Showing posts with label constitution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label constitution. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2023

In Case You Missed It: Constitution Day Resources

On February 29, 1952, Congress designated September 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, and recognizes all American citizens.

The framers of the Constitution of the United States chose the population to be the basis for sharing political power, not wealth or land. Thus, they included a mandatory count of the population every 10 years (decennial census) in the Constitution. Article I, Section 2 states: 
“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers….” 
Additional resources on Constitution day can be found -> 

In Case You Missed It: Constitution Day Resources
In Case You Missed It: Constitution Day Resources

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Why the 'sudden' cancelation of the Town Council meeting?

The Town Council meeting scheduled for Nov 3 when scheduled with the agenda published last week, was scheduled in advance of when it 'could' be scheduled per the Town Charter. 

The Nov 3 date is the key. While the Council generally meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month, the beginning of the new term (i.e. after an election) is prescribed in the Town Charter. The bold text in section 2-1-4 added for emphasis.

The relevant section of Article Two is shared here:
"Section 1 Composition and Membership 
2-1-1 The legislative body of the Town shall be a Town Council whose members shall be elected to meet, deliberate, act and vote in exercise of the corporate powers of the Town. 
2-1-2 Nine (9) Council members shall be nominated and elected from the Town at large, all for two-year concurrent terms of office. 
2-1-3 Town Council members shall receive no compensation for service but may be allowed expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties. 
2-1-4 The term of office of the Town Council shall begin on the second Wednesday following the election and continuing until their successors are qualified."

Note: I shared in 2009 the comparison of our charter preamble with that of the US Constitution (

We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town."

You can find the full Town Charter online ->

Why the 'sudden' cancelation of the Town Council meeting?
Why the 'sudden' cancelation of the Town Council meeting?

Sunday, March 7, 2021

FM #482 - Toward a More Perfect Union - 03/02/21 (audio)

FM #482 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 482 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Natalia Linos, State Rep Jeff Roy, and Dr. Michael Walker-Jones

These three folks are joined by Frank Falvey (the host) and Pete Fasciano (Franklin TV/Radio Executive Director) for a weekly conversation on the broad topic of our democratic republic. This particular session gets into why have the new show “Towards A More Perfect Union

Jeff opens the discussion on Why with a reading of the preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

We had our conversation via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The  show is broadcast on Monday’s at 11 AM, 2 PM and 8 PM. A podcast version of this show is in development so if you miss the radio timeslot you will still be able to listen.

Links to the panel profiles are included in the show notes. The recording runs about 51 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Natalia, Jeff, and Michael.  Audio file =


Natalia Linos  Executive Director of the Fran├žois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Natalia’s Harvard profile page = 

Natalia’s opinion piece as mentioned was published on March 2, 2020

State Representative Jeffrey Roy legislative profile page = 

Dr. Michael Walker-Jones  LinkedIn profile = 

Link to the Preamble of the US Constitution  


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.
How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.
For additional information, please visit or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

FM #482 - Toward a More Perfect Union - 03/02/21 (audio)
FM #482 - Toward a More Perfect Union - 03/02/21 (audio)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

"new Netflix series looks at the importance and legacy of an amendment that calls for equality and freedom"

"Chances are it is the most influential amendment to the US constitution that you aren’t familiar with. Given its impact, it is astonishing how little the 14th amendment is discussed in public life. Americans can’t rattle it off like the first and second amendments – but its words have fundamentally shaped the modern definition of US citizenship and the principles of equality and freedom entitled to those within the country’s borders.

Sitting at the crux of these key ideals, the 14th amendment is cited in more litigation than any other, including some of the US supreme court’s most well-known cases: Plessy v Ferguson, Brown v Board of Education, Loving v Virginia, Roe v Wade, Bush v Gore, Obergefell v Hodges. And because these noble notions are embedded in the 14th, it has the remarkable ability to generate both boundless hope (for the promises of that more perfect union aspired to in the constitution’s preamble) and crushing misery (for the failures to achieve such promises)."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Radiolab did a spin off podcast where they examined Supreme Court decisions and then all the Constitutional amendments - well worth listening to, I did learn a lot.

Radiolab's first ever spin-off series, More Perfect
Radiolab's first ever spin-off series, More Perfect

Franklin's has a series on Monday called "Towards A More Prefect Union"
Frank Falvey converses with Rep. Jeff Roy, Dr. Michael Walker-Jones and Dr. Natalia Linos. The show airs on Monday's at 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Work is also underway to make a podcast version of this show available.

Friday, February 12, 2021

CommonWealth Magazine: "Constitutional challenge to vote-by-mail likely"


"Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin and voting rights advocates want to allow Massachusetts residents to vote by mail for any reason. But is that constitutional?

The Massachusetts Constitution explicitly says the Legislature can authorize absentee voting for just three reasons: if someone is out of town, physically disabled, or cannot vote on Election Day due to a religious belief.

Lawmakers acknowledged the constraint in 2013, when they considered but did not act on a constitutional amendment to allow absentee voting for any reason.

“There’s been a long-term traditional view that opportunities to vote by mail in Massachusetts are constrained by the Constitution, which specifies particular conditions under which you can do this,” said Evan Horowitz, executive director of the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University."

Continue reading the article online

Sunday, February 7, 2021

National news -> "Seditionaries: FBI net closes on Maga mob that stormed the Capitol"

"As prosecutors from the House of Representatives prepare to present their case against Donald Trump at his impeachment trial next week for incitement of insurrection, supporters who heeded his call on 6 January to “fight like hell” and went on to storm the Capitol Building are finding themselves in far greater legal peril.

The trial that kicks off in the US Senate on Tuesday could lead to a further vote that would permanently debar Trump from holding office in the future. By contrast, the mob of fervent Maga acolytes who broke into the US Capitol following an incendiary rally headlined by Trump could face prison for up to 20 years.

One month after the events which left five people dead including a US Capitol police officer, there is no sign of the Department of Justice and FBI letting up in their relentless pursuit of the insurrectionists. In the past week alone there have been arrests of alleged rioters in Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Corinth, Texas; Garner, North Carolina; and Marion, Illinois."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

‘An Indelible Stain’ and "Republicans faced a simple choice: For or against democracy"

From the New York Times, an article of national interest for Franklin:
"The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election.

The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast in November."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

From the Washington Post, an article of national interest to Franklin:

"HOUSE REPUBLICANS have faced what amounts to a choice between standing for or against democracy: whether to sign on to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s delusional lawsuit to overturn the presidential election. A large majority of them failed the test. More House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on Friday signed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Paxton, just hours before the Supreme Court unceremoniously rejected the suit. This is a disheartening signal about what these members of Congress might do on Jan. 6, when at least some Republicans probably will object to the counting of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Mr. McCarthy and the other extremists and toadies who have signed their names to President Trump’s antidemocratic plot may think their complicity is costless, because the Supreme Court was bound to reject the Paxton lawsuit, as it did on Friday, and there are enough Democrats on Capitol Hill to foil any GOP mischief during the electoral vote counting. They are wrong. Their recklessness raises the once-unthinkable possibility that a Congress controlled by one party might one day flip a presidential election to its candidate in defiance of the voters’ will, citing claims of mass fraud just as bogus as the ones Republicans have hyped up this year."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Saturday, January 26, 2019

“The president doesn’t just walk in"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

Teaching the government shutdown

"When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested delaying the State of the Union amid a government shutdown in January, Massachusetts educators jumped at a teaching opportunity. 
“The shutdown highlights separation of powers that people don’t think about until an unusual moment like this occurs,” said Peter Ubertaccio, dean of the school of arts and sciences at Stonehill College in Easton. “Simple questions like, ‘How does this happen?’ suddenly become really relevant.” 
The longest shutdown in U.S. history, which ended on Jan. 25, left thousands of furloughed workers without pay checks for weeks, and put numerous federal programs at risk of losing resources. But it also created new opportunities for Americans to learn more about how government works and what it means when it doesn’t work."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"The practice arises from a duty of the President under the State of the Union Clause of the U.S. Constitution:[5]
He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
— Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution
Though the language of the clause is not specific, since the 1930s, the President has made this report annually in late January or early February. Between 1934 and 2013 the date has been as early as January 3,[6] and as late as February 12.[7]
While not required to deliver a speech, every president since Woodrow Wilson, with the notable exception of Herbert Hoover,[8] has made at least one State of the Union report as a speech delivered before a joint session of Congress. Before that time, most presidents delivered the State of the Union as a written report.[6]"

For more on the State of the Union

A full copy of the US Constitution can be found online

Page one of the original copy of the Constitution
Page one of the original copy of the Constitution (via wikipedia)

Friday, June 1, 2018

"provide a strong legal protection for women’s rights"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"After hours of debate Wednesday night, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution passed the Illinois House. 
The resolution was approved 72-45, making Illinois the 37th state to ratify the ERA, which outlaws discrimination based on gender nationwide. The Senate approved the measure 43-12 on April 11. 
“I’m glad that the common sense, the recognition that women deserve and are entitled to the same protections as men, won the day,” said Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva. “What we’re going to do is raise the level of all ships. Men, women, everyone does better because of this.” 
Originally brought to the states for ratification in 1972, only 35 state legislatures voted for the amendment before a 1982 deadline set by Congress."
"In 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify ERA. With Illinois’ action Wednesday, only one more state needs to ratify it. But Congress will have to remove the deadline for it to become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Did MA pass this? 
Yes, as the 19th state to do so in June of 1972. For additional info, the wikipedia page is rich with history, tidbits and links

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"there will be further litigation concerning such matters”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"THE ISSUE: Several local public officials have drawn controversy over social media posts. 
THE IMPACT: When considering disciplining employees over inflammatory statements, public entities must consider many factors to avoid violating the First Amendment. 
Across Massachusetts, a series of recent posts that public officials and employees have made on social media about NFL players’ protests and President Donald Trump have sparked outrage and raised questions over the First Amendment. 
“If the government wants to try to restrict speech, it’s got to have a pretty compelling reason to do it,” said Dwight Duncan, a UMass School of Law professor who teaches courses on constitutional law and the First Amendment."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Editors note: Protests have a place in America. They are part of how we started. Recall the Boston Tea Party and other events that lead to the American Revolution. There have been other protests to advance causes from the women's right to vote to ending segregation in the South. One of the more notable sports protests was that of Tommie Smith and John Carlos with the raised black fists at the 1968 Olympics

W.D. Cooper. "Boston Tea Party."
By Original uploader was Cornischong at lb.wikipedia - Source:W.D. Cooper. "Boston Tea Party.", The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789.Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (40)Transferred from lb.wikipedia (all following user names refer to lb.wikipedia):2007-02-18 21:38 Cornischong 696×393× (312674 bytes) *Sujet:Boston Tea Party *Source:W.D. Cooper. "Boston Tea Party.", The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789.Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (40), Public Domain,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MassBudget: Research on Constitutional Convention proposal

MassBudget Backgrounder
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Background Research and Data Related to Wednesday's Constitutional Convention on the Fair Share Amendment
The state Legislature is expected to convene Wednesday to vote on the Fair Share Amendment, a ballot initiative that would provide revenue for education and transportation by placing an additional four percent state surtax on income over $1 million. If approved, the measure would move toward the ballot in November 2018. MassBudget research in the following reports and fact sheets provides related data and analysis:
Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation and Tax Policy: This paper analyzes the evidence on the short and long term effects of investments in education and improving our roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Detailed studies find that effective investments in improving the education and skills of the workforce and improving transportation infrastructure can have long-term positive effects on a state's economy.
Funding Improvements for Schools, Roads and Public Transit with Tax Reforms that Improve Fairness: This paper looks at the share of income paid in state and local taxes by high, middle, and lower income people. The data shows that in Massachusetts, as in other states, the highest income households pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes. The data also shows that incomes have grown more rapidly for very high income households than for the rest of the population.
Maintaining an Effective Transportation System: Examines official data showing how recent levels of investment are not enough to keep our roads, bridges and public transit system in good working order. The data show how different amounts of future investment would affect the condition of these systems.
How S-Corps and Other 'Pass-Through' Income is Taxed and the Effects of Proposed Tax Reforms: This paper describes how S-corps and other pass-through businesses are taxed and how they would be affected by state and federal tax reform proposals.
The Evidence of Millionaire Migration and Taxes: This paper examines the most thorough and careful studies of how high-income taxpayers respond to changes in tax rates.  Those studies consistently find that tax rates influence the residence decisions of only a very small share of such households. Instead, high-income people-like other people-overwhelmingly choose where to live based on work and business opportunities, family and social connections, and the draw of an agreeable climate.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Monday, May 8, 2017

We the People - May 10 - 7:00 PM

"Hear Ye Hear Ye" skit and multi media presentation

You might be surprised to learn that over time the Supreme Court has given constitutional protection to "non-people". 

Sponsored by Corruption of our democracy-UU Social Justice

When: Wednesday, May 10, 7:00 PM
Where: First Universalist Society, 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA

We the People - May 10 - 7:00 PM
We the People - May 10 - 7:00 PM

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PANDA Update: Supreme Court Denies NDAA Lawsuit

Via email from Rich Aucoin:
And so it's official: Begging nine robed federal government employees to restore sacred Rights taken away by a bunch of other federal government employees is a losing game. Who can forget Dred Scott? 
So the reality is NDAA kidnapping has been a local issue from day one. Congrats to Dan Johnson for launching PANDA long before these "supreme" "justices" would officially stick it to us. 
Did anyone really doubt Hedges' case would end this way? 
Turns out human rights aren't granted, they're asserted. 
So now it is do-or-die time at the grassroots. Let's see if Hedges, et al will join us.
One thing's for sure: people giving up on their Right to due process in America (or anywhere) is not an option.

Subject: PANDA Update: Supreme Court Denies NDAA Lawsuit


NDAA Resistance:

If this does not provide evidence that the Federal government is corrupt beyond reform, and that is truly up to the states, cities, and counties to resist this atrocity, I do not know what will. Share this with everyone you can so they can see we are no longer a nation of laws, but of arbitrary decisions, no longer a nation of liberty, but nothing more than a militarized police state.


Supreme Court Denies NDAA Lawsuit
BOWLING GREEN – On September 12th, 2012, Federal District Judge Katherine B. Forrest issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. In July 2013, the 2nd Circuit ruled the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge that law.
Monday, the Supreme Court put the final nail in this suit by denying to hear the case, without comment.
The lawsuit at issue, Hedges v. Obama, was brought in early 2012 by a group of journalists, scholars and activists. Containing such noted figures as Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Chris Hedges, and others, this "Freedom 7" challenged Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA as unconstitutionally overbroad.
This section determines who is covered by the 2012 NDAA, and contains such vague terms as "substantial support" "direct support," and "belligerent act" and, if one falls under one of these terms, they could be subject to indefinite military detention without charge or trial.
Dan Johnson, PANDA National Director, said:
"In 1944 the Supreme Court approved the pre-emptive detention of over 110,000 Japanese-Americans. The Court's denial 70 years later proves that we cannot rely on 9 people in black robes to defend our freedom.
It is now up to the states, cities, counties, and people of this nation to show the Supreme Court that it is not the final arbiter of our human rights. As 5 cities have already done so, I urge Americans across the country to begin action to ban these sections in their communities, raise awareness, and push back against this denial. If Washington D.C. thinks this is the last they will hear from us, they are very, very wrong."
In a statement on the outcome of this denial, lead plaintiff Tangerine Bolen wrote:
"We are no longer a nation ruled by laws. We are nation ruled by men who have so steeped themselves in a false narrative that at the same time they are exponentially increasing the ranks of terrorists, they are destroying the rule of law itself. It is madness upon madness - the classic tale of becoming the evil you purport to fight while believing you remain righteous. "
If the outcome of this lawsuit does not cement the fact that the courts will not defend the Constitution, nor our rights with it, there is little more evidence to be presented. The Federal tier has failed us. The states, localities, and eventually the people, are where we will stand. As we resist, the work of the plaintiffs will not be forgotten.
Grab the packet and start taking back your city:
Invite others to get breaking news from the NDAA Resistance:

PANDA "Take Back" Update by Dan Johnson
P.O. Box 653 Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 USA
Delivered by

Monday, April 14, 2014

Voices of Franklin: Rich Aucoin - Franklin Town Council Stands Down

From Rich Aucoin

Town Council's Broken Oath to Constitutions Betrays our Military Veterans, Endangers Public Safety

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
I, _________, promise to uphold and defend Constitutional governance.-- Oath made by every Franklin Town Councilor, November 13, 2013 (officially broken March 18, 2014)

Why Are Local Officials Required to Swear an Oath to Uphold and Defend Constitutional Governance?

A vital part of the Oath sworn by local officials here in the U.S. is their pledge to uphold and defend our Constitutions. The Founders mandated that the Constitutional Oath be administered even to local office holders because they knew that federal and state legislators were only human and would sometimes make laws that violate our most basic, inalienable rights. In such cases, local officials would be duty-bound to step up and restore the nullified rights within their jurisdictional authority. This bottom-up system of Constitution enforcement is what made America different and special in the world; it ensured that we the people would always retain the power.

A Cradle of Liberty

Massachusetts has a proud history of enforcing basic rights. Five years after the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act requiring states to kidnap and ship escaped slaves back to their "rightful owners," Beacon Hill passed the Personal Liberty Act, making it a crime to kidnap slaves in Massachusetts. Even a subsequent Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal law was ignored by our state legislature and kidnapping remained illegal here.

Modern-day kidnapping in the name of 'fighting terrorism'

Today's equivalent of the Fugitive Slave Act is the dangerously vague 2012 NDAA, which authorizes kidnappings of anyone merely suspected of terrorism, including U.S. citizens. No right to counsel. No right to face her accuser. No trial by jury. Just prison.

Fortunately, a national movement of concerned citizens is banning NDAA kidnappings at the state, county and local levels. Successes are piling up, including in the nearby towns of Webster and Oxford, while the City of Albany has become the nation's first Capital City to ban NDAA indefinite detentions.

Franklin Town Council: Cradle of Cowardice

But sadly, despite their public promise last November to stand up for our Constitutions, the Franklin Town Council is choosing to stand downOn March 18th a proposed resolution to ban NDAA kidnappings in the Town of Franklin was blocked by Chairman Bob Vallee. According to Council rules, a majority of members can override the chair to uphold the rights of the people, but to date no council member has been willing.

Returning Veterans Most at Risk

In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security listed returning veterans a domestic terror threat. And w
ith a second Fort Hood tragedy now haunting the nation, the Franklin Town Council and other NDAA followers will more easily be able to justify their targeting of our returning veterans.

To those who will say NDAA kidnappings could never happen here, tell that to the people of Watertown, MA, who, one year ago would never have imagined full-on martial law descending on their city, complete with a paramilitary lockdown and Iraq-style house-to-house warrantless searches featuring entire families rousted out of their homes at gunpoint. The sobering reality is that the expanding post-9/11 militarized police state has put us all one incident away from legal chaos, where our Constitutions and Bill of Rights will no longer protect us, unless our local officials keep their promise to serve as our last line of legal defense.
   Irony of Ironies
Benjamin Franklin's famous counsel against trading essential liberty for false security has played a key role in passing every successful anti-NDAA resolution in the U.S. Yet, here in the town that so proudly bears his name, Franklin's wisdom is shamefully discarded, hidden away like some cheap pair of shoes beneath a council chair and eight broken promises.