Is U.S. income tax invalid...

In the column Is U.S. income tax invalid because Ohio wasn’t legally a state when the 16th amendment was ratified?, Cecil says:

Cecil allows this bit of silliness to go unchallenged. By that argument, nobody born in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii or Alaska (if they were born before 1959), and so on, could be President of the U.S. The Constitution says “natural-born citizen,” not “born in a state.”

Am I missing something? Did Cecil have a reason not to challenge that?

If you read the whole posted article, which encompasses not only the original, but a follow-up he issued later, you will see he points out that:

He also notes that presidents don’t offer legisation; congressmen do, so what Taft was was irrelevant on that point (though one could suppose that his lack of valid presidency would make all laws he assented to null by their argument :smack: ).

I doubt it would fly. The law is not a game or a mathematical theory, and that kind of quibbling tends to be rejected as “frivolous”.

(An illustrative example can be found in the matter of Ohio’s statehood. It is true that statehood procedure at the time of Ohio’s admission required no Congressional action, but even if it had, the fact that the Senate and the House both seated members from Ohio would almost certainly be ruled to have been “constructive” acceptance of the new state.)

But in any case, we’re not talking about a common bill, which the President must sign, veto, or ignore (with specified results), but a Constitutional amendment, in which the President has no involvement whatsoever.

Oops. Missed that. Thanks!

Uh, yeah. What he said. :o

By that logic, any of the first half-dozen or so Presidents doesn’t count – they were all born either in England or in English colonies. I think that is true of all the Presidents (and most Senators, Congressmen, Governors – and even voters!) until about Andrew Jackson.

Obviously, that logic is a great example of the things Courts throw out as “frivolous”.

Actually, that one’s right there in the Constitution: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” (emphasis added). Otherwise they’d have had to wait until some kid grew up and was old enough to be eligible to be President. (The natural-born citizen requirement only applies to the presidency; Congressmen, cabinet secretaries, and so forth can be naturalized citizens.)

Actually, the Constitution expressly includes anyone who was a citizen at the time of its adoption, so that covers the early Presidents. And the birth requirement applies to the President (and Vice President) only.

Many people fail to realize that Article II encompasses everyone who was a citizen in 1787, not just those who were born in the United States. I’ve heard people say that Alexander Hamilton, for example, couldn’t have been President because he was born in the West Indies. But he had moved to America and become a citizen prior to 1787.

John Tyler, incidentally, was the first “native born” President (born in 1790).

No, because the Constitution explicitly exempts from the “natural-born” requirement those who were citizens “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.”

The devil is in the details.

Ooops, sorry for “piling on.” :frowning:

nope - it was Van Buren - born December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New york.

Well, I think what Little Nemo was saying is that John Tyler was the first president who was born after the adoption of the 1787 Constitution, but you are right, that clause didn’t apply to Van Buren, either, because Van Buren was the first president born after 1776.

Actually, states are created by Act of Congress, then and now. Congress did act in Ohio’s case, making it a state on the same footing with all earlier states to all intents and purposes, and President Jefferson signed it into law. The anti-income tax yahoos just kvetch because Congress didn’t follow exactly the same procedure as in more recent years, but every court to consider the matter has found that Ohio duly joined the Union in 1803.

A useful quotation for considering such arguments: “Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest.” Coleman v. CIR (7th Cir. 1986), 791 F.2d 68, 69.

Something else that Cecil didn’t mention in regards to tax evasion is that the 16th Amendment doesn’t give the Federal government the power to levy income taxes, the Constitution does. (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;). The 16th Amendment gave congress the authority to levy taxes that are not proportional to state populations (as required by Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3).

To use the original argument to dodge taxes one would first have to prove that the 16th Amendment is invalid (which Cecil covered) and then prove that current Federal taxes violate the requirement that they be proportioned.

Income tax does violate the original Constitution, as ruled by the Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company, 157 U.S. 429,[1] aff’d on reh’g, 158 U.S. 601[2] (1895); that’s why the 16th Amendment was passed in the first place.

Pollock v. Farmers was a narrow ruling that said that certain taxes in the Wilson-Gorman act were unconstitutional but did not say that all income taxes were unconstitutional. From Wikipedia on the ruling: “The Supreme Court did not rule that all income taxes were direct taxes. Instead, the Court held that although generally income taxes are indirect taxes (excises) authorized by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, the taxes on interest, dividends and rents under the 1894 Act had a profound effect on the underlying assets.