Op-ED Why the Montana State Constitution is Hot Garbage

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The horrendously liberal legacy press outlets – along with a few blogs, which won’t be mentioned lest I raise their readership from 2 to 200,000 and give them more press than they deserve – have swoon on their fainting couches whilst clutching their pearls over some of the recent comments by wildly popular Rep. Derek Skees. Not only do I agree with Skees’ comments, I applaud them.

First, let me begin at the perceived offense. As first quoted in the Flathead Beacon, owned by Connie Chung and Maurie Povich snuck in between paternity test ‘who da’ baby daddy article’ (I’m guessing), Skees was providing comment on the state’s privacy clause, which baby-butchering monsters dripping in fetal blood laughingly cash their Medicaid checks.

Skee’s actual comment is as follows…

“There’s no basis in our constitution to use the right to privacy to murder a baby. The courts have humongously failed and we need to throw out Montana’s socialist rag of a constitution.”

Ooh, watch liberal explode at that. The same Comintern socialists who kneel at the anthem are suddenly aghast, grief-stricken, horrified that Rep. Skees would disparage the CONSTITUTION. Liberals are, as everyone knows, flag-waving patriots. Somebody, please, get out the pitchfork and torch, tar and feathers, and let us all request – nay, demand – that Skees resign immediately for having and speaking his opinion.

Alright, first let me drop the sarcasm for a moment and point out the obvious. These Democrats have not read the state constitution, let alone do they care about it. The state’s Democrat legislators ignore it like Llew Jones would avoid kale salad. Hell, the Supreme Court doesn’t give two red cents about the document. And yes, it’s a garbage document.

Velcroed to the dash of my pickup are books I don’t want to go anywhere without. These include the Holy Bible, the U.S. Constitution, A Lawyer’s Guide to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Montana State Constitution. So while I (by force) live by that document, just as does Rep. Skees, it’s a pile of flaming horse manure. Frankly, the Montana State Constitution looks put together by drunken Russians as an extensive joke. But unfortunately, it’s law and we have to abide by it, just as does Rep. Skees (which he always has). That latter reality hasn’t stopped the faux-outrage of Montana’s left, half of whom haven’t read the document and the other half can’t read at all.

First, Skees’ comments regarding privacy and abortion are accurate. You don’t have a right to murder people, so long as you keep it on the down-low (unless you’re a missing indigenous woman on a reservation, and then apparently Reservations let people get by with murder). But the “socialist rag” part of Skees’ comment doubtfully was referring to the privacy clause, but other aspects of the document that are the rotten fruit of Marxism.

As I first read the Montana State Constitution 15 years ago, I said out loud, “This is a camel.” Not knowing the background, I knew intuitively this was the product of several documents, hodge-podge together to try to make sense. The expression a church phrase, and a “camel” is a horse put together by a committee.

The Constitution did not appear to be an organic whole. It definitely appeared to be contradictory at times. You could tell that no Madison or Jefferson was involved in the process.

With a degree in history and a former college instructor in history, I studied the documents’ origins. It truly is a product of the Old West – the bad parts, when robber-barons rode the wagon trails and vigilantes had to protect the poorly defined borders. It was originally written in 1866, after 63 years of complete lawlessness following the Louisana Purchase. Two years prior it was officially made a territory with Idaho by President Lincoln (previously it was a part of the Dakotas), but it had no effect on life in what is now Montana. But that document was premature and had to be significantly revised before attempting to join the United States officially in 1884 (some call the revision a second constitution; it was drastically different). However, this document did not satisfy the federal government, which required even more changes in 1889 and so a third document was produced that year, which satisfied the requirements of the feds and the “state” of Montana was born.

Now where is Montana exactly? Our Constitution doesn’t say. Let that soak in; our Constitution does not define our boundaries. In 1864 the federal government claimed, in The Organic Act of the Territory of Montana some rough ideas. That’s another, obvious problem of our constitution. But 1864 is awfully close to 1866, and the territorial notions out of which our constitution was born found little concern with an adequate description of our state. Personally, I think we should take Saskatchewan (they’d probably agree).

During these days, Montana was controlled by its powerful mining lobbies. Between “Coppper Kings,” the Anaconda Company, and other powerful corporate-run forces, our legislators were controlled not by The People, but by the profiteers. Many came from Butte, home to the Copper Industry, and was likely the strongest socialist stronghold in the United States during this time. Unionism almost completely took over Butte, the strongest and most populist city in the state during this time, and strong pro-union sentiments remain there until this day, despite the Democrat Party’s environmental concerns shutting down their industry. During this time, Montana has been called a “Corporate Colony” rather than a fledgling state.* As an historic footnote, and I’m chasing a rabbit here, within a single generation “The Red Corner” developed in an unlikely place, a Communist hold-out, perhaps the last in the United States, in conservative Eastern Montana. Today, it’s the only place in Eastern Montana you’ll find Democrats in any number, and you can read a book about it here.

Origins of these constitutions continued to influence their revisions, up and until the last revision in 1972, when citizens kind of, sort of, voted for a new Constitution. It, in particular, is the Socialist Rag Skees was referring to.

First, let me explain as a scholar on Constitutional history, how the constitution federally works. It was designed by our founders to limit federal power, enumerate certain powers to The People, then added two amendments (to the original ten) clarifying that in fact all other powers belong to The People. In short, it was designed to reign in the power of the federal government.

The Montana Constitution is quite different. It “gives” mutable (not inalienable) rights to the people (so long as the legislation agrees with them), and then bestows all other power to the state government. It does the opposite of the federal constitution.

See the difference?

Now, the simple-minded man might look at the 35 rights endowed to Montanans and say something complimentary, as though it gives us three-times the rights than the federal constitution. This simply isn’t true; it’s the opposite. In fact, as written, it gives us no inalienable rights at all. Remember, the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Federal Constitution reserve all rights to the people and restrains the government in all other matters. But in Montana, these are the only 35 rights we have and they are subject being taken away by any whim of the legislature.

What you’ll see in the Montana Constitution is a wet dream for Democrats, put on paper, giving our People the most limited freedom of perhaps any state in the U.S.

For example, consider right #29. In the Federal Constitution, no right is given to the government of eminent domain (taking your property because they have a better use for it). But in the Montana Constitution it outlaws Imminent Domain unless you’re paid fairly for the land. See the difference? This doesn’t belong in a bill of rights. It belongs in a bill of liabilities. It’s a rag. And there’s not much on Earth more socialist than imminent domain.

Nearly each “right” includes the word “except” (or another synonym). In the Montana Constitution, there is no such thing as an inalienable right. It includes only a list of privileges, that may or may not be taken away at the whim of the government.

But problems don’t stop there. The Montana Constitution doesn’t set anything in stone. Consider section 9…

Section 9. Gambling. All forms of gambling, lotteries, and gift enterprises are prohibited unless authorized by acts of the legislature or by the people through initiative or referendum.

While I don’t care about a stupid-tax, what good does it do to include such a line in a document like the constitution? [Such-and-Such] shall not be allowed unless authorized by [list of bodies that can overturn it]?

One might legitimately ask if what we have is actually – by definition – a constitution at all by the standard of what the term usually means.

Then there’s a garbage line in section 13 giving control of any militia to the governor, which defeats the purpose (and disregards the definition) of what a militia is. I could go on with endless such complaints; complaints I cannot find in the impeccably worded U.S. Constitution written by who are, without a doubt, much smarter men than the inebriated monkeys who put together the 1972 version.

Finally, the trickery imposed at the ’72 convention was epic, and in real truth, probably nullifies it all together. Delegates were told that abstaining from a vote would be counted as a ‘no’ vote. This was not so. It’s likely that if this unsubstantiated rumor had not passed around the body, the constitution would have failed to pass.

This isn’t a new position for me since Skees wound up in the news. I wrote in an article published on July 14, 2020, that the reason unelected health nurses have more power than county sheriffs (which is absolutely insane) during a declared emergency is an archaic holdover from the territorial days when there likely was no county sheriff, but only a territorial marshall. At the time, I pointed out the insanity lying present in our constitution. Most of those were struck down in the 1960s (in practice, but remain in the document, seeing the insanity of it and its outdated needlessness (not to mention its contradiction with newer state laws).

People are mad at Derek Skees for the same reason they’re always mad at Derek Skees. He just says what whatever everybody else is thinking but is afraid to say.

[Publisher’s Note: JD Hall]

Editor’s Note: Please be alert; a Convention of States, or Con-Con, to change the federal constitution is a liberal ploy. The problem with THAT document is not the document, but that we don’t hold people accountable for their oath to it.




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