Wow! What a Tradition!
“That’s the comment most often expressed as Americans learn that the Supreme Court of the United States has preserved a distinctively Biblical heritage by allowing incoming justices an opportunity to sign the flyleaf pages of an old Bible,” notes Retired Judges Darrell White, president of American Judicial Alliance. Our organization is now dedicating Bibles to every court in the United States of America.
The Bibles are being dedicated in replication of a heritage perpetuated in the United States Supreme Court for over one hundred years. One of America’s most interesting justices, John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) began the veritable tradition by donating his personal Bible to the Court. Since that time, every Supreme Court Justice has signed the Harlan Bible’s flyleaf pages.
American Judicial Alliance (AJA) and its related organization, Retired Judges of America (RJA) are led by Retired Judge Darrell White and Jason Stern. Both men share a vision for “awakening the conscience of One Nation Under God” and for featuring the unmistakable link between the Bible and America’s Constitution and laws. Interestingly, the phrase, “awakening the conscience” appears in the Federal Code of Evidence and corresponding codes of virtually every state.
Support and coverage of AJA’s mission has come from Supreme Court justices, active and retired judges, newspapers, magazines, and concerned citizens.
Recent Gallup polling data shows that America’s confidence in our Supreme Court is on the decline. AJA, in keeping with the “Lawyer’s Oath,” seeks to “maintain the respect due to Courts of Justice and judicial officers.” In bringing its message across America, AJA gives special attention to the America’s “Rule of Law.”
As the organization moves out across the Nation, judges are receiving the Bibles with enthusiasm: “We are so grateful to receive this Bible into our Court. American Judicial Alliance’s Harlan Bible reminds us of John Marshall Harlan’s principled stand for a colorblind constitution (in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896). This courageous justice, whose faith was not left at home when he sat on the bench, sets a worthy example for all of us to follow,” says Judge Barbara H. Caldwell, on behalf of the Magistrate Court of Douglas County, Georgia.
America’s Supreme Court Justices have acknowledged the importance of the Harlan Bible Tradition. Justice Samuel Alito recently wrote what a “thrilling and awe-inspiring moment” it was when he signed his name alongside “all the Justices for the past 100 years.” Former Justice David Souter has said that signing the Harlan Bible was the “most humbling thing he ever did.” And Justice Sonia Sotomayor acknowledged that taking her Judicial Oath on the Harlan Bible was among the “most symbolically meaningful” activities of her investiture.
“American Judicial Alliance intends to place a Bible in every court in America and to ask active and retired judges all across America to join the ‘Harlan tradition’ of signing the Bible and utilizing them in their courts,” says the group’s founder, Retired Judge Darrell White. “Every judge who is awakened to the Bible’s vital role in America’s heritage and its indispensable emphasis on the rule of law is another judge awakened to our future,” White concluded.
American Judicial Alliance is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has dedicated over 150 Bibles to courts in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas, including the Supreme Courts of Louisiana and Texas, as well as several federal courts.