertion of the people's powers when something is not quite right, and removed such as through a recall. This is guaranteed in the Constitution, as stated by George Washington in 1787. (See Impeachment Trial for applicable law.)