[link to en.wikipedia.org]
The Titles of Nobility Amendment (TONA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution dating from 1810. It was submitted to the state legislatures during the 2nd Session of the 11th Congress via a resolution offered by U.S. Senator Philip Reed of Maryland—and has not taken effect because it has not yet been ratified by the legislatures of enough states. As quoted on page 613, Volume II, Statutes At Large, covering the 6th Congress through the 12th Congress, the proposed amendment reads:
If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.
The TONA—if ever ratified—would modify the following provision which appears in Article I, Section 9, of the original Constitution:
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.
Some people claim that the TONA actually was properly ratified and that it has been suppressed as part of a vast conspiracy orchestrated by attorneys who do not wish to forfeit their American citizenship when they use the title "Esquire" after their last name (although Esquire, even in the United Kingdom, is not a title of nobility).
There is a school of thought that Virginia lawmakers adopted the TONA sometime before the invasion of the eastern portion of the United States by British troops during the War of 1812 and that, as a consequence of the sacking, pillaging, and burning of government records in Virginia and Washington, D.C., by the British, there was a loss of the documentation which would attest to a valid ratification of the TONA by Virginia's legislators.
The assertion that the TONA actually was validly ratified has never been upheld by any court in the United States. To the contrary, in the few instances in which courts have been confronted with such claims, judges have brushed those claims aside. In Campion v. Towns, No.CV-04-1516PHX-ROS, *2 n.1 (D. Ariz. 2005), a tax protester raised TONA as one of his defenses to a charge of tax evasion. The court replied that it would "correct any misunderstanding Plaintiff has concerning the text of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution":
In his Complaint, Plaintiff includes a certified copy of the Thirteenth Amendment from the Colorado State Archives which was published in 1861. As included in that compilation, the Thirteenth Amendment would strip an individual of United States citizenship if they accept any title of nobility or honor. However, this is not the Thirteenth Amendment. The correct Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery. Although some people claim that state publication of the erroneous Thirteenth Amendment makes it valid, Article V of the Constitution does not so provide.
In another case, Sibley v. Culliver, 243 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1283 (M.D. Ala. 2003), aff'd 377 F.3d 1196 (11th Cir. 2004), a federal court in Alabama found that the defendant's invocation of TONA actually worked to his detriment. The court took note of documents produced by the defendant, a convicted murderer who submitted documents in support of his appeal claiming that TONA rendered his conviction invalid:
These documents allege in great detail a complex conspiracy by an illegal monopoly, the American Bar Association, which resulted in a take-over of the judicial systems of this country, both federal and state, by the ABA and its related entities, including the Alabama State Bar Association and Alabama's Unified Court System. It is then alleged that the ABA-controlled system is illegal and in violation of what is referred to as the "missing Thirteenth Amendment," to the United States Constitution, which stated that any person who accepts a title of nobility forfeits his United States citizenship, and which Amendment was ratified but subsequently hidden or excised from the law. Since lawyers and judges accept the titles "Esquire" and "The Honorable," it is argued, they are not citizens and the entire judicial system is illegal.
Furthermore, these documents contend that the charge of conviction in this case, capital murder of a police officer acting in the line of duty, is unconstitutional because it bestows upon police officers special rights or a special designation of the worth of life in contravention of the "missing Thirteenth Amendment." The documents then explain that these are reasons that Sibley and his wife refused appointed counsel on appeal and refused to pursue matters any further in the court system, and that only Congress can give them relief.
The Sibley court dismissed the appeal, concluding in part that the defendant was simply not seeking relief through the courts.
Furthermore, supporters maintain that—if ratified—the TONA would have consequences above and beyond those listed above. Among the TONA's claimed additional effects would be:
When someone in the United States becomes a lawyer, he or she often uses the title of "Esquire" (or an abbreviation thereof) to signify his or her status, much as doctors attach "M.D." to their names. Supporters of the TONA claim that this constitutes "a British title of gentry" because the state bar associations in the United States were franchises of the British International Bar Association in the early 1800s. Therefore, so the argument goes, any lawyer in the United States who uses the title "Esquire" is British gentry, and would—under a validly-ratified TONA—forsake his or her American citizenship, and be unable to hold any U.S. government office.
The word "honour" (as it is spelled in the text of the proposed TONA) in the phrase "title of nobility or honour" should not be interpreted as "title of honour" in the traditional sense, but rather as "obtaining or having an advantage or privilege over another," which includes, among other things, the immunity to lawsuits which is held by various government officials. Theoretically then—were TONA to ever be ratified—there is a school of thought that judges could be sued for the legal decisions that they make, and that legislators could be sued for the laws that they pass.
DR. Ron Paul - what does he have up his sleave? He is obviously well aware of this -