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.
“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
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:
“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.
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