riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Okay, class. Eyes up front. Today's lesson: Constitutional law. Just trying to nip this in the bud now. There's a lot of idiots on message boards talking about what this could mean, and I'm going to tell you exactly what it means.
It turns out North Dakota is not technically a state. At least, not of the United States, I guess they have been their own country. Here's the skinny: John Rolczynski is an 82-year old resident who found a discrepancy in the ND state constitution. When adopted in 1889, the state constitution did not require state elected officials to take an oath of office. This conflicts with the US Constitution, the living breathing document, which says they must or you ain't a state.
State Senator Tim Mathern has introduced a bill to correct this that will be put to the voters this spring. You know, giving them time to think about the issues (yes, I know, but you can't tell me they can't have a special ballot for this).
Naturally, some numbnuts out there are going to seize on this for a political agenda. Like, oh, maybe, calling for a revote on Obamacare because North Dakota wasn't a state, so the vote is improperly ratified, is invalid, and should be held again, right?
I said I'd tell you exactly what this means, and it means this: jack squat. And that's not idle speculation, we've already seen an analogous court case go through the system, and people are still trying to use it as a dodge over 200 years later. Grab yourselves a sandwich and a beer, and let me explain to you about tax resisters and the state of Ohio.
Back in 1803, Ohio submitted to become an official United State. Congress approved the borders and constitution. However, Congress never got around to passing a resolution admitting it to the Union. Technically, Ohio was never a state (this was discovered when they were doing research to celebrate the Buckeye State's 150 anniversary, so it's not like anyone was really harping on this).
The real trouble started when one senator joked that the Ohio congressmen were drawing federal paychecks under false pretenses. Then President Eisenhower was making jokes while he signed the new bill admitting Ohio to the Union retroactive to 1803. Everybody's a fucking comedian. Well, tax resisters did a little digging, and came up with some fun logic -- since Ohio wasn't a state until 1953, that meant its vote ratifying the 16th Amendment in 1911 was invalid, so Congress has no authority to enact an income tax.
People with IQ's bigger than their shoe sizes argued that there were more than enough votes ratifying the 16th Amendment, the loss of Ohio's votes doesn't mean dick. The resisters, however, weren't done -- the 16th Amendment was introduced by then-President William H. Taft, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1857. Remember, the Constitution says that only natural born citizens can be President. As Ohio wasn't a state at the time, Taft had no right to be President (likewise, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, B. Harrison, McKinlley, and Harding would be ineligible, but they can't be used to undermine the federal income tax, so who gives a shit about them?), therefore he could not legally introduce the 16th Amendment. I know what you're thinking -- didn't we just go through this with the birther movement over Obama? Why, yes, as a matter of fact, we did! Ohio may not have been a state, but it most certainly was a US territory. The Constitution states that you have to be born in a US territory, not a US state (for example, Puert Rico), so Taft was a perfectly legal Prez. Not only that, but Taft didn't technically introduce it, the Constitution says only the Lege can introduce legislation. Like Obamacare, the Prez may have suggested it, but it was Congress that ginned it up.
Well, let's not let facts get in the way of this. The argument continued that the 1953 resolution retroactively admitted Ohio back to 1803, so everything is as it should be. The resisters fired back with Section 9 of the Constitution, which explicitly states that, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." That means you can't pass a law after a fact and use it for that particular event. Dumb as that is (never mind that that in a 1798 court case, it was established that that only applied to criminal law and nothing else), it had enough grease in the wheels to make it to the federal courts as Porth v Brodrick, 214 F2d 925.
In 1954, the 10th Circuit shot it down in flames. While it didn't really address the validity of Ohio as a state at the time, it did point out that previous cases having nothing to do with the Ohio argument upheld the 16th Amendment, so tough shit. Not only that, but since 1803, Ohio was assumed to be a state (the admissions process at the time was not formal, so a formal resolution wasn't necessary for Ohio to be made a state to begin with, but everyone was too busy chasing their tails to point that out), so we aren't changing anything now.
So, anyone thinking of trying this for political gain, please shut the fuck up. Class dismissed.