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The Zombie Amendment: Is America a nation of laws or of men?
The U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to revive a dead proposed constitutional amendment. Ronald Reagan once said, “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” Apparently, that is no longer true since there is also a dead proposed amendment that simply will not go away. Sounding like Dr. Frankenstein, the House of Representatives is crying, “It’s alive!” when it’s actually dead.
On March 17th, 2021, the House of Representatives voted 222 to 204 to ignore the dead Equal Rights Amendment’s language. Many claimed that the resolution passed, but we’ll find that no such thing happened if we read the Constitution.
The Resolution: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That notwithstanding any time limit contained in House Joint Resolution 208, 92d Congress, as agreed to in the Senate on March 22, 1972, the article of the amendment proposed to the States in that joint resolution shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the United States Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.
H.J. Res. 17 – 117th Congress: The resolution seems simple enough if we simply ignore the amendment’s language that pertains to the deadline for ratification. However, that brings up the first problem: Should the dead amendment be adopted, it would read as follows:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission by the Congress:
H.J Res. 208 – 92nd Congress: If you look at the document’s right-hand border, you can see that the date of submission was March 23rd, 1972. That is fifty years ago, well past the seven-year deadline in the resolution.
So, if we added this to the Constitution as the House of Representatives wishes, we would have an amendment that directly contradicts its own ratification. This is not the first time Congress has tried to bypass the amendment process. Not only Congress but several states also seem to want to ignore what the dead Equal Rights Amendment actually says, which I discussed in article 136 – Serving Expired Kool-Aid. Here though, we have Congress claiming to pass a resolution without actually passing it.
The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution,
U.S. Constitution, Article V: There are those in the House of Representatives who want to change the dead Equal Rights Amendment but do not have the votes to do so. Do they believe they can ignore the amendment process to get what they want?
H.J. 17 is an attempt to remove language from the dead Equal Rights Amendment. Since that amendment has already been submitted to the states, Congress can’t simply modify it; they need to propose a new amendment. Even if H.J. 17 was attempting to propose a modified version of the Equal Rights Amendment, it did NOT, as is claimed in Congress, pass the House of Representatives since it did not get the two-thirds votes required by Article V.
Date Actions Overview
Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 222 – 204 (Roll no. 82).
Introduced in House
Actions taken on H.J. 17: Since H.J. 17 did not receive the number of votes in the House of Representatives necessary to proceed as an amendment to the Constitution, this should once again be a dead issue. Instead, claiming that the “amended amendment” passed when it did not, this zombie amendment simply will not die. It’s being kept alive by a lawless leadership in Congress, their accomplices in the media, and the ignorance of the American people.
So why am I making such a big deal about this Frankenstein’s monster of an amendment proposal? In drafting the Massachusetts Constitution, John Adams noted that they were creating “a government of laws, not of men.” (Article XXX) If this nation is also to be run by a government of laws and not of men, those in government must be forced to obey those laws. Article VI of the Constitution not only declares it’s the supreme law of the land but that all government officeholders, at all levels, are required to swear or affirm their support of the Constitution in their oath of office.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution. Still, no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Clauses 2 & 3: Those who voted for this resolution to ignore the language of the dead Equal Rights Amendment violated that oath by asking Congress to ignore the very law that created it. The leadership members who continue to claim that H.J. 17 passed the House of Representatives not only violate their oaths but are committing perjury.
The act or crime of willfully making a false oath, when lawfully administered; or a crime committed when a lawful oath is administered in some judicial proceeding, to a person who swears willfully, absolutely, and falsely in a matter material to the issue.
Perjury, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: Since this act of perjury was not committed in a judicial proceeding, I do not believe it is a crime, though the act of willfully making a false statement while acting under their oath of office does seem to indicate they have perjured themselves morally, if not criminally.
Can Congress change an amendment with a simple majority vote?
There are those in Washington, D.C., with their willing accomplices in the media, who want to trick you into believing that the Equal Rights Amendment is still alive and able to be ratified. This is a lie and a perversion of the rule of law. If those who wish to resurrect the ERA were to propose a new amendment in Congress, they are more than able to do so. However, I believe that they recognize that the chances of actually getting two-thirds of both houses of Congress to vote for such an amendment are extremely slim. So rather than following the law, they continue to claim that a lie is the truth and that a simple majority can change an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
I believe they do this hoping that the American people know so little about their Constitution that they will let them get away with it. That would not only be a setback for the rule of law but the further destruction of the blessings of liberty that the Constitution was written to secure to our children and us. The questions are, will the American people allow their employees in Congress to break the law, damage the republic, and drive us further into tyranny, all in the name of a well-titled amendment?
Author and speaker Paul Engel has spent more than 20 years studying and teaching about both the Bible and the U.S. Constitution. That experience helps Paul explain difficult concepts in a way most people can understand. As one manager described, “Paul can take the most complex idea and explain it in a way my grandmother can understand.” Freely admitting that he “learned more about our Constitution from School House Rock (a Saturday morning cartoon) than in 12 years of school,” he says that anyone can be a constitutional scholar. Since 2014 I have been helping everyday Americans read and study the Constitution of their country and teaching the rising generation to be free. Using news and current events as a springboard, I explain the Constitution and encourage others to stand up and secure the blessings of liberty for themselves, their children, and the nation.