"The fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the UNALIENABLE RIGHTS of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself. This background is evidenced today in our public life through the continuance in our oaths of office from the Presidency to the Alderman of the final supplication, "So help me God." . . . and the sessions of this Court are declared open by the crier in a short ceremony, the final phrase of which invokes the grace of God."
- MR. JUSTICE CLARK deliver[ing] the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court,[ABINGTON SCHOOL DIST. v. SCHEMPP, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). Page 374 U.S. 203, 212, 213] Decided June 17, 1963.
That decision still stands, if I'm not mistaken....
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
...I am the less reluctant to reach this conclusion because the method of enforcing the law exemplified by this search is one which not only violates legal rights of defendant but is certain to involve the police in grave troubles if continued. That it did not do so on this occasion was due to luck more than to foresight. Many home-owners in this crime-beset city [Washington D.C.] doubtless are armed. When a woman sees a strange man, in plain clothes, prying up her [Page 335 U.S. 451 , 461] bedroom window and climbing in, her natural impulse would be to shoot. A plea of justifiable homicide might result awkwardly for enforcement officers. But an officer seeing a gun being drawn on him might shoot first. Under the circumstances of this case, I should not want the task of convincing a jury that it was not murder. I have no reluctance in condemning as unconstitutional a method of law enforcement so reckless and so fraught with danger and discredit to the law enforcement agencies themselves....
- [Mr. Justice JACKSON, concurring.]
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
"...In addition to the original rights secured to him in the first article of amendments, [Fourteenth Amendment] he had secured the free exercise of his religious belief, and freedom of speech and the press. Then he had secured to him the right to keep and bear arms in his defense. Then, after that, his home was secured in time of peace from the presence of a soldier; and,still further, sir, his house, his papers, and his effects were protected against unreasonable seizure...."
"'Though originally the first ten Amendments were adopted as limitations on Federal power, yet in so far as they secure and recognize fundamental rights-common law rights-of the man, they make them privileges and immunities of the man as citizen of the United States, and cannot now be abridged by a State under the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, while the ten Amendments, as limitations on power, only apply to the Federal government, and not to the States, yet in so far as they declare or recognize rights of persons, these rights are theirs, as citizens of the United States, and the Fourteenth Amendment as to such rights limits state power, as the ten Amendments had limited Federal power..."
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
"...It was aimed at restraining and checking the powers of wealth and privilege. It was to be a charter of liberty for human rights against property rights. The transformation has been rapid and complete. It operates today to protect the rights of property to the detriment of the rights of man. It has become the Magna Charta of accumulated and organized capital.' Collins, The Fourteenth Amendment and the States, (1912) 137, 138. That this feeling was shared, at least in part, by members of this Court is revealed by the vigorous dissents that have been written in almost every case where the Twining and Hurtado doctrines have been applied to invalidate state regulatory laws. [Footnote 13]
"Later decisions of this Court have completely undermined the phase of the Twining doctrine which broadly precluded reliance on the Bill of Rights to determine what is and what is not a 'fundamental' right...."
Monday, October 22, 2007
"But as Mr. Justice Holmes once said: "[T]he provisions of the Constitution are not mathematical formulas having their essence in their form; they are organic living institutions transplanted from English soil. Their significance is vital not formal; it is to be gathered not simply by taking the words and a dictionary, but by considering their origin and the line of their growth." Gompers v. United States, 233 U.S. 604, 610. In this connection also compare the equally unqualified command of the Second Amendment: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.""
- U.S. Supreme Court, KONIGSBERG v. STATE BAR, Footnote 10, 366 U.S. 36 (1961), Decided April 24, 1961.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
"That it is the duty of citizens by force of arms to defend our government against all enemies whenever necessity arises is a fundamental principle of the Constitution.
"The common defense was one of the purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution. It empowers Congress to provide for such defense, to declare war, to raise and support armies, to maintain a navy, to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces, to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for calling it forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; it makes the President commander in chief of the army and navy and of the militia of the several states when called into the service of the United States; it declares that, a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. We need not refer to the numerous statutes that contemplate defense of the United States, its Constitution and laws, by armed citizens. This court, in the Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366 , page 378, 38 S. Ct. 159, 161 (62 L. Ed. 349, L. R. A. 1918C, 361, Ann. Cas. 1918B, 856), speaking through Chief Justice White, said that 'the very conception of a just government and its duty to the citizen includes the reciprocal obligation of the citizen to render military service in case of need. ...'
"Whatever tends to lessen the willingness of citizens to discharge their duty to bear arms in the country's defense detracts from the strength and safety of the government."
- United States v. Schwimmer, 1929. [With quotes from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.]
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
"...In these calamities under which they suffer, and the worse which threaten them, the people of Kansas ask for bread, clothes, arms and men, to save them alive, and enable them to stand against these enemies..."
"...Every man stood on his own feet, was his own governor; and there was no breach of peace . . . Every man throughout the country was armed with knife and revolver, and it was known that instant justice would be administered to each offence, and perfect peace reigned..."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"A covenant not to defend myself from force, by force, is always void. For, as I have showed before, no man can transfer, or lay down his right to save himself from death, wounds, and imprisonment, the avoiding whereof is the only end of laying down any right; and therefore the promise of not resisting force, in no covenant transferreth any right; nor is obliging. For though a man may covenant thus, unless I do so, or so, kill me; he cannot covenant thus, unless I do so, or so, I will not resist you, when you come to kill me. For man by nature chooseth the lesser evil, which is danger of death in resisting; rather than the greater, which is certain and present death in not resisting. And this is granted to be true by all men, in that they lead criminals to execution, and prison, with armed men, notwithstanding that such criminals have consented to the law, by which they are condemned."
- Thomas Hobbes, The English Works of Thomas Hobbes, vol. 3 (Leviathan), Chap. XIV.: of the first and second natural laws, and of contracts.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
...Against the oppressions of Mr. Adams’s hereditary representatives, nations have no remedy but physical strength; against those of temporary representatives, the moral force of opinion suffices. The first remedy can never be legally exerted, because no government will make laws to punish itself; to avoid which, these hereditary representatives invariably disarm the people, and so make the remedy for the coercion of this virtual representation quite nominal. Its use is moreover prohibited by the dreadful avenger of rebellion. Restrained by the dangers which beset it, the physical strength of a nation moves only in the paroxysm inspired by long suffering or extreme peril; and it is to the overthrow of reason, by this paroxysm, that the frequent disappointments of national exertion, to enforce virtual responsibility, are to be ascribed.
By our policy, actual responsibility is preferred to virtual, or to speak correctly, nominal. Conscious of the danger arising from the physical force of mercenary troops, it insists upon the necessity of securing to the nation the only safe protector of moral or political power, in an armed militia; to prevent responsibility from rebelling against nations, by the same means used by monarchs and orders, to prevent nations from rebelling against them. Under the protection of the physical power of a militia, the moral or political power reserved by our policy to the people, acts legally and peaceably, by opinion and election; and the reason of the nation can have recourse to a degree of reflection and deliberation, unattainable during the confusion, the dangers, and the crimes of civil war. Without a sound militia, all popular rights, including election itself, must become tenants at will, of monarchical or aristocratical landlords....