In 2008, the Gannett newspaper reported on Retired Judges of America’s dedication of a “Harlan Bible” to the 42nd Judicial District Court in Desoto Parish. “History was made and remembered today as the first district attorney and first judges to represent the newly created 42nd Judicial District of DeSoto Parish received their formal oaths of office,” said the article, the entirety of which is located here.
District Judges Robert E. Burgess and Charles B. Adams [see letter of acknowledgment] were sworn in and enthusiastically received the Bible.
Retired Judge Darrell White will again visit Desoto Parish this Sunday for an Independence Day Celebration.
He will join Louisiana College Pressler School of Law Dean Mike Johnson at the “Bring America Back to God” Community-Wide Rally for Liberty.
The Rally will take place on Sunday, July 3rd from 7 to 9 PM at Southside Baptist Church in Mansfield, Louisiana and is sponsored by Louisiana College and Desoto Parish Churches.
Judge White and Dean Johnson will address the question: What has gone wrong in America and how can we FIX IT?
A printable flier for the rally is below. Please plan to attend if you are in the area.
Choudrant, La. – On Friday, March 12, 2010, American Judicial Alliance, a national organization based in Louisiana, dedicated twenty-eight bibles to north Louisiana courts at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, Louisiana.
The Bibles are dedicated in replication of a tradition held by the United States Supreme Court for over one hundred years. One of America’s most interesting justices, John Marshall Harlan (I) began the tradition by donating his personal Bible to the court. Since that time, every Supreme Court Justice has signed the “Harlan” Bible.
Friday night’s dinner featured a keynote by nationally-known historian and author, William J. Federer, whose books include “America’s God and Country,” “What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an” and “The Original 13: a Documentary History of Religion in America’s first Thirteen States.”
American Judicial Alliance (AJA) and its associated 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 restoring the importance of both the Bible and the Constitution to American jurisprudence.
Judge John Slattery of Springhill City Court said, “We are so grateful to receive this Bible into our court. The Framers knew what they were doing when they established this nation. It’s our duty to continue that vision.”
“American Judicial Alliance intends to place a Bible in every courtroom 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,” said Retired Judge Darrell White.
American Judicial Alliance is based in Baton Rouge, La. and has so far dedicated approximately 100 Bibles to courts across the South including the Supreme Courts of Louisiana and Texas.
Russell Shorto writes a balanced piece on the place of faith in the Founders’ plans for America and how the fight over whether that is true is being fought in Texas today. Here’s an excerpt:
If the fight between the “Christian nation” advocates and mainstream thinkers could be focused onto a single element, it would be the “wall of separation” phrase. Christian thinkers like to point out that it does not appear in the Constitution, nor in any other legal document — letters that presidents write to their supporters are not legal decrees. Besides which, after the phrase left Jefferson’s pen it more or less disappeared for a century and a half — until Justice Hugo Black of the Supreme Court dug it out of history’s dustbin in 1947. It then slowly worked its way into the American lexicon and American life, helping to subtly mold the way we think about religion in society. To conservative Christians, there is no separation of church and state, and there never was. The concept, they say, is a modern secular fiction. There is no legal justification, therefore, for disallowing crucifixes in government buildings or school prayer.
Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html?pagewanted=all
“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.
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
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