However, Congress is solely responsible for governing territory belonging to the United States. This authority is conferred at Article I, Section 8, clause 17 (Art. I § 8.17) and Art. IV § 3.2 of the Constitution. The responsibility for governing territory belonging to the United States is vested solely in Congress, it is not shared by the other two branches of federal government. Congress has absolute or what is described as plenary power - municipal power, police power, etc.
So far as its role as government for the several States party to the Constitution is concerned, the United States is an abstraction - it exists on paper only. It takes on physical reality after Congress positively activates constitutionally delegated powers through statutes enacted in accordance with Art. I § 7 of the Constitution. When statutes are in place authoring administrative or judicial activity, the "power" of the United States becomes manifest through people carrying out duties prescribed by law Congress has enacted.
The second physical aspect of the United States is constitutionally delegated authority to own land and other property. The only specific mention and direct estate is at Art. I § 8.17 of the Constitution, which specifies that the Congress may acquire land for the seat of government, and for forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings. States in which these land purchases are made must cede jurisdiction over the lands in order for the United States to extend federal laws and judicial authority over them.
When the United States acquires land, and secures jurisdiction over it, the United States becomes a geographical entity. In other words, after Congress [acquired] the present District of Columbia from Virginia and Maryland, and the two state governments ceded jurisdiction, the United States became a geographical entity. The geographical United States within the framework of Art. 1 § 8.17 of the Constitution includes the District of Columbia, and all forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings within the several States.
There is a second class of territory belonging to the United States that existed when government of the United States convened under the Constitution in 1789. This was territory claimed by the several States by way of the treaty of peace with Great Britain following the American Revolution. The land ceded by King George extended from the Great Lakes on the north to the Atlantic on the south, except for Florida - approximately everything from Illinois to Mississippi and Alabama. States of the Union ceded lands beyond their respective original borders to the United States in order to generate revenue to pay debts accumulated by the Revolution, with the condition that as they were settled and developed, the territories would become states of the Union.
Prior to these lands being admitted to the Union, they were territories of the United States. Under provisions of Art. IV § 3.2 of the Constitution, Congress is charged with responsibility for making all needful rules and regulations for territories belonging to the United States. Therefore, Congress has historically established territorial governments, providing for law enforcement, courts, and everything else necessary for a territory to operate in an orderly fashion.
The first venture in this enterprise was framed by the Ordinance of 1787, providing for government of the Northwest territories. The United States was at that time operating under the Articles of Confederation. In 1789, when government of the United States convened under the Constitution, the Ordinance of 1787 was adopted as an existing covenant obligation, and was subsequently extended to Kentucky, and as applicable, to southern territories - Alabama and Mississippi included. The Louisiana Purchase from France, and subsequently acquisition of Florida from Spain, included treaty agreements to incorporate the land and people under the constitutional scheme, so the Ordinance of 1787 was applied as the development guide in acquired territories as well.
This pattern held until after the Spanish-American War. Islands ceded by Spain in 1898 were not incorporated in the constitutional scheme. In 1901, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that while Puerto Rico and other islands ceded by Spain belonged to the United States, they were for certain purposes foreign to the several States and incorporated territories of the United States.
From the beginning, there were certain distinctions between the Union of States party to the Constitution and territories of the United States. For the most part, outlying territories were reasonably primitive, so many were first secured under military authority, then went through an evolution that progressed to representative government to development sufficient for self-rule. At that point, most territories established their respective constitutions and were admitted to the Union on equal standing with other States party to the Constitution.
Texas and California were two exceptions. Texas became an independent republic following the war of independence from Mexico, then joined the Union by way of treaty. Some time after Mexico ceded California, California became a state of the Union without formally going through territorial status. However, this has not been the case for islands ceded by Spain following the Spanish-American War and other island acquisitions other than Hawaii. With admittance of Hawaii and Alaska in 1959, the last of the incorporated territories of the United States became states of the Union, leaving only unincorporated territories, called insular possessions, under Congress' Article IV plenary power.
In 1946, the Philippines became an independent commonwealth, exiting the family of United States insular possessions. In 1953, Puerto Rico became a commonwealth for purposes of local government, something on the order of states of the Union, but remained an insular possession of the United States subject to Congress' Article IV authority.
There are a total of five larger United States insular possessions with viable local governments, four of which have courts of the United States: Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The latter doesn't have a federal court. Smaller insular possessions are for the most part uninhabited, or at best, sparsely populated, or small enough that populations aren't truly viable small islands, reefs, etc. None are incorporated in the constitutional scheme, although Puerto Rico in particular has addressed the possibility of becoming a state of the Union.
After about 1870, Congress began reserving land for the United States within borders of new states admitted to the Union. This land fell within two classes: Unappropriated public lands, most of which was designated as national parks, forests, etc.; Yellowstone National Park was the first, and lands secured in trust for Native American Indians, most of which was used to establish reservations.
The current geographical United States includes the District of Columbia and federal enclaves where jurisdiction over forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings has been ceded by the several States respectively; lands retained in States admitted to the Union since approximately 1870; and insular possessions, along with territorial waters (12-mile limit, established under international law).
The geographical division determines Congress' power: Congress may exercise constitutionally delegated power, primarily under Art. I § 8 of the Constitution, throughout the "American empire". This is Congress' "general power".
Congress exercises the combined power of state, national, and even local government in territory belonging to the United States - in the "geographical" United States. This is Congress' special or limited jurisdiction.
Within the Union of several States, Congress may exercise only constitutionally delegated authority; within the "geographical" United States, Congress may exercise all power not explicitly or implicitly prohibited by the Constitution. Congress' general powers delegated by the Constitution are restricted to those specifically enumerated in the Constitution; Congress' special plenary power is permissive, limited only by implicit and explicit constitutional prohibitions, but may be exercised only in territory belonging to the United States.
Congress' authority in and over the geographical United States is somewhat on the order of a European government where what we understand as national government in the American system is also state government. Where existing insular possessions are concerned, there is also the distinction that the Constitution applies to them only as Congress chooses to extend it. Governing principles are more under international than constitutional law.
This notion was first judicially framed by Chief Justice Marshall in an 1828 decision involving an incident in Florida while Florida was yet a territory of the United States.
The Constitution extends authority for Congress to declare war and make treaties. It also delegates authority for Congress to establish new states.
Although the Constitution is silent with respect to acquisition of new territory beyond borders of existing States, and implicitly bringing territories ceded by original States into the Union, these powers were construed to extend territorial acquisition authority, and vest Congress with authority to govern and determine disposition of acquired territory. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson drafted proposed amendments that would authorize incorporating Louisiana and other future states included in the Purchase into the constitutional scheme, but Congress elected to proceed without an amendment. Chief Justice Marshall, writing for the Supreme Court in 1828, was put in a position of having to rationalize a quarter century of territorial development. In the Article IV framework, he stepped from strict constitutional construction into the forum of international law. Thus, federal government found a capacity beyond strict constitutional restrictions. There was a whole separate world to be explored, and subdued, beyond constitutional bounds.
To the point of the Spanish-American War, there was an amount of solace for incorporated territories of the United States, as well as the Union of several States: Once the Constitution has been extended to a territory, it cannot be retracted. The Ordinance of 1787 provided an amount of protection as it specifies that people of the territories were assured of common law and due process in the course of the common law, along with most other rights secured in the first ten amendments to the Constitution. But unincorporated territories did not enjoy these assurances.
Insular possessions have gained an amount of ground by way of compacts and agreements, but remain outside the constitutional scheme. Virtually all of them are subjected to "due process in the course of the civil law" (admiralty/maritime), and remain within Coast Guard jurisdiction.
With the history of United States territorial acquisition and development in place, Congress' distinct roles, and distinction between the Union of several States and the geographical United States, are reasonably clear. With this in mind, the reason precious little federal law applies to the Union of several States and people of the several States will be easier to grasp. The underlying theme - "Follow the money!"
Article I § 8.5 of the Constitution provides that Congress shall have power "to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof…" and at Article I § 10.1, stipulates that, "No State shall … make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts …" At Article I §8.6, Congress is granted power, "To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting and Securities and current Coin of the United States…"
There has been no constitutional amendment to alter these provisions. They remain as firmly in place today as they were in 1789. Yet there is precious little gold and silver coin in the United States or the Union of States - none in general circulation.
An old story has it that a woman once found her husband with another woman, but rather than panic, the man calmly got out of the bed, slipped on his clothes, straightened himself up, then asked the wife, "Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?"
Does the Constitution mandate gold and silver coin as the national currency? Monetary theories and rationalization are irrelevant. Either the several States are prohibited from making any thing but gold and silver coin a payment for debt or they aren't. Authority to "coin" money and prescribe punishment for counterfeiting "current coin" of the United States pretty well locks the matter down. Either the several States are prohibited from making any thing but gold and silver coin a payment for debt or they aren't. If this prohibition lies against the States, it follows that American founders intended for Congress to provide gold and silver coin as a uniform monetary system. In fact, George Washington and others threatened not to attend the Constitutional Convention if the notion of a federal paper currency was going to be considered. The fact that minting gold and silver coin of the United States was immediately implemented speaks to the matter - the first Congress, so far as possible, carried out constitutional intent.
There was, however, an early glitch. Congress chartered a national bank. Money powers were waiting at the gate from the beginning. That experience soured, so the charter for the first national bank was terminated shortly after the turn of the century. Then a second was chartered. Andrew Jackson put an end to the second in 1836 when he vetoed the bill that would have renewed the charter. Jackson's reasoning was simple: The Constitution does not delegate authority for Congress to establish a national bank. Jackson's rationale has never been seriously challenged, and the Constitution has never been amended to authorize Congress to establish a national bank. Nor, for that matter, does the Constitution delegate authority for the United States to establish corporations, particularly private corporations.
Development in these areas came primarily during and after the Civil War. National banks were established in territories of the United States, but no central or national bank was established. Many of the nation's railroads were also chartered and incorporated in territories, so were and are United States corporations. The underlying rationale is simple: Where territory of the United States is concerned, Congress has permissive rather than restrictive power - Congress can do anything not explicitly or implicitly prohibited by the Constitution.
One of the things entrenched powers wanted was authority to print paper money, and by way of paper, to create credit. The Supreme Court held out on this mater as late as 1880, but in 1884, the court almost completely reversed with the Julliard decision - the Constitution does not expressly prohibit Congress from printing paper money.
It does, however, prohibit the several States from making any thing but gold and silver coin a tender for payment of debt, and the court generally upheld this prohibition through the balance of the nineteenth century when states such as Washington demanded payment of taxes in gold and silver coin.
Generally speaking, United States paper money was accepted and honored as it was backed 100% by gold. It was more convenient with respect to weight and bulk, and it had other advantages, particularly as silver coin became less plentiful.
In 1913, Congress chartered the Federal Reserve System as a national bank of sorts. Federal Reserve banks provided several advantages, not the least of which was giving United States government access to ready credit created out of thin air. With authority to create credit, Federal Reserve banks could effectively manufacture money - or what appeared as money. From 1914 to 1933, United States paper money issued in conjunction with Federal Reserve banks went from 100% backed by gold, to 40% backed by gold and the other 60% backed by obligations of the United States. Dilution of the currency dramatically increased money in circulation, which resulted in inflation, and partially fueled the speculative period producing the 1929 equities collapse.
The three basic mechanisms the Federal Reserve uses to control credit and money supply, with all "money" generated through credit issue, are as follows: The percentage of reserve required on deposit by member banks; open window discount rates (interest charged to member banks, mostly Federal Reserve Banks); and the basic discount or interest rate. Through these mechanisms, the Federal Reserve maintains "hard money" or "soft money" policy, either shrinking or expanding credit and money supply and thereby regulating the overall economy. Through these mechanisms the Federal Reserve can single-handedly collapse the nation's credit and monetary systems, or if there is perceived benefit, such as an election year might be, nurse a sick economy along. This is hardly the regulation of value the Constitution delegates to Congress.
If the Constitution hasn't been amended, United States paper money (Federal Reserve [bank] Notes), and the Federal Reserve System, must be creatures of Congress' Article IV authority in the geographical United States.
The Constitution says what is says - it hasn't been amended either to authorize the several States to make anything other than gold and silver coin a tender for payment of debt, or authorizing Congress to take absolute control of the nation's economic activity. Consequently, there can be but one conclusion: The Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve [bank] Note are legitimate, or have legitimate authority for use, only in the geographical United States subject to Congress' Article IV § 3.2 legislative jurisdiction -they are creatures within the scope of Congress' special rather than general authority.
There is far more to the credit and monetary scams than will be treated here since the purpose at hand is to demonstrate proper application of federal law rather than to address any given subject. It should be obvious, however, that once fraudulent credit and monetary systems predicated on Congress' Article IV § 3.2 legislative authority were in place, it was necessary to move all or nearly all of United States government under the same authority. Where the federal tax system is concerned, that was done via the revenue act of November 23, 1921 - virtually all taxes promulgated under Congress' Article I and Sixteenth Amendment authority were repealed. When they were reenacted, they came back in under Congress' Article IV § 3.2 legislative jurisdiction. No taxing statute in the current Internal Revenue Code (Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (Vol. 68A of the Statutes at Large), as amended in 1986 and since, evidenced in title 26 of the United States Code) reaches the several States and the population at large. The taxes apply in three general categories: Income tax, Social Security tax, and the like apply only to agencies and employees of the United States; most other taxes, including inheritance, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, etc., are applicable only in the geographical United States; and some taxes cross over to customs duties.
One of the ways to determine geographical application of any given statute or act is by way of definitions contained in the act. For example, the Buck Act, which allegedly extended authority of "States" to tax on federal territory within a "State", is a classical red herring. The Buck Act is reproduced in sections 105-111 of Title 4 of the United States Code. The term "State" is defined at 4 USC § 111(d), as follows:
One the other hand, 4 USC § 112(d) specifically includes the several States along with the District of Columbia, incorporated territories and insular possessions of the United States. This particular statute is the underlying authority for uniform laws relating to extradition, detainers, etc. Congress has legitimate constitutional authority to make these kinds of uniform rules, and this is one of the few acts classified in the United States Code that appears to issue under Congress' general legislative power.
Now consider corresponding applications found in Rule 54(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Per authority of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules, delegated at 28 USC § 2072, any statute in conflict with the rules is automatically repealed, so the following applications govern Title 18 of the United States Code, which is entitled, "Crimes and Criminal Procedure":
"Act of Congress" includes any act of Congress locally applicable to and in force in the District of Columbia, in Puerto Rico, in a territory or in an insular possession.
At 18 USC § 5, the "United States" is defined as follows:
The term "United States", as used in this title in a territorial sense, includes all places and waters, continental and insular, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, except the Canal Zone.
Another clear clue is in the catchline for the Title 18 jurisdiction section, § 7: "Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States defined". The section defines eight jurisdictions, none of which apply to the several States beyond borders of federal enclaves. No jurisdiction defined in Title 18 reaches the Union of several States party to the Constitution.
It is also important to understand that Congress can enact laws applicable exclusively within Article IV § 3.2 jurisdiction that fall within Article I delegated power, but not exercise the Article I power for general application. This is basically what happened following across-the-board repeal of excise taxes via the revenue act of November 23, 1921. Excise tax with general application were legitimate under Article I § 8 delegated authority, but when they were reenacted, they were promulgated under Congress' special authority within the geographical United States.
To see this, consider definitions of interstate and foreign commerce at 18 USC § 10:
The term 'interstate commerce", as used in this title, includes commerce between one State, Territory, Possession, or the District of Columbia and another State, Territory, Possession, or the District of Columbia.
The term "foreign commerce", as used in this title, includes commerce with a foreign country.
The Federal Register Act provides a convenient test for the allegation that Title 18 of the United States Code is applicable only in the geographical United States subject to Congress' Article IV § 3.2 municipal authority. Of particular import, 44 USC § 1505(a)(1) stipulates that all "Presidential proclamations and Executive Orders, except those not having general applicability and legal effect or effective only against Federal agencies or persons in their capacity as officers, agents, or employees thereof," must be published in the Federal Register. The subsection concludes, "For the purposes of this chapter every document or order which prescribes a penalty has general applicability and legal effect."
The legalese mumbo-jumbo is designed to make understanding as difficult as possible, but the mandate for publication of delegations of authority, regulations, etc., is articulated in Note 16, 44 U.S.C.A. § 1505, by the following decision:
There is yet another erroneous fly in the ointment to be examined: Virtually all civil litigation and criminal prosecution by government officials is in the name of the "United States of America", not the "United States".
This detail cannot be overlooked. The Constitution of the United States, as the Articles of Confederation before, vests authority in the governmental entity designated as the United States. Article I § 1 of the Constitution vests legislative authority in the Congress of the United States; Article II establishes the President of the United States; and Article III vests judicial authority of the United States in the supreme Court of the United States and whatever inferior courts Congress might establish. The Tenth Amendment prohibits the United States from exercising power not delegated by the Constitution.
The "United States of America" is an historically significant name. Article I of the Articles of Confederation established the several party States as the United States of America, and the people of the United States of America established the Constitution of the United States (Preamble). But each of the several States is sovereign within its borders except for powers delegated to the United States by the Constitution. The people of this nation have vested no authority in a governmental entity known as the "United States of America", and state and national constitutions do not delegate authority for officers of the several States and the United States to unilaterally establish a new national power.
Resolving the mystery of who or what the "United States of America" is somewhat like walking through a house of mirrors, but two conclusions can be drawn from available evidence: (1) the United States of America is a governmental entity foreign to the United States, and (2) the United States of America is a geographical entity.
The first capacity of the Assistant Attorney General is found at 28 CFR, Part 0.55. At Part 0.55(b), the delegation order specifies that the Assistant Attorney General will conduct, supervise, or handle, "Cases involving criminal frauds against the United States…," and at Part 0.55(s), the Assistant Attorney General over the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice is required to conduct, supervise, or handle, "Civil proceedings in which the United States is plaintiff…" In other words, the "United States" is principal of interest in the basic delegation of authority for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
However, at 28 CFR, Part 0.64-1, the delegation to the Assistant Attorney General over the Criminal Division authorizes him to serve as agent for a distinctly separate entity, the "United States of America." The delegation also authorizes him to redelegate this authority to Deputy Assistant Attorney's General in the Criminal Division, or to the Director and Deputy Directors of the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division. The entire delegation order, as it appears in the Code of Federal Regulations, is as follows:
Delegations to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons are even clearer. The Director and his officers (wardens) are authorized to (1) imprison people convicted of offenses against the United States, (2) accept and imprison prisoners transferred from the United States of America, and (3) accept and imprison prisoners transferred from the District of Columbia. District of Columbia prisoners will not be considered in this context.
The Director of the Bureau of Prisons relating to offenses against the United States is at 28 CFR, Part 0.96, reproduced in relative part:
The Director of the Bureau of Prisons and officers of the Bureau of Prisons designated by him are authorized to receive custody of offenders and to transfer offenders to and from the United States of America under a treaty as referred to in Public Law 95-144; to make arrangements with the States and to receive offenders from the States for transfer to a foreign country; to act as an agent of the United States to receive the delivery from a foreign government of any person being transferred to the United States under such a treaty; to render to foreign countries and to receive from them certifications and reports required under a treaty; and to receive custody and carry out the sentence and imprisonment of such a transferred offender as required by that statute and any such treaty.
This bit of "hide the truth with legalese mumbo-jumbo" becomes clearer via the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (Pub.L. 91-538, Dec. 9, 1970, 94 Stat. 1397 et seq.). In section 2 of the Act, the United States and the District of Columbia are made parties to the agreement:
Finally, the "United States of America, ss, President of the United States", is principal of interest in courts of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (48 USC §§ 874 & 1406f), and probably other United States courts in the larger insular possessions, those being located in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. There is no statutory authority authorizing the "United States of America" as principal of interest in courts of the United States situated in the Union of several States party to the Constitution. In fact, it is reasonably easy to demonstrate that all civil and/or criminal actions prosecuted on behalf of the United States of America in United States District Courts presume admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the territorial United States District Court of the Virgin Islands.
Where this discourse serves the limited purpose of demonstrating that precious little current federal law applies in and to the Union of several States, and people of the several States, whether citizens or aliens lawfully admitted to the several States, it isn't necessary to address motive beyond what is necessary to assist with understanding, and accepting, why elected and appointed public servants left constitutionally delegated authority behind to exit through the Article IV § 3.2 loophole, then establish a nonconstitutional government entity - a political compact or alliance - foreign to the United States.
Motive is ages old - the lust, and greed, for wealth and
power. For the first time in history, the alliance behind the scheme is
postured for true global conquest. But the conquest is without authority
of law. Perpetrators must step beyond constitutional, statutory, and regulatory
authority in order to impose what is glibly described as private international
law - a system which is slightly more subtle in means, if not effect, than
methods employed by Vandals to sack the Roman Empire.