Support and Defend: Our National Mission Statement

Recent events have caused me to think hard on an oath I took back in 1990:

I, Noel Figart, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

As I was thinking harder about it, I realized that while I’ve read the US Constitution, I certainly have not analyzed it in any great detail. Over the next several months, I am going to be taking the Constitution article by article, analyzing it and then giving my opinion about what is meant.

I am a lawyer? Nope. I am an absolute layman. If you read this series, please keep in mind that while I’m bright enough and a history buff, I am neither a professional historian nor legal scholar. I earn a vast majority of my living as a tech editor and computer applications instructor. This is going to be the Layman’s Interpretation of the US Constitution.

I am taking the text of the US Constitution from the National Archives. (Hey, a childhood spent in a Southern Baptist Church really did encourage citing versions for text analysis!)

Today we’re going to start simply – The Preamble. This part, like most people of my age group, I do have memorized. Hurrah for, Schoolhouse Rock!

The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People of the United States is an interesting way to start this. Was People a narrower definition than “human being within our geographic confines?” Yeah, it was. But it was a defiance and a change, nonetheless. In breaking from England, we were saying that we are no longer subjects of a higher power – specifically a monarchy. We, collectively as the humans here, are making this statement and deciding for ourselves what we want to happen. This, my friends, is very much a national mission statement.

What is the mission statement for the United States of America?

  1. We want to perfect our government. The “more perfect union” was acknowledging that the Articles of Confederation that preceded the US Constitution wasn’t working out so well. That whole Union of States thing needed some help. This document is meant to help perfect that. This, to me, does mean that yeah, the US Constitution is meant to be dynamic. As our knowledge and understanding improves, we can perfect how we govern ourselves.
  2. We want to establish justice. One of the goals of our nation and government, in the first twenty words, is that we are to be a just nation. Do we ever fail at this? Yes. Circle back to the first part. The intention is that we continually try for a more perfect union.
  3. We want to ensure domestic tranquility. War on our shores an in our land was in recent memory. After justice, we want peace.
  4. We want to mutually defend each other and create a means by which to do so. We want to mutually protect ourselves from threats. “Defence” is not defined here, and at the time this really meant physical defense. The New World was a hot and lucrative property. We claimed it, nobody else was allowed to come take it. (Sorry, this ain’t all pretty.)
  5. We want to promote the general welfare.
    We want to make sure that We the People of the United States are doing okay. Welfare did have a standard of living connotation. The population should have enough to eat and opportunities for personal betterment. And frankly, content populations don’t riot. Hunger riots were in recent memory. (See Boston Bread Riot as an example)
  6. We want the advantages of a free society for ourselves and the future generations. What we decide, how we vote, what we choose should be done with an eye to those who come after us. What do we want for future generations?
  7. We want to use what we’ve written down here in this little document (it’s fewer than 5,000 words…) to be used to accomplish this. We are saying that we’ve put down what we’re trying to accomplish and we’re going to use the Constitution as a foundation document to do so.

That’s the first analysis. This is going to be a weekly column for a while, as I expect to be heading down the research rabbit hole once or twice. I’m going to try to keep this in small, digestible chunks – going by articles and sections before we get to individual amendments.

To Support and Defend: Article One, Section One

In the light of recent events, and a sleepless night pondering what in the world I should be doing, my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States started poking at me pretty hard.

The problem came in when I realized that I don’t actually know the document all that well. It also occurred to me that I couldn’t possibly be the only person in that position, so why not read it and do the analysis publicly? Knowing the foundation of our country and how it was set up, understanding the framework for our laws cannot be a bad thing in any way, right?

As I mentioned before, I am a layman. I don’t even have a college education. Would a lawyer understand the precedent and subtleties of US Constitution better than I do? Of course she would! That’s fine. It still cannot be a bad start to look at the text as it is there, throw in a minor bit of history as I understand it and see where we go with it.

We went over the Preamble last week, but before we jump in, I want to go over how the Constitution is set up.

The US Constitution is broken down into seven Articles, each article having between one and ten sections. These sections describe what the government is set up to do, as well as loosely the process by which it will do it. After the main body of the Constitution, we also have the Amendments – thirty-three of them as of this writing. The Amendments are important. Showing a level of foresight rare for we impatient Americans, the framers of the Constitution recognized that as our country grew and changed, it was entirely possible that our needs would change as well. We have a method to change our minds. This is important. The Constitution is meant to be a dynamic document by design.

It also behooves us to think very, very carefully about what we want. We could amend the Constitution utterly to destroy the Republic. It’d be legal, and Yours Truly would be bound by her oath to go along with it. Make no mistake, this is a double-edged sword. We need to use it wisely. (Though keep in mind, we who have taken that oath? A movement to destroy the Republic might be interpreted as a domestic enemy, just sayin’.)

With that said, our next step is going to be really simple, and even easier to understand than that Preamble we discussed last week:

Article I

Section 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

There you have it. The power to make a law (legislative comes from the Latin word “legis,” meaning “law.”) of the United States of America is given to Congress. Congress has two sections – a Senate and a House of Representatives.

I’m not going to get into serious interpretation and interaction here yet because yes, there is a whole can o’ worms involving orders and decisions given by other branches of government. We’ll get to that as we go through this series, but I am building step by step and keeping it simple section by section. The whole point of this series is to show what is written down as the text of the Constitution. Yes, it’s simplistic. I also think that you do not come to understand anything deeply until you understand it at its most simplistic level.

Next week we will be talking about Article 1, Section 2 – This talks about qualifications for legislative office and discusses how we decide on numbers of representatives and several other things. This section is much longer and more complex.

To Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 2

(Standard disclaimer. I’m a layman with a high school education)

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.

This passage says several things. First, that the people will vote for their Representatives, and that they will elect them every two years. Secondly, this gives the qualification to vote to the states. So, it was conceivable that a resident of Massachusetts could move to Virginia and find he was no longer qualified to vote! (The framers of the US Constitution simply did not believe in universal franchise). This matter was eventually addressed over several amendments.

Then this moves on to the qualifications to be a US Representative. You have to have been a US Citizen for at least seven years, be at least twenty-five years old, and be a resident of the state in which you are elected.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by law Direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, and Georgia three.

Oh goodie, we get to something problematic right away.

Representatives and taxation were meant to be based on population. However, there was a large population of people living within the borders of the US that some of the framers most certainly did not want to count as a citizen – Native Americans and enslaved people. Yet they still didn’t want to give up that enumeration! People were afraid that the high population density areas would address their own needs and roll over the needs of areas with lower population density. If you read the news this very morning, you’ll see that this is an issue we still wrestle with!

The compromise was that the people who were enslaved would count as three fifths of a person (and yes I wince to write that) and if a Native American was not taxed, they didn’t count at all. (And there we go with taxation without representation, ’cause Native Americans weren’t universally considered US citizens until the 1920s) A lot of this has been addressed by legislation and Amendments, by the way.

It also establishes that we need to count our population every ten years. We do this with the US Census.

This directs that we cannot have more than one representative for every thirty thousand people, and gives a number of representatives for several of the states as an interim until the first Census. Keep in mind, they were making this up as they went along!

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

If a seat in the House of Representatives becomes vacant, the state governor is responsible for organizing and election to fill that vacancy.

Within the House, the members choose the Speaker of the House as well as any other leadership positions with the body. They’re also responsible for impeaching their own members if necessary. (Quis custodiet)

One of the things that is really striking me as I am going along with this is how dynamic the Constitution is. We have changed so much over the last couple of centuries. Does this mean the document is meaningless? No. Not in the least. While I do think we do need to work from principles, the continent-spanning empire we have now genuinely does have different needs than did those East Coast colonies.

Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 3

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

We vote directly for Senators now (17th Amendment) but each state still gets two, and serves for six years.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

After the Senate was set up, they arranged it so that we would not change the entire Senate at one time, but only 1/3 of them would be up for election at any one time.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

You have to be thirty years old, have been a citizen of the US for nine years, and be a resident of the state from which you are elected.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Vice President presides over the Senate (y’all do know that’s the meaning of “president,” right? One who presides? Pay attention to that. It’s gonna become important when we get to Article 2 and start talking about Executive powers). The Vice President doesn’t get a vote unless the vote is tied in the Senate. That’s not too common.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

Other than the VP, the Senate can choose its own officers. There must be a President Pro-tem who becomes the President of the Senate if the VP becomes President of the United States. We don’t really want the President of the United State to be the President of the Senate. Talk about screwing up a balance of powers!

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

If the House votes to impeach the President, the Chief Justice presides over the trial, which is held by the Senate. A 2/3 majority is required to convict.

Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Impeachment merely means removal from office and being subject to being barred from holding further office in the US. It is not actually a criminal trial. But if you are impeached, you may be subject to a criminal trial and punishment as well.

To Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 4

Heh. This one is short and sweet. I feel like I understand it pretty well.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

It’s up to the states to decide how to hold elections. However, Congress reserves the right to override this if necessary. In other words, hold on to your butts. This could get entertaining in the near future. Or the power could be used for Good. Hope springs eternal…

Senators were not directly elected when this was written. The 17th Amendment changed this in 1913.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different Day.

Being a member of Congress was not a full-time job, back in the day.  Communications being what they were, they needed to set out a time to assemble and a minimum interval.  This comes from the memory of Parliaments in English history being rather infrequently and reluctantly called.  They recognized that national government needed to meet on a regular basis.

To Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 5

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Boy, this is a Quis custodiet ipsos custodies situation if I’ve ever seen one. Who decides if an election is legit? For the House of Representatives, it’s the House. For the Senate, it’s the Senate. They’re allowed force a member to attend, if they’ve been truant and they get to decide on the penalties for not showing up.

The House and the Senate may both establish their own rules for debate, voting and other proceedings, may punish disorderly behavior. If two thirds of them don’t want to keep a member, they can also chuck them out. Yep, they can throw out duly elected reps if they feel like the person isn’t behaving.

They must keep a record of what goes on and publish it. By the way, not only is the Congressional Record public these days, but if you really want to know how your reps vote, you might want to consider signing up for MegaVote. You get emailed about the voting records of your reps.

The Senate has to get permission of the House and the House the Senate if, during a scheduled session of Congress, they want to adjourn for more than three days. They are also forbidden to move their meeting place during a session without the other chamber’s consent.

To Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 6

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Congress gets paid, and that compensation is determined by law. Congress has to decide on it, then the President has to sign it into law. If they have not committed a felony, treason or are not actively being violent, they cannot be arrested while in attendance in Congress, and they’re immune from criminal prosecution for the things they do and say as a legislator.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

You cannot hold another Federal office while you serve in Congress.

Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 7

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

If a tax needs to be instituted, it must come from the House. The Senate cannot originate such a bill, although it must approve it before it goes to the President either to be approved or vetoed. The Senate can suggest changes to the bill.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Okay, Presidential Veto, here we come!

When a bill is to become a law, it will go to the President. If the President and signs it, it becomes a law. If the President does not approve, the bill is sent back to the House or Senate (depending on where the bill originated) along with the objections to the bills. The President is obligated to explain why in cases of a veto.

However, and this is where we really start getting into checks and balances, if Congress really disagrees so strongly that two-thirds (290 people in the House, and 67 in the Senate) of its membership will vote in favor of the bill, it becomes a law anyway.

If the President sits on a bill for ten days (excluding Sundays), it becomes a law anyway and it is presumed that the President did, in fact, approve the law.* If, however, Congress adjourns before the President can sign it, the clock stops ticking, and the bill does not become a law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

If Congress has to vote on something to be enacted, the matter must be referred to the President for approval or disapproval. This also re-iterates the override of the Presidential veto.

* Speculation on the part of the author: If this little clause could be used as a sort of weasel-worded way of claiming disapproval of a law while still allowing it to be enacted. Though being a layman, the author cannot recall if this is common practice or not.

To Support and Defend: Article 1, Section 8

This section of Article 1 outlines Congressional Powers:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Basically, Federal taxes have to be uniform throughout the states. You can’t give a cheaper import duty to Virginia and a higher one to California.

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Yes, the US is allowed to borrow money, but only Congress has the power to do it or not.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes;

International commerce regulations lie with Congress.

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

We decided we did want to allow people born elsewhere to become citizens. It is Congress’ responsibility to set up those rules. Also laws on bankruptcy must be uniform across the states.

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

It is Congress’ responsibility to regulate the value of the coinage (and paper money). We use pounds, miles, inches, feet and yards because Congress says that’s the standard.

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Counterfeiting is a Federal offense and punishments for such are regulated by Congress.

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

The USPS was established right here in this sentence. Post Roads were merely roads maintained to help the mail go through easier. I haven’t looked it up, but one wonders about state roads used for the Postal Service and Federal responsibility.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Patents and copyright laws are a Congressional responsibility in the US.

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

The Federal court system is also under Congressional power.

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

This is an interesting one. Privateering was an issue between nations was still quite an issue even if the Golden Age of Piracy was still past. It is a Congressional responsibility to define this.

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

Only Congress has the power to declare war and to regulate the dispersal of the spoils of war.

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

See this? TECHNICALLY, we’re not supposed to have a standing army. Given the amount of training a private requires to be useful now in our highly-technical world, I am not entirely sure that’s practical. But since things have changed, perhaps an Amendment would be in order?

To provide and maintain a Navy;

But a standing navy is just fine, apparently…

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Congress oversees the military.

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Because we did not have a standing army, the idea was that civil disorder and invasion forces would be dealt with by local militias. Again, soldiering is a highly skilled profession these days. Not sure how that would work out.

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Again, responsibility for the military forces is a Congressional responsibility. (By the way, this was for a very specific reason. We do not want the US military forces in the hands of one person.)

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; —And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

This allows for the establishment of a government center that does not belong to any state. The last clause is also known as the “Elastic clause” because it basically says, “Yo, if we need to make a law to run the country well, we can!” (You think the Bill of Rights was an accident, do you?)

To Support and Defend Article 1 Section 9

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

Yeah, that means what you think it means. It was saying we were still allowed to kidnap people from Africa, bring them to our shores, and keep them in involuntary servitude, and that we couldn’t open the discussion for banning it before 1808. Not exactly a shining moment.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

Okay, this is about the rights of the accused. Y’all might to note that the term “rebellion” is not defined, and at some point may be twisted to what we would call a “protest.” A prisoner has the right to challenge imprisonment in court unless there are extreme circumstances. (Habeas Corpus basically means that a person under arrest must be brought before a judge to prove there is a legal reason for keeping them locked up)

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

You have to be tried under the law as it stands when you are accused of having committed the crime. Congress cannot pass a law and have you be retroactively guilty if what you did was legal at the time you did it.

A Bill of Attainder is a law that says a specific person is by LAW guilty of a crime. It is legislative rather than judicial judgement and is Unconstitutional in the US. Margaret Pole, Katherine Howard, Thomas Cromwell, the Duke of Norfolk, and many others were executed via this legal means during the Tudor period. It was a very feared piece of legislation because it could get you killed because the legislative body didn’t like you (or was bullied into it), not necessarily because you had been proved guilty of a crime. If the concept doesn’t scare you cross-eyed, read more history. It should.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid,[unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

Congress was not allowed to impose a direct tax on people. This was changed by the 16th Amendment.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

Interstate taxes on goods are illegal. If you buy it in New Hampshire and take it to Massachusetts (ahem! Cheap liquor on I-93…) there cannot be an interstate tax imposed on it.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

Again, this is saying that we’re not going to have Interstate Tariffs or Duties.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

Congress must make a public accounting of how they spend money.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The United States of America is Republic. There is no such thing as a noble class. We do not have monarchs. No-one who holds a public office of the US is allowed to accept a foreign honor, gift, or title without specific permission of Congress.