DC Tractor Drive

The Underlying Purpose :

The underlying purpose of the DC Tractor Drive is to shine the purifying light of day on Supreme Court’s 1821 Cohens v. Virginia ruling, on its 200 th anniversary, by arriving in the District of Columbia on March 3, 2021. The tractor driver, Matt Erickson, asserts that this court ruling ultimately created an ingenious mechanism to bypass normal constitutional constraints, by creating a clever loophole within the body of the Constitution itself. This loophole has allowed dishonest federal officials and members of Congress to steer the federal government far away from the spirit of the Constitution over the subsequent two centuries.

The primary impact of the Cohens case stems from a single sentence, which sentence reads, “The clause which gives exclusive legislation is, unquestionably, a part of the Constitution, and, as such, binds all the United States.”

To understand the vast repercussions of this seemingly-innocuous phrase, it is necessary to explain the principles that underlie it.

First off, the clause “which gives exclusive legislation” is the clause of the U.S. Constitution which covers the later creation of the District of Columbia—Article I, Section 8, Clause 17.

Said Clause 17 is the highly-unusual exception to all the normal rules of the Constitution.

A cursory look into the incredible amount of power herein allowed within this unique clause shows how different it is from the remainder of clauses, the remainder of which were meant for the remainder of the Union.

But said Clause 17 is different, for this was the clause for a unique federal city, which was created out of States, but is not part of any State.

Whereas the U.S. Constitution divided governing power into enumerated federal and State powers—with the federal powers expressly enumerated, with the remainder of powers reserved to the States (except those powers expressly prohibited to the States [such as in Article I, Section 10]), said Clause 17 unified all governmental powers only in Congress.

In the District constituted as the Seat of Government of the United States, all governmental power was unified in Congress.

Since the local governing powers in the District Seat were ceded to Congress by later cessions of particular States (Maryland, and, until 1846, Virginia), in the District of Columbia members of Congress may exercise local powers like elsewhere is exercised by States (without crossing any constitutional parameters).

Maryland ceded all of its powers—its ability to govern—for the parcel of land, that couldn’t exceed ten miles square, that the State ceded to Congress on December 19, 1791, for the District Seat.

Indeed, Maryland had to cede all of its powers over the land ceded to Congress for the District Seat, so Congress could exercise “exclusive” legislation “in all Cases whatsoever” over the District Seat, as required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 17. Thus, with its 1791 cession, Maryland could not and did not reserve any powers unto itself in its 1791 cession.

In other words, after 1791, Maryland had no powers left reserved to itself for the 10 th Amendment to even begin to apply therein.

Thus, there is no crime or foul if members of Congress exercise powers therein that are elsewhere reserved unto the States under the 10 th Amendment.

In other words, all the patriots, conservatives, strict-constructionists and libertarians who assert that members of Congress may never exercise State-like powers that are normally reserved unto the States under the 10 th Amendment ARE WRONG!

Which brings us back to the Supreme Court’s 1821 ruling, that even said Clause 17 “binds” the States.

Indeed, to say that the exclusive legislation clause “binds all the United States”—without simultaneously detailing the very limited extent which that unusual clause may actually bind the States—creates a means by which the highly-unusual circumstances allowed within D.C. may be improperly extended beyond the District’s borders.

But, strictly speaking, the ruling of the Cohens court is understandable, because the court merely held the strict words of Article VI, Clause 2 (which details that “This Constitution…shall be the supreme Law of the Land” that binds the States through their judges).

Indeed, it is “unquestionable” that Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution is a part of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, even said Clause 17 is part of the supreme Law of the Land, so are laws enacted by Congress even “in pursuance” of this clause, like all other laws enacted in pursuance of any other clause of the Constitution.

After all, no express exception for said Clause 17 is found anywhere in Article VI or the remainder of the Constitution.

But, saying generally that said Clause 17 “binds” all the States without also detailing the very limited extent of that binding, creates a loophole within the Constitution that allows unscrupulous government servants to bypass their normal constitutional constraints that may be used against unsuspecting citizens.





Restoring Liberty and Justice, Once and For All