September 13, 2005

The Greatest Threat

There is no greater threat to Liberty in America, and consequently to Her strength and durability, than the loss of the ability of the People to hold their servant government accountable to the Principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

With accountability, the cry for Freedom of each individual is maximized and the Rights of the governed are secured.  

Liberty is directly proportional to accountability. The more the People are able to hold government accountable to these essential principles, the greater their Liberty. 

The First Amendment provides a guarantee of the primary methods for exercising accountability.  Of crucial importance is the Petition clause, which unlike the other clauses (which enable personal expression, belief and association) brings the People and their government into a direct confrontation, and results in a public declaration of individual Liberty or governmental Tyranny.  

Petitioning the government for Redress of Grievances is nothing less than a peaceful rebellion of citizens seeking to keep their government in its proper place: as a servant of the People, created through a written Constitution for their service and protection. 

The Petition is the period at the end of the sentence on Liberty. It is the capstone Right, the ultimate peaceful deterrent to the abuse of power in government, a protection against the theft of Freedom from the People. 

Listen to the words of Jefferson: “On every government on Earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the People alone. The People themselves therefore are its only safe repository.” 

The Petition Clause was positioned for the People’s use against an imperfect political process, a process that would favor the majority and those who possess power and influence. The Petition Clause is there to protect the individual from the whim of man and the whim of the majority. It offers protection against abuses of government that infringe upon the Fundamental Rights of both Individuals and the minority.  

The Petition is a necessary tool available to every individual, to remind and instruct those in government that their control is always, and ultimately, subject to the greater power and control of the Sovereign People that created it, bound -- not by the whims of men, but by the essential principles of Liberty. Petitions keep the government’s ears open to its master’s voice and they can sharpen popular attention to what the government is doing. 

The Founders knew that the unequal and unorganized citizens must have a practical, constitutional vehicle by which they could secure protection against those who would employ and enjoy political domination for their advantage. Indeed, it is this single principle – the Natural Right of popular sovereignty, as excised through the Right to Petition, that distinguishes our form of government from any that has arisen during the history of man. 

Confrontations between men and their governments have never been without anguish or agony. In our system of governance, the Petition is the fine line between peaceful and physical rebellion. Although Petitions may bring painful revelations and result in difficulties, the Right to Petition is the final check and balance that protects the People against the abuses of government – and insures the continuation of our Founding Principles.

That said, a government that restricts or infringes upon the Right to Petition commits a clear and grave error because it diminishes accountability and the full enjoyment of Rights, Freedoms and Liberty.

To outright deny the Right to Petition is to invite physical rebellion.  

Such is the recent decision by federal Judge Emmet Sullivan.
The decision is horrifying in its implications.  

In We The People et al., v. United States, et al., Sullivan, ruled that the government does not have to listen or respond to the People’s Petitions for Redress of Grievances.  

Without the Right to a response, the People do not have the Right to Petition. Popular Sovereignty thus becomes a quaint anachronism.

In essence, a federal District Court has declared its allegiance with Congress and the Executive, which have repeatedly ignored our Petitions. The decision effectively declares that our government is no longer accountable to We the People and that our servant government is unrestricted and untouchable in its pursuit of activities and agendas that are clearly prohibited by our Constitution.

Accountability contests between a free People and its servant government should always be of a respectful nature and require minimal encroachment or confrontation. 

Unfortunately, Judge Sullivan’s decision is anything but respectful.

Any reasonable person would agree that the People’s Right To Petition the government for Redress of constitutional torts includes the Right to an honest response. The Right to bring grievances before the government is of no value if the People do not have the Right to a respectful response.  Indeed, this is the essence of the Right.  

Listen to the words of Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, “It cannot be presumed, that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect.”  

Seldom has the Judiciary been so disrespectful of the Rights of People – probably not since the court decision in Plessey v. Ferguson, which held that “Black” people were “separate but equal” --  a patently absurd, political decision that was eventually overturned by Brown v. Board of Education. 

It’s one thing for the political branches to deny the Right to Petition, it is an entirely different matter for a federal judge, standing as the Judiciary, to officially sanction the denial.  

As was the case with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama and Ghandi in India, the enhancement of Liberty in any society must come from the efforts of the People. 

The history of man’s struggle for Freedom teaches us to become involved citizens and to become Petitioners when the normal political process no longer meets our needs or fails us entirely.  

Petitioners are first class citizens who, having the courage of their convictions, act as free and thinking people. They rise and engage themselves as involved, responsible citizens to make change where change seems necessary.  

What must a Free People do after Petitioning the Executive and Legislative branches for stepping outside the boundaries drawn around their power by the war making, taxing, property, privacy, money and due process provisions of the Constitution and then witness their government turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the Petitions?

What must a Free People do when, after petitioning the Judicial branch, a federal judge effectively declares the Petition clause “CANCELLED” --- declaring that this essential provision of the First Amendment “is without effect”?  

Under the present facts and circumstances, an extraordinary commitment to Freedom by the People is necessary. Personal activism must become a priority in order to stem the rising tide of tyranny. 

Accountability requires that the People hold their Principles above not only the consequences that may result from the Petition itself, but also the consequences that may result in attempting to hold government accountable.  

The lowest level of the federal Judiciary has now spoken and Judge Emmet Sullivan has assured his noteworthy place in history.  After having  profound questions of Constitutional Order and Natural Rights placed before him, he has ruled that our Right to Petition was intended to be without effect.

Working against despotism, and needing to complete the historical and legal Record of our Petition process for future generations, documenting our confrontation against modern tyranny, we will now move through the federal appeals process, starting with the U.S. Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the United States Supreme Court. We cannot allow it to be said that we did not complete our judicial remedies. 

It is now clear that within the coming months, we will be living witnesses to the further demise -- or resurrection -- of a nation where men once walked free, endowed with the Blessings of Devine Providence. 

My personal actions in the future are offered to encourage People to become involved as citizens and activists in the defense of Liberty when, as now, Freedom has come under attack, and the political and judicial processes designed to serve and protect us turn against us.

Bob Schulz
Chairman, WTP

The following is a statement by attorney Mark Lane
regarding Judge Sullivan’s ruling.


On December 15, 1791, the most important statement in American history became effective law to guide our nation. The Bill of Rights began with the First Amendment, and that one sentence commitment to We the People is in large measure what makes us unique.

The First Amendment directs that:
Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A number of ordinary Americans sought to exercise their right to petition the Government; they respectfully, imaginatively and persistently, over a period of years asked the Government to cite the law or regulations that constrained them to pay direct taxes on their labor or that authorized any number of other government activities that were well outside the limits of the Constitution. The Government refused to answer. 

These folks then filed an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia asking the Court to issue a declaration that the Government was constrained to respond to the numerous petitions.

Remarkably, the Government responded to the Court that the right to petition did not exist.  Well, you could send a letter if you wished but the Government was not required to respond or even read the petition. The government cited two cases that were plainly not applicable. It could not find an applicable case because, in fact, this case is a case of first impression, meaning that no court has ever considered this issue before.

Of course the courts are faced with serious consequences when they consider issues of this magnitude. If the Government was required to answer questions about the validity of income tax and if those answers were inadequate to support the present income tax assumptions, the Government would be denied access to funds to continue undeclared wars and other costly (and largely unconstitutional) measures.  The vast majority of funds the government receives are generated from taxes upon labor with a small portion being derived through taxes on corporations, and the corporate tax obligations are shrinking each year.

A decision by the Court in this case stating that circumstances had largely changed since 1791, that the Government's obligations have increased to an extent that those who drafted the First Amendment could not have expected and that, therefore, we cannot any longer give full faith and credit to the promise made to our people when the nation was founded, would have likely been a more accurate assertion by the judiciary of its position. It would not have been acceptable and it would have stated, in essence, that the First Amendment, or a least a substantial portion of it, had been abolished.

But courts work their magic by seeking to find some precedent when they make new law that is unprecedented. Here, the Court relied upon the two inapplicable cases that were cited by the Government.

In assessing the importance of this matter we must remember that whatever legal arguments have been posed or considered, the Court ultimately relied upon the Government's statement that the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances no longer exists.

Of course, we intend to seek a review of that decision by a higher court. In the meantime, however, it is now the law of the land that your right to petition the Government has been abolished by the executive and judicial branches of the your Government.

Mark Lane

Read the USDC
decision by federal Judge Emmet Sullivan
dismissing the RTP lawsuit and voiding the First Amendment Petition clause.

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