Kerrville, Texas (October 7, 2016) – The Kerrville Municipal Court has received a special donation from the American Judicial Alliance – a unique signatory Bible known as the “Harlan Bible.”
In 1906, Justice John Marshall Harlan gave his personal copy of the Bible to the Supreme Court of the United States. Since that time it has become known as the “Harlan Bible” and is maintained by the court’s curator. The “Harlan Bible” is an Oxford Sunday School Teachers Edition King James Bible with blank pages for notes. Without exception, the Harlan Bible’s flyleaf pages have been signed by every justice in succession shortly after taking the oath of office.
Retired Judge Darrell White, head of the American Judicial Alliance, hopes to perpetuate this signatory tradition in courts throughout the United States. In early August, Judge White dedicated one such Bible to the Kerrville Municipal Court. This Bible is leather bound and gold embossed with the court’s name on the cover.
The American Judicial Alliance’s stated goal is to revive the notion that we are “one nation under God.” In this regard, Judge White personally dedicates Harlan Bibles to courts around the country as a reminder of the Judeo-Christian principles upon which the nation’s laws were founded. He has personally presented Harlan Bibles to the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, along with a host of other state, federal and municipal courts across the country.
“This has been an eye opening experience and I’m very glad that Judge White is doing this. I wasn’t even aware of that tradition at the United States Supreme Court, and I’ve been practicing now for 18 years,” said Kerrville Municipal Judge Patrick Maguire. “I think it’s important for all of us in this day and age to remember the foundations of our legal system and our society.”
Both Kerrville Municipal Judges Patrick Maguire and Mark Prislovsky have signed the Kerrville Municipal Court’s new copy of the Harlan Bible. The Bible will be kept at the Kerrville Municipal Court and eventually Judge Maguire hopes to be able to place the Bible on display.
“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.
“I plan to place our Bible prominently in the Chief Judge’s chamber in New Orleans as a reminder to all who visit that we, no less than the [U.S.] Supreme Court, remember our judgments are ultimately subject to a Divine standard.”
– Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge,
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
So wrote Chief Judge Edith H. Jones in a very kind letter to us at American Judicial Alliance after we placed a “Harlan” Bible in her hands for safekeeping.
This year, Jason Stern and I have traveled to several states dedicating Bibles to courts, sharing the message of the Gospel and the Constitution with churches and civic groups, but I must say that we were pleased to be allowed the privilege of dedicating a Bible to the highest federal court possible under the Supreme Court.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is composed of twenty one judges who rule on cases appealed from district courts located in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
While talking to Judge Jones, I made mention of America’s first Chief Justice John Jay’s name, which is chiseled on the lintel corner of the 5th Circuit’s building, and referenced Jay’s quote:
“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
I couldn’t help but to also mention John Jay’s solid faith in the Bible as demonstrated by his last words. He was asked if he had anything he wanted his children to know, to which he replied,
“They have the Book.”
Aside from dedicating the Bible to the 5th Circuit, we also distributed laminated copies of the “Prayer for the Judge’s Bench,” which on the obverse side includes prayers by President George Washington and Chief Justice John Jay. Jay, who was a president of the American Bible Society, wrote:
“Most merciful Father! … Above all, I thank thee for thy mercy to our fallen race, as declared in thy holy gospel by thy beloved Son, “who gave himself a ransom for all.” …
Give me grace also to love my neighbor as myself, and wisely and diligently to do the duties incumbent upon me according to thy holy will, and because it is thy holy will, and not from worldly considerations …
Let thy Holy Spirit lead and keep me in the way in which I should walk, and enable me to commit myself entirely to thy kind and gracious providence and protection as to all my spiritual and temporal concerns….
These heartfelt words are from the pen of a fellow who had been President of the Continental Congress, an author of the Federalist Papers, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York.
It is our plan to continue to bring this message of hope, history and grace to courts all over America and give them courage to stand up for God like the Founding Fathers did!
“We have the Book!”
We have been hit by the same budgetary slump that faces all of America right now, but we know that a brighter day for our children and grandchildren can be around the corner if we do not give up hope.
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians6:9
Thank you for allowing us to be your ambassadors.
P.S. Thank you in advance for your prayers and donation. We think of you often and pray that God will bless your finances, family and home. Your gift is most needed at this time.
Awakening the Conscience of One Nation Under God!
Setting an example for all lower courts, the State Supreme Courts of Alabama and Idaho have recently received commemorative Bibles in the tradition of the Harlan Bible in the custody of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Chief Justice Roger Burdick of the Idaho Supreme Court expressed gratitude on behalf of his Court stating that the Idaho Supreme Court “voted to begin the tradition of having justices of the Court sign the Bibles as is done with the Harlan Bible.” CLICK HERE to view Chief Justice Burdick’s letter.
Judge Roy Moore, recently installed (again) as Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, wrote, “Your presentation of the Harlan Bible was especially noteworthy… God works in strange ways. His wondrous works to perform.” CLICK HERE to view Chief Justice Moore’s letter.
These courts join the Louisiana and Texas Supreme Courts in receiving Harlan Tradition Bibles along with federal, state, and local courts in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Ohio.
American Judicial Alliance (AJA) promotes the respect due to courts and judicial officers by recapturing the vitality of America’s Organic Laws.
AJA is a coalition of citizens affirming that the integrity, legitimacy and public favor of America’s judiciary are best served by interpreting laws, including the Constitution, according to the documents’ text and structure, giving due regard to legislative intent.
By placing commemorative signatory Bibles in America’s courts – in the tradition of Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) who donated a Bible to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1906 – AJA is “Awakening the Conscience of One Nation Under God.”
So far, through the efforts of AJA, over 200 Court Presentation Bibles have been dedicated to follow the tradition of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Harlan Bible.” On March 12th, 1906, Justice John Marshall Harlan dedicated a Bible to the Court. Since that date, every U.S. Supreme Court justice has signed the Bible’s flyleaf, a tradition now being replicated across America by American Judicial Alliance. Click here to read more about the Bible Project of American Judicial Alliance!
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 American System of Law and the American Way of Life.
Now is a great time to send in your year end gift to take the Gospel to the Courts. Click the “Giving” tab to help American Judicial Alliance “Awaken the Conscience of One Nation Under God.” We appreciate you so much!
Article From the Franklin Sun:
Appealing to a Higher Court
Retired Judge Brings Bibles to the Bench
By Tom Bonnette, The Franklin Sun, May 12th, 2010, Page 7A
The Bible is a fundamental building block of our nation’s legal system and retired Baton Rouge City Judge Darrell White wants to make sure that isn’t forgotten. White, who is on a quest to place “Harlan Bibles” in every courtroom in the country, is founder of the American Judicial Alliance, a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to “awaken the conscience of one nation under God” by recapturing the vitality of America’s organic laws – the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He was in Franklin Parish Friday at the Winnsboro Rotary Club’s monthly luncheon at Brown’s Landing to ask for prayers and support.
“We are asking people like you, who think that this is important, to help us to put one of these Bibles in every single courtroom in America,” White said. The Bible is a replica of the Bible donated by to the U.S. Supreme Court by Justice John Marshall Harlan in 1906. The original Harlan Bible is kept by the Supreme Court Curator and holds the signatures of every U.S. Supreme Court Justice since 1906 when it was donated. Judges have been invited to sign the inside leaflets of the more than 100 Bibles donated by the Retired Judges of America that White has helped place in courtrooms over the last few years.
He believes the Bibles will serve as a reminder that we are “one nation under God” and that the U.S. Constitution should be the guiding factor in our judicial system. “It’s the supreme law of the land. Unless we pay attention to it, it’s just so many words,” White said. “The question is whether or not we are going to follow the Constitution and adhere to it.”
A Harlan Bible donated to the Fifth Judicial District Court by the RJA a year ago that is signed by Judge E. Rudolph Mclntyre and Judge Terry A. Doughty was on display at the luncheon. To help White place similar Bibles in other courtrooms, the Winnsboro Rotary Club donated $150. More is needed, said Jason Stern, vice president of AJA. “Every little bit that we can gather together helps us make a difference in bringing back our nation to the nation of our founders for the next generation,” Stern said. Justice Harlan is best remembered as the lone dissenting voice in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, in which a Louisiana statue that called for “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races” was upheld as constitutional. To help the RJA and AJA donate Bibles, call (225) 615-7337.
“American Judicial Alliance’s presentation should be required for all Supreme Court nominees and sitting Federal Judges.”
— Congressman Ted Poe
“I am so impressed with the great work you are doing! You have a powerful team working with you. America needs you more than ever. You give me hope!”
– William J. Federer, Jr.
Speaker and best-selling Author
“More than anything, thank you for the Harlan Bible. Our nine judges all thank you for your kindness and your effort!”
– Judge Harmon Drew, Jr.
Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal
“I appreciate your efforts to restore some morality in our courts.”
– Retired Judge William N. Knight
31st Judicial District Court of Louisiana
“The judges are already tracking down their predecessors to have each one sign the Bible you presented in the tradition of the Supreme Court. Thanks again!”
–Retired Judge Tim Taft
Texas First Court of Appeals
What Supreme Court Justices are saying about the Harlan Bible:
“It was a thrilling moment when I signed my name in the Bible which…contains the signatures of all the Justices for the past 100 years. Thank you for sending your article…. I found it inspiring.
–Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
“I read with special interest your account of the first Justice Harlan and his Bible.… Thank you for an engaging pause in the day’s occupations.”
—Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg