August 29, 1786: Shays’ Rebellion Begins

Monday, August 29, AD 2016

 

 

In the aftermath of American victory in the Revolutionary War, times were tough in the new nation.  In Massachusetts farmers faced financial ruin as merchants, concerned with the inflation, were demanding repayment of debts in hard currency which was in short supply.  Governor John Hancock attempted to set an example by not demanding that his debtors pay him in hard currency, and he refused to authorize prosecution of those who failed to pay their taxes to the State.  This was to no avail as more farmers began to lose their farms through foreclosure.  That most of these farmers had fought in the Revolution made their plight more poignant, and also suggested that they would not stand idle as they were reduced to poverty.

Violence broke out after James Bowdoin, champion of the merchants, was elected Governor of the Bay State.  On August 29, 1786 a rebellion broke out when a well organized force prevented the court from sitting in Northampton.  Daniel Shays who had served in the Continental Army as a Captain, and who had receive a sword of honor from Lafayette that he had to sell to help pay his debts, participated in the Northampton action.  His name became attached to the Rebellion, but he staunchly denied that he was one of the leaders of the movement.

The Massachusetts government now confronted the quandary of attempting to assert its authority when the only armed force at its disposal were militia levies and much of the militia sympathized with the rebels.   The Federal government of the Articles of Confederation was deaf to appeals for aid, having no armed forces in any case to aid Massachusetts in putting down the Rebellion.

The solution was  a 3000 man militia force under former Continental Major General Benjamin Lincoln.  The force was paid for by 125 merchants who contributed 6000 pounds.  With this force, Lincoln crushed the Rebellion in February 1787.  Casualties were minor, five killed, a few dozen wounded, but the impact of the Rebellion was profound in convincing many of the leaders in the United States of the necessity of revising the weak Articles of Confederation and forming a stronger Federal government.  Shays Rebellion had given rise to outbursts throughout New England, and although they had been quickly quashed, the alarm they raised reached Mount Vernon.

On October 31, 1786 in a letter to Henry Lee, George Washington demonstrated how deeply Shays’ Rebellion disturbed him:

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One Response to August 29, 1786: Shays’ Rebellion Begins

Richard Posner: Ignore the Constitution

Tuesday, June 28, AD 2016

15 Responses to Richard Posner: Ignore the Constitution

  • Oh, it’s just about here now. The Supreme Court is a majority of idiots.

  • No, they won’t see it. They think they will lead the revolution like Robespierre. They don’t care that in the end, it killed him too. They are smarter than all of us.

  • And Posner was at one time a highly regarded and disciplined jurist. I wonder when the wheels fell off.

  • Sad, Posner was a guy with so much potential, but for years has been getting more and more “progressive.”

    So now, instead of ignoring the constitution, we’ll just ignore Posner.

  • I have lost all respect for our court system. Period.

  • Pray tell, what should lawyers study?

    In one of Heinlein’s novels (The Cat Who Walked thru Walls?) the hero lives on a habitat called Golden Rule where the only law is the golden rule, thus there are no statutes, no common law, no precedent. We may be heading for the day when the only law is “justice” as defined by SJWs.

  • Whoever defines law in the absence of the Constitution Thomas, I am confident it will not be the SJWs. The special snow flakes have not shown an interest in wielding weapons, and without true law, rather than the whims of those in power, that is where real power always resides.

  • He took an oath when he became a Judge to enforce the Constitution…He needs to resign !!

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  • I think he just informed Ms Clinton and Mr Sanders he would be happy to accept an appointment to the Supreme Court.

  • Ha! At 77, unless he is now senile, Posner realizes he will never sit on the Court. Note how he never said anything about these views as long as we had a Republican president in office and Posner still had hopes of ending up on the Court. Never think that the average judge is not as motivated just as much by ambition as the typical politician. Posner in the past few years took quite a few swipes at Scalia who, I am sure, he hated because Scalia, who was of Posner’s generation, was sitting in “his” seat on the Court. “What fools these mortals be!”

  • Without respect for the US Constitution, there is no meaning or authority in the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Or in any other federal court. Or in federal anything. Posner just explained himself into irrelevance by wishing that all the laws be made flat.

  • the constitution contains a mechanism for keeping it relevant to the changes the country has endured and the changes it faces.

    it is not the constitution that is outdated. it is the totalitarianism that relies on the use of force to control people with unjust laws.

    judges do not have the authority to determine what human behaviors a society must allow. when they try to force a community to accept behaviors the community considers harmful, unethical or immoral, judges are overstepping their authority. deciding on what behaviors are unacceptable is the responsibility of the legislative branch of a government.

    the only reason that judges are being allowed to legislate is because those responsible for legislating are allowing judges to overstep their authority. the same can be said of those responsible for administering our laws and governments. they do not have the moral courage to do their jobs.

  • “the only reason that judges are being allowed to legislate is because those responsible for legislating are allowing judges to overstep their authority.”

    Because the Democrat party is in favor of judges legislating from the bench, since the results almost always advance a leftist agenda, and Democrats in Congress block any attempt to reign the judges in.

  • Don, in one of the post 9/11 “War on Terror” cases, the Supreme court ruled among other things that war crimes trials at Guantanamo (and presumably anywhere else in the future) required that the U.S. military MUST practice civilian police rules as to the collection and documentation of evidence on the battlefield. President George W. Bush should have publicly stated that this ruling was an usurpation of presidential authority as commander-in-chief of the military and was therefore unconstitutional. He did no such thing. So, this problem is much more pervasive than just Congress.

Fortnight For Freedom: John Paul II on the Constitution

Thursday, June 25, AD 2015

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 

 

 

Interesting reflections on the Constitution courtesy of remarks made by Pope John Paul II to President Reagan on September 10, 1987 during the Pope’s visit to the US:

 

Mr President,

1. I am grateful for the great courtesy that you  extend to me by coming personally to meet me in this city of Miami. Thank you  for this gesture of kindness and respect.

On my part I cordially greet you as the  elected Chief Executive of the United States of America. In addressing you I  express my own deep respect for the constitutional structure of this  democracy, which you are called to “preserve, protect and defend”. In  addressing you, Mr. President, I greet once again all the American people with their history, their achievements and their great possibilities of serving  humanity.

I willingly pay honour to the United  States for what she has accomplished for her own people, for all those whom she  has embraced in a cultural creativity and welcomed into an indivisible national  unity, according to her own motto: E pluribus unum. I thank America and all Americans – those of past generations and those of the present – for their  generosity to millions of their fellow human beings in need throughout the  world. Also today, I wish to extol the blessing and gifts that America has  received from God and cultivated, and which have become the true values of the  whole American experiment in the past two centuries.

2. For all of you this is a special hour in your  history: the celebration of the Bicentennial of your Constitution. It is a time  to recognize the meaning of that document and to reflect on important aspects of  the constitutionalism that produced it. It is a time to recall the original  American political faith with its appeal to the sovereignty of God. To celebrate  the origin of the United States is to stress those moral and spiritual  principles, those ethical concerns that influenced your Founding Fathers and  have been incorporated into the experience of America.

Eleven years ago, when your country was  celebrating another great document, the Declaration of Independence, my  predecessor Paul VI spoke to American Congressmen in Rome. His statement is  still pertinent today: “At every turn” he said, “your Bicentennial speaks to you  of moral principles, religious convictions, inalienable rights given by the  Creator”. And he added: “We earnestly hope that… this commemoration of your  Bicentennial will constitute a rededication to those sound moral principles  formulated by your Founding Fathers and enshrined forever in your history” (Pauli VI, Allocutio ad civiles Auctoritates Foederatarum Civitatum Americae  Septemtrionalis, die 26 apr. 1976: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIV [1976] 288ss.).

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: John Paul II on the Constitution

  • I miss having a Pope who knew how to write and communicate clearly.

  • Beautiful. A lot has changed over the past two years. From free enterprise is the root of all ecological evil and we must be controlled by a super state, to this beautiful expression of what was once our ideal:

    This is the freedom that America is called to live and guard and to transmit. She is called to exercise it in such a way that it will also benefit the cause of freedom in other nations and among other peoples.”

Pope John Paull II on the US Constitution and Freedom

Tuesday, September 17, AD 2013

 

 

 

Interesting reflections for a Constitution Day courtesy of remarks made by Pope John Paul II to President Reagan on September 10, 1987 during the Pope’s visit to the US:

 

Mr President,

1. I am grateful for the great courtesy that you  extend to me by coming personally to meet me in this city of Miami. Thank you  for this gesture of kindness and respect.

On my part I cordially greet you as the  elected Chief Executive of the United States of America. In addressing you I  express my own deep respect for the constitutional structure of this  democracy, which you are called to “preserve, protect and defend”. In  addressing you, Mr. President, I greet once again all the American people with their history, their achievements and their great possibilities of serving  humanity.

I willingly pay honour to the United  States for what she has accomplished for her own people, for all those whom she  has embraced in a cultural creativity and welcomed into an indivisible national  unity, according to her own motto: E pluribus unum. I thank America and all Americans – those of past generations and those of the present – for their  generosity to millions of their fellow human beings in need throughout the  world. Also today, I wish to extol the blessing and gifts that America has  received from God and cultivated, and which have become the true values of the  whole American experiment in the past two centuries.

2. For all of you this is a special hour in your  history: the celebration of the Bicentennial of your Constitution. It is a time  to recognize the meaning of that document and to reflect on important aspects of  the constitutionalism that produced it. It is a time to recall the original  American political faith with its appeal to the sovereignty of God. To celebrate  the origin of the United States is to stress those moral and spiritual  principles, those ethical concerns that influenced your Founding Fathers and  have been incorporated into the experience of America.

Eleven years ago, when your country was  celebrating another great document, the Declaration of Independence, my  predecessor Paul VI spoke to American Congressmen in Rome. His statement is  still pertinent today: “At every turn” he said, “your Bicentennial speaks to you  of moral principles, religious convictions, inalienable rights given by the  Creator”. And he added: “We earnestly hope that… this commemoration of your  Bicentennial will constitute a rededication to those sound moral principles  formulated by your Founding Fathers and enshrined forever in your history” (Pauli VI, Allocutio ad civiles Auctoritates Foederatarum Civitatum Americae  Septemtrionalis, die 26 apr. 1976: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIV [1976] 288ss.).

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5 Responses to Pope John Paull II on the US Constitution and Freedom

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  • G K Chesterton described America as “a nation with the soul of a Church,” by which he meant that it was founded on and united by a political principle.

    Contrast that with Mazzini’s language about the Risorgimento, “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition.”

    This, I believe, means that Americans have a rather different concept of freedom to Greeks, Bulgarians and Romanians, to Czechs, Bohemians, Poles and Irish. To them freedom meant, primarily, self-government; to the American, it can almost be said to mean freedom from government, at least, government interference. That is a caricature, of course, but caricature works by exaggerating a truth.

  • Who in the Constitution for the United States of America is not included? “We, the people” includes all men for all time. “ourselves and our posterity” include all men for all time. Our duty as citizens and people is to hand our freedom to all men for all time. The purpose and duty of government is inscribed in The Preamble. When government refuses to acknowledge that the sovereign personhood of each and every human being constitutes our nation from the very first moment of existence of human life, then government ceases to be government.

  • The term “self-government” can have parallel connotations that differ only in scope. Those nations listed have a natural connection to “self-government” in the patriotic or nationalist sense of not being ruled by Mohammedans, Godless Cossacks, The Hun or Perfidious Albion.

    An American sense of “Self-government” can be more personal; a commitment by the individual to governing himself or herself, placing the responsibilities of an ordered and productive life over whatever rights – however crucial – may be claimed, in the knowledge that the perpetuation of such rights are dependent upon their responsible exercise.

    This was once taught widely, but has been tragically lost of late. As a child, in such institutions as the Boy Scouts, my church (even though I was Episcopalian in those early days) and YMCA Indian Guides, we were dipped elbow-deep in the conviction that liberty is not throwing oneself at whatever one pleases without prohibition, but rather committing oneself to the responsibility of living correctly without coercion.

    As this idea fades, so with it does the idea of Self-government. Hence the rise of the statist influences whose sole purpose is the subjugation of a previously free people. No happier slaves are there than those who have forgotten how to be free.

  • WK Aitken

    Puts me in mind of Montesquieu (a very popular author in the Founders’ day
    « la servitude commence toujours par le sommeil »- (Servitude always begins with sleep)

Constitution Day: Star Trek Style!

Tuesday, September 17, AD 2013

 

One of the “alternate Earth” episodes that became fairly common as the original Star Trek series proceeded, as explained by Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, and by limited production budgets,  this episode featured an Earth where a cataclysmic war had driven the Americans, the Yangs, out of their cities and into primitive warbands.  Chinese Communists, the Kohms, settled in America.  Their technology was a few steps higher than the Yangs.  The Yangs had been waging a war for generations to drive the Kohms from their land, and the episode coincided with the Yangs taking the last of “the Kohm places”.

Over the generations, the Yangs had forgotten almost all of their history and what little knowledge remained was restricted to priests and chieftains.

“Cloud William: Freedom?

James T. Kirk: Spock.

Spock: Yes, I heard, Captain.

Cloud William: It is a worship word, Yang worship. You will not speak it.

James T. Kirk: Well, well, well. It is… our worship word, too.”

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7 Responses to Constitution Day: Star Trek Style!

  • Actually, I have always believed this episode to be a pretty straight copy of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel “The Red Hawk”, the third book in the “Moon Maid” series. The novel involves the end of a several century war by the nomadic remnants of Americans fighting against invaders from the moon who have themselves declined to a more primitive civilization. The Americans eventually utterly destroy the invaders, under the banner of an flag reminiscent of Old Glory – a flag to which is ascribed magical powers. Apparently Burroughs originally wanted the novel to be about an invasion of the US by communists and the centuries long struggle to defeat them, but the publisher balked, so he wrote it as a sci-fi novel instead

  • The Constitution for the United States of America is the Law of the Land because it is written for “We, the people,” “for ourselves and our posterity” and is inclusive of all. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks of a Law of the Land that limits the artificial person of government to the duties and obligations inscribed in The Preamble. A Law of the Land that prevents government from using the constitution to inveigh against freedom, to impose tyranny, usurp the sovereign persons’ civil rights and subjugate its citizens as subjects, no longer free men. A Law of the Land that acknowledges man’s right to be free.
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Human existence is man, body and soul, rational, immortal human soul, endowed with free will, sovereign personhood and intellect. Man comes into being when “their Creator” creates for him a soul at fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The first thing the newly conceived human being does is create the office of mother and father. Simultaneously, the newly begotten human being constitutes the state through his sovereign personhood and all this through his act of his free will, an act of a living human person.
    That Roe v. Wade gave custody of the existing human being to the individual who intended his destruction is a misinterpretation of “our posterity”. That the court gave custody of Terry Schiavo to the individual who intended her death is another miscarriage of Justice. Justice is predicated on intent. Intent to end human life is not inscribed in the Preamble because all men are created equal and there is no other human being with the authentic authority to end human life. Capital one punishment is enacted through the rejected power of attorney of the convicted murderer. The executioner represents the murderer. The unborn and Terry Schiavo became the wards of the Court. The Court refused to secure the blessings of Liberty for them.
    Taxes belong to the taxpayer even as taxes are administered by the administration. Taxes and war can only be declared by Congress, the will of the people. Cruel and unusual punishment is outlined in Obamacare through the IRS. The seizing of personal property without eminent domain and without equal compensation are unconstitutional. Congress has not enabled the IRS to access bank accounts to confiscate cruel and unusual penalties for Obamacare.
    The Constitution limits government in every aspect to being Just.

  • What a wonderful, succinct and compleat delineation of the meaning of the US Constitution! Thank you

  • Love the classic Star Trek reference. I remember it well! It was an odd series with a mixture of traditionalism and progressivism, though almost always watchable (aside from the boring birth control episode).

    Other good political messages can be found in the one on the Nazi planet, and “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” with Frank “Riddler” Gorsham. The black/white makeup comes across as a hamfisted race relations lecture, yet the actual dialogue is much more subtle since the guerrilla leader Lokai is clearly an unsympathetic loudmouth and it is the elitist Bele that Kirk tries to dialogue with. For those with a sense of nuance it shows that old liberal dichotomy of “revolutionary” vs. “fascist” is not so useful, and that the former can be just as implacable and hate-filled as the latter.

  • Roddenberry was a fairly doctrinaire liberal, but he didn’t direct the show. Additionally some of the best scripts were not written by him. Many of the shows had a fair amount of complexity which I enjoy. Compared to contemporary television some of it reads like Shakespeare which is a sad commentary on the crumbling literacy of our day.

  • @Donald – I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding you…are you saying that books today are less intelligent today then they were back in the 60’s/70’s or that kids today don’t read as many books?
    I might agree with you on the former but the latter is a misconception. Kids today read more than adults and seniors do according to Pew Research. This article summarizes the Pew document: http://tuftsobserver.org/2012/11/kids-these-days-are-reading/
    The Pew info: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/10/23/younger-americans-reading-and-library-habits/

  • I am saying that television, in general, is less literate than it was in the sixties and that literacy standards are less than they used to be. As for kids reading more, if one counts the time they are parked in front of a computer that may be true, although I doubt it. Considering how many kids these days tend to be couch potatoes, judging from the deserted parks in the summer, maybe they are reading slightly more, but I doubt if what they are reading is increasing their literacy, at least judging from the declining literacy of college graduates:

    http://hnn.us/article/118549

    http://chronicle.com/blogs/measuring/as-literacy-declines-faculty-membersthe-media-share-the-blame-2/26619

This is Why We Have a Constitution, and Why the Alternative is Tyranny

Wednesday, January 16, AD 2013

New York’s Trespass Act of 1783  offered relief for Patriots who had fled New York City during the time of the Revolutionary “by permitting them to recover damages from persons who had occupied or used their premises during the war.” Common law had typically required  “that actions for trespass must be tried where the property was located, but the act allowed Patriots to sue in any court where the defendant could be found.” It also denied the laws of war by prohibiting the accused of arguing that they had been acting “under orders of the occupying British army, and the act also prohibited the defendants from appealing to a higher court.” (Citations from Forrest McDonald, Novus Ordo Seclorum.)

The New York Trespass Act was but one of many factors that led to the creation of the written United States Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation government, the states had almost unlimited authority to pass any laws they pleased. The only check on the state governments were the citizens of the several states. Unfortunately, the people themselves were often the impetus behind the enactment of unjust laws.

The Constitution was a reaction to life under the Articles of Confederation. Though conservatives like to point out that the government created under the Constitution is one of limited powers – a fact which is undeniably true – the Constitution actually enhanced the powers of the federal government and was meant, in part, to curb some of the excesses of unlimited state authority.
In truth the Constitution was a perfect balancing act. The Federalists hoped to strengthen the federal government while simultaneously placing significant limits on the powers of said government. They wanted to mitigate the excesses of democratic government in the states while continuing to leave most of the day-to-day governing authority in the hands of local government. The Constitution is a document designed to prevent the outbreak of democratic despotism, but which also aimed at limiting the reach of government. These are not contradictory aims. As much as it may surprise political philosophers such as Piers Morgan to hear, purely democratic governments can become tyrannical – ask Plato and Aristotle about that.
If we understand the genesis of our Constitution then we can better understand why we revere it and strive to live as much as we can by the letter of said Constitution. It’s not because it’s some old, musty document and we just have a blind devotion to old things. There was a wisdom and a theory behind the Constitution that made as much sense in 1787 as it does in 2013.
And now, due to the gun control debate, we have proof of why the Federalists were right, and why we are inching closer to tyranny.
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27 Responses to This is Why We Have a Constitution, and Why the Alternative is Tyranny

  • Excellentem progymnasmam scripsis, Paule. Tibi gratias!

  • “Reasonable” has become, for me, an hated word.

    It is the word used to characterize every proposal one favors and to describe my comming around to the thinking of others. And so, reducing abortions while keeping the practice legal is a “reasonable” position and taking money from the “wealthy” to buy frivolous things for others is “reasonable.” if one holds to a view that a practice is inherently wrong, one is “unreasonable,” an “extremist.”

    So it is with the firearms debate. Requiring citizens to register their firearms is simply “reasonable” we are told. To oppose this is “unreasonable” and fears of tyranny and Constitutional Rights, are viewed as unreasonable fears. So too with concerns about unilateral executive action. Since the legislature isn’t doing what the public clamors for quickly enough, it is “reasonable” for the President to act without authority to cater to the whim of the majority.

    I fear, old friend, that you are right. Having forgotten lessons so painfully learned over 2000 years of Western history that liberty is hard won and easily and incrementally lost, we are wresting power from all authorities to resist tyranny.

  • Kipling said it well:

    “Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw– Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law–

    Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing, Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

    Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years, How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

    So they bought us freedom–not at little cost– Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.”

    The fight for freedom is never finally won or lost, but must be fought for again when dangers to it arise.

  • Jan.16th Religious Freedom Day! What a great President! We cares about us so much and our Constitution that he proclaimed the 16th of Jan. to forever be Religious Freedom Day.

    LIAR! I find it hard to share Christian love with tyrants.

  • Kiplig,

    “Freedom for ourselves
    And, Freedom for our sons.
    And failing freedom – War!”

  • In truth the Constitution was a perfect balancing act.

    No. It is a balancing act.

    If we understand the genesis of our Constitution then we can better understand why we revere it and strive to live as much as we can by the letter of said Constitution. It’s not because it’s some old, musty document and we just have a blind devotion to old things. There was a wisdom and a theory behind the Constitution that made as much sense in 1787 as it does in 2013.

    Ach. It is an organic law, not a piece of canonical literature. The utility or disutility of a set of institutional arrangements is going to be quite sensitive to local circumstances. ‘Local’ can be understood spatially or temporally. Our constitution has been (for the most part) a failure in containing the sturm und drang of our political life for more than 80 years. Some serious adjustments are in order (though adjustments in institutional arrangements cannot in any direct and transparent way correct the toxic culture of the legal profession or official Washington).

  • Our constitution has been (for the most part) a failure in containing the sturm und drang of our political life for more than 80 years. S

    Precisely because a certain subset of our political class has ignored it. That is not a failure of the Constitution, but of both leadership and citizenship.

  • Additionally, I shudder to think what the country would now look like without the Constitution. Imagine Obama issuing an executive order banning “dangerous and unnecessary” firearms, or one banning “seditious speech”. No, the Constitution is not merely an organic law but the concrete manifestation of the dream of the Founding Fathers of a Federal Union that would preserve the liberty that they fought for in the Revolution. In my eyes it is as “sacred” as any piece of secular writing can be composed by fallible men.

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  • In the hands of the current crop of supreme court justices, the constitution has become a blank piece of paper on which 5 of 9 justices get to write anything they chose. Remember that it was just a few years ago that five justices decided that the second amendment was an actually individual right (DC vs Heller). If Kennedy had woken up that day and decided to play the liberal justice instead of the conservative one, we would effectively not have a second amendment and all this talk of gun rights would be irrelevant.
    Think about that for a moment; the vote of one man has decided whether or not you have a basic freedom. I shudder when I think of what this nation has become.
    The great experiment of the federalists has failed. The fears of the anti-federalists that a large central government would become a tyranny have materialized.

  • “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  • Precisely because a certain subset of our political class has ignored it. That is not a failure of the Constitution, but of both leadership and citizenship.

    Oh yes it is a failure of our Constitution. Paul, Israel has functioned for more than 90 years with a body of constitutional law but not discrete charter with entrenched clauses and supermajority requirements. If your political elite is satisfactory, you can get along without a charter. The point of a charter is that it contains the discretion of elected officials and others invested with authority, and erects a mechanism which can function passably in spite of a rancid political culture. Ours doesn’t.

    There are certain architectural features of our constitution which have been respected (as Robert Bork put it, “the stuff about elections every two years”), but the enumerated and limited delegations of discretion to Congress, the distinction between executive and legislative action, and the autonomy of provincial authorities have all been trashed. In addition, the immunities of particular communities and of households against federal or state authorities have been subject to judicial whimsies.

    In the years immediately after 1929, there developed immense social pressure due to the economic crisis which was not properly contained by the existing political architecture. The pressure simply blew the existing structure down. What replaced it was a de facto constitution running on stare decisis and judicial misfeasance. A secondary shock was delivered during the years running from 1953 to 1971. The Constitution you are referring to really does not exist anymore. It is going to require some sort of national reformation to restore it even in part.

    Added to all that is a phenomenon you see all over the western world: the efflorescence of a self-aggrandizing, pretentious, and antinomian culture among the professional-managerial class. This is most destructive as it develops in the bar. Students of Israel’s appellate judiciary contend that this body would clearly like to pull an Earl Warren but are constrained by the plenary discretion of the Knesset; what happened to Canadian jurisprudence after the enactment of the Trudeaupian Charter of Rights is well known. So, institutions matter, to a degree.

    Our institutions prevented a set of principled and adaptive changes to the political economy in 1933-39 and did so again in 1954-71. Instead, we had open-ended aggrandizement of the central government. Those institutions continue to prevent effective remedial action against an appellate judiciary for whom misbehavior is the order of the day. They also prevent us from containing the erection and maintenance of a permanent Washington political class (remember what happened to U.S. Term Limits?). We also have an incredible problem of collective action with regard to public sector borrowing. It is hard to imagine a set of institutions less equipped to address that problem than the ones we have.

    There is not much point in turning James Madison into the fictional Hari Seldon. The political culture stinks, but it does not stink so bad that our state legislators, working within political institutions which have some salient differences with federal institutions, cannot pass budgets. Madison and his contemporaries were making do in the matrix in which they were working and their handiwork sufficed in certain circumstances. However, the machine is broke and it is time to stop pretending and fix it.

  • Civil war scares me. However blatant lies from our Govt. leaders ( so-called ) and the abuses of our rights leaves one to wonder. What next?

    Maybe obama (small o ) will declare Jan. 22nd as Freedom for unborn children day.
    Lifenews.com mentioned the absurdity of yesterdays presidential proclamation; “Religious Freedom day.”

  • Obama gives us Freedom From Religious Freedom Day without God.
    Pilate to Christ: “What is TRUTH?” Pilate imposes his definition of TRUTH: “TRUTH is what I say it is. The human being is who I say he is” The despot tells Christ WHO Christ is. Christ responds: “You would have not authority except that it is given from above.” Obama’s proclamation of Religious Freedom Day, January 16, is the usurpation of authentic authority to redefine the Supreme Sovereign Being, the human being, freedom, religion, and the unborn sovereign person. Obama says:”Look, I give you freedom.” and who can argue with a plagiarist? Obama gives us Freedom From Religious Freedom Day without God.

    In proclamation of Freedom of Religion Day, Obama says: Religious Freedom is what I say it is, and only what I say it is. This is the means that Obama uses to dictate to his constituents what their civil rights are. And some fools celebrate it as such. There can be no authentic freedom without the acknowledgment of God, Creator of man’s soul, Endower of unalienable rights. Freedom of Religion Day ought to dissolve the HHS Mandate and reinstate our founding principles.

    !) Man is created equal, not born equal, a self-evident truth we hold.

    2) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with unalienable rights.

    3) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable Right to Life.

    4) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable Right to Liberty

    5) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable right to pursue his Happiness.

    6) Man is free to relate, to speak, to write and peaceably assemble with and for the Supreme Sovereign Being.

    7) These, our founding principles were inscribed 225 years ago and cannot be vacated, redefined or plagiarized by Obama.

    8) The unalienable right to the pursuit of Happiness vacates the HHS Mandate that is violating so many sovereign citizens’ conscience. The unalienable Right to Life vacates the HHS Mandate and abortion. The unalienable Right to Liberty vacates the redefinition of atheism as a religion.

    9) Obama cannot give us a Freedom of Religion Day without God, for that is usurpation.

    10) The Second Amendment cannot be changed without two/thirds of the states ratifying the change. Obama says that he has some Executive authority to change some of the Second Amendment, but Obama is mistaken. Eminent domain is no longer for public use and has been redefined for public purposes, such as the politicians’ new pay raise and vacation or maybe their health insurance. Only with two/thirds of the states ratifying such a change can the change be made. This is our Constitution.

    11) We, the people, have failed “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”

    The Constitution is written for the sovereign person, who has come into existence by the creative power of God. It is the sovereign person’s choice how he will worship and acknowledge God. I do not think that it is through aborting others.

  • Mary De Voe,
    Impeachment!?
    Congressmen / women are career-“minded & hearted” as they occupy a seat that is to be honorable and mission based. Serve the public…right?

    Is this, the current abuses and what seems like run-a-muck hypocrisy the beginning of the end of our freedoms?
    Executive orders and edicts leading to the “powder keg” that will soon feel the heat of a short lit fuse?

    I believe your thread. You have aptly hit it!…the sovereign person.
    I will continue to pray, protest and plead the case of Christ. For in him is our Hope, our Freedom and our Future.

  • Art, I’m not sure I disagree with much of what you wrote. Again, though, it actually affirms what the Framers believed. That society has crumbled as the constitutional safeguards they installed were ignored and done away with only confirms that what they feared about government and democracies was accurate. If there is fault with them and the Constitution is that there is no adequate means of addressing the issue of who has the final say on constitutional interpretation. If Hamilton was naive it was in writing things like the Judiciary would be the least dangerous branch of government. They did not foresee the rise of an imperial judiciary. And while they thought that the Supreme Court should be an arbiter of the Constitutional, they never believed it should be the final arbiter.

    Is the design flawed? No.

  • All designs are flawed, and the utility of designs is perishable.

  • “Though conservatives like to point out that the government created under the Constitution is one of limited powers – a fact which is undeniably true – the Constitution actually enhanced the powers of the federal government and was meant, in part, to curb some of the excesses of unlimited state authority.”
    This conservative in NY would appreciate a little curbing aimed at Cuomo&Co.

  • “Government without justice is mass brigandage.” St. Augustine

    If a gang of fascists or imbeciles in legislatures (none campaigned on gun control) and courts are illegally amending or to repealing parts of the Constituion.

    The political/social “contract” that bind us as a people is being torn asunder.

    These tired, effete “people control” exec orders and gun confiscation laws would not have saved one Sandy Hook school child nor will they make one US pupil safer.

    Criminals and madmen (by nature) don’t obey laws.

    It is a special kind of stupid of which these people suffer. It’s the reason every trillion-dollar liberal wet dream has been a waste of those trillions of dollars and a waste time and effort, with the “beneficiaries” of the liberal wet dreams worse off ever after.

    And, this idiocy explains the re-election (51% of voters) of the worst president in history and, concomitantly, the destruction of American peace and prosperity.

    The deficits, money printing, regulations, and presidential hate-mongering cannot go on forever. And, it will not. Soon, the “fat lady” will have sung her last note.

  • Could she expedite that song? Say yesterday. That would work for me.

  • Those stating that one of the purposes of the constition was to prevent state governments from trampling our freedoms should be aware that this was not true of the original constitution. The limits the original constitution placed on states were how states were to interact with each other and with foreign powers. For the first hundred years the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states, their constitutions had their own BOR’s. it was not till 1897 that SCOTUS decided that wasn’t good enough and started holding the states to selective amendments.

  • Those stating that one of the purposes of the constition was to prevent state governments from trampling our freedoms should be aware that this was not true of the original constitution.

    Well the original Constitution didn’t go as far in this regard as some of the Framers would have liked. Madison’s original plan called for a national veto over state laws, and this was actually a major concern for him. But that got shot down at the convention. That said, the Constitution did pull back from the states some of the unbounded powers it enjoyed previously. But you’re absolutely right about the Bill of Rights not applying to the states until the Supreme Court discovered the magical jujitsu power of the 14th Amendment.

  • This conservative in NY would appreciate a little curbing aimed at Cuomo&Co.

    The text of the 2d Amendment is as follows:

    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

    The plain meaning a) recognizes a personal right and b) specifies that what is referred to would be military arms. It does not specify the authority which may not so infringe. On the face of it, the people are immune from the actions of any public authority, not merely Congress and the agencies which act at its direction.

    The thing is, ascertaining what the boundary conditions of this right are is a perplexing task. Clayton Cramer has been building a case that Saul Cornell (an obnoxious advocate of the view that the Amendment protects the franchise of the states to set up militias) has been defrauding his readers by systematically ignoring 19th century case law which recognized this as a personal right. That aside, there is a question of whether it applies against state governments or not. Aside from that, there is the question of how literally to interpret this formulation. As a rule, people do not conceive of a right of free speech to encompass a right to run up and down residential streets at three o’clock in the morning bare assed and screaming obscenities. What would be the analogous situation with regard to 2d Amendment rights?

    (Personally, I would be pleased if Gov. Cuomo would propose amendments and legislation to scrape the barnacles off the state’s hull. Our political architecture is a mess, but no element of the political class seems to care, including the journalists who cover the legislature. At least Mr. Zummo will likely not tell me that the Unified Court System or the Town Law have no design flaws).

  • “As a rule, people do not conceive of a right of free speech to encompass a right to run up and down residential streets at three o’clock in the morning bare assed and screaming obscenities. What would be the analogous situation with regard to 2d Amendment rights?”
    @Art Deco
    1) Only truth is allowed freedom in the public and private spheres. Obscenities are out and a person must be arrested, that is stopped, by peace keeping officers and officials.
    2) Curfew laws are in place even if not widely acknowledged. No noise after ten o’clock.
    3) When I stop laughing I will write. The exposure of the human body must be respected and have an important reason. Take Lady Godiva. Lady Godiva was protesting the heavy taxes. Her husband was the tax collector. She gave him back her clothes, as did St. Francis, informed the town of her protest and asked for indulgence.
    4) Rightfully so. If the government disarms the person and injury is inflicted, the government becomes an accessory after the fact, not only for disarming the citizen, but for not protecting the citizen. The state then becomes liable to restitution for its failure to safeguard the citizen, and also complicit in disarming the citizen. Double jeopardy for the citizen, none for the culprit and his accomplice, the state. Endangerment is against the law, even for Cuomo.

  • @4) Government becomes an accessory before (before) the fact of injury inflicted. Sorry about that.

  • @Philip: The sovereign person constitutes the state. As you have probably read me before, the sovereign person loses his sovereignty when he consents to crime and sin, murder and lying. Criminals do not constitute the state. The sovereign person who constitutes the state and the state, itself must be protected from such and the Department of Justice is called into being by such a need. Any individual human being who presumes to deprive another sovereign person of his sovereignty, civil rights and Creator endowed unalienable rights forfeits his own unalienable rights. The atheist forfeits his own Creator endowed unalienable rights by despising, rejecting and repudiating, actually plagiarizing and impersonating the Creator, the Supreme Sovereign Being and Endower of sovereignty. The proof of this fact is that the atheist does not endow LIFE, nor does the atheist bless LIFE. Life, for the atheist, must be snuffed out by the atheist because HUMAN LIFE gives testament to the Supreme Sovereign Being, creator of LIFE. The Right to LIFE inscribed in the Declaration of Independence is from “their Creator”, and not from the community as the Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations declares. One nation under the world bank would impose these godless human rights that might be disposed of by the state, by the “community” that plagiarizes these rights from God.
    In an act of free will, the atheist rejects the Creator of his free will, thereby making of himself, a beast of burden to the state, making of himself a human being devoid of his rational, immortal soul. The atheist then imposes his dehumanizing decision on sovereign and free people to make himself “somebody”.
    A real somebody praises God every second of every day for his being.

Let’s Ignore That Pesky Constitution

Monday, December 31, AD 2012

 

 

Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown (surprise!), doesn’t think much of the Constitution as he explains in an op-ed in the New York Times:

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?       

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.       

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

Of course we should still obey those parts of the Constitution that Professor Seidman likes:

This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.       

Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.       

What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief. Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.

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50 Responses to Let’s Ignore That Pesky Constitution

  • “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” John Adams

  • I remember a book about rewriting the Constitution coming out just after Obama’s first election. I didn’t read anything about it but I believe its premise was essentially that of Prof. Seidman.

    This of course is part of the long-term project of the Left. The Constitution stops their control of power. More of this to come for sure.

  • The man reveals that he has no business teaching constitutional law, and, one might wager, never did.

    Legal security requires that positive law be respected. If you do not care for the positive law, advocate altering it through the mechanisms it provides. Does this occur to Prof. Seidman?

    Actually, though, we would probably be better off with a body of constitutional law enacted by statute (with interstitial case law) as they do in Israel and New Zealand than with the system we have now. As of now, any statutory enactment can be annulled by a set of tenured lawyers meeting in secret. The lawyers in question usually reflect the tastes and prejudices of the elite bar and the law professoriate and have a structurally antinomian world view, just like this character. Let’s ignore the whole thing and tell Prof. Seidman to get stuffed.

  • Necessity a.k.a. the common good is the alibi of all tyrants.

    From Instapundit: “I dunno. Does this mean we should ignore Roe? Or Miranda? And Baker v. Carr? And if the Constitution is this obsolete and “evil,” then maybe secession isn’t off the table after all? . . . .”

    “It’s beyond even that. Their entire authority comes from the Constitution, and is the only reason we aren’t entitled simply to ignore them, or hang them from a tree for their insolence. Take away that source of authority because you don’t like the constraints it involves, and you’re a lot closer to the tree. Those who think themselves above the law are not in a position to hide behind it.

    “MORE: On Facebook, Randy Barnett snarks: ‘I suppose this means the income tax could now be unconstitutional if we can just get 5 votes.’

    “MORE STILL: Reader Bill Bacon writes: ‘If, after all, the Constitution isn’t to be followed then doesn’t that mean we default to the Articles of Confederation? Don’t know about you, but I personally like the idea of having to get unanimous consent of the states to raise taxes….’ Heh.

    “Related: New York Sun: The Times Gives Up .’It will be illuminating to see how far the Times takes its latest lament, particularly because these days the Left generally seems to see the Constitution as a threat more to the liberal than the conservative cause.’ As I say, that’s an admission of sorts.”

    No one would know what is law and what not. Whimsical gangsters running unchecked/unlimited government will decide. Talk about uncertainty.

    The ruling class will support it. To the ruled class, “We know what is good for you, shut up!”

    From Marcus Lucanus, “Pharsallia”, “Here I abandoned peace and desecrated law; fortune it is you I follow. Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge!”

  • No one would know what is law and what not. Whimsical gangsters running unchecked/unlimited government will decide. Talk about uncertainty.

    What is disconcerting is that the person sending up this trial balloon is a law professor – someone who argues for a living and teaches others to argue for a living. He does not seem to have thought this through. Neither has the editor of the op-ed page.

    The liberal arts college I know best had a provision in its faculty handbook which allowed the provost to dismiss a tenured professor whose medical or psychological condition prevented him from working. A septuagenarian philosophy professor abruptly retired in 1998 and the word on the street on that campus was that he was told he could retire or face dismissal under that clause. He had been manifesting peculiar behavior for about five years at that point. The Alzheimer’s diagnosis was made about a month after he taught his last class.

    The law dean at Georgetown needs to read the little used clauses in faculty contracts.

  • …but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”

    What then, when the perverted make up the leading body? When the perverted continue to vote the perverted in? What next?
    This Constitutional expert might want to step out of the cesspool and rinse off.

  • I have mentioned Orestes Brownson and his ideas about Catholicism and America before in these comments. From:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/ZAMERDEM.HTM
    I get the understanding that the framers built better than they knew and that

    Brownson concluded that Americans think both falsely and detrimentally about liberty when they believe that the Constitution is their own creature to be manipulated at will. “

  • The thing is that those who justify their activist ideas under the guise of the philosphy of a “living breathing” Constitution is that they don’t actually believe that the Constitution is living and breathing because every living organism grows in an organic manner. And their understanding of the Consitution is anything but that!

    Robert George wrote an interesting article about a decade ago on Lincoln and his concern about judical despotism:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/lincoln-on-judicial-despotism-16

  • I’ve heard it said that when it rains, the Angels are weeping. Beginning to think that for the past few years it has really been the Madisons (James and Dolly) and the rest of the Founding Fathers.

  • Jefferson wrote to Madison on September 6 1789: “it may be proved, that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation: they may manage it, then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters, too, of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors are extinguished then, in their natural course, with those whose will gave them being. This could preserve that being, till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of thirty-four years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right. ”

    He goes on to argue that a right of amendment or repeal is not a satisfactory equivalent.

    Jefferson clearly embraced the concept of law as an expression of the general will.

  • Jefferson clearly embraced the concept of law as an expression of the general will.

    Something of interest to Jefferson aficionados. Never been true in this country.

    The trouble we have had for about 60 years now is the belief that the law should be a function of the volonte generale of the appellate judiciary and their friends in the academy. Canada developed a particularly virulent case of this social disease when the country foolishly patriated its constitution with Pierre Trudeau’s repellant “Charter of Rights” appended. Figures in Israel’s judiciary would clearly like to seize this sort of discretion but are constrained by the capacity of the Knesset to put them out of business. The expression of this in Europe is not judicial misfeasance but the abuses of the European Commission, &c. The regime class is all over the occidental world and needs to be forcibly dispossessed.

    The political theorist Gottfried Dietze contended that the Anglophone world had seen repeated instances of what he referred to by the odd term ‘diffidatio’. He thought they occurred on cycles measured in centuries and that we were due for another. The baron’s mutiny which produced the Magna Carta, the revolt against Charles I, and the American Revolution were examples he offered of a social mechanism restoring ordered liberty. Our enemy in this country is not anything so discrete and forthright as an abusive crown. It is a whole social system whereby everything is put under the supervision of lawyers advised by the academy and the helping professions and justified by systemic mendacity (courtesy the bar, the academy and the dependents in the press corps).

  • Art Deco

    As Jefferson says, in pointing out thatt he power of repeal is not an equivalent:”But the power of repeal is not an equivalent. It might be, indeed, if every form of government were so perfectly contrived, that the will of the majority could always be obtained, fairly and without impediment. But this is true of no form: The people cannot assemble themselves; their representation is unequal and vicious. Various checks are opposed to every legislative proposition. Factions get possession of the public councils, bribery corrupts them, personal interests lead them astray from the general interests of their constituents; and other impediments arise, so as to prove to every practical man, that a law of limited duration is much more manageable than one which needs a repeal.”

    It is worth also recalling his view on the September Massacres: “”Many guilty persons fell without the forms of trial, and with them some innocent. These I deplore as much as anybody. But—it was necessary to use the arm of the people, a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree—was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood?” If he believed that maintaining the constitution was “an act of force, not of right,” he was plainly not a man averse to the people asserting their rights.

    He was more of a Jacobin, than is commonly acknowledged.

  • MPS, I am no history buff, but what you said about Jefferson’s view of the September Massacres in the late summer of 1792 in France indicates that he believed the ends justified the means even though he deplored much of what happened in the means: the loss of innocent life. The Roman Church was severely persecuted during this period, principally because Pope Pius VI refused in 1791 to give support to a civil Cnstitution that attempted to re-organize the Church hierarchy based on the will of the “peepul.” Here is a link to his letter: http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p6charit.htm. I do not understand how anyone could think the bloody violence of the French Revolution was a good thing. This is 1st Samuel chapter 8 taken to an extreme. And in today’s Amerika we may yet find the “peepul” to become as ruthless and bloodthirsty as those in France in the 1790s.

  • MPS, Jefferson’s correspondence is just not that important. That was not how political institutions were structured in 1800 and that is not how they are structured today. If you are fascinated with Jefferson the person or with a history of controversies and currents of thought in the latter 18th c. anglosphere, I suppose his opinions are interesting.

  • And in today’s Amerika we may yet find the “peepul” to become as ruthless and bloodthirsty as those in France in the 1790s.

    Cud-chewing indifference and the celebrity culture are much more of a problem among rank-and-file Americans than the formation of mobs. Look at the statistics on lynching over the period running from 1893 to about 1946. They tell a story of a declining propensity or capacity to engage in violent collective action. Where you see mobs and riot today, it is almost invariably in connection with public entertainments like sporting events, carnivals, and rock concerts.

    Our real problem is not with mobs, but with the social strata and occupational subcultures which fancy themselves our betters.

  • Art Deco, I think that I have to agree with you. However, isn’t the end result the same: eventual persecution of the Church?

  • MPS, Jefferson’s correspondence is just not that important.

    To the degree that his ideas have been incorporated and implemented by the left, unfortunately they are.

  • Paul W. Primavera & Art Deco

    I quote Jefferson, not because I agree with his views, but because Jefferson was far from being an unimportant figure in the American Revolution.

    His views on the Church are quite explicit: “This principle, that the earth belongs to the living and not to the dead, is of very extensive application and consequences in every country, and most especially in France. It enters into the resolution of the questions, whether the nation may change the descent of lands holden in tail; whether they may change the appropriation of lands given anciently to the church, to hospitals, colleges, orders of chivalry, and otherwise in perpetuity; whether they may abolish the charges and privileges attached on lands, including the whole catalogue, ecclesiastical and feudal; it goes to hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions, to hereditary orders, distinctions and appellations, to perpetual monopolies in commerce, the arts or sciences, with a long train of et ceteras”

    In that year of 1789, the theory that political power comes from those over whom it is exercised, and depends upon their will; that every authority not so constituted is illegitimate and precarious; that the past is more a warning than an example; that the earth belongs to those who are on it, not under it, was obviously current on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Hamilton, by the by, called the Constitution, “a frail and worthless fabric, and a temporary bond.” John Adam, an aristocrat at heart (which Jefferson was not) declared that “No Republic could ever last that had not a Senate deeply and strongly rooted, strong enough to bear up against all popular storms and passions. That as to trusting to a popular assembly for the preservation of our liberties, it was the merest chimera imaginable; they never had any rule of decision but their own will.”

  • To the degree that his ideas have been incorporated and implemented by the left, unfortunately they are.

    I suspect that rather tends to exaggerate the erudition of working politicians and social policy wonks. However, you’re the intellectual historian, not me, and you have the Congressional staff post, so perhaps you can elaborate. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that in nearly twenty years in politics and government, he had never had a discussion of ideas. Have things changed? It is difficult to believe that Louise Slaughter (to take one example) would know Jefferson’s correspondence from a cheap romance novel.

  • The Constitution affirms that the sovereign personhood of each and every individual citizen constitutes government and that government is the servant of the people. The Costitution also affirmes that there is a Supreme Sovereign Being (there can be only one Supreme Sovereign Being, as two preempt each other) WHOM sovereign persons must acknowledge in thanksgiving for Divine Providence. God, Whom we all must be free to worship, as only God has endowed unalienable rights, eternal truths that our founding fathers inscribed in our founding principles. As Justice Scalia states: Our Constitution has got us dead to rights. America is the only nation on the face of the earth that guarantees freedom, truth and Justice.

  • Art Deco: “Jefferson clearly embraced the concept of law as an expression of the general will.”
    The law must bring us Justice and Truth, therefore, a majority of one in Truth and Justice that all persons might be free. E Pluribus Unum. Jefferson clearly embraced the concept of law as an expression of good will. Peace on earth to men of good will.

  • People often accuse the Right of being anti-intellectual. It’s hard to imagine a more anti-intellectual approach to law than:

    Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

    Simply staggering.

  • Fascinating discussion! Happy 2013!

  • “Jefferson clearly embraced the concept of law as an expression of the general will.”

    Jefferson reject the authority of the Church and 2000 years of Sacred Tradition in having created his very own Bible:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/62/The_Jefferson_Bible_The_Life__Morals_of_Jesus_of_Nazareth_1.html

    Would not such a person that believe that all rightful authority comes from the “peepul” and not from God?

    I do not denigrate Jefferson or his memory, and he certainly was a great man. Nevertheless, in being a man, he was sometimes (maybe oftimes) wrong.

  • Mary, I have not read Jefferson’s letters. You are confounding my views with those of Michael Patterson-Seymour.

  • John Adam, an aristocrat at heart (which Jefferson was not)

    John Adams was an attorney living and working in the village of Braintree, Massachusetts. Thomas Jefferson was a country squire. Why is a member of the bourgeois and proto-urban sliver of colonial America an aristocrat at heart and a man occupying a position analagous to the British gentry something else?

  • The Reign of Terror in France was nothing more than the Act of Supremacy in England, power run amok. Jefferson worked against the Reign of Terror coming to America after the Revolutionary War. Jefferson wanted something better for America. We had men of honor: George Washington who declined a crown to be king. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, who refuse to take vengeance and restitution against those who supported England duing the War of Independence, after the peace treaty was signed. It seems that our Reign of Terror came before and precipitated our Declaration of Independence. Our Amendments do not change the Constitution, but reinforce every right and freedom. If the Constitution must be amended let it be to make it stronger and more precise.

  • Art Deco: “Mary, I have not read Jefferson’s letters. You are confounding my views with those of Michael Patterson-Seymour.” Yes, you are correct. The general will or the will of the people must be of a people of good will for the common good. Moving foward in good will. Do accept my apology.
    Mary

  • Discussing the various personalities and states of life of those founders is not as interesting to me as the philosophical understanding of what it means to have a constitution, where it came from and how it was possible. America’s “providential” or unwritten constitution underpins our Constitution written by TJ etal. ??
    In the article I submitted to you “The written constitution is merely legislative; only a people who are already constituted can lay down the law. An unwritten constitution is always the precondition for a written constitution, and it sets limits to what the written constitution can reasonably accomplish. “?

    In these comment boxes many are talking in effect, about the contract.
    I wonder if we no longer have the precondition to have such an agreement?

    “American founders had as “givens” the republican form of government from Rome, science and art from Greece, British political institutions and the Christian truth about the rights of human beings — “the rights of beings who are both part of and transcend by their natures a particular political community.” (Lawler) ?

  • America’s “providential” or unwritten constitution underpins our Constitution written by TJ etal. ??

    There were 55 delegates to the convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Jefferson was not one of them. George Washington was there, Benjamin Franklin was there, Alexander Hamilton was there, James Madison was there, Elbridge Gerry was there. Adams and Jefferson were not.

  • : ) of course you are right Art. I goofed – and I know better– but still asking whether or not we have the social underpinning for the Constitution.. as did the culture that was able to declare a Declaration and constitute a Constitution

  • Waal: here is what the sociopathic Mr. Trudeau persuaded Canadian legislators to accept:

    http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html#h-39

    Be most pleased if Dr. Zummo would publish an annotation and critique of form and content.

  • I just keep looking over that editorial trying to articulate exactly what’s wrong with it, but there’s too much wrong with it. It is, simply put, completely wrong. There’s nothing you can point to and say “this is where his thinking went off the rails”. It was never anywhere near the rails.

    But just to keep myself from going nuts, let me spell this out. He says that Congress shouldn’t be bound by rules like the origination of spending bills from the House. But he also says that there should be two houses of Congress. Well, where is the list of rules that we should retain or ignore? What is the algorithm? If none exists, how are we to determine which rules are obsolete? He says that on the flexible points (without defining which ones are flexible), each party should have to make its case on the grounds of the political moment. Make the case to whom? It bothers him that, since Supreme Court decisions have been written from differing legal theories, a person can’t agree with them all. How are people going to come to agreement without any legal theories? Even if you want to call such an environment “law”, and I don’t see how you could, you could never call anything settled law, because there’s no means to settle anything.

    Art suggests that there’s mental illness involved. I think he’s right. And I know that a newspaper doesn’t necessarily endorse every opinion piece it publishes. But even if the professor has lost his mind, how can the NYT justify printing his editorial?

    The thing is, the author isn’t advocating for liberal policies. The only underlying ideology that could allow his approach is nihilism. That rules which has power to rule.

  • Be most pleased if Dr. Zummo would publish an annotation and critique of form and content.

    Wait, now I’m being given homework?

    Just one correction for Art – don’t work for Congress, though I know plenty that do. You’re probably right about their understanding of political philosophy.

  • To clarify my previous remark: I was referring to Congressmen, not the staff. If the people that I knew that worked for Congress were actually members – including the liberals – it would be a marked improvement.

  • Let’s ignore the pesky president. Let’s ignore the lousy laws. Let’s ignore the crass calumnies. Let’s ignore mealy-mouthed minions.

    From James Scott’s book, Two Cheers for Anarchy, quoted by Instapundit in late November 2012,

    “One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.”

    Let us become ungovernable.

    “To burst in twain the galling chain, and free our native land!”

  • Wait, now I’m being given homework?

    I do not make assignments, but Tito Edwards lets you post. Anzlyne wants to know what you get in positive law if the cultural underpinnings which attended the original constitution are removed. Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s handiwork, promulgated in 1982, gives us a notion (all the more so because the man was Canada’s answer to John Edwards).

  • Please let me clarify “good will”. If 99.9% of the will of the people voted for abortion, ssm, pornography, prostitution, and only 0.1% voted for the Right to Life, virtue, virginity and innocence, the 0.1% will of the people would become law, because this 0.1% has maintained their sovereign personhood in truth to constitute the government. It is the duty of government to protect and defend the good of the people as man is created in virginity and innocence. Corruption does not have freedom of speech, press or assembly. Only truth has freedom. Vice may not be validated. Crime may not be legalized. Only 0.1% of the people may constitute government, the rest have become outlaws and separated themselves from the truth.
    Informed sexual consent begins at emancipation, eighteen years of age. Yet, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has advocated informed sexual consent for girls of fourteen years of age in her book. Of course, the Legislature passed the fourteen years of age as informed consent behind closed doors on Christmas Eve, legalizing rape and prostitution. When the people learned of it, the Legislature moved the age to sixteen and cheated all the young out of two years of security and the rest of the people out of our right to the truth and the blessings of Liberty. The newly begotten sovereign person endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator is the standard of Justice in legal and moral innocence and virginity and constitutes the state with his sovereign personhood endowed by our Creator. The one cell at conception does the will of God by existing as a human being. Lies about fake husbands and fake wives are perjury in a court of law as are lies about human sexuality in pornography.
    Good will is the will of the people who are in conformity with all unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.

  • Anzlyne

    “The written constitution is merely legislative; only a people who are already constituted can lay down the law.”

    That is true, for the nation precedes the state: unlike the state, it is not mechanical in its construction, but organic in its growth. As Mazzini, “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition; and they demand to associate freely, without obstacles, without foreign domination, in order to elaborate and express their idea…”

    Of course, the national will embodies the national character, which pervades the natures of its members and expresses itself in their actions.

  • I was just joking, Art.

    Having glanced at the document, what strikes me more than any particular point is the length of it. The Framers originally resisted incorporating a Bill of Rights precisely because they thought an enumeration of specific rights would have indicated that anything not mentioned was not protected. The 9th Amendment was their way of addressing this problem, but I’m not sure it has worked as intended.

    Of course our particular Bill of Rights was shorter and broader. This points to a much different conception of the role of government. If you are developing a government that you believe will have a fairly minimal role in society, then you would not deem it necessary to create an extensive list of basic rights. That the Canadian Bill of Rights (or Charter of Freedoms) runs so long tells you all you need to know about how its framers viewed the role of government in society. The bigger the leviathan state, the more rights you have to specifically enumerate. Note the length of the 1924 Soviet Constitution.

  • Paul Zummo

    It is interesting to compare the Bill of Rights, with the contemporaneous Declaration of Human & Civic Rights (26 August 1789)

    http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/root/bank_mm/anglais/cst2.pdf

    It is a short document, two pages in length. It is a recognition, not an enactment of rights: “the National Assembly recognises and declares, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following Rights of Man and of the Citizen.”

    Some notable features are the enumeration of “the natural and imprescriptible rights of Man. These rights are Liberty, Property, Safety and Resistance to Oppression (Art 2), the exclusive sovereignty of the nation (Art 3), law as an expression of the general will, which must be the same for all (Art 6) the accountability of all public officials (Art 15- this was particularly directed at the immunity of the Crown) and the laconic Art 16 – “Any society in which no provision is made for guaranteeing rights or for the separation of powers, has no Constitution.”

    Most modern national and international declarations of rights draw on both the American and French models, although, for some reason, the right of Resistance to Oppression tends to be downplayed, or, even, passed over in silence.

  • Thanks Mary De Voe. If the will of the people is not good or does not even seek standards of good, a constitution for a democracy that could endure seems impossible. The constitution becomes “pesky” and irritating like some kind of a harness that chafes.
    ..which reminds me of the “dog joy” a sled dog shows when the kennel is approached by the master with a harness in his hands…. Of course the dog is
    not a philosopher, but the animal does recognize that the freedom to run comes with that particular constraint.

  • Thanks be to God, Anzlyne: In the matter of free will and the will of the people, only good will is free, otherwise, “the people” are impugned, denigrated and violated. When a sovereign person consents to commit a sin and crime his sovereignty over himself is diminished. Diminished capacity is recognized in a court of law, but this is different, in that, the sovereignty of the person endowed at conception is perfect, but with the consent to crime, the person’s sovereignty is diminished, so that, the person may not constitute the state with or without his sovereign personhood. The criminal cannot become a citizen of the state, a state that he has not constituted, and because he has not constituted it, the state is not there for him. Taking citizenship to another sovereign person’s state, one must adhere to the principles adhered to by the other sovereign person.

    In denying to the sovereign person, the human being, his divine destiny in being composed of human body and immortal, rational soul, and in denying his endowed civil rights, and trying to deny to the sovereign person, another citizen, the practice of his endowed unalienable rights, the atheist diminishes, compromises and may be forfeiting his own sovereignty, to the degree of his consent to deprive another citizen, who is a sovereign in his own right. The atheist loses his ability to constitute the state. Without his sovereignty, the atheist has no authentic sovereignty to constitute the state.

    The Freedom from Religion Foundation is good for atheists but for people of faith, it becomes the Freedom from Freedom of Religion Foundation. To the degree that the atheist conspires, intends and consents to deny to another citizen the acknowledgement of the other citizen’s sovereign personhood and his unalienable rights, the atheist diminishes his own sovereign personhood and forfeits his unalienable rights. The atheist becomes a traitor to our founding principles, an outlaw, exiled, cut off from his people.

    In the Catholic Church, those members who conspire and consent to do evil, abuse other sovereign persons, no matter what age, self-excommunicate themselves, to the degree of the sin and crime, immediately upon surrendering their sovereign personhood to the evil. The evil doers are separated from the Body of Christ.

    The Catholic Church was instituted by Jesus Christ to offer worship to God and to continue Christ’s work in bringing souls back to Christ’s Father in heaven.

    The state prosecutes, the Church forgives. The state cannot indulge in prostitution, abortion, pornography, and sodomy and expect to prosecute child abuse.

    The state must prosecute crime. The Catholic Church must forgive sins. When the state validates vice, legalizes crime and indulges in evil, the state, constituted by the good will of free men, ceases to exist as freedom and becomes an atheocracy.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: from Jefferson: “This principle, that the earth belongs to the living and not to the dead, etc.” Could Jefferson be calling upon the trust in which all Church property is held for our constitutional posterity, (from the Preamble), for all future generations to come? The “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Our obligation to hand over to the coming generations the sovereignty, the unalienable rights, the founding principles, the reigns of a nations so brought to birth in freedom, that truth and Justice in law and tradition flourish, so that when citizens lay down to sleep in death, they may rest in peace. I find it particularly fascinating that both Jefferson and Adams passed into eternal life on July 4th, only four hours apart.

  • Well said Donald!

  • All I have to say is either this chap has gone off the deep end or simply wants
    publicity.

  • Many persons quote opinions of our founding fathers as law. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are ratified by all the states and are our law of the land no matter what is their writers’ opinion. Having been ratified by the states, the law of the land and our founding principles must be interpreted by the Supreme Court as written. The “living Constitution ” cannot be interpreted to mean anything but what it says or unless change is ratified by two-thirds of the states, it is what it is. The principle of separation of church and state is a good example of an opinion of Thomas Jefferson’s that has been abused to the point of criminality in depriving freedom, when in fact, Jefferson stated his opinion to support the First Amendment. In interpreting our founding principles, it is necessary to consider the whole of the law. Speaking to God is free speech even for the unborn. Piecemeal, reconstructed, often destroys the meaning and intent.

  • Mary de Voe

    Jefferson does raise a rather interesting point in his letter to Madison.

    If law is a command (an act of the will), how can it outlast those who will it? In other words, how can the commands of the dead be binding on the living?

    That is why Jefferson argues that all laws should have a “sunset clause” or expiry date.

    For practical reasons, he does not think the right of repeal an equivalent – See my post of 1 January at 12:08 supra.

  • Michael PS:
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    Every newly created human soul brought into existence and endowed with sovereign personhood is an “I AM”. Not one single “I AM” may be left out of “WE”. The Preamble to our U.S. Constitution states specifically the purpose of our Constitution. While the Law of the Land may vary, be amended, or change with the culture, the purpose of its being does not change or may the Preamble be removed, erased of modified. If the rights and freedoms endowed as unalienable by our Creator can be removed or modified, the people are no longer free, in the freedom created for us by our Creator. I keep using “their Creator” as does the Declaration of Independence precisely because atheists and others have removed the acknowledgement of God from our culture and from the public square.
    Our “POSTERITY” are all future generations to whom and for whom we must secure the Blessings of Liberty through our constitutional laws. Is there a right to privacy to destroy our Constitutional posterity? There is not, especially when that right to privacy removes from every male citizen the ownership of his own seed and offspring, and from the newly begotten person the freedom to defend his life from capital punishment, and from our posterity, the right to have informed consent at emancipation. Is there a right to corrupt our natural virginity, innocence and Justice? There is not, especially since Virginity, innocence and Justice are endowed unalienable virtues granted to the human person through the person’s immortal soul created by our Creator and endowed with all virtue and innocence. Is there a right to redefine the human person as having no soul for the purposes of the state? There is not, especially since the state does not create the human being’s rational, immortal soul, nor does the state endow unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. These unalienable rights are endowed by our Creator, WHOM, the atheist has removed from us. The atheist has criminalized the worship of God in thought, word and deed, in belief, in speech, in press and in peaceable assembly, abandoning citizens as prey for predators, and countermanding the states’ obligation to protect and preserve our virtue… “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  • Michael PS:
    It cannot be otherwise. When all is said and done, it is a dead issue, not the Constitution, but the greedy evil to instill injustice and harm into the nation, by misrepresenting, and miscarrying our Justice.

Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

Wednesday, May 23, AD 2012

True Leadership

“The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.

Well?

While the nation discusses and debates the attacks on religious freedom, a high school junior in Florida has put her academic reputation on the line to stand up for her faith. Margeaux Graham was selected this year to participate in a prestigious 9-day leadership event in her state’s capital. The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) of Florida has an annual “Girls State” program whereby the participants “learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.” It is a “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. They are awarded 3 college credits and rare notoriety in the college application process.

Margeaux is a faithful Catholic. That is, she takes her obligation to attend Mass as just that — her obligation. When she inquired about nearby Catholic churches to plan where she would attend, she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference. The event takes place at the University of Central Florida Florida State University and the cathedral is nearby the campus. [see update] A member of the national American Legion even contacted the Auxiliary to arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass on campus, and this accommodation was denied.

So Margeaux took action herself. She wrote to the organizers declining the invitation, with firm resolve, unless she was allowed to attend Mass. This is her letter, reprinted with permission. Mind you, she is a high school junior.

 


TO: American Legion Auxiliary Unit #21
FROM: Margeaux Graham
RE: Girls State 2012
DATE: May 7, 2012

I am regretfully writing this letter to formally inform you that I will be unable to attend Florida Girls State in June. I am extremely honored that you found me worthy to represent American Legion Auxiliary unit #21 and am devastated that I cannot participate. I attended orientation on May 6, 2012 and was informed by [name private] that I would not be allowed to attend Mass on Sunday.

My faith is very important to me, as it has been to countless Americans. This country was founded on the principles of religious and personal freedom, the fundamental rights that either you or your loved ones fought to protect. It is disheartening that the Florida Girls State program is structured in such a way that it prohibits participation of young women who have a strong conviction for their religious practices.

The only opportunity to participate in a Sunday service is presented in a “non-offensive”, non-denominational service. As a Catholic Christian I find it offensive that I am not allowed to attend Mass and am perplexed as to how this service could accommodate the beliefs of other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and all Christian religions. I am disappointed to see the lack of respect for religious creed from the Florida Girls State program by limiting participants to only one religious paradigm.

Miss [name private] made it quite clear that I had to choose between my faith and Florida Girls State. I was looking forward to attending with great zeal, the knowledge, experience, and friends gained would have been invaluable. My faith has made me who I am, it has shaped me into the young woman that you chose as your delegate, for me to deny my faith would be hypocritical. Words cannot express my disappointment that the Florida Girls State program is designed to only accommodate delegates who fit into a pre-determined religious belief system or none at all.

Margeaux Graham


 

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175 Responses to Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

  • This is silliness on stilts! The American Legion Auxillary should recall that the military supplies chaplains because of the importance of religious duties. Additionally this gives them terrible press instead of making a simple reasonable accomodation for this young lady. Stupidity always offends me and the attitude of the Auxillary officials in this case wreaks of stupidity.

  • This is silliness on stilts!

    Think of the source. The woman in question who wrote that smarmy letter organizes boondoggles for a living.

    A curt response from Miss Graham informing said state officer that attendance at Mass is obligatory (“in case you’ve forgotten”) and that jaunts like Florida Girls State rank in any serious person’s list of priorities behind prayer and worship, family duties, employment, school work, and exercise might but this broad in her place for a while.

  • This is the first time I have ever been embarrassed to be an American Legion member.

  • I certainly applaud this young woman and wish her the best. The attempt to corral people into a “non-offensive” worship service is creepy and bizarre, to say the least.

    I do have to question this, however:

    “Yet, they are using coercive force to violate this young woman’s fundamental constitutional and civil right to worship, guaranteed to her by the First Amendment.”

    I don’t see it that way. They aren’t using coercive force. They’re establishing a condition for participation in their event. I’m fairly certain they’re allowed to do that, no matter how repugnant we find it, and that it doesn’t rise to the level of “coercion” or a violation of the young woman’s rights. She is free not to attend, free to publicly protest this abhorrent treatment, and hopefully garner enough support to put sufficient public pressure on this organization to change its ways.

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  • The worst threat to the faith of Catholics in America are other self-identified Catholics.

    Part of the rebuttal needs to be to point out that arrangement nicely *privileges* (not accommodates, but flat-out privileges) Protestants, who have their needs met, but no one else. A reminder to the Legion that the military is still disproportionately Catholic wouldn’t hurt, either.

    And, yes, it is a discriminatory act–it conditions participation in an activity that is supposed to be open to participants regardless of creed with a requirement that one is not able to observe one’s creed. Whether it is actionable or not, I’m not certain. It’s not like a Methodist camp open only to Methodist youth, for example, where such a requirement would not be a problem.

    It is certain that the Florida AL has certainly bought itself a PR nightmare far worse than any suit.

  • When our son attended Boys State, we were allowed meet him at the gate, take him to mass, and return him to the facility where the event was held. The local auxiliary was very accommodating and Nick’s sponsor commended him for making his faith a priority ( he was not Catholic).

    It is appealing to see the officer making personal attacks on the girl and her mother, and equating mass with a track meet. I am nearly speechless , but I’m glad Ms. graham is not. I hope she is selected as a congressional page and eventually runs for office. Or that she becomes a religious sister and joins her community in praying for our country. Or that she becomes a wife and mother who raises up the next generation of clear thinking, passionate, convicted U.S. citizens.

    Her mother has every reason to be proud.

  • Part of the rebuttal needs to be to point out that arrangement nicely *privileges* (not accommodates, but flat-out privileges) Protestants, who have their needs met, but no one else. A reminder to the Legion that the military is still disproportionately Catholic wouldn’t hurt, either. And, yes, it is a discriminatory act–it conditions participation in an activity that is supposed to be open to participants regardless of creed with a requirement that one is not able to observe one’s creed.

    One cannot practically be comprehensively accommodating. Any sort of common activity is likely to be abrasive to someone in some degree. The trouble here is that they appear to have made no efforts to be accommodating nor to explain any logistical problems with being accommodating. Instead, this institutional apparatchik attacks the girl and her mother for their priorities.

    I should note that the people being accommodated are not ‘Protestants’ but rather 1.) low intensity Baptists and 2.) Protestants whose observance is haphazard. Protestants in liturgical denominations are not being accommodated; the Orthodox are not being accommodated; &c.

  • Pretty obvious to me what’s behind this. The Masons want to create a voodoo religion that makes all religious thinking “equal” so that they may then simply brainwash people into thinking no religion is necessary….and then a purely secular One World Government will rule anything at all for any reason at all….which the elites running the show will determine themselves. Just like Mr Obama is doing with the HHS Mandate.
    Catholics have already found God, and aren’t looking for another. Margaux Graham gets that, and has a right to live that belief , guaranteed by the Fist Amendment. In living out her faith, she is actually blessing Girl’s State. By dliberately eliminating the Freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment, the petty officials of Girl’s State are cursing themselves.

  • Art: good points.

  • Quibble here:

    I’m from Central Florida, went to the University in question, and lived literally across the street from the campus for several years. It’s UCF, not UFC. And this piece is not accurate in stating that the “cathedral” is right across the street from the university. It’s not a cathedral. And it’s several miles down the road from the campus. Probably a ten minute drive with traffic. But certainly not within a reasonable walking distance considering the distance, the fact that the university itself (which is quite large, and even getting to University Blvd from the dorm area is a good mile at least, so it’s not like walking out the front door onto the street) is located on a major roadway that’s not known for safe pedestrian traffic, and to get to the church requires crossing a MAJOR intersection that crosses a highly trafficked highway.

    Now, they should certainly accommodate this young lady. A non-denominational service is most definitely not the same as a Catholic mass and it’s incredibly ham-handed of the hosting group to suggest that this “service” would be sufficient. If they can’t get her ten minutes down the street to the church for mass then I don’t see why it’s a problem for the priest they contacted to say mass on campus. It’s silly that they can’t accommodate this young lady. But let’s not over-exaggerate the situation in her favor, either.

  • You guys recently featured the story from The Onion that every possible presidential candidate in 2040 had already disgraced themselves. It’s good to be reminded that there are some great kids out there.

    (BTW – Off subject, I love this site, but it’s taking about a minute to load the home page, on both my home and work computers. It’s been getting worse over the past few weeks. Verifying that Onion article took me five minutes. Yes, I’m using Windows Explorer, but I don’t have any other options on my office machine.)

  • Mandy P, THANK YOU. I edited that sentence. Thanks for catching the typo too. Really appreciate it! You are right, we shouldn’t exaggerate.

    Appreciate the other comments too. Hope to have a good follow-up soon.

  • I am absolutely stunned that the America Legion could be so bigoted!

    Let us hope the National Oranization will act to address this religious
    hostility in public and fast.

  • Stacy,

    No problem! 🙂

    And really, I have no idea why the Legion can’t accommodate this young lady. It’s my understanding that there’s a Catholic group on campus, so either finding a mass on site or getting her to the one nearby is just not a big deal. Why the ALA is being so rigid about it is beyond me.

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  • Not sure if you wanted to keep the woman’s name private, as you did above, but it seems to be listed again towards the end of the letter. Great story, thanks for posting.

  • Sorry, Bonchamps you are wrong. The American Legion claims to be American. Either they are American and ought to apologize for their ignorance or they need to remove the title American.

  • Agree with Art Deco entirely.
    Actually, I’m even inclined to give the organization some slack in terms of what types of accommodations are practical. But the response from ALA Florida Officer (Catholic) was discouraging and infuriating beyond measure. She needs some serious fraternal correction.

  • “Why the ALA is being so rigid about it is beyond me”. The ALA may be frozen to the bottom of hell, else they would have known that there was a Catholic presence on campus and wholly made arrangements for Ms. Graham. After all, that is their job. A little respect.

  • Took me a whole, what, ten minutes to open up the site and find out that they’ve got Mass at the student union building at 7pm.

  • Pinky,

    What browser are you using? I use Chrome and though it’s loading a slight second slower than other sites, it otherwise is fine for me.

  • Somebody call Sandy Koufax. I’m sure he could say something poignant to the Legion.

  • Paul – Internet Explorer. 66 seconds just now to load the home page. If it’s just the firewall at my office getting stuck on something I wouldn’t complain, but it’s been noticably slower from my home computer too.

  • “Yet, they are using coercive force to violate this young woman’s fundamental constitutional and civil right to worship, guaranteed to her by the First Amendment.”

    That is absolutely untrue, and stating so is as bad as what this program is doing in denying the girl the right to attend Mass.

  • As a Protestant, I’m right behind her.

  • Arkasha, I know it’s strong wording, but it fits. Coerce means to constrain by authority resting on force; to constrain to compliance or obedience by forcible means. Force refers to, in this context, might or power, not physical. The superior used intimidation to coerce a young woman to violate her conscience or be rejected from an honor she earned. I appreciate that you disagree, but I stand by it.

  • This is Margeaux’s mom, keep in mind this is the Florida State ALA, we contacted the National office and received a supportive letter from them, also, the school is Florida State University. Sorry I think that was my mistake.

  • I just corrected it, Margeaux’s Mom! THX

  • I have forwarded this article to Ave Maria University Dean of Students Dan Dentino. I pray that he will be able to pull some strings and get this courageous young lady her three college credits.

  • Defender, You are awesome! Thank you.

    Credits, recognition, scholarship, etcetera!

    Seriously, she is showing people how to stand up for your faith in a tactful, peaceful, yet firm way. We need more of this.

    Also, it might interest some readers here to know that I also received a couple of inquiries about marriage prospects from parents of sons. 😉

    Go Margeaux!!!

  • OK, I’m going to do some profiling, here, so if any of you are queasy about such things, turn away now. “The adult role model went on to say that she knows God understands and accepts her decision to work this program each year even if it means she must miss Mass.” The profile indicates that the adult role model uses the “God understands” phrase not only to justify missing Mass, but to justify other things as well. Things such as her voting for the most liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, in general the most pro-socialist candidates in any particular election. And it does not make her any less of a Catholic, just ask her.

  • This kind of coercion goes on Sunday mornings for T- ball games. There are lots of other ways society ignores the Sabbath and expects Christians to just go along because Christian parents, just like other parents, also want their children to participate in all these neat and nifty activities.
    Why do they schedule all these things for Sunday morning and we all go along with it– forgetting the 3rd commandment.
    Can’t Boys and Girls State schedule free personal time at least until noon on Sunday and still provide these gifted young people with an awesome learning experience?

  • Something to keep in mind the girl state program is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. The third party that called on our behalf was a member of the American Legion who works with the boy state program. The Florida boys state only runs 7 days so they do not have the same problem.

  • The thing that made my jaw drop was the letter from the supposed Catholic so dismissive of the Sunday Mass obligation as something one could “sacrifice”. That is one of the precepts of the Church. The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life, the re-presentation of the one saving sacrifice of Christ, now risen and lives forever. This young woman has her priorities straight and is really to be commended. There is also a lesson here for all Catholics, that when traveling one should have a plan in advance how one is going to get to Sunday Mass.

  • Makes you wonder if they’ll be serving pork to their Jewish and Muslim attendees and telling them that “everyone else is eating it, so you should be fine!” Shameful.

  • The time is coming when confrontation against the forces of liberalism won’t be as peaceful as this.

    May God bless this young lady, and may God’s justice prevail upon “The American Legion Auxiliary.” Indeed, the “ALA Florida Officer” who identifies him/herself as Catholic is no more Catholic than Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:1-11, no more Catholic than that sex pervert in 1st Corinthians 5, no more Catholic than blasphemers Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20, no more Catholic than that idolatrous hedonist Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23. And without repentance, that is exactly how he/she will be dealt with on that Great and Terrible Day.

    May God have mercy on this once great nation.

  • Someone needs to tell the auxillary and that Catholic officer–the US Constitution doesn’t protect track meets, dance competitions, and/or summer camps. The US Constitution does protect her ability to go to the church of her choice.

  • I sympathize with Margeaux, I myself have to deal with my Feminist Nazi mother constantly giving me flack about being Catholic and going to mass. The Truth is that the Mass is the one place where you truly can offer all your gifts to God the Father because you become a part of his only Son’s body.

  • This so called “Catholic” guy working as Florida acts like politics is more important than coming to know the Existence from which all being flows as though politics were more important than good Himself.

  • I hope Margeaux came up with a goodhearted clever response.

  • No, she is being neither coerced nor forced. I sympathize with the girl, but creating an attack on faith where none exists cheapens coercion and force, as well as the denial of freedom of religion, where they really exist. In a pluralistic society, not everyone’s preferences can be accommodated at all times. The girl is free to choose to attend or not attend. I’m of a minority religion. If I held my breath waiting for society to bend to my religious beliefs, I’d asphyxiate right quick. ButIi’m not being discriminated against just because a voluntary program doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate my religious beliefs. Being barred from practicing my faith, or being forced, without choice, to violate my religious faith, would be religious discrimination. But none of those things are happening here.

  • Arkasha One of the problems with the reply to Margeaux’s letter was that a “Catholic” was lying about the faith.

  • Another issue I see is that there is discrimination against Catholics here but if I want to run a business and a Buddhist wants to be hired by me I can’t legally say “No I think Buddhists are too self destructive and dull.”.

  • I’m a member of the American Legion (not the ladies Aux) and I find the response from the State Official MORE disturbing. We have to remember that this woman may be one of those CINO (Catholic in name only) and that she really does not understand why a practicing Catholic that is true to Mother Church, cannot slough off Mass for one weekend. She must evidently do it and do it often that this is NOT an issue anymore. “Bless her heart”

    May Our Lord bless Margeaux Graham, and may she be strengthen and supported by our prayers.

  • ” creating an attack on faith where none exists cheapens coercion and force, as well as the denial of freedom of religion, where they really exist. In a pluralistic society, not everyone’s preferences can be accommodated at all times.”

    The problem is this isn’t just any organization or any event. It’s an organization that represents those that fought for our freedom and an event to teach American ideals and leadership. Contradicting First amendment principles may be fine for the Little League, Walmart, or the local Dance studio, but this is one organization and event that should see an opportunity to put into practice what their members put their lives at risk for….

  • Margeaux reminds me of St. Thomas More when he said: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

  • I sympathize with the girl, but creating an attack on faith where none exists

    Read the state official’s missive, Arkasha. She was attacking this girl and her mother for giving priority to Sunday worship over the legion’s weekend boondoggle.

    We have to remember that this woman may be one of those CINO (Catholic in name only

    Or the lectrix in jeans, sneakers, and a cardigan.

  • When I served in the US Army I was never denied my right to attend mass on Sunday, even in basic training. Our military acknowledges the right of soldiers to worship according to their religious creed, it’s sad that the American Legion has forgotten that.

  • I’ve heard this happening with Boy Scout camping trips where they are just too far away from any Catholic Church to get there for Sunday Mass. One thing you can do if there is no way out is ask your parish priest for a dispensation. Not that that deals with this organization’s insensitivity or lack of respect, but the Catholic Church does realize that sometimes it is very difficult to get to Sunday Mass on particular Sundays and so they do allow for occasional misses for very justified reasons.

  • Chariots of Fire – The Catholic Version
    What REALLY gets me is the arrogant asinine so-called ‘Catholic’ woman who responds. She ‘unloads her thoughts with a square shovel’ if you catch my meaning.

  • “The girl is free to choose to attend or not attend.”

    The other problem I see, Arkasha, is that they invited her in the first place. They wanted her there, but not badly enough to make a relatively simple accomodation, I guess? If they couldn’t do that then what are they thinking inviting anyone? And now the state officer is condescending to her because she won’t miss something obligatory for something voluntary (she did, in fact, decline to attend!).

    Mass is not a track meet or dance competition. Receiving our Lord will always outshine any human honor, no matter how “elite.”

  • May you be strong to live the convictions and baptism of your faith. May God always guide you Margeaux. I will pray that the decision is for you to be allowed to attend a Catholic Mass. For we know that Jesus in Eucharist is our Source and Summit. God bless you.

  • “Receiving our Lord will always outshine any human honor, no matter how “elite.””

    That’s fine. But it’s not anyone else’s obligation to accommodate that during a voluntary program.

    I think what Girls State is doing is wrong. And I think the girl was right in writing to them and telling them why she declined. She had a choice to make, and she made it. More power to her.

    But I stand firm in my belief that this is NOT force or coercion, and I also believe that referring to it as such cheapens the struggle of people who are facing real force and coercion in their daily lives.

    And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

  • Hire a lawyer! Sue the pants off them!

    Margeaux and her family should contact an attorney, and the attorney should notify the event organizers that Margaux has, with her parents’ permission, decided to attend, and that Margeaux will be absent on Sunday morning to meet her obligation as a faithful Catholic to attend Mass at a Church located on such-and-such an address, and will be travelling in a cab operated by such-and-such a taxicab company from such-and-such time to such-and-such time.

    Ahead of the event, Margeaux and her parents can locate a Catholic church as close as possible to where she will be staying. (The article refers to the event as taking place in “the state capital” – Tallahasee, it would seem, where Catholic churches are available. Margeaux and her family can find the address of, directions to Mass times of the nearest church at www. masstimes.org.) She should select the earliest possible Sunday Mass, and she and her parents should arrange for and pre-pay a taxicab to pick her up and return her from the event to the church.

    In his letter to the event organizers, the attorney can provide all the necessary details.

    The letter from the attorney should be worded in such a way as to leave no doubt that if the organizers refuse this arrangement, or penalize Margeaux or make matters difficult for Margeaux in the slightest way over her fulfilling her Sunday Catholci, that there will be nothing left but a smoking crater where their headquarters used to stand (metaphorically speaking, of course – the smoking crater would be lawsuit-wise and publicity-wise).

    You go, girl!!

  • Pingback: Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray
  • I am shocked that the American Legion would be so obtuse… At an event promoting love of God and country no less! Brava, Margeaux! You are making our country safe for Catholics!

  • I think Marion has the right idea, maybe not so much with the lawyers unless her invitation is revoked on this point.

    She should respond to that state officer that breaking a commandment (missing Mass) is not a valid sacrifice, but a sin. And for one hour out of an extensive program, she will simply not be present. And she should quote the Constitution, the ALA ideals, anything that grants people the right to free exercise of religion without fear of punishment or retribution (loss of credits, etc.) and CC someone higher than that state officer.

  • In my limited experience, sometimes insurance requirements are such that youths are not allowed to leave supervised areas without adult presence, even if the girl is 17.

    If so a simple arrangement involving written consent from the parents to let her catch a taxi-cab for mass and back could be agreed to.

    Lord willing this is all a simple misunderstanding of the ALA coordinators of that one event, based on a misreading of safety requirements. I don’t doubt a simple solution can be come to, perhaps the young Ms. Graham can invite the coordinator to mass with her.

    The ALA in my region have been very active and very supportive of local Christian and Catholic groups in their ministry to returning veterans and veterans ill or dieing. According to ALA’s about us page their values include “Service to God, our country, its veterans and their families,” “Personal integrity and family values,” and “Respect for the uniqueness of individual members.”

    I have no doubt the ALA will rectify this problem.

  • The requirement was not coercive; the event wasn’t life or death. But it’s one thing that Margeaux cannot now put on her CV, one foregone opportunity to network with the next generation of leaders. Faithful Catholics, move to the back of the bus.

    Just more QUANGO anti-Christian bigotry. And I just love how there was not time for attendees to attend Mass but time was made for a “non-offensive” service. Such arrogance offends me.

  • Margeaux’s mom, if you’re still reading, is a compromise an agreeable solution to you? Would the national representative who started to arrange a priest to say Mass at the event instead be willing to order the state chapter to allow for Margeaux to attend Mass outside of the event’s hours (even if it’s 6 pm or 10 pm), and everyone’s parents sign a hold-harmless waiver for this excursion?

    It should not be so difficult to address everyone’s needs: the organization to have full and protected participation and the students to exercise the right to freedom of religion.

  • I’ll bet if, while attending the event, Margeaux confided to one of the organizers that she had just learned that previous weekend that she was pregnant, and wanted to leave for a couple of hours during the event to go to the local Planned Parenthood clinic to undergo an abortion, and that without her parents’ knowledge or consent, that not only would the event organizers NOT raise any objection, but that at least one would volunteer to drive her to and from the Planned Parenthood of her choice!

    Without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

    Pods! They’re pods!

  • Errata: I should not have proposed the hypothetical above using Margeaux’s name.

    I apologize. I should have said, “if a young woman attending the event asked to be excused for a couple of hours to go have an abortion . . . “

  • As a new Catholic convert (Easter Vigil, 2012), I’m extremely impressed, inspired, and touched by this young woman’s fortitude and resolve. She serves as a shining example for all of us that aspire to embrace our Catholic faith and live within the tenets of God’s beautiful Church. Thank you, Margeaux, for helping me realize how I must set my priorities as a I make travel plans this summer. God bless you!!

  • Margeaux and her family should contact an attorney,

    Ach. There is more then enought of that in this world.

    In my limited experience, sometimes insurance requirements are such that youths are not allowed to leave supervised areas without adult presence, even if the girl is 17.

    Well, if that is the case, the ‘state official’ in question certainly chose an obnoxious and circuitous way of making that known.

  • Thank you so much for bringing us this important news to the web. However, I have to agree with those who contend that you are stretching it a bit to say that they are coercing her. I think there is a much better case to be made for anti-Catholic discrimination. The ALA has structured their program in such a way that it becomes impossible for a faithful Catholic to attend it. They thereby discriminate against faithful Catholics.

  • ButIi’m not being discriminated against just because a voluntary program doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate my religious beliefs.

    They accommodated one set of people and not the other, so they are discriminating. Whether it is legally permissible, should be legally permissible, is prudent to do so, or is right to do so is another question.

  • Margeaux had responded with a pretty aggressive letter to the “Catholic” rep that had emailed her. A couple of local papers have done stories and the National office has called them. The state director is supposed to be calling Margeaux tonight to discuss the situation. I am expecting a happy ending.

  • “Ach. There is more then enought of that in this world.”

    Bite your tongue Art! 🙂

  • I’ll bet if,…Without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

    I would not make that wager with regard to this particular organization, but would not put it past a generic women’s association (e.g. the Girl Scouts) or a soi-disant educational agency (e.g. the two associations who hired Dan Savage to deliver a key-note speech to a convention of high school yearbook staffs).

  • Patrick Lahey and Arkasha,

    Point taken.

    After giving it some thought, I will concede that point because I don’t want to take the focus off of Margeaux and I understand what you are saying. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective, so let me at least explain mine. My husband used those words, and he is a Cuban exile, well sort of. He was 2 when his parents and grandparents brought him here on a Freedom Flight and left two generations of wealth earned in a free country behind completely. He was raised to see things a certain way. I’ll let it go and refrain from using those words in the next article (coming soon!), but I wanted you to know where I was coming from when I chose them.

    I promise — no more talk of coercive force. 🙂 I like the way Patrick put it.

    Thank you!

  • I understand that to miss an obligatory Mass on purpose…was a mortal sin. Why would the AL insist this young woman purposely miss Mass and call it a sacrifice? Jesus Christ is the one who made the sacrifice so we could have eternal. Someone call the press!

  • “Why would the AL insist this young woman miss Mass and call it a sacrifice?”

    She’s not going to miss Mass, or miss the event. She’s going to the event and to Mass on her own time, with a signed permission letter from her folks.

    Or the AL will be sued back to the Stone Age.

    This is my hope, anyway.

  • Allusion had been made to this event and the sponsoring entity as “prestigious” and “elite”.

    A truly prestigious, elite, and classy group would have the sophisticated outlook and the magnanimity of spirit to say to any young person, “you have an obligation engendered by your faith? How can we help you to meet that obligation?”

    That’s how a “prestigious” and “elite” group of people operate.

    As opposed to faux-prestigious and faux-elite groups, who are operate as we see here, as know-nothings, petty tyrants, and/or clueless losers.

  • I applaud standing up for your religion, but may I ask if Margeaux spoke with her priest for guidance or even of asked for dispensation? I recently read an article about th Our Lady of Sorrow’s baseball team forfeiting the state championship because of respect for their beliefs. They did so graciously, because they felt it was in the best interest of thier boys. If Margeaux believes it is in her best interest to take a step back for this program… Do so graciously.

  • What a wonderful girl! I am so impressed with her devotion and maturity.

    And it is such a shame that this is even happening. I keep thinking that nothing will surprise me anymore, but every time I hear a story like this I do find myself shocked at the double-standards and utter intolerance of religion in this country.

  • “If Margeaux believes it is in her best interest to take a step back from this program . . . Do so graciously.”

    Be “gracious” about being on the receiving end of religious discrimination?

    Yeah?

    No.

    No red-blooded American person of faith should take any injustice “graciously”.

    There’s another word for what it would be to do so, and it’s not “graciousness”.

  • Faith is personal and we all make sacrifices for our faith. I don’t call the local television station when they air something I find to be morally offensive…I simply change than the channel and choose to watch something else. If you find the organizations practices don’t coincide with yours…change the channel. That being said I took the time to read the other comments and find the hate and vitriol to be horrendous. These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday….by the way my question was not answered Did she seek guidance from her priest or ask for dispensation? Could all of this have been avoided? Most priest have the wisdom of Solomon and would have nipped this in the bud with dispensation.

  • If she were muslim and asking for time to pray to Mecca you can bet they would fall all over themselves to accommodate her.

  • These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday….by the way my question was not answered Did she seek guidance from her priest or ask for dispensation? Could all of this have been avoided? Most priest have the wisdom of Solomon and would have nipped this in the bud with dispensation.

    John, there is no manifest ‘hate’ in the comments above. Either that word does not mean what you think it means or you cannot recognize the object when you see it.

  • Ah, “graciously” fail to stand up for the Church.

    Perhaps, John, if you bothered to act like you were actually offended by things they do that are morally offensive, they might take note.

    But it’s so much easier to just keep quiet and leave.

  • “May God bless this young lady, and may God’s justice prevail upon “The American Legion Auxiliary.” Indeed, the “ALA Florida Officer” who identifies him/herself as Catholic is no more Catholic than Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:1-11, no more Catholic than that sex pervert in 1st Corinthians 5, no more Catholic than blasphemers Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20, no more Catholic than that idolatrous hedonist Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23. And without repentance, that is exactly how he/she will be dealt with on that Great and Terrible Day” = hate

    ” The profile indicates that the adult role model uses the “God understands” phrase not only to justify missing Mass, but to justify other things as well. Things such as her voting for the most liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, in general the most pro-socialist candidates in any particular election. = vitriol.

    Matthew 7:5

  • John,

    I’ll try to answer.

    This is something more serious than entertainment, it is something M. aspired to and accomplished on her merits. Her obedience endowed her with such merits.

    Did she seek guidance? Yes. I don’t know whether it was from her priest, but I do know that her family regularly attends Mass and she has been catechized to understand the weight of the obligation to honor the Holy Eucharist.

    Her mother also offered to drive to the conference and escort her to Mass. Arrangements were offered for a priest to come to the campus, to the “non-offensive” service and celebrate the Mass privately for Catholics.

    This was all rejected. Margeaux is not looking for a fight, she just refuses to subject her faith to academic honor — an honor that she in fact earned.

  • I gave a magazine a piece of my mind that they won’t likely forget when they printed a very ignorant story involving a Catholic priest. It may have been read by up to 5 million people, so the damage was done.

    Changing the channel has an impact because somebody is calculating ratings based on the number of viewers, so you are expressing your opinion, even if you think you are doing so in a very passive way.

    Any actual priests here who could answer the question of whether they would grant a dispensation for an activity that is voluntary, as so many have pointed out, *and* that is Catholic-unfriendly?

  • John, quite simply, that is your opinion. My opinion is that the truth is not always nice, but that doesn’t make it hate.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective….the tv reference was simply a metaphor. And I also understand a perceived slight is still as slight, seeing that perception is reality. I bid you a good night and God bless you as I am blessed every day.

  • Hate.

    What rubbish.

    Was it “hate” that motivated Rosa Parks to refuse to move to the back of the bus when ordered to do so by the white patrons who wanted her seat? By John’s reasoning, Mrs. Parks should have “graciously” gotten up and moved.

    Was it “hate” that motivated singer Marian Andersen to object to being denied the opportunity to perform at the DAR Constitution Hall? By John’s reasoning, Mrs. Andersen and her supporters should have “graciously” advocating sweeping the matter under the rug.

    No, no, no, . . . no, and no!

    When there is an injustice, you don’t walk away, you don’t take it, you don’t say “please, sir, may I have another!”

    Pusillanimity is not one of the virtues, natural or supernatural.

    When injustice is perpetrated against you, you shout it from the rooftops. You fight back. You make it hard for the evildoers.

  • At the same time that we should be ready to stand steady for our principles, we can also remember that Christians are known by their love.. John 13:35. I think Margeaux stood up for herself and her faith very well. A good example of Christian behavior is sometimes our best way to evangelize (and to change the culture). The best way to get rid of an enemy is to convert them into a friend.

  • Her mother also offered to drive to the conference and escort her to Mass. Arrangements were offered for a priest to come to the campus, to the “non-offensive” service and celebrate the Mass privately for Catholics.

    Worse and worse.

  • A consistent pattern of refusing several reasonable and legitimate offers by this minor child’s parents to make it possible for their minor child to participate in a 45 minute religious service which her religious faith obligates her to attend . . . ?

    Oh, yeah. A jury is gonna love this!

    Six figures in damages. Maybe high six figures.

  • John,
    No we did not seek dispensation. I do agree with you that the hatred comments are not necessary and both Margeaux and I find those statements offensive.

    However, we do need contact the TV and radio station when you see offensive things they would change their programming. We have many times seen companies change their policy or their programming when we let them know we were offended. After you let them know if they do not change, then you change the channel.

    As Catholics and Christians we need to stand up to the Culture of Death. If Marg

  • Hello everyone this is Margeaux. I greatly appreciate all of the support I am getting, you all rock! In response to some of the comments, I am not trying to be hateful, nor am I trying to attack the legion in any way shape or form. I am simply trying to address an issue that is present in an old policy that needs to be changed. This is not to be blamed on the people running the program, they are only volunteers. Yes, some were unfriendly but this is not to be blamed on the whole. One can never be certain of what another is going through at any given time and all Christians need to try and give some understanding to the personal life of others. I am extremely disappointed in anyone that would purposely send hateful emails to the personnel of the Florida Girls State program. I just had a long conversation with the Girls State director Jackie Ihnenfeld, and guess what, she was human and very kind, loving, and compassionate. We discussed where the problems arose and she reassured me that they would be addressed. My belief and respect for the American Legion Auxiliary has been restored.

  • @ John – “That being said I took the time to read the other comments and find the hate and vitriol to be horrendous. These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday…”

    Consider the following:

    “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” Deuteronomy 12:31. We have done exactly that by murdering the unborn.

    “You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the LORD your God hates.” Deuteronomy 16:22. We have done exactly that by putting Caesar first and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass second. That’s our “sacred pole to Asteroth”.

    Shall I go on with what the Lord God Almighty hates? Sexual depravity, infanticide of the unborn, idolatry, adultery, fornication, homosexual sodomy….

    I was the one who quoted the passages about Ananias and Sapphira, the sex pervert at Corinth, Hymenaeus and Alexander, and Jezebel at Thyatira. God loves His holy people so much that He will tolerate wickedness only so long, and then He will smash the wicked into nothingness if they continue in unrepentance. One cannot have the love of God without the justice of God. St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy Diary is full of that theme. So let us take the plank out of our own eye – the plank of apathy and hypocrisy and false luvy-duvy piety – so that we can SEE to remove the dust from our brother’s eye. Or would we rather he stay in sin and go to hell?

    BTW, I love Psalm 58 – The Just Judgment of the Wicked

    To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” A Michtam of David.

    1 Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones?
    Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men?
    2 No, in heart you work wickedness;
    You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth.

    3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
    They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
    4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent;
    They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear,
    5 Which will not heed the voice of charmers,
    Charming ever so skillfully.

    6 Break their teeth in their mouth, O God!
    Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
    7 Let them flow away as waters which run continually;
    When he bends his bow,
    Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces.
    8 Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes,
    Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

    9 Before your pots can feel the burning thorns,
    He shall take them away as with a whirlwind,
    As in His living and burning wrath.
    10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
    He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,
    11 So that men will say,
    “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
    Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”

  • Margeaux’s statement makes my comment inapplicable to the ALA. However, it still applies to Obama’s Democrats who currently run this nation.

    Thank God for Margeaux.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective

    Hint: accusing people of being “hateful” and the reason that the Church is under attack is rather graceless, especially when it’s followed up by supposed shock that anyone takes offense to such a thing. Clumsy attempts to brow-beat people into a preferred perspective do tend to get on peoples’ nerves.

  • You go girl, stand by your faith and God will reward you many times over. When I hear of a young person in another generation who places God ahead of ambition it makes me feel that there is hope for us all.

  • I just believe in finding solutions. I also have faith in my fellow man and believe most want solutions too…not Arguements. And the fact that you are still sniping at me rather than apologizing to the people you were condemning to Dante’s Inferno and threatening to sue….that’s the problem. Mary and Margeaux, I wish you all the best and God bless.

    2 Timothy 4:7

  • We are called to have faith in God, not man, and it is God at work in Margeaux. Indeed, St. Paul fought the good fight because he placed God, not man, first.

    BTW, he was the one who wrote that “hateful” message about that sex pervert at Corinth and that other “hateful” message about Hymenaeus and Alexander. How convenient to quote 2nd Timothy 4:7 while ignoring what St. Paul did to qualify in fighting the good fight. PS, by 2nd Corinthians 2:5-11, the sex pervert had repented because he was harshly dealt with.

    Go, Margeaux, go! Be another St. Paul!

  • I just believe in finding solutions.

    By giving up and insulting those who don’t do the same?

    Perhaps, if you don’t want arguments, you could try not opening up by making false accusations and blaming those who disagree for what’s wrong in the world.

  • Way to go Margeaux!
    What an inspiration.

    I wonder, if the event lasts 9 days, that means it would be TWO weekends without Mass—even with the Cathedral right in front! Wow…

    And the reply of the officer is most alarming: “And yes, it means girls are unable to go to the church of their choice on Sunday or what ever their day of worship is.”

    Wow!!!

  • “she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference.” NON-OFFENSIVE” means that Catholic Mass is offensive. Insulting and dangerous.
    Marion Mael Muire: A lawyer insures that their complaint will be taken seriously and that they have a legitimate complaint and will not be dismissed EASILY. It is a First Amendment civil rights freedom case of being ignored and dismissed without just cause, and discriminated against because of her religion being Catholic.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt ended her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution when Marion Anderson was discriminated against because of her color. My daughters were never enrolled because of this.

  • So, The event starts on a Friday and ends on the following Saturday.

    That means it would be the first Sunday that she would not be allowed to attend a Mass.

    The Cathedral is right next to the Universities’ President’s house, with Sunday services a-plenty. Even Google has it pictured within the colored area of the Universities’ campus.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=st+thomas+more,+tallahassee&hl=en&ll=30.446588,-84.297688&spn=0.001727,0.002824&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=51.488837,92.548828&t=m&hq=st+thomas+more,&hnear=Tallahassee,+Leon,+Florida&z=19

    http://www.fsucatholic.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=154

    The name of the Cathedral?

    ST. THOMAS MORE!

    Also, Rule # 6 of the actual event states that the ‘Citizens’ are to respect each other’s creed among other things.

    I Can’t believe the official actually thinks Mass should to be sacrificed akin to a recital or track meet.

    Tell that to a Marine (40% percent Catholic btw) sacrificing his life for country, when even in the mountains of Afghanistan, Mass is celebrated.

  • “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country”

    Imagine that officer telling young women serving in the armed forces that Mass must be sacrificed like a track meeting or recital…

    Ash Wednesday 2011 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, CVN72:

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-qHBhq6QRh_4/TfektU3BY0I/AAAAAAAAAiQ/00en1yDXbHg/s512/Ash%2520Wednesday%25202011%25201.JPG

    ——
    SHA-WALI-KOT, AFGHANISTAN – U.S. Army chaplain Carl Subler celebrates a Catholic Mass for soldiers on March 5, 2010 at an American small combat outpost in Sha-Wali-Kot in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Military chaplains travel the battlefield throughout Afghanistan, providing a backbone of support for thousands of soldiers struggling with the difficulties of war and year-long deployments away from home. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images):

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NEnDdBHyWyE/TfIWP7U545I/AAAAAAAAAio/5v56G9CZWO0/s912/091212-F-GQ530-034.jpg

  • Mary, you got the DAR/Eleanor Roosevelt story all wrong. When Marian Anderson sought the use of DAR Constitution Hall, the organization WANTED to allow her to perform, but was constrained by the law in effect in the District of Columbia in 1939 that made it illegal for the DAR to grant the permit. Jim Crow was law in DC at that time. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought the assistance of its most influential member, the First Lady, to persuade the government of the District to either repeal the law, or at least to allow a special dispensation for Ms. Anderson. Instead of interceding, Eleanor Roosevelt stabbed the DAR in the back by making a public resignation and painting the NSDAR as the “bad guy,” a lie that persists to this day.

    Sadly, by buying into Mrs. Roosevelt’s subterfuge, you have denied your daughters not only their birthright, but also a valuable experience. Fortunately for them, however, it is not too late. I highly encourage you to reconsider.

  • I blame 30 years of woefully deficient Catholic religious education, which has left most American Catholics not even realizing that missing Mass on Sunday, except under the most extreme circumstances, is a mortal sin.

  • Another godless Democrat lie is exposed to the light of day:

    “…you got the DAR/Eleanor Roosevelt story all wrong. When Marian Anderson sought the use of DAR Constitution Hall, the organization WANTED to allow her to perform, but was constrained by the law in effect in the District of Columbia in 1939 that made it illegal for the DAR to grant the permit. Jim Crow was law in DC at that time. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought the assistance of its most influential member, the First Lady, to persuade the government of the District to either repeal the law, or at least to allow a special dispensation for Ms. Anderson. Instead of interceding, Eleanor Roosevelt stabbed the DAR in the back by making a public resignation and painting the NSDAR as the ‘bad guy,’ a lie that persists to this day.”

  • Interesting how quickly they respond with allegations of “hateful” when anyone challenges their view of the world….

    Here is the response I received when I sent an email pointing out that Mass is mandatory.

    “Thank you for our email, but clearly you have received mixed information. The details included in your email are neither accurate nor worth the time it would take to clear up.

    I am sorry that one-sided information has upset you, but as a responsible citizen of our country, I encourage you to dig a bit deeper and inquire about additional information before sending such hateful emails to a volunteer.

    Jackie Ihnenfeld
    Director, Florida Girls State

    Sent from my iPhone”

  • Ginny. I think not. And it may be as you say. The DAR ought to have stood for TRUTH, Justice and the American Way. What are they good for?

  • @KATHY FROM KANSAS
    AMEN! That is really the greater issue here. That doesn’t mean we should sit around and point our fingers and blame individuals for the past. Everyone of us have done or said things that we should not have in our lifetime. The important thing is that we repent and learn from our mistakes. Yes, that means leaders of the church who had good intentions made mistakes.

    Pope John Paul II empowered the laity to roll up our sleeves and get to work cleaning up this mess. Pope Benedict has encouraged us to carry on. We do not do this by slinging mud and attacking individuals. We need to direct our attention towards the issues not the people. We must take a stand for the culture of life every chance we can. But it needs to be done through a culture of love.

  • ionnes thank you so much for those photos. Pictures like those ARE worth thousands of words. Those photos laid along side the words of the woman from the American Legion Auxiliary in Florida point out the incoherence in our society concerning our national ideals.

    The fabric of America, which in warp and weft maintains and promotes personal religious freedom- is torn. The Florida lady elevates what she thinks is tolerance or multi-culturalism, believing that somehow personal sacrifice of personal religion helps get liberty and justice for all. The soldiers in your photos who exemplify personal sacrifice are shown freely honoring the Sacrifice of the LORD, while on duty.

    The photos, shown in contrast to the words of the Florida lady could make an Exhibit A in an article written by a press full of free curious truth-seeking journalists for an interested truth-seeking populace. In times past there might have been a “LIFE” (or such) magazine cover story which might have done that.

  • in times past there might have been a “LIFE” (or such) magazine cover story which might have done that

    oh the dangers of anachronism– actually in the era of the “LIFE” magazine there would not have been such a large constituency who were so automatic about the multicultural trump of the individual as is the Florida lady.. I should have said, if “LIFE” were in print TODAY — and there were such a free and curious press and populace.

    I wish those kinds of photos would have been on NBC news on Ash Wednesday, or FOX just to remind us all.

  • @Peter
    Margeaux and I had nice long chat with Mrs. Inenfeld last night. There are two sides to every story. We were both working with the information that we had.

    For example: she personally did not know that I was willing to drive to Tallahassee and pick her up and take her to Mass.

    Another example: We had sent an email a month earlier inquiring about this and did not get a response. Turns out that email landed in the mail box of some one who had just had a baby. I can appreciate what it was like to be a new mom, I am sure her email box was overflowing. I have personally overlooked many important emails because they had gotten buried in the pile. It was in innocent mistake.

    I am sure from their perspective they felt this was an attack from an angry opponent….just as from our perspective we felt it was an attack on our faith and discrimination.

    As Margeaux stated last night in her post…they are working with policy and procedures that have been established by their organization. Mrs. Ihnenfeld reassured us that this issue will be brought up for review. Margeaux will be writing to explain the churches stand on this and why it is important.

    It would be great for everyone to pray this Pentecost Sunday for tongues of fire to fall upon her and guide her fingers as she types.

    Pray that through this we shall decrease and He shall increase!

  • Thanks, Ioannes, for the photos.

  • Hi, Margeaux,
    I’m so happy the folks are working it out with you. I have to admit, had I been in the same situation….and your age…I would have done one of two things. I would have researched where the nearest Mass was and what time (on campus or off) and I would have simply called a cab or walked to Mass, leaving the event without permission. I would have just gone. Oh, I might have made sure someone knew I was going, but if they said I couldn’t go I would have gone anyway. And…I would have probably found a bunch of fellow Catholic attendees to go with me en masse to Mass. I’m a little rebellious and independent that way, I suppose and a bit of a ring leader. =) My mom always said i was a little too independent that way. Your way of handling this is probably better in this day and age considering how dangerous things can be. They were probably as dangerous in my day, but I was too stupid to realize it.

    God bless you and enjoy going to Mass. 🙂

  • Correction – I said I would have done “one of two things” – I meant to say I would have done two things. (sigh).

  • “Mrs. Ihnenfeld reassured us that this matter will be brought up for review.”

    Not good enough!

    No! No!

    The AL owes you and Margeaux an apology . . . instantly . . . and their assurances . . . . instantly and without qualification . . . that your signed letter giving your permission for your minor child to walk across the street to Sunday Mass will be honored.

    Not “reviewed”; not “we’re looking into it”; not “well, maybe” !

    How dare they attempt to prohibit a minor child under their supervision from fulfilling her religious obligations?

    This is not a case of “the volunteers didn’t understand”, “some of the underlings didn’t get it.”

    This is a case of top management . . .and I mean TOP . . . holding a disdainful and contemptuous attitude toward those young people who may be coming to them with religious obligations to fulfill.

    That’s what this is about!!

    And on Memorial Day weekend I hear about this.

    I have an uncle buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A Navy Pilot who went down off the U.S.S. Enterprise in the early 1960s.

    If he were alive to hear about this today, Uncle Ed, a devout Catholic, would be aghast and ashamed of what the American Legion has come to represent.

    “Are they Soviets?” he would ask “Are they Communists?”

    Margeaux, you know what? I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away. Sign up with a TRULY elite and prestigious organization, one that doesn’t tyrannize over, harass, and make things difficult for young people of faith.

    Who needs that kind of rubbish?

    As for me, my regard for the AL is now going out the door in a 30-gallon Hefty bag sealed up with a tie-tie.

    I have no idea who these characters in the AL are but they sound more like they’re channeling the former Soviet Union than anything “American”.

    I’d steer clear of them, Margeaux. They’re not “prestigious” and they’re not “elite”. They’re losers.

  • Outrageous!

    Absolutely outrageous!

    And all people of faith should be utterly outraged!

    Mom, you and Dad should be on the phone with an attorney yesterday!!!

  • Mary, no more chats with anti-Catholic bigot Ihneneld!

    Give her the name and phone number of your attorney, and say, “Let our attorney know as soon as your board has reviewed the matter. He will let you know what further actions we may decide to take.”

    B*stards!

  • Here is what a genuinely classy and elite and American operation says when presented with a young person who will be under the supervision over a Sunday, and indicates that she will need to be excused for religious exercises.

    And from the Get-Go:

    “Sure! I’m sure something can be worked out”

    or

    “Your church? Sunday? Well, I suppose so. Church? Yes, that’s important, isn’t it? We’ll figure out how we can make that work.”

    or

    “Of course. Participants who wish to go to church, mosque or synagogue over the weekend will need to have permission letters from their parents stating when and where they will be going, and how they will travel. We prefer a pre-paid taxicab.”

    Preferably, the latter.

    And if the volunteers somehow missed that, or didn’t get that, or didn’t hear that, or weren’t told, then Bigot Ihnenfeld should have sung it to you, Mary, from the rooftops, from the first moment you spoke together.

    Instead, you got this baloney song-and-dance about “oh, gee, someone else has to, gee, I don’t know.” As she twirls the end of her pigtail and kicks some dust with the toe of her Keds sneaker.

    If you buy that, I have . . . not a bridge . . . Ihnenfeld’s already got that wrapped up . . . but a tunnel in Brooklyn to sell you.

  • What a great young lady. It’s called “real commitment to Christ.” The supposed role models should learn something about it!

    I hope her stand changes their outrageous policy.

    Anyone who understands what the Mass is, and Who it is that we receive in Holy Communion, would understand that NOTHING is worth missing Mass for. To faithfully worship God on His day and worthily receive Holy Communion is more important than anything else one can do–those who don’t get this, have not really understood the Faith!!

  • You know, I’ve been thinking: I could be wrong. I could have this issue all backwards.

    Maybe it’s not “young people of faith” whom this organization holds in contempt.

    After all, AL officials have pointed out that young participants of faith are free to “sacrifice” their religious observances. You know, as they would a hockey game, or a scout picnic.

    However, if it is the wish of the parents that their minor child should attend religious services of their own denomination during that program . . . and the parents also wish that their minor child not be refused permission to participate in the program or be otherwise discriminated against, then we have a case of the AL not holding young people of faith in contempt . . .

    . . . . they hold parents of young people of faith in contempt.

    Or maybe they hold the young people and the parents in contempt.

    I may have to rethink what I had written above. It may be worse than I thought.

  • @Marion

    We have received an apology from both the member who wrote to us and Mrs. I

    I am not sure where you are getting your info but I spoke with Mrs. I… The lady I spoke with was not an anti-catholic bigot. She is a volunteer who was unaware of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for the last 10 years this program has run over a weekend, she said they have many Catholics who participate and no body has ever questioned this problem in the past. She listened to our concerns and explanations as to why with an open mind. She asked us for our suggestions. Her/their knowledge of church teaching had been formed by the example of Catholics who were not following Church teachings.

    This will be brought before their board for review, and she re-assured us that she would keep us informed on the matter. We have complete faith and confident that God is over seeing this entire matter. We do not need to get angry or aggressive. We need to maintain a heart of love and compassion and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.

    I am so proud of Margeaux and her attitude, she is wise beyond her years. Margeaux did choose the elite group. She chose Christ and His Church. We do not have to worry, He will provide, He hasn’t let us down yet.

  • @Marion,
    Your second comment…..AMEN…

  • OK, Mary, good luck with that, and God bless you and Margeaux.

  • Marion Mael Muire: Good work.

  • Marion Mael Muire: You have done the work that the American Legion Auxiliary is supposed to do.

  • Pingback: Go Margeaux! Victorious in Defense of the Eucharist | The American Catholic
  • Mary De Voe, thanks for your kind remarks. They are appreciated.

    I would be doing a disservice to my Catholic ancestors who suffered persecution and discrimination, if I didn’t say that I hope certain heads will roll at the AL over this matter.

  • “a track meet or dance competition…”

    Ah, so in the view of the American Legion, the holy sacrifice of the Mass — instituted by Christ Himself as the perfect way of adoring Almighty God — is comparable to a track meet or a dance competition. Further, failing to to blur the distinction is a sign of an inability to make a sacrifice. What a telling insight about the American Legion, who seems to think it is more important than God.

  • I guess so Sean. My thoughts are that None of those activities, like dance or sports competitions should even be scheduled on a Sunday. No matter how great the organization is sponsoring it. We as Catholics esteem the Holy Sacrifice as no other, but also other Christians should be allowed their services and attempts to keep the day Holy – a day set apart by God.
    There used to be strong societal proscriptions against even shopping for a gallon of milk on Sundays. Ach! (as another friend poster is wont to say)

  • She should go to Girls’ State, and leave the events for Catholic Mass nearby. Then, if punished or penalized, she can defend herself and/or sue. But she should go, with every intention of fulfilling her obligations. Preemptively backing out is sacrificial of her, but not brave.

  • To intentionally miss Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation is a mortal sin. God doesn’t understand our willful choice to disobey his commandments. The Catholic woman who wrote back to this this fine, upstanding and devout young lady back, is in a state of mortal sin if she has intentionally missed Sunday Mass or Holy Days of Obligation. One unrepented mortal sin can send a person to eternal hell. For her to tell her that “sacrifices” are to be made in life, that there are choices in life and God understands her choice to disobey the Third Commandment bespeaks of the sickening apostasy of people’s faith in this day and age in the USA, the pick and choose faith that only makes us comfortable. This person is not only is guilty of mortal sin but is actually encouraging others to follow her down the road to perdition. What prideful and disgusting arrogance to the sovereignty of God. We are a very spoiled and arrogant people. So many of our fellow Catholics throughout the world suffer each day because their government forces them to hide their faith under penalty of jail, torture or death, yet they freely and willingly go to underground Masses in homes, undercover of darkness or even the wilderness because their love for Jesus Christ and His Bride the Church, because they know in their heart that God comes first in all things, because they love the Eucharist and are willing to die to receive it, because the Blessed Virgin is their Mother and they follow her wherever she goes. And this so called leader of the ALA who claims to be Catholic is trying to make Margeux fell guilty about exercising her right not only as an American citizen but, more importantly, her Baptismal and canonical obligation to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Liturgy commentating of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disturbing and despicable.

  • No permitting this young lady to attend Mass because you think your leadership conference is more important is wicked and evil. She is showing true leadership by doing what she knows is right,even if it means being “punished” for it. Sure makes you people look like a bunch of clowns.

  • Thank you Miss Graham for being a true example of a Catholic living your faith, not just calling yourself Catholic in name only. I just shared your story with my young daughter and she thinks you are a heroine. So do I. We are in desperate need of young women and men like you in this culture. Please keep fighting, praying and being who God made you to be. As a Catholic mother I am so proud of you and of your mother. Courage! God Bless you.

  • My first thought was, gutsy kid. Way to stand firm on what you know is right. Second thought, why is the person responding saying anything aside from, that’s our arrangement, it doesn’t accommodate you and we have no plans to accommodate you, sorry it didn’t work out. But instead my second thought was shock and disgust at the claim of a sacrifice, as if obligations to faith are like indulging in some ice cream. I’m speechless that someone would attempt to undermine a determined young lady and even go after her faith, convictions or family to get some silly point across. Wow! Standing up for her values is in itself something we need more of. Misunderstanding the faith you claim to be a member of to the point Sunday mass is an option we could use less of.

  • Because of the VFW’s unexplained connections with labor unions — and the VFW was very defensive about this — I dropped my membership with them. I am very sorry to hear that apparently the American Legion, too, may be succumbing to fashionable anti-Americanism. I will certainly write them a polite but firm letter in this matter.

    Margeaux is demonstrating love of country far more truly than the American Legion is.

  • @Mack
    Each AL is Independent. The position in Florida is not reflective of every state and every AL. We actually had support from the AL…It was the auxiliary.

    Also keep in mind, the ALA has apologized and will be reviewing their policy. Be sure you read the follow to this story. For that we are grateful. Do not hold the actions of one or two people against the entire organization, especially when they have apologized and are working to make a change.

  • How ironic that religious freedom is one of the rights she should be learning about at Girls’ State and yet she is being denied it. Sounds like her case is one that should be up for discussion by the entire group of girls. I think this year’s Girls State should go through the process of setting up a law to further define what is defined as a crime against religious freedom.

    BTW, it is wonderful to see how many really good people are defending the faith.

  • Laura,
    Mrs. I actually said that she desires Margeaux could go and do exactly that.

  • The American Legion Aux. is doing what it needs to be doing to save its bacon. Discrimination against Catholics will ingratiate the AL Aux to Obummer, who they need to get $$$$$$$ and avoid prosecution.
    Follow the money.
    Also, no-one is denying the girl any freedom. The AL Aux has their rules. If you don’t like them, don’t go. Which the girl, obviously, won’t.
    God shipped out from the Am. Legion long ago.

  • Just for the record, I am hopeful that this matter can be worked out satisfactorily.

    However, for the record, I am not buying that any reasonable, well-meaning organization working with academically gifted young people should have in place a policy that the young people are not to be excused from the program, on a Saturday or a Sunday for a brief hour or two to attend religious exercises at a nearby house of worship, on a pre-arranged basis, with their parents’ permission, particularly if it is the wish, desire, and intention of the parents of the minor child, that the religious exercise is to be attended.

    THIS SHOULD BE A NO-BRAINER!!

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NO-BRAINER FROM THE GET-GO!

    Here’s what the answer should have been on Day One: “Of course, Mrs. Graham, sorry that the volunteer didn’t understand that it was your wish, and that Margeaux had your permission.”

    Parents are the ones who ultimately call the shots for every blessed moment of every blessed day that their minor children spend their time! Including the time minor children are spending in soi-disant elite programs. Parents call the shots, not the program, especially in serious or obligatory matters, and in matters that involve an hour or two and take place very close by.

    What if this minor child had some ongoing disability, such as a severe problem with her knee and ankle, and was undergoing therapy three times a week? And the parents informed the program that their minor child was perfectly up to participating in the program, but it was imperative that she be excused to meet with a therapist anywhere, such as in her dormitory room for a 45-minute therapy session to have a supervised workout, and needed to be briefly excused for this proceeding two or three times during the program. Do you think that anyone higher than a staff volunteer would need to say, “gee, I don’t know, we’ll have to review the matter . . . ” . . . ?

    Nope. Not if the have their act together.

    It would be, “Sure, Mrs. Graham. This is important, and we will see to it that Margeaux has no problem participating in the medically necessary therapy that you have arranged for her to undergo while she is under our supervision.”

    If they had the competence and the good intentions of even the average well-run business outfit, such as, oh, say, and automotive garage or ice cream shop, this would be a no-brainer. Minor child, serious matter, parents’ wish and written permission, arrangements all set up ahead-of-hand – badda bing! badda boom!

    Not a problem! You’ve got it, Grahams.

    That’s how a well-run and competent operation runs.

    Do they even know what time it is? Do they know where they are located on the map of Tallahasee, Florida? If there were a civil emergency, do they have a plan in place? Would they know how to change a tire if they had a flat?

    Bah!

    If the Grahams asked these AL Auxiliary folks: may we know briefly your plans for handling any civil emergency that might come up while our daughter is in your care with your program, would the AL Auxiliary folks say, “No, we really have no such information; that’s not our policy to tell parents anything about our emergency preparedness; we can’t help you; we’ll have to review that with our board.”

    Bah! Clueless, clueless.

    Which makes me say, no, no organization with the slightest pretenstions to having an “elite, presigious” program can possibly be that helpless, unable to function, and incompetent.

    It’s all very well and good that they are “apologizing” and “reviewing”, but I’m wondering, if a famous Florida sinkhole were to open up in the middle of the front plaza where this event is taking place during the course of the program, would these program organizers just . . . walk the girls right into its crumbling edges because to alter their path would require a review?

  • “Dear Mrs. Graham, we’re sorry for being utterly and completely bereft of any idea whatsoever of how to operate as reasonable adults.

    Entrust your daughter to us for nine days anyway.

    Thank you. And again our apologies for being two fries short of a Happy Meal.

    Sincerely,

    The American Legion Auxiliary of Florida.”

    That’s the wording I want to see on their apology.

  • OK let us clear up this whole “personal issue”, if you are going to be Catholic you have to be fully Catholic that means at work, at home, at the bar, at a party, and in public. If somebody wrongly accuses you or lies in public you can bring it up in public, I certainly think it is probably wise not to bait the Nazis but if possible bringing such a thing to bear might aid in finding a solution to the problem because pussy footing does not help in asking people why they did something.

  • SO……..the Cathedral is across the street from this young woman’s classes of 9 days. A Cathedral should have a Mass, at least one on Sunday, unless the Cathedral is under some sort of renovation.

    Would not an hour on Sunday be permitted so anyone who wants to attend their respective religious program be allowed? So all the girls attending could go to a religious program of their liking. Does not the leadership program have some sort of religion component in the syllabus? What planet are we on here!

    Patricia in St. Louis, MO

  • Contact the Legion – Boycot the Legion

  • I wish we could click like next to the comments….

    The last two address core of the issue here. If they are going to run over Saturday and Sunday then they should accommodation all religious sects. Respect of religious creed is a critical element of there mission. Their protestant service is actually planned by their girls and executed. Which means that they have time allotted for the girls to work on this. They could make that an educational element of their program in some way shape or form. Really the easiest solution for this matter is to run from Sunday to Saturday like the boys state does. Catholics could go to mass on Saturday before and they are home for mass on Sunday.

    According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

  • “According to them they have a high number of Cahtolics and Catholic high schools that participate each year, and this is the first time that it has come up.”

    Indeed.

    My, my! What a surprise!

    In’t that Margeaux Graham jis’ the meanist an’ the orneriest gal you’d ever want to meet?

    Makin’ a dust-up like this? About her goin’ ta her Papist Church on Sunday?

    Ah jes’ don’ know what this world is comin’ to; I really don’t!

    Let’s tell ‘er – ah know – let’s tell ‘er she’s th’only one! We’ve nevah had this come up before with all the many, many Papists who’ve come through here.

    That’ll flap her flippers real good. Spiteful li’l thang!

    That was one possibility.

    All right; maybe they really had never heard of any Catholics coming through the program wanting to attend Holy Mass. Maybe that’s all true. However, that raises a new question: shouldn’t it have been necessary to have some board review the decision to release this piece of information about Catholic participants in prior years, and “then get back to us” . . . ?

    Or maybe:

    (1) this is the first year that the program has run over the course of the entire weekend; perhaps in previous years the girls’ program ran from Sunday to Saturday, as the boys’ state does. So any faithful Catholic female participants were in previous years free to to assist at Holy Mass before reporting in to participate fully in the program.

    (2) in previous years, the girls’ program did run nine days, and in previous years, when faithful Catholic families learned that their minor children would be precluded and hindered from participating in the program AND meeting their Sunday obligations, as their parents wished, the parents decided not to have their daughters participate.

    Everything I hear out of this crew sounds more and more dodgy to me.

  • Catholics should be VERY PROUD of Margeaux for stanching up. God bless her. All the officials, including the “Catholic” traitor–are wrong. Our country is in a Battle for religious freedom.

  • According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

    I will wager them’s making this part up.

  • Let’s see: this director of the program says she didn’t know that Catholics are obligated to attend Catholic services on Sunday; didn’t know that Margeaux’s mother had offered to drive to Tallahasee to convey her daughter to Mass; didn’t know that Margeaux’s parents had tried to follow up with an email . . .

    Didn’t know, didn’t know , didn’t know. . .

    But here’s one thing she knows: she knows that there are many Catholics who have participated in this program, and this difficulty about Mass has never come up before.

    That she knows.

    If this lady happened to comment to me that the sun was shining outside, I’d look out the window for myself before putting away my umbrella.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective…

    No, you came here to vent, call people names and feel superior to those tax collectors over there.

    Have a nice day.

  • I just believe in finding solutions.

    Ow.

    Need help getting my eyes to roll back down….

    Ow ow ow…

  • Dear Mary & Margeaux,

    I hope they do resolve this situation to a happy satisfaction. Providentially, the Holy Spirit novena has been going on these past 9 days. Happy Pentecost! Perhaps this cross was necessary for you to endure to bring the message of the LIVING Holy Spirit to this other uninformed (and a bit insulting) Catholic volunteer who clearly doesn’t understand her faith as well as for other future Catholic participants. If we have crosses, they are gifts from God He entrusts to our care to awaken His love in us as well as all of His other children. Perhaps this has made such a stir and with your charity, will cause others to reflect deeper on the seriousness with which people do take their faith. If people are free to be lukewarm, they must certainly be free to be devout.

    Of all the things troubling about how this was handled, it most sad that this woman would seek to minimize in stating this is the first time in 10 years it has been an issue, as though the problem is with you and not their format. It matters so little that you are the first to bring it up. It is a problem. It needs addressing. Period. End of Sentence. You are not the freak here for taking your faith seriously or making waves. You are faithful to the Church and trying to be to your country as well. It is commendable and admirable. If it is singled out, then know you are in good company with the saints, as another pointed out with St. Thomas More (had that feeling as well). I will ask his intercession since not only is he the patron of legal issues, which this is not, but also the first to start the trend in all of England and then onto Europe of educating his daughters in Latin and other topics formerly reserved only for sons and thereby the education of all women. Your daughter reaps these results, as do all of our daughters in the Western World, for his courage, faith and love. He will help you as you clear this matter.

    But the insults she gave to you as a mother, Mary, well that is hard to fathom b/c it is in print. It is one thing to accept a person’s rejection of attendance and yet another to add insult ontop of the obvious injury. This was in poor taste and reflect a lack of basic civility that seems par for the course with one who likewise belittles her own faith. You have made her uncomfortable and so she has lashed out and who knows, perhaps in the end, you will awaken her. She would not have needed to insult Mary’s ‘negative impact’ upon her daughter had she not felt threatened and convicted of her own lukewarm approach to her faith. She could’ve simply written it off and not needed to make these personal attacks. And yet in this month of May, the month of Mary, it is more than obvious she insults her Heavenly mother all the more than you as she derides your role as a mother and therefore all of motherhood, including her own earthly mother. Even if she thought these things, it is another thing to write them as a reflection of her own poor character and that reflects poorly of her understanding of mothers. I will pray for this woman in my rosary.

    As for attending mass if you do happen to go, (wow! I just looked up the Co-Cathedral and did not realize it was St. Thomas More–ha!), I hope it is a morning mass. We went one time to the student 6pm mass as we were on the road and running late (drive every year through Florida) and it was not a good experience; a bit scandalizing truth to be told. It was more of the students and less of the priest and so hopefully the morning mass will be different. We just vowed never to stop in again though we go to St. Louis sometimes off of I-10.

    Peace be with you and I pray this gets resolved shortly. It sounds like you are on the path!

    Kerrie

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  • Kerrie,
    Thank you for your kind words, they are appreciated. I hope you read the second article, it has Margeaux’s response to their letter, she did a great job. I am a middle child of 9, needless to say I have pretty thick skin. We believe that God had a bigger plans for Margeaux then attending Girls State, we are looking forward to opportunities that await her.

    God Bless,
    Mary

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  • Marion (Mael Muire)…..glad your on our side! 🙂

    Thank you to Margeaux and her mom for taking this to where it needed to go. God Bless!

  • johnnyc wrote, “Marion (Mael Muire) . . . glad you’re on our side!”

    Thanks, . . . I think, johnny . . . Listen, I appreciate our faithful Catholic young people so much and want to do all I can to support them. Some people in my age group like to say that the Church’s future is over; it’s finished; the young aren’t faithful anymore . . . etc. I don’t see that at all. I see a good number of faithful Catholic young people who are devoted to Christ . . . they are my heroes. And I thank God for them.

  • I’m very glad Margeaux is a witness to the importance of the Eucharist. And I’m very very glad she is proceeding in both strength *and* charity. Some of the almost knee jerk attack and ‘circle the wagons’! response we Catholics often have to stuff like this can be a poor witness to our faith. We have to take a stand, and hold our ground, but do so in CHARITY and not always assume the worst. Faith and Reason.

    It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience. What a shame. But I’m glad she’s done this simple and basic thing- it needed to be done.

  • It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.

    I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.

  • That’s fine. But it’s not anyone else’s obligation to accommodate that during a voluntary program.

    Except that they already do, with their “inoffensive” accommodation of low-church Protestants. Some animals are more equal than others in Girls’ State.

    The military is also a voluntary activity, at present, but “inoffensive” sops to broad churchers only wouldn’t cut the mustard. Yes, I do recognize that the military is an arm of the state subject to the Constitution (albeit in a special way), but all analogies limp.

    No, it’s not what Christians are enduring in Muslim lands, or in China, but it’s still a good idea to at least recognize discrimination when it delivers an uppercut.

  • “It’s very sad that Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.”

    “I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.”

    In all charity, I would like to suggest that instances in which faithful Catholics had inquired about an accomodation in the form of permission to depart the premises to attend Holy Mass, with their parents’ written knowledge and consent, and had met with refusal by the program, may not have communicated themselves to this particular spokesperson, and if they did, the spokesperson may have experienced a transient and inexplicable spell of forgetfulness with regard to them.

    That much more fortuitous for all concerned, then, that Margeaux’s valor has brought this question to an ineffable forefront.

  • With the college Catholic group having Mass there, at 6pm on a Sunday? Yeah, I’m pretty sure anybody else worried about it just went. Never made any high-level waves because whoever is chaperoning wasn’t going to insist that the girls miss Mass when it’s right there, and didn’t mention it to anyone above them who might get angry because it’s a technical violation. Pretty common in the enlisted areas. ^.^

  • Bravo for Margeaux’s faith coming first! Bravo for one so young to do this! I would make the exact same chice as Margeaux if I had to — and write the same letter. Shame on those who require faith-filled students like Margeaux to have to choose between their faith and a civil commitment.

  • May Margeaux’s future be blessed! She is an exceptional person, truly understanding that Holy Mass is our Lord’s real presence and sacrifice for us. And acting accordingly!

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  • Doc Kimbel; where in the world did you come up with the Mason’s having anything to do with this issue? As a Mason, I am offended by your remarks, and as a Paid Up For Life member, and twice Past Commander of my local American Legion Post, I find you to be less than honorable, lacking in knowledge of the topic, and totally unbelievable. The young lady should get a medal for taking her stand, and young people across this country would be wise to head her words of wisdom.

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  • After she accused Margeaux’s mother of creating a “negative impact” on her daughter, the officer went on to scold, “Life is full of choices and she will be faced with many in her lifetime. One of life’s lessons is she can’t go through life blaming others for the decisions she makes.”

    Wow really? an adult responded with insults? I am sorry but who is the adult & the child? or better who is the Christian & not? . . . I cannot believe the condescending & insulting reply the director gave to this girl. Margeaux gave a good rising above it, well thought out letter & this is the immaturity she gets in return? . . . news flash to this director Mass every Sunday is a “HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION” & we are to “Sacrifice” things of the world & of man to attend “Mass” the Holy Sacrifice not the other way around! I can’t stand watered down, liberal Catholics! they are an insult to the entire Roman Catholic Church & also all Eastern Orthodox churches too! How dare she put some man made organization before God! & have the nerve to make such a statement. newsflash to this director…NO ONE NEEDS this organization or what they offer on a college resume to get a good solid education! biggest bunch of BULL! I am sorry but this woman to me & to many Catholics is not really Catholic! If she really were, her response would have reflected alot more of Christ’s love than what she exhibited in her response! Her response says ALOT! I don’t understand why these students or girls can’t be given sundays off! If I were Margeaxu’s mother I’d have a whole lot to say to this woman along with a law suit! & you damn sure bet I’d go to the news & demand an apology to my daughter for speaking to her like that! that was completely uncalled for by the director! if I were a priest & knew this director & knew of the situation I would deny her communion over it! its insulting ….to the Eucharist!

Separation of Powers is sooooooo 18th Century

Monday, December 19, AD 2011

Good or bad, this is what you get with Newt Gingrich:

GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich said Congress has the power to dispatch the Capitol Police or U.S. Marshals to apprehend a federal judge who renders a decision lawmakers broadly oppose.

Gingrich says if there is broad opposition to a court decision, Congress should subpoena the ruling judge to defend his or her action in a hearing room.

When asked if Congress could enforce the subpoena by sending the Capitol Police to arrest a judge, Gingrich assented.

“If you had to,” Gingrich said. “Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshall.”

Gingrich cites the 9th Circuit’s decision that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional as a prime example of why such a reform would be necessary.  It’s easy to use examples like this of judicial indiscretion in order to justify such drastic action.  Yet what of judicial interventions where the Court and not the legislature is acting in accord with the Constitution?  I can think of several examples where conservatives cheered – rightfully – when the Supreme Court overturned an act of Congress.  In US v Lopez, US v. Morrison, and Citizens United v. FEC, just to name a few cases, the Supreme Court acted on the side of the Constitution as opposed to Congress, and did so presumably against the majority will.  As we speak the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about the individual mandate and other aspects of Obamacare, and once again conservatives (again rightfully) will be hoping for the Court to rule against the democratically elected branches.

No one is more aware than me of how out of control the judiciary has been, particularly since the age of FDR.  What Gingrich and other populist-conservatives fail to appreciate is that the judiciary’s wholesale assault against the Constitution is but a symptom of what plagues this Nation.  After all, how did we wind up with a judiciary willing to disregard the Constitution?  They didn’t just appear out of magic.  Years of progressive education instilled these judges with an attitude that the Constitution is a “living, breathing” document that ought to bend to the whims of the age.  More importantly, it was democratically elected leaders like FDR who put these men and women on the courts.

Furthermore, it is odd to suggest that one of the ways to stop the politicization of the judiciary is to further politicize the judiciary.  Will judges act as independent arbiters of the Constitution if they know they are going to be hauled before the legislature for making the wrong call?

Long story short, I don’t think Gingrich is entirely wrong to highlight the problems of the judiciary.   It absolutely must be a theme of this and any federal campaign.  But Gingrich is missing the forest for the trees in singling out the judiciary when it’s an entire political philosophy – and, for that matter, political party – that is the problem.

Another thing that strikes me about this statement is how unrealistic it is.  Even if Gingrich becomes president and has resounding Republican majorities in both Houses there is virtually no chance that anything like this will happen.  This is mere bombast.  Now, it is perhaps an exercise in rhetorical exaggeration used to highlight an important issue.  But ultimately this reveals a problem that goes beyond Newt, and it is the absurdity of our presidential campaign system.  Each candidate feels compelled to offer pie in the sky proposals in an effort to appeal to some constituency.  Even more troubling is that the underlying attitude is that the president is some kind of emperor as opposed to the chief executive of a constitutional republic.  Even though this particular proposal is likely going nowhere, it is a sad fact that the presidency has become a hyped up institution that has grown well beyond the powers outlined in the Constitution.  So the ultimate irony is that while Newt is proposing a radical plan under the guise of restoring balance to the Constitution, he is only furthering the imbalance of the Constitution and the respective powers of each branch of government.  And while the Star Wars prequels may have been otherwise useless, at least they taught us a valuable lesson about trying to “restore balance” to anything.

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31 Responses to Separation of Powers is sooooooo 18th Century

  • So… steroid use in a private enterprise, subpoena away, but a judge rules dogs are persons while fetal humans aren’t, and no explanation is needed. *wry smile* I know you’re probably totally legally correct, it just strikes me as funny; either it’s a punitive type thing, in which case why can it be applied to normal people who haven’t done a crime, or it’s supposed to be an information thing, in which case loonie judges have a special right to not answer questions. (Unlike, say, managers of large businesses.)

  • (I have got to get around to writing that difference-between-fair-and-right post on parenting.)

  • I’m probably the worst person to use the steroid example with because I thought that whole affair was farcical.

    Obviously Congress should have the authority to investigate criminal malfeasance in the other branches, and impeachment for corruption and criminal matters is an undeniable right. But if Congress should start digging around on what are matters of interpretation, then you’re butting up against the separation of powers.

    That being said, it’s also true that the judiciary should not be treated as the final arbiter of what is and is not constitutional, and I should have emphasized that in the post. Congress should have some oversight authority – but to be honest I’m not one hundred percent certain how far they should go. Gingrich’s proposal goes too far in one extreme, but maybe at least it’s the germ of an idea that prompts more cooperation.

  • Of all branches, Congress has been the most deferential to judicial decisions. By intent, of course – they want to leave the unpopular calls to those who do not need to fight for re-election. Congress could perhaps use its impeachment power a little more for truly off-the-wall decisions, but then individual Congresscritters would have to take a public stand, wouldn’t they?

  • I’m probably the worst person to use the steroid example with because I thought that whole affair was farcical.

    Why I used it, actually. I’m sure there was a perfectly reasonable series of events that resulted in it… but DANG.

    C Matt’s response seems reasonable…though unlikely.

    Shouldn’t there be some sort of way to hit these “I made the ruling because it’s Historic!” rulings?

  • If any Republican is elected president, Kennedy will retire, Roe will be overturned, and all talk of reshaping courts will dissipate.

  • The Founders did what they could to block the effects of “Original Sin” – even if they did not name it such- by separating the three powers of government, based on their 18th century experience of the Old Country and their own there in the Colonies with the Monarch George 111. We shall continue to see the pendulum swing and the seesaw teeter-totter as each branch grabs power or tries to correct the imbalance ofthe other , as that branch sees it. The “unredeemed” – those who have not addressed the Dragon living in the dark recesses of our own cave, and making a pact with it – will not bring peace if they have no peace and will only create or perpetuate a system whereby the Dragons will roar and puff smoke and fire.

  • I find striking that Americans talk incessantly about judicial overreach but don’t even twitch at the forays into Congressional authority by the Executive Branch. Yes, the Judiciary needs to stay in its own turf but it is the general assault on liberties through the Codes of Federal Regulations, agency memoranda, and Executive Orders that most frighten me.

  • but it is the general assault on liberties through the Codes of Federal Regulations, agency memoranda, and Executive Orders that most frighten me.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Every administration has been bad in this regard, but the current one seems to view the Constitution as nothing more than an inconvenience to be ignored.

  • I find striking that Americans talk incessantly about judicial overreach but don’t even twitch at the forays into Congressional authority by the Executive Branch. Yes, the Judiciary needs to stay in its own turf but it is the general assault on liberties through the Codes of Federal Regulations, agency memoranda, and Executive Orders that most frighten me.

    I must run in odd circles… I’ve been hearing a LOT about this, for years. Of course, I also have lived in places that took the brunt of the “endangered species act” type stuff, including a nice little old retired couple that lost the right to use their home because they refused to kill the endangered bird that was living there before he was spotted.

    People complain about what touches them.

  • Your observation about noticing what touches you is well placed. I never imagined that freedom of religion would be an election issue for me but it will be so in 2012.

  • In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Scalia summed up what is wrong with the modern judiciary:

    “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here – reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text – the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality, our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value [505 U.S. 833, 1001] judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school – maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but the confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question-and-answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidentally committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward. JUSTICE BLACKMUN not only regards this prospect with equanimity, he solicits it. Ante, at 943.”

  • I disagree with G-Veg and Paul. While I disagree with many executive orders and regulations as a matter of policy, rarely do I see them as an unconstitutional encroachment on another branch’s powers or unconstitutional at all. To me this is just the conservative’s expression of the same conceit normally held by the Left, which is if I disagree with something it must be unconstitutional. While the Framers (most of them anyway) may not have envisioned or preferred a large and intrusive federal government, they embedded that possiblity via the commerce and necessary & proper clauses. Perhaps the Framers employed imperfect language given their intentions, but words have consequences.

    I do agree with Donald regarding the Supreme Court. Of the three branches, this so-called (by Hamilton) “least dangerous branch” has been the most mischieveous for the reasons outlined so well by Justice Scalia. In my view the Framers did not anticipate the inevitability and implications of Marbury v. Madison and for that reason did not properly foresee the need for more effective constitutional checks against Supreme Court misbehavior.

  • Mike,

    There is no constitutional justification for many of the actions and guidelines put forward by the likes of the EPA and other elements of the bureaucracy. Granted, Congress is partly to blame for abdicating responsibility, but these agencies have accumulated vastly more power than what was envisioned even by the legislators who okayed them coming into existence.

    While the Framers (most of them anyway) may not have envisioned or preferred a large and intrusive federal government, they embedded that possiblity via the commerce and necessary & proper clauses.

    The misinterpretation of the commerce clause and the 14th Amendment has been carried out equally by all three branches. That the Framers did not predict how horribly future generations would twist the plain meaning of the constitutional text is no fault of theirs. We now have a president who really doesn’t even pay lip service to the document. This isn’t a matter of just disagreeing with policy. Oh, sure, the administration’s policies are awful – it just so happens that a lot of what this administration does doesn’t come close to passing constitutional muster.

  • The fear was expressed when the Leislatures’ term limits were voted by the people that the bureaucrats in the several states would have too much power. I am no longer liivng in the USA but I feel that, at the federal level, one term of five years for a POTUS and severe restrictions on the number of terms for serving in Congress, two years is too short for the cost of re-election today for the House would help. The exorbitant cost today, the heavy reliance on lobbyists’ gifts and the Supreme Court decision to not limit corporate donations, and allow them anonymously as “fictional” persons has destoyued the idea of a democratic republic.

  • Paul,
    We’ll just have to disagree with the plain meaning of the commerce clause. While you may well be right as to its “intent” (though discerning the intent of a legislative-type body is tricky stuff to say the least), the plain meaning strikes me as quite expansive unfortunately, and plainly broad enough to justify the Congressional creation of the EPA as well as its empowerment to promulgate regulations.

  • FR FRANCIS,
    Or we could employ the Illinois term limits model: one term in office followed by one term in prison — seems to working ok.

  • and the Supreme Court decision to not limit corporate donations, and allow them anonymously as “fictional” persons has destoyued the idea of a democratic republic.

    Huh?

    You mean the case where they ruled you can’t censor a movie because it has political content?

  • Foxfier, I believe he’s talking about Citizens United.

    Because, as we all know, constraints placed on campaign donations have worked such incredible wonders. /sarc

  • With respect Mike, I think Administrations directly and unconstitutionally encroach on congressional prerogatives all the time. The previous administration did so in its war on terror and the present on its war on faith. I believe that most of the New Deal and of the War Powers Act are direct assaults on the Separation of Powers and, thus, on the Constitution.

    It may well be within Congress’s authority to declare citizenship and nationality to be factors that must be considered in making visa decisions. It most assuredly isn’t the Administration’s role to add levels of review beyond those established by Congress. It may well be among Congress’s powers to tax and spend to sure up the economy. It most assuredly isn’t among a President’s powers to levy new taxes.

    It is not within either of their powers’ to abrogate the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

  • I read that ILL joke recently. No one as I said in my first post has a system to overcome greed, power and other addictions that tend to destroy humans and our instiutions. Original sin gets us all.
    I do not understand the “HUH” comment re the corporate donations. Did I misunderstand the ddecision ?

  • I do not understand the “HUH” comment re the corporate donations. Did I misunderstand the ddecision ?

    I’m afraid you did, yes; I suspected you meant CitUnited, since the way you phrased it is in line with the lib spin, but wasn’t sure.

    Short summation: the government side argued that there was nothing legally wrong with censoring a movie, or book, because of political content. They’re not centrist by any means, but this article has enough stuff for you to find more, if you like. Sorry I can’t find a better source, cleaning house.

  • Thank you. I squirmed when you suggested I am a lib! Shall research that further, thanks for taking the time to reply.

  • Whoops, looks like Foxfier was right about the case FR Francis was referring to. My bad.

  • Thank you. I squirmed when you suggested I am a lib! Shall research that further, thanks for taking the time to reply.

    No insult intended! Seeing as I class most of the media as lib, and that’s all I hear out of them, it’s not really indicative of anything but not having heard about the gov’t lawyer actually telling the supreme court “sure, we could ban a book because it’s got political content.” (Part of why I mock Banned Books week is that there was NOTHING on that that I saw….)

    Point of blogs, no?

  • I think that Gingrich’s position is a little bit different. From the Face the Nation transcript, it looks as if he was talking about making judges testify in the context of impeachment proceedings. He was talking mainly about each branch’s responsibility for obeying the Constitution. His choice of examples presumed that the listener would understand that Dred Scott was wrongly decided – and maybe that was a mistake on his part. He could have made it clearer that Dread Scott was both manifestly wrong and Constitutionally wrong.

    So I get Paul’s point. But as a practical matter, if a Southern Republican said that the Dred Scott decision was narrowly wrong, he’d be run out of town.

  • There is no constitutional justification for many of the actions and guidelines put forward by the likes of the EPA and other elements of the bureaucracy. Granted, Congress is partly to blame for abdicating responsibility, but these agencies have accumulated vastly more power than what was envisioned even by the legislators who okayed them coming into existence.

    1. The budget for composing and enforcing federal regulations (as opposed to the federal police and prison services or tax collection) is generally quite small. (~$20 bn) This is somewhat obscured because agencies like the FCC and EPA have dual mandates which encompass regulations, patronage, and works projects. (About a tenth of the budget of these two is devoted to strictly regulatory tasks).

    2. Techological adaptation has been such that an escalating proportion of transactions occurs between parties in different states. In addition, effluvia can injure whole watersheds or be transported in currents which do not respect state jurisdiction.

    3. A notable exception to the above concerns aspects of labor relations and retail trade. A great deal of what goes under the heading of ‘civil rights legislation’ would not survive a rectification of jurisdictional responsibilities. Sounds like fun.

    Should note Robert Bork’s observation that the culture in the legal profession and the haut bourgeoisie is such that judicial review is no longer compatible with self government. He is right.

  • I had not left the USA when that decision was announced by the ” Supremes.” I do recall when 44 broke protocol to chastise them in the State of the Union message and my hero Scalia showed disapproval. I should have pursued it then. Glad to be enlightened, I read the summary online.

  • “I think that Gingrich’s position is a little bit different.”
    -Pinky

    Much media spew “is a little bit different” from reality.

    Media mouthpieces have been busted passing untruths about Gingrich on numerous occasions, this is another.

    One can always count on the Establishment Media to be a source of error about the Church; I see I must add Gingrich to the list of subjects on which they cannot be trusted.

  • ME:

    Please name one subject wherein the media’s definition of “news” is NOT that distortion, distraction, exaggeration, fabrication, misdirection, omission which serves the regime’s war against our liberties and our property/pursuit of happiness.

  • TS-
    kitty rescues?
    *considers*
    Never mind, just remembered my city has no-warrant searches by anyone authorized by the animal control agency if you’ve got a registered pet, to protect the fluffy kitties.

ObamaCare and the Constitution in a Nutshell

Thursday, February 3, AD 2011

Hattip to Neo-Neocon.  I have been reading judicial decisions for over three decades and few of them are better reasoned and written than that of Judge Roger Vinson striking down ObamaCare.  Go here to read his ruling.  My favorite portion of the decision is below. ( To get the full impact of it, I suggest you have the John Adams intro video below playing while you read it.)

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One Response to ObamaCare and the Constitution in a Nutshell

  • I’m coming around to the liberal objection to this particular line of argument. Congress can levy a 99% tax and use it to provide everyone unhealthy amounts of tea. I do believe ObamaCare is unconstitutional but not for the reason Judge Vinson gives.

Elections Have Consequences – Tax Cut Edition

Thursday, December 9, AD 2010

I’ll leave it up to others on the blog to discuss the merits of the compromise on taxes and unemployment benefits recently reached between President Obama and Congressional Republicans.  For what it’s worth, I’d probably vote for it were I a member of Congress (shudder), but I do think that the Republicans could have pushed a little harder on certain measures.

What fascinates me as a student of American history are some of the reactions, and also some of the reactions to the reactions.  First of all,  Congressional Democrats have rejected the measure in a non-binding caucus vote.  This has caused Jim Geraghty to ponder:

I understand the White House line is that today’s rejection is part of the “normal process.” Really? Is it normal for a majority of the president’s own party to vote against deals he makes?

Normal?  No.  But I think this is a positive development in a way.

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4 Responses to Elections Have Consequences – Tax Cut Edition

  • Actually, I do have one idea: Bring ALL the troops home, cut military spending in half, close 700 bases around the world and raise the draw bridges.

    Without getting into the merits of this idea, do you really believe that this would save $5 trillion?

  • Paul, “compromise” may be de riguer in politics and “another example of the Constitution in action,” as you put it, but in other spheres of life it is an ugly word.

    The Irish poet Yates once wrote, “You know what the Englishman’s idea of compromise is? He says, Some people say there is a God. Some people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements.”

    And, from George Jean Nathan: “A man’s wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart.”

  • Well Joe, we can go on pretending that the President of the United States is not a Democrat, and therefore the GOP would be free to push whatever policies it so chooses, or we can wake up and smell reality. The tax cuts are going to expire in 21 days, and do you have another means by which to convince a President I’m willing to bet you’d consider a socialist to allow the tax cuts to continue?

  • I am apolitical, Paul. I have no love for either party. These fiscal bookkeeping games are beyond my ability to grasp, nor anyone else’s. Administrations for decades have been fine-tuning tax policy and the result is always the same: the haves get more, the have-nots less. I have no solution, of course, and I don’t think it lies in any one philosophy, left or right. As a collector of Social Security solely, it has no effect on me either way and I have no inheritance to leave upon my demise.

    Actually, I do have one idea: Bring ALL the troops home, cut military spending in half, close 700 bases around the world and raise the draw bridges. We’d save $5 trillion and could have universal health care, buy a new car for everyone who didn’t get one from Oprah and still have enough left over for a pretty good weekend in Vegas.