“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the PROFLIGATE are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” – Justice Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Ct. 1811-1845
1. utterly and shamelessly immoral or dissipated; thoroughly dissolute.
2. recklessly prodigal or extravagant.
Synonyms: abandoned, dissipated, dissolute, fast, gay, licentious, rakish
•Origin: 1525–35; < L prōflīgātus broken down in character, degraded, orig. ptp. of prōflīgāre to shatter, debase, equiv. to prō- pro- + -flīgāre, deriv. of flīgere to strike; see inflict, -ate
It has been said that “Flattery is ok – if you just don’t inhale.” Consider all the State of the Union addresses delivered by presidents of either political party, extolling the virtues of our national character.
What we need is a president to call Americans to repentance. For what, you ask? Let me count the ways.
America must recover its spiraling degeneration from Watergate to Profligate.
Ellis Sandoz, professor of Law at the LSU Hebert Law Center, once delivered a lecture at the National Meeting of the Philadelphia Society entitled, “What Is an American?” In it, he concluded:
The heart of the matter, and its most delicate aspect, is to connect Americanism with the biblical faith of Americans as the chief source of its strength and enduring resilience– and of its frequent arousal of anti-American sentiments from ideologues of every stripe, those self-anointed “elites” at home and abroad who readily enlighten and denigrate us at every waking moment on every conceivable subject. Burke identified the basis of the American consensus in the dissenting branch of Protestantism. Publius identified Providence’s gift of “one united people” “speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government”(Federalist No. 2).
Tocqueville (who never lies) stressed one must never forget that religion gave birth to America, and that American Christianity has kept a strong hold over the minds of the people, not merely as a philosophy examined and accepted, but as “an established and irresistible fact which no one seeks to attack or defend.” Not to be thought merely old-hat ideas, Samuel Huntington just last year challenged Americans to “recommit themselves to the Anglo-Protestant culture, traditions, and values that… have been the source of their liberty, unity, power, prosperity, and moral leadership as a force for good in the world.”
He forecast that, unlike the 20th which was defined by contending ideologies, the 21st will be a century marked by the “revenge of God” (prematurely certified dead, in fact murdered, by 19th century luminaries), i.e. by the resurgence of religions, with culture and ethnicity replacing ideology as the central terms of reference. Anglo-America was a Bible-based culture for 300 years, Trevelyan observed, finding this stupendous religious movement unlike anything in the annals since St. Augustine.
What are the consequences for Americanism? A great many of which I mention only two here: first, a theory of human being as created imago Dei, each person imperfect and sinful, yet graced with the defining unique capacity of communion with his Creator as this is experientially apperceived in the New Birth: an inward experience and assurance of election, a process of salvation that runs from conversion and justification, toward sanctification in imitation of Christ–a spiritual movement of maturation that runs from “ruin to recovery” of the divine image powerfully argued, for instance, in the soteriology of Isaac Watts and John Wesley during the 18th century revival we call the Great Awakening.
Second, there is a pervasive understanding of the course of human events as Providentially guided, even as it is effected by human agents, i.e., by individuals exercising dominion through reason and volition over the creation as citizens no less than as pilgrims living in collaborative faith-grace partnership with God. In both respects the In-between reality of time and history is consciously reaffirmed, vitally experienced as tensionally structured by the competing pulls of worldly immanent and transcendent divine reality.”
May we all repent of our profligation and return to better sense.
Prayers at graduation ceremonies are in the news again as a federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment’s “non-establishment” clause forbids even student-initiated supplications.
The federal judge’s last sentence of the article linked above [“We don’t put the Constitution to a vote,”] illustrates an important distinction between pure democracy and the rule of law under a constitutional republic. But it neglects the crucial point that, as ACLU co-founder Justice Felix Frankfurter once acknowledged,
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution and not what we [the justices] have said about it.” -Felix Frankfurter, concurring in Graves v. New York, 306 US 466, 491-2 (1939)
We may take comfort from the assurance of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the “separation of church and state” metaphor that has so clouded First Amendment jurisprudence: “Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally.”
It was Justice Byron White who recently noted that “The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law [sic] having little or no recognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution.”
Small wonder that recent polling suggests that 77% of Americans believe our courts have gone too far in restricting free exercise of religion; 76% support public displays of Ten Commandments; and 90% support keeping “one nation under God” in our Pledge.
Founder and Patriot John Adams once remarked to Governor Dickinson that “We Americans are not to be conjured out of our senses by the words ‘British Empire’ as we know that Britain is a constitutional monarchy.”
Similarly, we Americans today are not to be “conjured out of our senses” by the words “separation of church and state.” Let’s continue to defend our Constitution’s text and heritage as we stand for “separation of atheism and state.”
As George Orwell once observed, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” AJA’s point in calling attention to America’s “Organic Laws” is to espouse the obvious reality contained in our Declaration of Independence – that is, that law comes from God and the self-evident reality of objective truth. In other words, the inscription on America’s coins is the “National Motto” and not the “National Anachronism” [i.e., “out-of-date application or wrong-period attribution of an event”]
And let’s remember that it was judges’ “perversion of judgment” rather than “walking in God’s ways” that was the catalyst directly resulting in the leaders of Israel abandonment of self-government under God to ask for a king (i.e. authoritarianism) in 1 Samuel 8:3+.
Otherwise, we abandon our children to an “Orwellian” future:
“You are a slow learner, Winston,” said O’Brien gently. “How can I help it?” he blubbered. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.” “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.” -George Orwell, 1984
Justice Clarence Thomas deserves commendation for suggesting that “a more fundamental rethinking of…Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains in order.” My expectation is that those prayer-wishful students in Indiana would say, “Amen to that!”
Retired Judge Darrell White has received several acknowledgment letters from active United States Supreme Court Justices complimentary of his analysis of the history associated with the venerable tradition of the Harlan Bible.
You can read the full article, “Historical Significance of a Kentucky Colonel Named Harlan,” as published in the Baton Rouge Bar Journal by clicking here.
Here are a few of these interesting letters:
American Judicial Alliance welcomes longtime partner Jason Stern as our new vice president!
Now working fulltime at AJA, Jason is developing new approaches to our communications presence and helping to develop donor relations. His wise leadership and increased involvement will multiply our effectiveness as an organization as we engage courts throughout the nation. In addition, new interns, including a few young attorneys, are joining us as our team continues to expand.
It is thrilling to watch God equipping American Judicial Alliance for an active year!
A Word from our Founders:
“To the security of a free constitution, [knowledge] contributes in various ways – by convincing those who are intrusted with the public administration that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people, and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burdens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness – cherishing the first, avoiding the last – and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.” – George Washington, First State of the Union Address, January 8, 1790
– “When we consider that this Government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these States; that the States themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote.” – Thomas Jefferson, First State of the Union Address, December 8, 1801
The organization successfully argued on behalf of the legality of a display in a public building in Kentucky that included the Ten Commandments among other historical references.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling in the case brought by the ACLU that reversed a lower court’s opinion that said the Ten Commandments were impermissible.
“The Ten Commandments are as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are to the American flag,” said Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman. “The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law. It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law.
This exerpt from “Powers of the American people, Congress, President, and courts: (according to the evolution of constitutional construction)” by Masuji Miyakawa, was published in 1908 by the Baker & Taylor co. (pp. 346-349) Mr. Miyakawa grasped in 1908 the same essense of what America needs today. [Bonus: Look for Justice Harlan to show up after the jump!]
“Strange to say, the American judges, ever since the organization of the Government, have been the least criticised and least arraigned public officers. On the contrary they have been the most respected and most honored among all the dignitaries of America. We may attribute this strange phenomenon to the fact that the only thing which the American will obey is law and the only thing in which he will know the meaning of obedience is his relation to law. The judges of the United States and of the several States are thoroughly conscious of their exceptional privileges and immunities; also of their correspondingly great responsibilities as the only interpreters of the law, to whom alone the final construction of the law of the land is unreservedly entrusted.
All the American judges realize this. The American people know that the strictest obedience to law is the foundation stone of the strength and permanence of the republic. This has been understood by the American people ever since they founded their country. Departure from this common understanding tends to involve national ruin by creating anarchy. Superficial observers who see but the so called material side of American progress, or those who are devotees of the game of profit, do wrong when they do not appreciate the fundamental proposition that the people are the backbone of progress.
Such superficiality not only fails to grasp the true situation, but also fails to appreciate the true meaning of the beneficent opportunity upon which the Americans build their higher and nobler civilization. The statements recently made that the American people have changed their allegiance from the great principles which they embodied in the Declaration of Independence to the worship of the almighty dollar, and that the American people have changed from their appreciation of the Bible to the worship of the sword are evidence of the fact that their authors are but shallow students of the America of to day.
To illustrate the fallacy of such statements: Continue reading
Writes In the Interest of Justice:
There is only one word for Tueday night’s keynote Speaker. That would be “Wow.” His Honor Retired Judge White was both a delight and enlightening at the same time. His portion of the evening lasted about 1 and 1/2 hours but seemed like 20 minutes. Sit back with a great cup of coffee and watch the entire video here. Judge Darrell White is an asset that needs to be exploited and duplicated.
“The ABA is a venerable organization with a history of service to the bar, but it is, after all, a private group with limited membership. The views of the association’s members, not to mention the views of the members of the advisory committee that formulated the 2003 Guidelines, do not necessarily reflect the views of the American bar as a whole. It is the responsibility of the courts to determine the nature of the work that a defense attorney must do in a capital case in order to meet the obligations imposed by the Constitution, and I see no reason why the ABA Guidelines should be given a privileged position in making that determination.” – Justice Samuel Alito
Newly elected Baker (Louisiana) City Court Judge is pictured receiving a Court Presentation Bible for his court. Judge-elect Kirk Williams enjoyed hearing the fascinating story of the Harlan Bible, named for its donor, Justice John Marshall Harlan, an admirable Supreme Court justice who served from 1877-1911. Kirk Williams, Judge-elect of Baker City Court is pictured receiving a Court Presentation Bible as Judge Darrell White (Retired) holds replica of the original Harlan Bible bearing signatures of all U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1906. As a result, the Baker City Court joins the growing list of courts that are replicating this venerable tradition. Judge-elect Williams, a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, was interested to learn how Retired Judges of America has been active in securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity by uniting retired and former judges to uphold principles enunciated in America’s “Organic Laws” (as so designated by Congress). You can help the Retired Judges of America spread this tradition across America by contributing to this worthy (and tax-deductible) initiative. And if you know of a judge (active or retired) who would like to have a Bible dedicated to his or her court, contact Judge Darrell White (Retired).