Welcome back to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. Last week, it was an amazing week in America. We talk about two of the main topics-America’s response on election day and the national mandates in this newsletter. Let’s begin with mandates. I have received positive feedback for explaining this from an educational point of view in language everyday Americans can understand. No doublespeak here! I hope you will find it helpful as well. Glad to have you here.
What is a mandate? Is it law? Is it constitutional? Let’s dive into this civics topic from an educational point of view.
A mandate is an order given by an official to do something. Let’s use this as our working definition. Today, every word in the English language has been sliced, diced, and laden with partisan political meaning. I will steer our conversation away from politics and deal with the word, what it means, and how it may affect us.
A mandate is an “order” by some official to do something.
Can Americans be ordered to do unconstitutional activities such as violate their freedom of speech (First Amendment), conscience (First Amendment), or their right to equal protection under the law? (Fourteenth Amendment) No, they cannot.
To be ordered around implies that the government has the authority of a parent, dictator, royalty, etc. Do we have titles of nobility or royalty in this country? (see Article 1, sec. 9, clause 8: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States …”) What is the role of the Chief Executive? “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:- I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Article II, sec. 1 clause 8) What does the Constitution specify as the role of the Chief Executive?
Is a representative republic beholden to officeholders? Which has more authority, the officeholder or the Constitution?
Are we a nation of laws or of men? If you answer “men,” you are giving humans the right to rule you at their whim. Is that idea anywhere in our organic founding documents?
Is the Supreme Law of the Land the U.S. Constitution (see The Supremacy Clause), or the person holding an office?
Does any regulatory agency have the authority to impose a mandate? Article 1, section 1 states: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Regulatory agencies are not Congress. The word “ALL” means “ALL” lawmaking or legislative powers are vested in the U.S. Congress, not unelected bureaucrats. Our Founders put that first in Article 1, section 1 for a reason. Mandates are not laws. Only Congress has the power to make law. Ditto for the states and state laws. Also, see the limits on government power in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
So then, the Constitution limits government authority and power. The people in power know we don’t know the law or our rights. In fact, businesses can say no, but they don’t know their rights, so they go along with mandates.
If we know the law, we might ask where in our employment contract does it say we must comply? (You have a copy of your employment contract somewhere in your house, right?) You might also point out that discrimination clauses forbid separating people into classes, giving preferential treatment to some over others.
Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, has this quote from him in their archives: “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
So then, know the law, know your rights, and assert those rights.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸