In 1906, an interviewer, seizing upon Justice Brewer’s turn of phrase, asked Harlan whether it was true that he went to bed “with the Bible in one hand and the Constitution of the United States in the other?” [Interview by James B. Morrow with John Marshall Harlan, WASH. POST, Feb. 25, 1906, in JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN PAPERS, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS]
After observing that he could not remember ever going to bed precisely so encumbered and stating that he “did not profess to be a theologian,” Harlan went on to respond to the question with a brief statement about his religious beliefs:
“I fully believe in both the Bible and the Constitution…. I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Nothing which it commands can be safely or properly disregarded; nothing that it condemns can be justified. No civilization is worth preserving which is not based on the doctrines or teachings of the Bible. No nation that habitually ignores or violates the rules prescribed by it for the conduct and government of the human race, can long last. This country is, in a large sense, a Christian country, and its adherence to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity is becoming more and more every year a marked feature in American civilization.”
[This article appeared in a number of newspapers. There are several copies of it, clipped from different newspapers, in the Harlan Papers.]
Source: Marquette Law Review, V 85, Number 2
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!
AJA is a featured speaker at Wallbuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference this afternoon here at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Judge White will address the audience of legislators from all over the U.S. On the topic: Words have Consequences.
Jason Stern and Judge White have had many networking opportunities with these wonderful lawmakers.
Thanks to David Barton, Kristy Stedman and the whole staff for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful event!
“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good is essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man.”
– James Madison
On Constitution Day 2010, Retired Judge Darrell White addressed classes at two different schools in Baton Rouge. Pictured here is Judge White with an elementary class at Highland Elementary and below, he is speaking to students at Buchanan Elementary School. The students learned more about the U.S. Constitution today!
We are gearing up for our trip to the Texas State Judicial Conference next week. If you’re in Corpus Christi on Wednesday, come on out and visit our booth!
“It is a mistake to suppose that the Supreme Court is either honored or helped by being spoken of as beyond criticism. On the contrary, the life and character of its Justices should be the objects of more constant watchfulness by all and its judgment subject to the freest criticism. The time is past in the history of the world when any living man or body of men can be set on a pedestal and decorated with a halo. True, many criticisms may be like their authors, devoid of good taste, but better all sorts of criticism than no criticism at all.”
— Hon. David J. Brewer, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in an address before the Marquette Club of Chicago, 1898.
American Judicial Alliance will attend the Texas State Judicial Conference in just a few weeks. Over six hundred courts will be represented at this conference and AJA will be ready! We’ll have a booth in the convention area and plan to meet lots of judges!
Six hundred judges is a lot of judges to be sure! …And that means a lot of Bibles for Courts. Our plan is to place signatory Bibles in every court in America in the fashion of the Harlan Bible at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Help us bring the Gospel to the Courts by joining American Judicial Alliance.
Prayers at graduation ceremonies are in the news again as a federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment’s “non-establishment” clause forbids even student-initiated supplications.
The federal judge’s last sentence of the article linked above [“We don’t put the Constitution to a vote,”] illustrates an important distinction between pure democracy and the rule of law under a constitutional republic. But it neglects the crucial point that, as ACLU co-founder Justice Felix Frankfurter once acknowledged,
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution and not what we [the justices] have said about it.” -Felix Frankfurter, concurring in Graves v. New York, 306 US 466, 491-2 (1939)
We may take comfort from the assurance of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the “separation of church and state” metaphor that has so clouded First Amendment jurisprudence: “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.”
It was Justice Byron White who recently noted that “The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law [sic] having little or no recognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution.”
Small wonder that recent polling suggests that 77% of Americans believe our courts have gone too far in restricting free exercise of religion; 76% support public displays of Ten Commandments; and 90% support keeping “one nation under God” in our Pledge.
Founder and Patriot John Adams once remarked to Governor Dickinson that “We Americans are not to be conjured out of our senses by the words ‘British Empire’ as we know that Britain is a constitutional monarchy.”
Similarly, we Americans today are not to be “conjured out of our senses” by the words “separation of church and state.” Let’s continue to defend our Constitution’s text and heritage as we stand for “separation of atheism and state.”
As George Orwell once observed, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” AJA’s point in calling attention to America’s “Organic Laws” is to espouse the obvious reality contained in our Declaration of Independence – that is, that law comes from God and the self-evident reality of objective truth. In other words, the inscription on America’s coins is the “National Motto” and not the “National Anachronism” [i.e., “out-of-date application or wrong-period attribution of an event”]
And let’s remember that it was judges’ “perversion of judgment” rather than “walking in God’s ways” that was the catalyst directly resulting in the leaders of Israel abandonment of self-government under God to ask for a king (i.e. authoritarianism) in 1 Samuel 8:3+.
Otherwise, we abandon our children to an “Orwellian” future:
“You are a slow learner, Winston,” said O’Brien gently. “How can I help it?” he blubbered. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.” “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.” -George Orwell, 1984
Justice Clarence Thomas deserves commendation for suggesting that “a more fundamental rethinking of…Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains in order.” My expectation is that those prayer-wishful students in Indiana would say, “Amen to that!”