Retired Judges of America Helps Make History!

DeSoto’s district attorney, judges make history today


By Vickie Welborn • • December 12, 2008 5:25 pm

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.

District Attorney Richard Z. Johnson Jr. and District Judges Robert E. Burgess and Charles B. Adams [see letter of acknowledgment here] got a head start on their swearing in to get it out of the way of the upcoming holidays. And also because the legislation this year that created the 42nd Judicial District calls for them to begin their terms Jan. 1.

The DeSoto courtroom was full of family, friends, local and visiting elected officials and even three classes of elementary schoolchildren from Pelican All Saints High School.

With the new district came a new tradition for Burgess and Adams. Darrell White, a retired city judge and former military judge for the Louisiana National Guard, presented the judges with a leather Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible. Continue reading

Bible Presented to Baker City Court

Judge White and Judge WilliamsNewly elected Baker (Louisiana) City Court Judge is pictured receiving a Court Presentation Bible for his court.  Judge-elect Kirk Williams enjoyed hearing the fascinating story of the Harlan Bible, named for its donor, Justice John Marshall Harlan, an admirable Supreme Court justice who served from 1877-1911.  Kirk Williams, Judge-elect of Baker City Court is pictured receiving a Court Presentation Bible as Judge Darrell White (Retired) holds replica of the original Harlan Bible bearing signatures of all U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1906.  As a result, the Baker City Court joins the growing list of courts that are replicating this venerable tradition.  Judge-elect Williams, a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, was interested to learn how Retired Judges of America has been active in securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity by uniting retired and former judges to uphold principles enunciated in America’s “Organic Laws” (as so designated by Congress).  You can help the Retired Judges of America spread this tradition across America by contributing to this worthy (and tax-deductible) initiative.  And if you know of a judge (active or retired) who would like to have a Bible dedicated to his or her court, contact Judge Darrell White (Retired).

O’Connor Disrespects the Constitution!

By Retired Judge Darrell White


Sandra Day O’Connor, now a retired Supreme Court justice, has rendered another decision illustrative of the contempt she shows for the Constitution, particularly the text of our First Amendment.  Her opinion, while sitting as a  “fill-in” judge on a panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, held that excluding persons who pray “in Jesus’ name” (from a rotational roster of officials who open city business meetings) is a fair and reasonable way “not to exclude or disparage a particular faith.” 
The focus of the dispute is Fredericksburg, Va. Councilman Hashmel Turner (pictured below)– a Baptist minister – whose practice of concluding his prayers “in Jesus’ name” prompted a threat of litigation by offended listeners.  In response, the city adopted a non-sectarian prayer requirement, imposing a ban on any reference to “Jesus.”  When Reverend Turner sued, O’Connor upheld the ordinance, writing that “Turner was not forced to offer a prayer that violated his deeply-held religious beliefs. Instead he was given a chance to pray on behalf of the government.”  Behind that rhetoric is one unmistakable conclusion: conform to political correctness or face the punishment of exclusion.  Has O’Connor decided that the United States of America is no longer “under God?”
I’d like to know where O’Connor found Reverend Turner’s name in the First Amendment.  He clearly is not “Congress” – the focal point of our First Amendment’s prohibition against making a “law respecting an establishment of religion.” 
The word “Congress” is used sixty times in the Constitution and its amendments.  Why is it that our federal courts are so thoroughly confused over the word’s meaning in the First Amendment?  There are no battles over the other 59 uses.
O’Connor’s long-standing disregard for history and the clear text of the First Amendment was also on display in her concurring opinion in the notorious 2004 Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow case that sought removal of the words “under God” from America’s Pledge of Allegiance.  Therein, O’Connor contended that federal judges could ignore recital of the concluding “So Help Me, God” sentence of their obligatory oaths of office.  Not so!

Congress Should Impeach Kozinski!

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.”

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Graduation Season

Constitutionally speaking (i.e., in terms of the free speech clause) why should it matter to courts whether God’s last name is “Almighty” or “Damn”?  Graduation season is upon us, and that predictably brings out groups who threaten valedictorians and their handlers with expensive lawsuits should anyone dare to give thanks to God on these memorable occasions.  All the while, these same groups defend the “free speech” rights of those who would blaspheme our Creator in public.

Recent polling suggests that over 75% 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.  At the same time, Pew Research Center polling data shows that the stature of America’s judiciary has plummeted.  In 1997, 78% said they had a high opinion of the Court.  In 2001, it was 61%.  More recently, it was 57%. 

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“We Just Work Here” Judicial Interpretivism

Over 1.5 million Hoosiers with “In God We Trust” license plates are no doubt gratified that they can hold onto their license tags.  A state judge has dismissed litigation brought by the ACLU alleging that it was unconstitutional to put America’s National Motto on state license plates. Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller’s refreshing opinion should help restore confidence in America’s judiciary.  He wrote, “Courts are not to second-guess the Indiana General Assembly when it comes to calculations of this sort.” In part, the ACLU had claimed that Indiana was giving the motto “preferential treatment” and should charge the vanity plate fee for the “In God We Trust” message since it isn’t the standard state plate. However, the legislation authorizing the plate in 2006 specifically directed the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to offer the plate for free.  Thank you Judge Miller for reminding all judges that “we just work here” when it comes to interpreting the laws and Constitution. 

It’s still the National Motto – not the National Anachronism.

Celebrate Law Day with Retired Judges of America!

It was in 1906 that America’s 45th Supreme Court Justice – John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) – donated a Bible to the Supreme Court of the United States, and its flyleaf pages have been signed by every justice without fail since that date. Retired Judges of America (RJA) has begun replicating that venerable tradition by donating signatory presentation Bibles to courts throughout our nation. Each of the Bibles dedicated by RJA contain the gold-imprinted date on the cover of May 1st.

Why is that? Because since 1958, May 1st has been set aside as “Law Day” – a special day of celebration by Americans to appreciate our liberties and reaffirm our loyalty to the United States. By statute (36 U.S. Code Section 113), it is set aside to cultivate respect for law.

On May 1st of 2008, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Law Day” with the following theme: The Rule of Law: Foundation for Communities of Opportunity and Equity.

What better way to celebrate Law Day this year than to give your local court a presentation Bible so that its judges now and in perpetuity may have a tangible reminder that, as Justice Story wrote in 1833 (the same year Harlan was born) that: “I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”

‘Harlan’ Bibles to create new tradition in local courts

By Tom Bonnette
(318) 487-6340

PINEVILLE — Local judges Tuesday signed their “John Hancocks” at a Pineville Kiwanis Club meeting in replicas of the Bible that holds the signature of every U.S. Supreme Court Justice since 1906 to start a new tradition in local courts.

Judges who received “Harlan Bibles” for their courts said they will follow the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court by inviting all judges who serve to sign their names in the inside leaflets of the same Bible. The four Bibles, copies of the Harlan Bible held by the U.S. Supreme Court Curator, is similar to the Bible donated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Justice John Marshall Harlan in 1906. That bible has been signed by justices joining the Supreme Court for more than 100 years.

The Bibles were donated by Retired Judges of America and presented by retired Baton Rouge City Judge Darrell White. White said he has presented 20 to 30 similar Bibles on behalf of RJA since the organization began a campaign last year to distribute them.

The campaign, White said, is designed to encourage judges to hold fast to principles inherit in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

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Davy Crockett On Congressional “Earmarks”

Davy CrockettOne day in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Congressman Davy Crockett arose to object.

Click here to find out why!

“Harlan Bible” Day – March 12 (1906)

It was on this date – March 12th – in 1906 that then-senior Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) donated a Bible to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) for the purpose of offering his colleagues an opportunity to sign the Good Book’s flyleaf pages.  Down through the years, the “Harlan Bible” – maintained by the Supreme Court’s Curator – has been presented to each justice shortly after taking the oath of office and all have elected to sign.  Justice Samuel Alito, the latest signatory, has acknowledged what an awesome experience it was for him to sign alongside every justice without fail for over 100 years.  For those who would say that the Bible is irrelevant to America, I would ask, can you imagine any other book or writing that would evoke such unanimous approbation?

Retired Judges of America is replicating this venerable tradition in other courts throughout America.  If you would like to help with the expenses associated with this noble undertaking, go to the donation page and become a friend of Retired Judges of America.  After all, there are no innocent bystanders; only those guilty of bystanding!