This is the eleventh in a series of posts closely reading the Constitution of the United States for homeland security implications. Readers are encouraged to use the comment function to add background, analysis, exegesis or exposition related to the text reproduced immediately below.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Elections every two years ensures that the House will tend to be responsive to popular opinion. There were some at Philadelphia who recognized this could be a source of turmoil as much as crowd-wisdom. Hence the longer terms of the Senate and life appointments to the judiciary. Each a piece in a complex system seeking optimum balance.
Prior to the Fourteenth Amendment‘s “equal protection” clause, individual states were expected to differ in a wide range of ways, including voter qualifications. Someone who could vote for a Congressman in Massachusetts might not be allowed to vote in Texas. Plenty of other differences abounded, the legality of slavery (or not) probably being most prominent.
The Civil War and constitutional amendments emerging from Union victory shifted these legal foundations. It took a century more of political, cultural and legal give-and-take to practically shift the power-balance from individual states to the federal government. But over the last half-century time-and-again when the federal government has decided to assert “equal protection” it has generally trumped other aspects of law and practice.
In the natural world the most resilient systems generally have a “strong (or strange) attractor of meaning” around which self-organization emerges. Self-organization seems to be most robust when diverse behavior is maximized or in-other-words there is significant freedom of individual actors to engage each other and the attractor.
Does this reasonably describe federal-state-local-private behavior in homeland security? Why or why not?
Regarding the age requirement for the House of Representatives: The average age of delegates to the Philadelphia Convention was 42 and four of the most influential delegates — Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, Gouverneur Morris and James Madison — were in their thirties.
I don’t immediately perceive any specific homeland security implications, but it seemed sufficiently interesting to share.