Press Release: 01/25/2019

Lawsuit Filed Against Unconstitutional Government Shutdown

New York City: Equal Vote America (EVA) has filed a civil lawsuit against the current Congress and the current Administration at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (CASE #: 1:19-cv-00777) on the ground that the 35-day federal government shutdown is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

It is well-documented that Washington had to beg for money or supplies from a helpless Congress during the American Revolution, and appealed his officers not to rebel in 1783. By 1787 the union between the states was unraveling and our founding fathers replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution in Philadelphia because they wanted to establish a strong effective functioning federal government to save the young nation and fulfill the mission mandated in the Preamble of the Constitution.. Chief Justice John Marshall emphatically affirmed in McCulloch v. Maryland:

The government proceeds directly from the people; is “ordained and established” in the name of the people… “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and to their posterity.”…it was deemed necessary to change this alliance into an effective Government …a Government of the people… Its powers are granted by them…  and for their benefit…. The principle that it can exercise only the powers granted… is now universally admitted.

Our country is a constitutional Republic, in which the federal government belongs to the People, serves the People, and safeguards the Republic; more importantly, it is NOT a privately-owned LLC that can be shut down at will.

In a lawless failed-state, frightened residents have to pay mob bosses for protection. In a civilized society under the rule of law, law-biding citizens pay taxes for a functioning government. Between 2010 and 2011 for 589 days in Belgium, the political parties were unable to form a coalition government, and yet all government agencies remained funded at the existing level and fully functional. In fact, government shutdown is unheard of among all other developed democracies. America, once “the shining city upon a hill” has become the laughing stock around the world. Our allies are bewildered while our foes are giddily cheering for such self-inflicted dysfunction if not outright destruction.

The history of 27 amendments clearly demonstrates the legal principle that an existing law remains in force until it is replaced by a new law duly enacted. The Apportionment Act of 1911 remained in effect until the Reapportionment Act of 1929 because Congress failed to enact a reapportionment law after the 1920 Census.

By shutting down the federal government, members of the current Congress and the current Administration have…

  1. 1. brazenly disregarded our founding fathers’ intention for a strong effective functioning federal government;
  2. 2. dangerously undermined “justice, domestic tranquility, common defence and general welfare” demanded in the Preamble of the Constitution;
  3. 3. blatantly overreached the limit of powers enumerated by Article I and Article II, respectively;
  4. 4. ineptly failed to comply the existing law, i.e. the 2018 Appropriation Act;
  5. 5. arrogantly violated the Tenth Amendment as the Constitution grants NO such power to shut down government;
  6. 6. carelessly infringed the People’s rights to life (public health, food safety, preparation for natural disasters), liberty (travel, freedom from fear and anxiety), property (income, small business, trade) without due process.

Were our founding fathers alive today, they would be horrified and outraged. Time is of the essence before such self-inflicted dysfunction turning into a huge disaster. EVA has appealed to the Court to urgently review and affirm:

  1. 1. The Constitution NEVER grants anyone the power to shut down the federal government, hence any federal government shutdown is unconstitutional.
  2. 2. The existing appropriation law shall remain in force until the new appropriation law is duly enacted through the legislative due process.

As President Lincoln declared at Gettysburg, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Fellow Americans, call or write to your Representative and Senators, and urge them to speak on the floor that shutting down the federal government is against our founding fathers’ will, self-destructive to our country, and a reckless violation of the Constitution.