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 An 8th Grader Knows More Of The Constitution Than Congress, Literally: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering from those constitutional and foundational principles! Today we are discussing an article sent from a listener. This article details what the Constitution allows and what it does not and how that pertains to our government as of today. Now, this article might surprise you because it was brilliantly written by, get this, an 8th grader! But don’t let his age fool you, this 8th grader knows more about our Constitution that most of Congress does. 

Air Date: 06/01/2017


Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


Listen:

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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”€

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, it”€™s Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live! We”€™re talking about today”€™s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. And on Thursdays we specifically dive into the Constitution of the declaration, founding principles that made America so great.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author. You can find out more at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.

Kids In College Don”€™t Know The Constitution

And David, of course, we love getting the questions from folks. They can send those into Radio@WallBuilders.com. And today we”€™re kind of doing something a little bit different. We went out and somebody sent us a copy of an article.

Usually, we get questions from the audience directly in an e-mail question but sometimes they send us an article and say, “€œWhat do you think about this?”€ We’ve got this incredible article talking about literally how the country works and how the Constitution should work. It’s kind of going to set up our show today.

David:

Well, it’s a great article, Rick. And I have to say, it demonstrates a real depth of knowledge of the Constitution and today that is way too rare. One of the things that we talked about before is in the last several years Tim and I have been asked by at least four colleges to help them start a school of government. 

And so one of those colleges had their first graduates this year coming into the School of Government. And when we set up the curriculum for the School of Government we said, “€œYou know, the Constitution, the only thing that’s changed is we’ve added some amendments to it across time. But the Constitution itself is still the same.”€

The amendments we added the 13th, 14th, 15th, amendments dealing with slavery, 16th amendment income taxes, etc. And you go through the amendments. So there’s just not that many of them. So, therefore, the core of the Constitution remains as it has been across time.

So, the textbooks we used in the school, we started with an 1828 textbook, that was an elementary catechism on the Constitution. It’s very simply a bunch of questions on the Constitution and it was designed for an elementary level in school. So we started with that.

I remember when I spoke there at the college I pulled that book out and started asking random questions to all these college kids. And I think out of 15 questions they had either one or two that they answered out of 15. So this is where we started. And here we are today with college level, post-graduate level. They can’t handle it.

So then we went to an 1831 textbook on the Constitution written by Joseph Story who is a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court put there but James Madison. He did a book for elementary schools in the day on the Constitution. Then he also came up with an 1841 textbook on the Constitution. So those are the three textbooks we use to teach the Constitution.

Do You Know The Constitution?

And so when I read this article that was sent to us, it was really intriguing because it had the core so right and expressed so well. Matter of fact, I want to read a little part of this article because it really is good.

It says, “€œHow many of you believe that presidential executive orders are the law of our land?”€ The article then quotes from Section 2 of the Constitution and it says that lawmaking power is invested in the Congress but then it says, “€œThe president shall take care that the laws made by Congress be faithfully executed.”€ So the president’s role in government is to preserve and protect the Constitution and to enforce and not make our country’s laws.

Now, suppose the president issued an executive order that all Americans had to worship at a Lutheran church. Not only is there no such law passed by Congress, but that executive order is a blatant violation of the First Amendment which says, “€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting free exercise thereof.”€Â 

So since this executive order is not enforcing a law but rather trying to make a new law and because this order would violate the First Amendment and deprives citizens of their treasured freedom to worship as they please the president is overstepping his constitutional bounds and that order should be struck down.

On the other hand, suppose the president made an executive order restricting immigration from certain countries. Article 4 Section 4 states that the executive branch shall “€œprotect each of the states from invasion.”€ In addition, Congress has passed a statutory law stating, “€œWhenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or any class of aliens in the United States states would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”€

This order to restrict immigration is therefore perfectly legal. Some may disagree with it, but it is still very much in line with the president’s first and foremost duty to protect the American people by enforcing the Constitution and the laws of Congress.

The Shocking Age Of The Article”€™s Writer

Now, I will tell you that is a brilliant analysis of an executive order when they’re right, and when they’re wrong. The article goes on to look at decisions of the Supreme Court, when are they right, when are they wrong. And always the article keeps going back to the Constitution and pointing to the Constitution saying, “€œThis is what the Constitution says.”€

This brilliant article we have here and the analysis that”€™s in there, we’re going to have a link up today on the website so you can read this article. This article was written by-

Rick:

It”€™s a professor, right? Of a law school?

David:

It was.  You hit it right on. Jonathan Turley who’s a great constitutional law, oh wait no, it wasn”€™t Turley, oh I remember, it”€™s Alan Dershowitz. Oh no, wait. Actually, it was an eighth-grade student, Jacob Schultz, who wrote this article.

Rick:

Eighth grader? Not yet a law professor, but very well may be after an article like that.

David:

Eighth-grade student Jacob Schultz just cut to the core of things like Trump’s immigration executive order.  Was it constitutional or was it not? Did it uphold a law already passed by Congress or was it making a new law? I mean, he cut to the core and this is eighth grade.

So many people in Congress, and so many in the media, and so many elsewhere, who don’t have a clue what the Constitution says about this. So this is a great article, we thought I”€™d be a lot of fun just to get Jacob on as an eighth grader and just talk to him. Didn’t have to be about the article the Constitution, but what’s in the mind of this young man? And what a brilliant constitutional analysis he did of this. And as I mentioned of the Supreme Court, of Congress, and other things. It’s really good stuff. So Jacob Schultz will be our guest when we come back.

Rick:

Eighth-grader Jacob Schultz. Stay with us.  You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Outro:

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€

American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently overturned the jury’s sentence of a man convicted of the brutal murder of a 71-year-old woman because the prosecuting attorney had mentioned a Bible verse in the courtroom. Consider what happened in the 1778 case, Respublica versus John Roberts. Thomas McKean a signer of the Declaration of Independence was the chief justice of that court and addressing John Roberts after the jury had sent him to death for treason. 

McCain told him, “€œYou will probably have but a short time to live before you launch into eternity. It behooves you to repent of your evil deeds. To be incessant in prayer to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins, to teach you to rely on the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer.

This prominent Founding Father actually delivered a salvation message to the defendant in the courtroom. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact wall builders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

George Washington said, “€œThe Constitution approaches near to perfection than any other government instituted among man.”€

Learning The Constitution Since Age Six

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us today.  Our special guest today is Jacob Schultz.  He’s an eighth-grade homeschool student in North Dakota that just wrote an incredible article called, “€œThe Law of the Land.”€ I can’t remember the first place I saw it, maybe on Matt’s website or somebody else.  Just a great article. And I’ll tell you what, congressmen could learn from this article. Jacob, thank you so much for joining us, Sir.

Jacob:

Thank you for having me.

Rick:

Hey, what made you decide to write this article and get it out there and let people know more about how our system works?

Jacob:

Well, I’ve been interested in the Constitution since my older sister Katie did a National History Day presentation on it.  I was six.

Rick:

So this runs in the family then?

Jacob:

Oh, basically yes. So a few years later I did Patrick Henry”€™s “€œGive Me Liberty or Give me Death” speech for a speech contest.

Rick:

Excellent.

Jacob:

Several people came up to me after that and said I should be a lawyer.

Rick:

Did you think that was a compliment or an insult?

Jacob:

I took it as a compliment.

Rick:

Oh good. Well, I’m a lawyer but I usually apologize for it. So anyway, go ahead. So, you did this speech on Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” So you already started I guess having an interest in the Founding Fathers?

Becoming Educated On The Constitution

Jacob:

Oh yeah, and a few years later I did a speech on the U.S. Constitution myself for a speech contest. And then later that year we went to the homeschool convention and Jake MacAulay from the Institute on the Constitution did some great presentations about the Constitution and our God-given freedoms and rights. And I just love those, and his website has been a great resource in all my studies.

Rick:

Excellent.

Jacob:

And then I got a pocket U.S Constitution to Dr. Ben Carson from one of my fathers *, so that I could conveniently look up any constitutional questions I might have.  And so I looked up several things in that when I wrote the speech. Which I really wrote to communicate how our government is supposed to work and how the Constitution prescribes it to work. Because I’m kind of bugged sometimes when the government doesn’t work how it is supposed to work.

Rick:

So when you see your congressman, and president, and other areas of government, doing things that you know as an eighth grader the Constitution doesn’t give them the power to do, that bothers you?

Jacob:

Yeah, it bothers me a little.

Rick:

And so what do you?  What can you do about it?  You’re an eighth-grade student and you decide to educate people about it.  That”€™s a great step to take.

Jacob:

I figured since I’m in 4-H we have a lot of youth around so I figure if we can get the truth out to the youth eventually that’ll have an influence on the country.

Training The Younger Generations

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt. When you’re at these programs for 4-H or whatever else you might be at and you start talking about this, are any of your other eighth grade, I guess, you’re probably with sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, all in that range, do they respond? Are they interested like you are?  Or do they go, “€œMan, why are you thinking about that kind of stuff? I don’t want to worry about it until 20 years from now.”€

Jacob:

Well, we have some other people in our club who were actually very interested in it as well. So we talk a lot about it and I haven’t really talked to other people as much but they’re not as interested as I am.

Rick:

Are your parents interested in it? Do they teach you these things as a homeschooler?

Jacob:

Yeah, they are interested in it as well. Mainly, I learned it on my own. But we do have a lot of talks about it over dinner a lot of the time.

Rick:

Knowing the Constitution so well, I’m just curious, can we can we run you for president this year? Would that be constitutional?

Jacob:

Constitution says I have to be 35 to run for president so we should probably wait.

Rick:

I was testing you. How old are you now?

Jacob:

I’m 13, so we should wait 22 years.

Rick:

Thirteen, and we”€™ve got 22 years. Ok, so when can we run for Congress? When do does the Constitution allow you to run for Congress?

Jacob:

I can be a congressman as a representative at the age of 25.  So we can run me then for representative.Alright, 12 years. And what, North Dakota only has one congressman, right? It”€™s like one congressman and two senators.  Y”€™all are like one of those three electoral college states?

Rick:

Alright, 12 years. And what, North Dakota only has one congressman, right? It”€™s like one congressman and two senators.  Y”€™all are like one of those three electoral college states?

Jacob:

Right.

North Dakota”€™s Future Representative

Rick:

Well, fair warning to all North Dakota congressmen and senators, in 12 years we’re running Jacob Schultz for Congress and then I guess Senate you got another five years after that. I got a feeling you’re going to be ready though.

Jacob:

I think so.

Rick:

Well, Jacob, what have people said to you after the article? Have you gotten some feedback? Have you educated folks about how the system should work?

Jacob:

Well, I’d kind of hoped for more but they were pretty much silent afterward.

Rick:

Yes, the difficulty of being an outspoken advocate and no one responding. I can relate to that. I can relate to that, young man.

Jacob:

I’m sure you can.

Rick:

So what’s the one thing you want our listeners to learn from your article about the Constitution? Maybe the role of the court?  Whatever, what’s the one thing you would want them to remember from you being on our program today?

Jacob:

Well, the Constitution does prescribe how the laws of our country are made. And my goal is to get people to notice that and to speak out when the government doesn’t work how it was supposed to because the government can do whatever it wants if the people don’t check it.

Rick:

That’s right. And you point out in the article the Supreme Court has been making the laws and that is not how the Constitution was designed.  Who’s supposed to make the law of the land?

Jacob:

Congress.

Rick:

There you go. There we go. I like this guy. Alright, Jacob, I”€™m looking forward to meeting you in person.  Maybe at the homeschool convention there in a couple of years or maybe we’ll get you to Patriot Academy.

Jacob:

I”€™ll make sure to be there.

Rick:

Yes, absolutely. Stay with us, folks.  We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Outro:

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and in the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they will exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

Constitution Alive

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.

Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders”€™ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

We call it the QuickStart Guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution.  You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.

Thomas Jefferson:

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

Start Teaching Them When They”€™re Young

Rick:

Welcome back!  Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live. Special thanks to Jacob Schultz, the eighth grader that joined us and wrote such an incredible article. We’ll have links today at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com to make it easy for you to get there.

Back with David Barton now. David, I’m impressed.  I want this kid to go to Patriot Academy.

David:

I tell you what, he is a sharp kid. And I love that he’s an eighth grader. He clearly is an eighth grader, he is loving what eighth graders do. But the mind that he has and understand-

Rick:

See, this goes to the point you don’t have to have a law degree to understand the Constitution. This is so simple that back in 1828 we started elementary students with the Constitution and we had the elementary class book in 1831. That’s the kind of stuff that every single citizen can get.

And he’s already thought through this and he understands how it applies, he understands the jurisdiction of the courts.  He understands the jurisdiction of the president and the jurisdiction of Congress. This is easy stuff.

And we let judges make it complicated.  Or we let judges say, “€œWell, I’m the only one that knows.  I have a law degree so I understand the Constitution.”€Â 

Nonsense. It’s an easy document to understand. So, he is a refreshing breath of fresh air. And as you said, you need to go to Patriot Academy. That’s one of the things we do a Patriot Academy is getting these kids to understand the Constitution in that sense and that level. It’s not a difficult or complicated document. And if you followed the general simple principles in the Constitution you will end at the right results.

So for anybody interested if you got somebody 16 to 25 years old Patriot Academy is the place for them to be. I mean, that’s where you want to send your kids. If they have any interest in public office, or public affairs, or even just in public issues, whether they want to run for office or not. This is the place to be.

Patriot Academy

So Patriot Academy. We help them with constitutional analysis and Biblical worldview but also process. And if you don’t know the process, know the rules, and know how it works then you won’t be nearly as effective as you can be.

So this is the right thing to get kids in the pipeline going for this.

David:

And what, Rick, you”€™ve four or five regions now where Patriot Academy is going across the country, regional ones as well as the national ones?

Rick:

It keeps growing, we’re opening up Virginia later this year, too. So now we do one in the northwest at the Idaho Capitol, and then Southwest, we do in Arizona their capitol, and every time it’s at the Capitol as you’ve spoken of them across the country you see those 16 to 25-year-olds, they’re young adults, and they’re having a chance to really-

David:

But when somebody has as much white hair as you do, they are kids.

Rick:

Yeah, that’s right.

David:

Wait, you let that pass?

Rick:

I did.  I started to come back, but there’s this respect for elders thing.

David:

Because I”€™ve got a lot more white here than you do, bro.

Rick:

That was what I was thinking. So, no, but I mean, you know what it’s like for them to actually be in the House chamber and on the real House floor, sitting in that real chair and have the actual microphone.

David:

The other part is you often have the state legislators themselves actually argue against the kids.

Rick:

Yeah, they come in and debate them and sometimes legislators will get elected and they will come through our program first before they serve in the actual legislative session because it’s so real and it gives them a chance basically to practice and to get their feet wet, to learn the rules and be ready for their actual session.

So anyway, I mentioned Idaho, Arizona, we also do obviously Texas, that’s our national academy a big week long program. And then we’re also doing Delaware.  So we’ve got a beachhead there in the Northeast, Florida, and now Virginia. So young people like Jacob and older 16 up to 25 if that sounds interesting to you and you’d like to learn that constitutional perspective. And actually how to articulate it as well not just to have the right information.

David, we often talk about the men of Issachar, understanding the times but also knowing what to do. Like you just said, knowing that process knowing how to actually win the day. That’s that’s what we’re all about.

David:

So, if you’ve got kids interested in that, or know kids who might be interested, or grandkids, or anything else, or if you’re from 16 to 25 and that sounds of interest to you go to PatriotAcademy.com, sign up right there. Good stuff happening later this summer.

Rick:

Got to take a quick break. We’ll be right back, folks.  You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

President Calvin Coolidge:

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€

Biographical Sketches

Hi, friends! This is Tim Barton of WallBuilders.This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. I know, oftentimes as parents were trying to find good content for our kids to read.

If you remember back in the Bible, the Book of Hebrews it has the Faith Hall of Fame, where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.

I wanted to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called, “€œThe Courageous Leaders Collection“€ and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.

There’s a second collection called, “€œHeroes of History“€ in this collection you read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, the list goes on and on.

This is a great collection for your young person to have and read. And it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com.

President Trump”€™s Order Getting Struck Down

Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. And special thanks to Jacob Schultz for joining us. Earlier in the program, David, I think we got time for one question, you ready?

David:

I am ready.

Rick:

From the audience is an e-mail from Larry. 

“€œDear WallBuilders, in light of President Trump’s problems with judges striking down his order to stop funds going to sanctuary cities, I want to know what the Constitution has to say about that. I thought he could do it and let the courts fight it out?”€

David?

David:

Well, Jacob answered a whole lot of that question. He can do it and the courts can fight it out but the courts do not make the law of the land. Article 1 says that all law-making, all legislative power rests solely, exclusively in the hands of Congress. Judges don’t get to make policy. The president doesn’t get to make policy. Congress makes policy.

The president, Article Two, shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. So given the law that was passed by Congress, that law, what is it, Rick? That law goes back to 1952 or 1954.

Rick:

“€˜54 I think.

David:

It’s a post-World War II law and it’s been used by presidents all along the way until President Trump tried to use it and then they forum shop and found a court here and there and found some in the Ninth Circuit that could strike it down. And so it’s been fine up to President Trump wanting to use it.

So, the courts don’t get to fight it out. Because they don’t get to make policy and that’s what they’re doing here. So that’s a no, and that’s why I love-

Rick:

Is that a good opportunity for him to do an Andrew Jackson and say, “€œNice opinion you got there, let me see you enforce it.”€ And actually say, “€œHey, on this one and on the whole travel ban in saying, “€œI have a duty to protect the people. So court you can write your opinion but here’s what I’m going to do.”€

What Trump Should Do Based On History

David:

He could do that but that would be trying to swallow the elephant in one bite. You have to swallow an elephant a bite at a time not all at once. So what it could do is turn it into educational opportunities. 

The right response to this would be exactly what President Thomas Jefferson did. Exactly what James Madison did with the Marbury Madison decision. It would be exactly what Andrew Jackson did with the bank decision and the Cherokee decision. IT would be exactly what Abraham Lincoln did with the Dred Scott decision.

All throughout American history the courts have got it wrong time and time again. And that’s what Jacob points out. He said, “€œYou know, the Bell Decision which was back in 1965 that says that if you’re a mentally disabled woman, the state has a right to sterilize you against your will. That’s never been overturned by any court anytime.”€ So that”€™s still the law of the land if the courts get to make the law of the land.

And by the way, no decision since Dred Scott has overturned Dred Scott. So, that’s the law of the land. Well, if courts get to make decisions you get all sorts of bad decisions on the books.

So that’s a good time for the president to use this educational opportunity.  It”€™s a good time for him to step in and say “€œBack in this situation of the Founding Era, the Founding Fathers impeached judges who did this. And here are the number of judges they impeached.”€ And I was thrilled to see that on both of those occasions the House actually started making noise about impeaching judges.

Now the problem is today’s citizens know so little about impeachment that it is the most often talked about topic in the Constitution because the Founding Fathers wanted to be able to get rid of activist judges and they know nearly nothing about the historical precedent from previous presidents who said, “€œThis is just the Supreme Court fortunately and that means nothing. So I’m going to ignore them.”€

But it’s a great time to start educating in that direction. But it’s the kind of thing where the courts are not allowed to have the final word historically or constitutional but they do today because we capitulated and given it to them.

But Larry’s question is a great question but it goes back to the article that Jacob wrote there are so many good principles and the Constitution that actually answer many of the things that we discussed today about the role of the courts and about the immigration ban, the heightened security ban, the stuff that Trump did in the seven nations. It’s not an immigration ban it’s just a heightened security ban. It was called an immigration ban but all of that’s answered by the Constitution.

And so I urge people to read Jacob’s article it’s a really good article.  It”€™s an eighth grader, but you see just how is it the Constitution is and how well it can be applied by any individual.

Rick:

We’ll have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com to make it easy for you to get to it. We sure appreciate you listening.  You”€™ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œ In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in the man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€