An Obligation To Provide Information

The argument that the Secretary of State had some extraordinary jurisdiction over the ratification process fails the test of reason: the law passed April 20, 1818 [Chapter LXXX, Section 2] requires the Secretary of State "to cause" to make known the results of any and all polls taken. The section reads, in part "it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State" to publish any amendment which has been adopted, "with his certificate specifying the states by which the same may have been adopted, and that the same has become valid [as a part] of the Constitution of the United States."

A law passed in 1818 cannot negatively affect an Amendment issued by Congress in 1810, and the wording of this law (updated in 1820, after Virginia's ratification) does not alter or impair the rights of the states in any way. It puts an obligation on the Secretary of State to provide information to the public, to issue an official certificate of ratification, and nothing more!

There is no indication that President Monroe polled Louisiana, Mississippi or Indiana regarding this Amendment. They were not present in Congress to vote on the Amendment in 1810, and they had no jurisdiction over it at any later time, except to provide pro forma approval. Louisiana published the Amendment as valid in 1822.

The National Archives have finally acknowledged [1994] that the 1819 ratification of this Amendment by Virginia was correct and proper. Nothing in Article V requires Virginia to send the federal government a letter or a certificate of any kind, and if the Secretary of State failed to publish such a certificate of ratification according to the 1818 law, that is not the failure of Virginia or its people. The slight modification of this law in 1820 likewise does not impair Virginia's prior approval of this article.