Powers of the American People

amjusticeThis 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

Barack Obama and Potter Stewart

Barack Obama concluded his 9/8/09 speech to a captive audience of America’s government school-educated children with this sign-off: “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.” (emphasis added) If Obama – in his official governmental capacity – can compel the attention of America’s public schools for an affirmation of God’s blessings, shouldn’t we follow his example? Henceforth, God-fearing public school teachers might start their school days with a reminder – verbatim from Obama’s lips – to their students:

“Get serious this year. Put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”


Justice Potter Stewart

Actually, this language is not unlike the New York Board of Regents’ prayer that was nullified in the extraordinary 1962 case of Engle v. Vitale: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on thee, and we beg thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” Earl Warren’s supreme Court, in derogation of the free exercise clause those justices were sworn to uphold, nullified that prayer. In that case, Potter Stewart (1915-1985), the only justice with prior judicial experience before taking his position on the U.S. supreme Court, filed this dissent:

“A local school board in New York has provided that those pupils who wish to do so may join in a brief prayer at the beginning of each school day, acknowledging their dependence upon God and asking His blessing upon them and upon their parents, their teachers, and their country. The Court today decides that in permitting this brief nondenominational prayer the school board has violated the Constitution of the United States. I think this decision is wrong.

“The Court does not hold, nor could it, that New York has interfered with the free exercise of anybody’s religion. For the state courts have made clear that those who object to reciting the prayer must be entirely free of any compulsion to do so, including any ’embarrassments and pressures.’ But the Court says that in permitting school children to say this simple prayer, the New York authorities have established ‘an official religion.’

“With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. Continue reading