It is common lore in the United States that our federal government was structured with a number of checks and balances that ensure, at a minimum, the equal application of law among all citizens. While there are indeed such structural mechanisms embedded in the Constitution, they don’t always work as intended and, in fact, at times they fail utterly to prevent blatant abuses of the rule of law by the vast and growing political class in America. Our political office holders (and their favored constituents) can, and do, pick and choose which laws apply to them and, more importantly, which laws they are exempt from. This has led to increasing outrage focused on the nation’s inequitable political and legal framework, with many calling for, among other things, new amendments to the Constitution to remediate the infirmities of the system.
The solution, however, is already in the Constitution.
The “Nobility Clauses” are among the least understood, and least invoked, provisions of the Constitution relating to the use, limits and distribution of political and legal power in the United States. Many believe that the purpose of the Nobility Clauses is specifically limited to forbidding grants of noble titles by the federal and state governments of the United States and are thus of narrow constitutional importance. This paper will show that the Nobility Clauses were never intended to be limited solely to prohibiting titles and were, in fact, intended to prevent the political class from granting themselves and their favored affiliates privileges and immunities not available to the general public. This paper concludes with a proposal for a mechanism to enforce the Nobility Clauses in a modern context.
Greendorfer, Marc A.
"Restoring Nobility to the Constitution: A Modern Approach to a Founding Principle,"
ConLawNOW: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/conlawnow/vol6/iss1/4