Footnote 7

Thursday, June 27, AD 2013

 

 

Justice Alito, in one footnote, underlines why the Federal judiciary has become an enemy to our most important civil right:  the right to govern ourselves:

The degree to which this question [the traditional view of marriage vs. the consent-based view] is intractable to typical judicial processes of decisionmaking was highlighted by the trial in Hollingsworth v. Perry. In that case, the trial judge, after receiving testimony from some expert witnesses, purported to make “findings of fact” on such questions as why marriage came to be, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921, 958 (ND Cal. 2010) (finding of fact no. 27) (“Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of division of labor along gender lines. Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others. Women were seen as suited to raise children and men were seen as suited to provide for the family”), what marriage is, id., at 961 (finding of fact no. 34) (“Marriage is the state recognition and approval of a couple’s choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another and to join in an economic partnership and support one another and any dependents”), and the effect legalizing same-sex marriage would have on opposite-sex marriage, id., at 972 (finding of fact no. 55)(“Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages”).

At times, the trial reached the heights of parody, as when the trial judge questioned his ability to take into account the views of great thinkers of the past because they were unavailable to testify in person in his courtroom. See 13 Tr. in No. C 09–2292 VRW (ND Cal.), pp. 3038–3039.

And, if this spectacle were not enough, some professors of constitutional law have argued that we are bound to accept the trial judge’s findings—including those on major philosophical questions and predictions about the future—unless they are “clearly erroneous.” [citations omitted] Only an arrogant legal culture that has lost all appreciation of its own limitations could take such a suggestion seriously.  (Emphasis added)

Power hungry lawyers in black robes, accountable to no one, are the exact opposite of how the Founding Fathers believed their new country would be governed.  Abraham Lincoln, recalling the Dred Scott decision, addressed this issue head on in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Continue reading...

7 Responses to Footnote 7

  • Well, if we must have judicial tyrants, I pick Justice Alito for Supreme Leader. Excellent footnote. How is a prediction of the future of marriage a “finding of fact?”

  • Pingback: Attack on Marriage: Thursday Special - BigPulpit.com
  • I went to Temple Law and found it disturbing that conservatives were so easy to pick out. The contrast in language and thinking between the distinct minority conservative student and the majority progressives was unsettling in the first year of school.

    Courses like business and tax law are driven by fairly neutral concepts and most of my professors were adjunct, real world lawyers. It was easy to stay on point and hard to stray into progressive turf. However, family law, con law, and civil rights law are subjects dominated by the Left and taught by professors whose reputation is built by their having clerked for a judge and maintained by their law articles.

    For most students, the transition from high school, to college, to law school is seamless. Accepting what you are told, memorizing the phrases the teacher repeats often and learning the materials as written is enough. Thinking is not a skill taught, expected, or desired by teachers at any of those levels. So, if you go straight to law school after college, your mind will be twisted into a progressive pretzel whether you went to law school as a liberal or not.

    Conservatives in my class were all “non-traditional” students with careers and, in many cases, family. Most were middle-of-the-pack students, devoting just enough time to studies to get by. We added little to class though because the classes that were grounded in business don’t draw on experience and the ones driven by opinion were openly hostile to everything our experience taught us was true.

    We sat left middle or right center in every class, exasperated sighs haphazardly interrupting the unceasing chatter of self-congratulating flatulance that fills a law school classroom during a con-law class or yet another dreary, professorial tirade about the necessity of modern divorce law as a remedy to thousands of years of women’s oppression. Actual education happened from time to time too of course. I think fondly of Professor Mikochic as a First Amendment professor for example. He entirely reordered my thinking about Free Speech because he assigned copious, carefully ordered readings and drew a map between them that was inspiring and eye-opening. Most classes were not thus

    Footnot 7, to my mind is the natural and inevitable outcome of the dilution of the law. Too many law schools and students spreads the skilled professors out and brings up hacks who shouldn’t be teaching. It also brings too many students in who shouldn’t be there because they lack the skill and/or desire to be a lawyer and because they lack the preparation for becoming a good lawyer.

    If we don’t fix the law as a profession things will only get worse and I see no evidence that our profession is prepared to deal with the rotten tendrils of the rotten root that played itself out this week.

  • It is worth noting that neither the Law of 9 November 1791, which introduced mandatory civil marriage, nor the Code Napoléon contain any definition of marriage. However, generations of jurists have found a functional definition in Article 312, “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” including the four most authoritative commentators on the Civil Code, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925), Gaudemet (1908-2001) and Carbonnier (1908–2003), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated.

    In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Civil Code. This led to the introduction of civil unions (PACS) for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the following year.

    Filiation has never been regarded as other than central to civil marriage, ever since the Roman jurist, Paulus wrote “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1]

  • The definition of marriage is: “two become one” in body and soul, possible only when the two follow the laws of nature and nature’s God. Even “civil unions” lack , are deprived of physical and spiritual “union”. Stripping our language of meaning and emasculating our civil rights, the devil is the only one who cannot become one with another soul through covenant, every other person indeed can. Jesus Christ is one with the Blessed Trinity. Man is one with a woman through covenant. The devil cannot become one with a lie. The devil is duplicitous, already lying out of both sides of his mouth. That some gay marriages have been recorded only means that some citizens have succumb to a lie.

  • God gives authority to the government to govern the people. Jesus said to Pilate “you would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above.” A people claiming authority over the government is a people opposing God. The people are subject to the state. The people have the right to resist state action that is contrary to their duties to God. A people that claim the authority of government comes from the people is a bit like the children claiming that their parents authority to govern them comes from the children. Since authority comes from God and not the people if the majority of the people wanted gay marriage, the government could not be required to legalize same sex marriage.

  • “The people are subject to the state”

    Rubbish on stilts. States come about in a myriad of ways and have an enormous range of how they are constituted. I doubt seriously if God intended us to give blind obedience to these creations of Man except when they happen to run afoul of the Catholic faith. I believe like Mr. Jefferson that our rights come from God. As to the State, it usually has a much less exalted pedigree.

    “10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

    19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

    21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. 22 So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

    States are a necessary evil due to the sad fact that men are not angels, but there is nothing divine in their origins or operations. What is divine is the fact that Man was made in the image of God and that fact alone limits, or rather should limit, the power of the State.

The Majority Opinion that Became a Dissent

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

If you had told me before the day started that John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy would have penned differing opinions on the Obamacare case, and that I’d be siding with the latter’s opinion, I would have said that you were nuts. Alas, it appears that John Roberts is the new Anthony Kennedy.

Ed Whelan has speculated that Chief Justice Roberts changed his vote at the last minute, and therefore the dissenting opinion was originally the majority opinion. He has a follow-up post that posits another theory supporting that notion, which also explains how that could be logistically possible. Having now fully digested the dissenting opinion, I am just about 99 percent certain that John Roberts did indeed change his vote, and that the dissenting opinion was the majority opinion until the Chief Justice changed his mind.

Frankly, the dissent just doesn’t read like a dissent at all. As Whelan points out, the dissenting opinion repeatedly alludes to Justice Ginsburg’s opinion as the dissent. In fact, the dissenters barely alludes to the Chief Justice’s opinion at all until the very end. The final couple of pages are a scathing attack on the majority’s opinion, heretofore unmentioned. It certainly seems like the dissenting Justices felt jilted by the Chief Justice, thus the unusually harsh rhetoric of the final few paragraphs of the dissent. Another sign that the dissenters were in the majority comes on the second page:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Continue reading...

36 Responses to The Majority Opinion that Became a Dissent

  • I wonder if Chief Justice Roberts believes that he has secured peace in our time with his decision.

  • This is a brilliant and thoughtful post and I love it. But I couldn’t help but not the double meaning at the spelling here-

    “left at the alter by the Chief Justice”

  • I meant to write NOTE the double meaning!

  • Ha! Good catch anzlyne. That was unintentional, thus I edited the post.

  • Chief Justice Roberts = Neville Chamberlain
    Barack Hussein Obama = Adolf Hitler

    Nothing could be clearer.

  • Oh, but Paul Z., “alter” is perhaps MORE correct.

    😉

  • If Roberts is such a spineless jellyfish, he should not serve on any court, anywhere.

    Honestly, I feel hatred toward the man. And yes, I recognize that that is a terrible sin, and I am praying for the hate to go away. But at the moment, it is difficult for me to feel any other emotion for the man who shoved a knife into the back of the USA today. And when I think that he is a young man and will be Chief Justice until he dies or retires, I feel utter despair for our future (and yes, I know despair is also a sin). It’s funny – I frequently feel anger toward and contempt for Obama, but I don’t hate him. I recognize that he is following his own principles, twisted though they may be. But Roberts – a man who has apparently caved because he couldn’t stand the heat? His legacy? His rightful place will be next to Justices Taney (Dred Scott) and Holmes(the government has a right to sterilize the mentally handicapped because “3 generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    But, hey, on the upside, I’m sure Roberts will get lots of invitations to chi-chi G-town parties now!

  • Pingback: Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Supreme Court Health Care Ruling | Big Pulpit
  • On the other hand, by returning the issue to the political sphere, Roberts has put it back where it belongs. Sure, I wanted the mandate struck down so I could spike the ball and gloat…but the reality is that if the mandate had been found unconstitutional then the liberals just would have brought it back under different guises at a later date. Heck, even if struck down you have to figure Obama would continue to implement it by regulatory fiat (DREAM Act, anyone?). Upon reflection, I wish we hadn’t even brought it to the courts – the proper place for this battle is in the court of public opinion. Either we can convince a majority to repeal ObamaCare, or we can’t. If we can, then we’ve won the war – if we can’t, then striking down this particular law would do no long term good.

    Take this, my friends, as a blessing – we are not challenged to work with a will and, with our trust given to God, do what we know is the right thing.

  • Think, for a moment, just how dead gun control is – sure, some court decisions were helpful but, at the end of the day, it was an awakened American people determined to preserve their right to bear arms which made the issue politically toxic…and now the Courts follow the people on the matter. That is how not just Obama Care but all manifestations of socialism must be defeated…

  • I am reminded of the story about a bird that did not fly south for the winter. Stuck in a barnyard, nearly frozen to the ground, accepting fate that nothing was worse and it would die. A cow walked by and dropped a load of “out-put” on the hapless bird. But the dung was warm and there were undigested seeds. The bird was warmed, ate and then started to sing. That was when a barn cat came along and started to dig. Happy to be free the bird sang and stretched. And was promptly killed and consumed by the cat.

    Moral of the story, not everyone that craps on you is your enemy, not everyone that gets you out of s@#% is your friend, and if you are buried and happy, keep quiet about it.

    I do not believe that Chief Justice Roberts is our “enemy” nor do I think he is another Chamberlain. It was left to the voters to remedy the action of this Act of Congress. Otherwise from now until the end of the USA there will be the constant court battles to undo what was done by a prior administration.

    It can be done, through the ballot box and our elected Representatives, not from appointed judges that many of whom owe more allegiance to a political ideology than to justice.

  • Ah, yours is the calmer, wiser take on things, Mr. Noonan. I was so bitterly angry today and felt so betrayed….I pray you are right.

    I am a Burkean conservative, and as such, am frequently disgusted with Republicans professing to hate big government and yet voting for big government as soon as they get nice offices in DC. I hope for and fully expect Romney and a GOP Congress to strike down Obamacare. If they don’t, well, I will be done with the GOP. We will end our days as slaves to the Almighty State and there is nothing the little people like me can do about it.

    A few months ago, in confession, a priest reminded me to put not my trust in kings – or politicians, or hopped up lawyers (which is what Roberts is)….Yes, he was right.

  • BTW, it takes a full 10 minutes before I can download TAC and probably another 5 before I can access the comments section. I have showered and blown-dried my hair in the morning- and then I return to my computer and find TAC is still not downloaded. I find it the slowest site in the Christian world 🙂 It is the number one reason why I rarely comment here- does anybody else have similiar difficulties?

  • I did worry about Roberts as I’ve been reading how he doesn’t want his court to look too political but I didn’t think he would actually go this far. It was like he was reaching for something to uphold this law & he found it in taxes. I’ve lost total respect for this man. We need healthcare reform but not this one. I’m a moderate conservative but I was very angry & I’m totally disliking Roberts right now as he changed America as we see it. Obama is changing this country & I won’t even recognize it if he remains president. I’m just sad.

  • Mark, it isn’t up to the Court to decide issues based on the politics of the situation. Roberts’ attempt to play John Marshall and get the Court out of a political jam was unnecessary. What exactly would have been the fallout if the Court struck down Obamacare? President Obama and the Democrats would have complained. So what? A majority of the population would have supported the outcome, and even if a majority did not that is irrelevant. As the dissenters correctly pointed out, the Chief Justice’s attempt to the get the Court out of politics only entangled it further. In the end, the Court made law. How is that an example of the Court returning the issue back to the political sphere. With this decision the Court became part of the political sphere.

    All that being said, I agree with what others have said in terms of dialing back our emotions. We are not in Nazi Germany, and the tanks aren’t going to start rolling into our Churches. This is a terrible defeat for the rule of law, and I think also a worrying sign that we’re still two votes away from repealing Roe. But we need to take it down a notch.

  • Donna, I don’t have any problems, but you are not the only person to notice that. We’ll look into it.

  • Indeed. Additionally I view this as a Pyrrhric victory for Obama, as this decision will be a millstone around his neck during the remainder of the campaign. Too many conservatives become disheartened too easily when there is every reason to think that this decision is a Godsend politically.

  • Don, you’re ever the optimist, which I admire. Of course, I always see a half-full glass. The rosy reaction is like finding good news in a recession by reading a headline: “Mafia forced to lay off 6 judges”

  • Another thing that irks me about the rationalization of this decision, as seen in Charles Krautahammer’s column:

    Obamacare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is saying: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you.

    This is akin to George Bush avoiding the question of the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold and letting the Courts decide. All three branches of the government have the equal authority and obligation to decide upon the constitutionality of legislation before them. It is an abrogation of duty, not a sign of political pragmatism, to simply punt the matter away.

  • I try not to be a pessimist or an optimist when it comes to politics Joe but to call ’em like I see ’em. Many conservatives were saying that the game was up when Obama got elected in 2008. 2010 demonstrated how out of touch that view was. American political history is a series of reactions and counter-reactions. Obama went too far to the Left, and he reaped a political whirlwind in 2010 and the same is in store this November.

  • I agree with Donald. The President has just been made a liar, at least on the subject of a tax increase (which was a large part of the objection to the ACA in the first place…who is going to bear the cost?). I saw an ABC News blog link this morning to the interview I which he absolutely rejected the notion that the individual mandate was a tax. Guess Mr. Constitutional Law missed that class.

    No, I think we need to give this a few days to unfold. The analyses I’ve read aside, I believe Justice Roberts may have given those who oppose the law exactly what they need to fit it… He avoided giving the President. White martyrdom on the subject, and he exposed the law for what it is: a massive tax increase on those least able to afford it.

  • TAC does load slowly – probably a side-effect of the litany of links on the side.

    Dick Morris is saying the same thing Krauthammer says, which will probably be the theme of many variations in weeks to come. The November’s gonna be a slugfest. Hopefully Holder’s out of the SecState chair so we don’t have Black Panther goon squads threatening polling places.

    Question – Supposing a GOP quash and concomitant numerical ability, what’s the chance/point/P&L for an attempted Constitutional amendment expressly forbidding Congress to tax non-activity? I would not know how to word it properly, but, could or should such a thing be considered?

  • Good article from Jonah Goldberg today. Ignore the misleading headline – he really takes Roberts to the woodshed.

    what’s the chance/point/P&L for an attempted Constitutional amendment expressly forbidding Congress to tax non-activity?

    Somewhere between slim and none. The GOP will almost certainly have legislative majorities in both Houses of Congress, but not enough to get such an amendment through.

  • “Politics and Culture from a Catholic Perspective?” I don’t think so. I am Catholic, but this blog ‘s authors and commenters certainly do not speak for me or, I suspect, for a majority of Catholics. Alhough I would have preferred a single-payer system, I agree with the purpose and intent of the ACA, and applaud the Supreme Court’s action. There will be no tax assessed against anyone if people who have enough income to pay federal income taxes do the individually and socially responsible thing and buy health insurance. The tax is imposed only on those who do not, and for whose healthcare either health providers or the rest of us end up paying.

  • Paul:

    If yesterday you were “just about 99 percent certain that John Roberts did indeed change his vote,” the following excerpts from yesterday’s dissents should make you just about 100 percent certain. Make note of the reference to “Chief Justice Roberts” in Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and “we” in the joint dissent:

    From Justice Ginsburg’s dissent:

    In failing to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order, THE CHIEF JUSTICE disserves future courts.

    From the joint dissent:

    The dissent claims that we “fai[l] to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order.” Ante, at 35. But we have done so. It threatens that order because it gives such an expansive meaning to the Commerce Clause that all private conduct (including failure to act) becomes subject to federal control, effectively destroying
    the Constitution’s division of governmental powers. Thus the dissent, on the theories proposed for the validity of the Mandate, would alter the accepted constitutional relation between the individual and the National Government.

    For what it’s worth, I’m 100% certain the Chief Justice switched sides at the last minute, and I’m substantially certain he did so on the misplaced belief he was preserving the integrity of the Court by protecting it against further attacks of politicizing the judicial process. By switching at the last minute, he also gave insufficient time to what became the joint dissent to dismantle his holding that “commerce clause regulation of inactivity is unconstitutional but regulation by taxation of inactivity is constitutional” or his similarly contradictory position that, on the one hand, the penalty-for-inaction “tax” is not a direct tax because it is not akin to a Capitation which is easily susceptible to apportionment or a tax on personal property or real estate, but, on the other hand, we shouldn’t be worried that the government has just now been given the power to tax inactivity because the power to tax inactivity has been around from the founding as evidenced by . . . of course, the Capitation or poll tax which applies merely for being a citizen. I imagine with a little advance notice Justice Scalia could have put a few more barbs into the joint dissent or dissented separately.

  • I am Catholic, but this blog ‘s authors and commenters certainly do not speak for me or, I suspect, for a majority of Catholics.

    While I’m sure you have your finger on the pulse of the Catholic community at large, we’ll continue to express our opinions as our Catholic faith informs us to do.

    There will be no tax assessed against anyone if people who have enough income to pay federal income taxes do the individually and socially responsible thing and buy health insurance.

    Ah, the compassionate left in action. Nobody will be punished so long as everybody does what we demand that they do in the name of social justice. There is nothing particularly “Catholic” about such an attitude, but I’m sure you will go on believing that you are more Catholic than the rest.

    Fine then.

  • Hank: Good catch, and more evidence that Roberts did indeed change his mind, and fairly late in the game at that. And I agree fully with your take. Clearly Scalia and the rest were caught off guard, as evidenced by the the relative lack of attention the dissent paid to the Chief Justice’s opinion until the very end of the dissent. I’m sure Scalia would have torn into Roberts more than he did for his double-talk on the tax had he had sufficient time – note he only addresses the government as being sophists, and not the majority of the Court.

  • Paul,

    Good points but now there are two things:

    1. Obama and the Democrats have to run with this horrendously unpopular law still the law of the land.

    2. Obama and the Democrats can’t point to the Evil, Wicked, Nasty, Republican Supreme Court as the source of blame for what went wrong.

    Obama carries the ObamaCare millstone around his neck in to November and the Courts are out of the political fray. I actually kind of like this outcome.

  • Donna,

    A great calmness came over me as I took in the decision – all is well and its all going to be for the best. And, yes, TAC does load slowly.

  • yes mark of norwich “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”

  • W F Aiken

    Would you regard a levy, confined to uncultivated land, as a tax or a penalty?

  • Would you regard a levy, confined to uncultivated land, as a tax or a penalty?

    At least that levy would be attached to property ownership; not to nothing, not to non-action. I am not saying it is a good thing, but at least there might be some reason behind it.

  • I don’t think the levy you mentioned is just.

  • “I don’t think the levy you mentioned is just.”

    Nor do I, but would it be a tax or a penalty?

  • God did not want His Chosen People to be governed by a king. God wanted the Israelite nation to be a nation of sovereign persons, ruled and governed by the Supreme Sovereign Being, disciplined by LOVE. Still, Israel insisted. God relented and gave them Saul, then David.
    George Washington had served two terms as President of the United States. When Washington refused a third term as president, the people wanted to crown him king. Washington absolutely refused. George Washington was truly disciplined by LOVE, a sovereign. As a sovereign, George Washington exemplified the true meaning of sovereignty for each and every person and our nation.
    Justice is predicated on intent. As the personification of Divine Justice, the perfect Justice of God, The Supreme Court for the United States of America is empowered by Divine Justice, to root out all corruption, all falsehood, all malevolence, any evil that would threaten the Liberty and the common good of each and every individual person, every citizen, every state and nation, for whom the Justices have taken an oath to preserve FREEDOM, through the United States Constitution.
    CJ John Roberts statement that it is not the Supreme Court’s job to correct our mistakes and /or crimes is simply Roberts reneging on his oath. Swallowed by atheism and secular humanism, Roberts aids and abets the establishment of these disordered aberrations as religion through which the FREEDOM of religion might be practiced by the sovereign persons who happen to be citizens, in spite of the fact that these aberrations have been thrown off by the plaintiffs, violate the Ninth Amendment, (the Ninth Amendment states that persons have rights not enumerated in the Constitution) and deny the freedom of conscience, the human being’s immortal soul, the human being’s rational soul. Without a rational soul man becomes a beast, a rapacious beast or a subject, a member of a herd to be driven and corralled. Man has already witnessed the violence and been subjected to inhumanities un-thought of several decades ago. To this John Roberts adds his imprimatur. “It’s not my job”
    Obamacare cannot be dealt with because it is not a law. Obamacare is tyranny, coercion and fraud, the establishment of a God-less society. Obamacare will have no new generation, only a new generation of flatliners.

  • Mary De Voe

    There is an inscription in the Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris, built by the Catholic community as an act of reparation for the murder of the Royal Family “in diebus illis non erat rex in Israhel sed unusquisque quod sibi rectum videbatur hoc faciebat.” – In those days, there was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)

    In fact, the phrase, “there was no king in Israel” recurs four times in Judges(17:6, 18:1, 19:1 & 21:25) and each time it goes on to describe some disaster or act of wickedness.