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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letters Of Marque

Germane to 12/12/12, Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, Congress was empowered: 

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Pursuant to that power, on Saturday, 12/12/1812, in the Senate:

Mr. Anderson, from the committee to whom was recommitted the bill, entitled "An Act in addition to an act concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods," reported it with amendments.

Finally approved the following January:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all prizes of vessels and property, captured by private armed ships, commissioned under the authority of the United States, shall be sold at public auction...

It's goofy, of course, for me to be perusing such things--so is the clause itself.  How removed from our modern epoch, but as Marshall observed in Marbury several years earlier:

It cannot he presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect.

So that shit must mean something, even today, at least to provide some historical perspective.  And hey, it's 12/12/12...

ntodd

December 12, 2012 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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