“If [a law] is wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution. It’s not what we say it is, it’s what it actually says. And I think we have to be humble enough to say ‘we were wrong.'”
— Justice Clarence Thomas, February 2009
Thomas was responding to a question about the Court’s review of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law. His quote echoes former Justice Felix Frankfurter (who happened to have been the president of the ACLU before his court days). Here is Frankfurter’s quote:
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution, and not what we have said about it.” — Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 306 US 466 (1939)
Here is an audio clip of Justice Thomas’ remarks:
Here are a few more quotes to chew on:
“[I]n the lapse of [time], changes have taken place which in particular passages … obscure the sense of the original … [and] present wrong signification or false ideas. Whenever words are understood in a sense different from that which they had when introduced …. mistakes may be very injurious.” Noah Webster in Preface of the Webster Bible
“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.” — Thomas Jefferson
“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p322.
“The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all instruments is, to construe them according to the sense of the terms, and the intentions of the parties.” Justice Joseph Story, III Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States §400 (1883) at p383
Join us at Frank’s Restaurant in Prarieville next Thursday, February 4th at 8:00 AM as we dedicate a commemorative Bible to the Louisiana 23rd Judicial District Court.
Please RSVP by contacting Retired Judge Darrell White or Jason Stern at the office or by emailing us through the website. Breakfast will be served.
“There was a time in U.S. history when American school children began each day with public prayer. The entire class prayed together. That is now “illegal.” This is why:
• The Supreme Court first ruled against public school prayer in the 1962 case of Engle v. Vitale. The decision struck down a New York State law that required public schools to begin the school day either with Bible reading or recitation of a specially-written, nondenominational prayer.
• One year later, in Abington vs. Shempp (1963), the Supreme Court struck down voluntary Bible readings and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
1. In this context, our kids can no longer pray in public. There have been many ensuing court cases over the liberty to engage in public prayer:
“U.S. Supreme Court rules, 6-3, that prayer before football games in Texas is unconstitutional,”
“School Faces Big Legal Fees In Prayer Lawsuit.”
“Florida school officials in prayer case could get jail time.”
“School district faces second lawsuit over prayer”
2. There have been multiple court cases against students who have or open Bibles:
“Lawsuit claims students not allowed to carry Bibles” http://www.adherents.com/misc/school_houston.html
“Bible study banned on playgrounds”
“Gideons Forbidden From Distributing Bibles at School”
“Bibles Banned in Bible Belt”
“Bible Banned From School Football Field”
“High School Cheerleaders Banned From Using Bible Verses”
“The Bible Banned at a New Jersey School” http://smartgirlpolitics.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-bible-banned-at-a-new
“Bibles banned at Stigler Oklahoma library”
3. Display the Ten Commandments in a public place, and you could end up in court.
“U.S. Government bans Ten Commandments from Public Places”
“Ten Commandments monument moved. New poll says Americans disapprove of federal court order.”
“Ninth Circuit Sued For Displaying Ten Commandments”
“Chief Justice Roy Moore removed for acknowledging God–Ten Commandments Inquisition”
American Judicial Alliance is asking judges to return to their Oaths to protect and defend the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land.
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.”
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
By Retired Judge Darrell White
It has been reported that Judge Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeal, posted – on his publicly accessible web site – content that included sexual-fetish videos and bestiality images. Meanwhile, this judge had been presiding over a highly publicized obscenity trial, which was suspended when the prosecutor handling the case detected a potential conflict of interest for a judge with a sexually explicit website to hear this case. When confronted by the media, Kozinski said that the photos were for his private use and he was unaware the content could be viewed by the general public. Apparently unrepentant, Kozinski explained, “It’s part of life.” California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has remarked, “If this is true, this is unacceptable for a federal court judge.”