Three House Republicans filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after she enforced a mask mandate against them. The three—Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; and Ralph Norman, R-S.C.—had fines deducted from their salaries after refusing to wear masks on the House floor.
That amendment (sent to the states with the original Bill of Rights in 1789, but was not ratified until 1992) reads: “No law, varying the compensation for services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”
The plaintiffs argue that the mask rule violates the amendment because deducting a fine from their salaries varies their compensation downward.
Is their claim a winner? Almost certainly not.
As a new paper I cowrote with Heritage Foundation colleague Paul J. Larkin Jr. explains, the 27th Amendment’s reach is not nearly as broad as the plaintiffs claim. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
For one thing, the amendment applies only to “laws.” In that context, “laws” are only bills that have passed both houses of Congress and have been signed by the president or which Congress passes by supermajority following a presidential veto. House rules do not apply.
A clever lawyer might respond by pointing to the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, [etc.],” and note that the Supreme Court has interpreted the word “law” in that context to broadly encompass any government action. Why doesn’t the same meaning apply to the 27th Amendment?
For two reasons. First, the text and history of the 27th Amendment foreclose that expansive definition. The amendment does not exist in isolation. Rather, it amended the ascertainment clause, which says: “Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.”
The word “law” in that clause can only mean a bill passed by both houses and signed by the president, because that clause is concerned simply with the legislative mechanics of paying members of Congress. Who has the power of the purse? Congress. How does Congress exercise that power? By passing bills.
The word “law” in the 27th Amendment has the same meaning because the amendment sets conditions on bills passed pursuant to the ascertainment clause.
The second reason that the expansive First Amendment definition of “law” doesn’t apply to the 27th Amendment is because the two have totally different purposes. The former protects individual rights; the latter sets conditions on a particular legislative procedure.
The moral of the story is that when the 27th Amendment refers to “laws,” it means only laws in the technical sense. House rules don’t count because they aren’t passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.
There’s another reason the plaintiffs’ case will likely fail. The House rules don’t “vary compensation.”
As with “law,” the meaning of “varying compensation” is revealed when we look at the amendment’s relationship to the ascertainment clause. Because the 27th Amendment modifies that clause, what it means by “varying compensation” is changing the terms of a previous compensation law.
So, to sum up, the 27th Amendment applies only to laws that change the terms of previous compensation laws.
The House rules don’t change the terms of a previous compensation law any more than getting a parking ticket changes the terms of your paycheck.
The plaintiffs’ 27th Amendment claim appears doomed, but we can forgive them for trying it. Before our paper came along, nobody had spent any time trying to figure out what the 27th Amendment means and how it should be applied.
What’s more, in past lawsuits over the amendment, parties have made similar claims to the ones Massie, Greene, and Norman make here, and the courts either dismissed them on procedural grounds or did not interpret the amendment with the sort of depth and clarity that it deserves.
Although the plaintiffs’ claim is likely a dud, for those of us who love thinking about the Constitution, it’s a delightful opportunity to ponder a part of it that almost never appears in headlines.
Article by GianCarlo Canaparo cross-posted from Daily Signal.
American Patriots Uniting to Fight Tyranny from, Well, Everywhere
We’re building a new conservative news network. Based on responses from fellow patriots, we’re heading in the right direction.
It may be hard to believe based on what we’re seeing around the nation today, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. First and foremost, the false narrative that most of America hates traditional values or the foundations of our nation are finally being proven false. Despite the best efforts of globalists and Neo-Marxists, patriotic Americans are starting to unify in droves. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can barely muster a half-filled auditorium to deliver his message to the scant few watching CNN and the paid shills in the “crowd.”
The “silent majority” that drove Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and 2020 (yes, he won by a landslide but was robbed along with the American people) is finally starting to realize we cannot stay silent any longer. We used to win with our votes, but those are being stolen. We used to win with truth, but the radical left and their agents in mainstream media, Big Tech, and academia are building a post-truth society to drown out reality. Today, we are waking up to the realization that only through direct action and fearlessly spreading the truth can we overcome the nefarious forces working against us.
We are proud to be working our way up to the tip of the conservative media spear. Our network is growing. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Truth. Based. Media.
- Freedom First Network
- Based Underground
- Uncanceled News
- American Conservative Movement
- Conservative Playbook
- Our Gold Guy
Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
Time is short. As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!