Witchhunt

Friday, June 23, AD 2017

 

Bad enough being sent to prison for a crime you committed.  Imagine being sent to prison for twenty-one years for a crime that you did not commit:

The only physical evidence against the Kellers was the testimony of Dr Michael Mouw, who examined the girl in the emergency room of a local hospital after the therapy session and said he found tears in her hymen that potentially indicated that she was molested.

Mouw signed an affidavit last January in which he affirms that he now realises his inexperience led him to a conclusion that “is not scientifically or medically valid, and that I was mistaken.”

In an appeal filed on behalf of Fran Keller earlier this year, her lawyer, Keith Hampton, also argued that the state presented misleading evidence about the cemetery, relied on a false witness confession and the testimony of a “quack” satanic abuse “expert”, and that suggestive interview techniques had encouraged the children to make “fantastical false statements”.

According to police reports and trial records, the children said that Dan Keller killed his dog and made children cut it up and eat it, “baptised” kids with blood and disembowelled pets, forcing children to drink the blood.

The Kellers were also said to have decapitated and chopped up a baby, put the remains in a swimming pool and made the children jump in. In one account, the Kellers were said to have stolen a baby gorilla from a park and Frances cut off one of its fingers.

The pair, who apparently liked to wear robes, were said to have dug graves in a cemetery to hide dead animals and a passer-by who was shot and carved up with a chain saw.

The children were supposedly taken to military bases and on secret aeroplane trips, including to Mexico, where they were abused and returned to the centre in time for their parents to pick them up as normal. They said they were coerced into videotaped sex acts and drugged so they would forget what they had seen.

In court, the jury heard about the extensive attempts by Austin police to substantiate the stories – and Hampton believes that lent them credibility. Police conducted inquiries at nearby airfields, took the children to a cemetery and examined graves from a helicopter using an infrared camera that they said could detect “hot-spots” on decomposing corpses.

In a letter of support for the Kellers dated March 17 this year, James Wood, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, wrote: “There is now general agreement among reputable scholars that the Daycare Abuse Panic was a twentieth-century manifestation of ‘witchcraft fever’ of the same kind that swept Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and Western Europe in the centuries before that.”

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13 Responses to Witchhunt

  • Unfortunately, common sense is all too uncommon nowadays.

  • In the case of which I have personal knowledge (one much less lurid) t was a prosecutor, parents, and a local OB GYN, compounded by a judge I wouldn’t trust either. The jury split the difference, convicting the defendant on one count (they believed the OB GYN) and acquitting on another. The sequence of events over the next 14 years (during which time he was in prison) is enough to persuade you that the parole system is humbug and should be replaced. The prosecutor in the case, in addition to insulting in open court members of the community who supported the accused, later went to work for some shizzy ‘NGO’ ‘advocating’ on behalf of the abused.
    He picked up enough vocational training in prison and his mother and father had enough good will in the community that he could find work on his release, though he lost one job when the quondam prosecutor located him and whipped up a lynch mob against one employer. (Local newspapers had in their files a bizarre mugshot that looked nothing like him and reprinted it to illustrate their articles). He moved out of state after a couple of years, and, in a surprise to everyone, found someone to marry him. He was, in the first two years after his release, episodically angry, and may still be.

  • To the hell of being wrongfully convicted and sentenced for such a horrendous crime, and then serving 21 years for said crime you didn’t commit, add the PARTICULARIZED HELL of what happens to people in prison that are convicted of crimes harming children. We can only imagine (and we probably don’t want to) what these poor people were forced to endure.

  • I am being called to my civic duty as a juror in 10 days. First time ever. Any advice about how to properly serve? The comment about “If is sounds like baloney, it usually us,” prompts me to fine tune my crap detector…

  • Bring a good book to read. You will probably be waiting quite a bit before appearing on panels for the attorneys or the courts to voir dire. If your are picked for a jury listen hard to the testimony. Remember that what the lawyers say is not evidence. The Judge will instruct all of you as to the applicable law at the end of the case. If you get a criminal case remember that beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean either “any doubt” or “he probably did it.” If you serve on a jury and they take you all to lunch during trial, I hope it is some place decent. Sometimes jurors get taken to some of the most miserable greasy spoons imaginable. After a jury verdict, jurors are not required to talk about their votes to anyone.

  • Don: thanks for the advice. I am hard of hearing but do wear hearing aids after my time flying in the military. Even with hearing aids, I often find it hard to follow conversations. Can we ask the Judge to have things repeated? I’m intrigued by going to court and I want to do a good “job” but also don’t want an important decision to rest on my hit and miss hearing…

  • The Court would probably give you a hearing device that might help better than your hearing aid. You would definitely want to bring this to the attention of the Court when you are being questioned as part of a panel during the picking of the jury.

  • Hey, miserable greasy spoons often serve up some of the best chow around.

  • Don’t forget, sometimes even Catholic priests are subjected to witchhunts. Here is a likely case: http://thesestonewalls.com/about/

  • “Hey, miserable greasy spoons often serve up some of the best chow around.”

    Those that do not also cause you to vomit it right back up. Perhaps I have simply gotten too familiar with the food inspection process over the years in my home county.

  • ABS has been selected several times to be part of a jury pool but has yet to be chosen for a trial.

    One of the positive things about being selected for a pool is that it gives ABS a chance to tell others about nullification.

  • Re: getting chosen for a jury. I never try to skip out or make excuses when I get my jury summons. I would LOVE to be on a jury. I think it would be a great experience, and I am a very impartial person. But I am never chosen….despite writing on the selection form PLEASE PICK ME !!! in the margins, along with various emoticons. Clearly I would make a good juror, as I hold my courtroom reading material so the title shows prominently: books like “Capital Punishment in America,” or Evan Whitten’s “Our Corrupt Legal System.” You would think attorneys would jump at the chance to have an enthusiastic, well-informed juror.

No Law

Tuesday, July 5, AD 2016

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Judges 21:25

 

 

The “secret” meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch underlines something that most Americans believe:  there is one law for the connected and another law for the rest of us.  That is a brief way of saying that there is no law if by law we mean rules that all of us are required to live by.  Attorney Kurt Schlichter at Townhall explains what all this means:

The law mattered. It applied equally to everyone. We demanded that it did, all of us – politicians, the media, and regular citizens. Oh, there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice but they weren’t common and they weren’t celebrated – they were universally reviled. And, more importantly, they weren’t part and parcel of the ideology of one particular party. There was once a time where you could imagine a Democrat scandal where the media actually called for the head of the Democrat instead of deploying to cover it up.

People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.

The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.

Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.

The attorney general secretly canoodles with the husband of the subject of criminal investigation by her own department and the president, the enforcer of our laws, shrugs. The media, the challenger of the powerful, smirks. They rub our noses in their contempt for the law. And by doing so, demonstrate their contempt for us.

Only power matters, and Hillary stands ready to accumulate more power on their behalf so their oaths, their alleged principles, their duty to the country – all of it goes out the window. But it’s much worse than just one scandal that seems not to scandalize anyone in the elite. Just read the Declaration of Independence – it’s almost like those dead white Christian male proto-NRA members foresaw and cataloged the myriad oppressions of liberalism’s current junior varsity tyranny.

There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.

So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker?

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6 Responses to No Law

  • Agreed!!

  • It is coming to the point where we will have to give the same respons ethat Mattathias gave in 1st Maccabees chapter 2. That is regrettable and it would be best to avoid such a scenario. But the liberal progressive Democrats and RINOs will not have it any other way. May God have mercy on us all, for there is still time to repent.
    .
    15 Then the king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Mo′de-in to make them offer sacrifice. 16 Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathi′as and his sons were assembled. 17 Then the king’s officers spoke to Mattathi′as as follows: “You are a leader, honored and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers. 18 Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.”
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    19 But Mattathi′as answered and said in a loud voice: “Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, 20 yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. 21 Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.”
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    23 When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in Mo′de-in, according to the king’s command. 24 When Mattathi′as saw it, be burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. 25 At the same time he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. 26 Thus he burned with zeal for the law, as Phin′ehas did against Zimri the son of Salu.
    .
    27 Then Mattathi′as cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: “Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!” 28 And he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the city.
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    29 Then many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to dwell there, 30 they, their sons, their wives, and their cattle, because evils pressed heavily upon them. 31 And it was reported to the king’s officers, and to the troops in Jerusalem the city of David, that men who had rejected the king’s command had gone down to the hiding places in the wilderness. 32 Many pursued them, and overtook them; they encamped opposite them and prepared for battle against them on the sabbath day. 33 And they said to them, “Enough of this! Come out and do what the king commands, and you will live.” 34 But they said, “We will not come out, nor will we do what the king commands and so profane the sabbath day.” 35 Then the enemy[c] hastened to attack them. 36 But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places, 37 for they said, “Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.” 38 So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of a thousand persons.
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    39 When Mattathi′as and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply. 40 And each said to his neighbor: “If we all do as our brethren have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth.” 41 So they made this decision that day: “Let us fight against every man who comes to attack us on the sabbath day; let us not all die as our brethren died in their hiding places.”

  • “…and their auxiliaries in academia, the media and entertainment,” Um, Don, you forgot one group: the clergy.

  • “What a bargain!”

    And it’s just beginning.
    Blue light special…. K-Mart shoppers… includes FBI non-stick spray. Works great on those tough e-mail stains. They just disappear as if they never existed.

    Can’t wait for the next crime the Beast will get away with.

  • You ably summarized the fatal flaw of Trump. And it is summarized in the case made for his election by his supporters; including some very fine people indeed.

    He is no different than Hillary n this important respect: he cares not an ounce for the Constitution and the rule of law and the “little people” for whom the rule of law is most designed to protect.. He cares about power. He cares about the interests of the powerful; most especially the interests of himself and his cronies.

    He is no different. The urge of conservatives to elect this man is the urge to play the game of the lawless liberal hordes. But this time to get some for ourselves.

    I want no part of it. He is manifestly not the answer to what ails us. He is a fuller manifestation of the disease; the other side of its coin.

    The RULE OF LAW is all that matters right now. POLICY is irrelevant as our nation dies under LAWLESSNESS. I’m with Thomas More on is one. Along with everything that implies.

  • Brian, what is it that you plan to do to fight lawlessness and protect the rule of law? Trump may not be a Reagan but he’s not a Clinton either.

Laws for Wolves and Men

Thursday, March 10, AD 2016

The twenty-ninth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here , here , here , here , here and here.

Kipling had a love, hate relationship with the law and authority in general.  He regarded law as necessary to the human condition, but he was too sharp an observer of the humanity not to notice that more than a few men in authority were fools, and that they manipulated laws to their advantage.  In our confused times we have individuals who are stridently against laws that support traditional morality, while calling for government micro management in other areas of life that would have astounded most of the tyrants in history who lived prior to the last century.  In his The Jungle Book (1894), Kipling sets forth a law code for a group, a wolf pack, that would at first blush seem completely lawless:

The Law of the Jungle
(From The Jungle Book)
by Rudyard Kipling


Now this is the Law of the Jungle —
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.


Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip;
drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting,
and forget not the day is for sleep.

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: The Ox-bow Incident

Friday, December 5, AD 2014

 

 

My dear Wife, Mr. Davies will tell you what’s happening here tonight. He’s a good man and has done everything he can for me. I suppose there are some other good men here, too, only they don’t seem to realize what they’re doing. They’re the ones I feel sorry for. ‘Cause it’ll be over for me in a little while, but they’ll have to go on remembering for the rest of their lives. A man just naturally can’t take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin’ everybody in the world, ’cause then he’s just not breaking one law but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody’s conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that’s all I’ve got to say except kiss the babies for me and God bless you. Your husband, Donald.

The Ox-Bow Incident (1940)-Walter Van Tilburg Clark

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3 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: The Ox-bow Incident

  • “Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody’s conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? ”
    .
    Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond books defined the law as “the crystallization of man’s prejudice.” This would seem to entitled every law breaker to victimhood.
    .
    Obama has outlawed conscience in favor of communism.

  • “These are the precepts of the law: to live uprightly, not to harm another, to give to each his own.” [Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere (Dig. 1.1.10.1 Ulpianus 1 reg.)]

  • ‘ … There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? …’
    .
    “These are the precepts of the law: to live uprightly, not to harm another, to give to each his own.”
    As a gift to the US Federal and State paid office holders, this would be perfect – whether framed and tied with a bow or not, or by general delivery with cyber means as they do.
    .
    (By the way, the Connecticut River has an Ox Bow of water, which is surrounded by corn fields made fertile by high water during spring melt from the north. Imagination brings wonder at the bow of the beasts of burden decades back when viewing the shape of the river’s Ox Bow from the mountain summit. )

Massachusetts Abortion Clinic Bubble Zone Law Struck Down

Thursday, June 26, AD 2014

 

 

Today a unanimous Supreme Court, in MCCULLEN ET AL. v. COAKLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS, struck down the Massachusetts “Bubble Zone” law, keeping pro-life protestors  35 feet away from abortion clinics, as a violation of the First Amendment.  That is a good thing.  The bad thing is that it was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, and I will let Justice Scalia explain what a limited victory for the pro-life cause this is, and what a disappointment it is that the Chief Justice wrote it.

 

JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY and JUSTICE THOMAS join, concurring in the judgment.

Today’s opinion carries forward this Court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. See, e.g., Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000); Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U.S. 753 (1994).

The second half of the Court’s analysis today, invalidating the law at issue because of inadequate “tailoring,” is certainly attractive to those of us who oppose an abortion-speech edition of the First Amendment . But think again. This is an opinion that has Something for Everyone, and the more significant portion continues the onward march of abortion-speech-only jurisprudence. That is the first half of the Court’s analysis, which concludes that a statute of this sort is not content based and hence not subject to so-called strict scrutiny. The Court reaches out to decide that question unnecessarily-or at least unnecessarily insofar as legal analysis is concerned.

I disagree with the Court’s dicta (Part III) and hence see no reason to opine on its holding (Part IV).

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13 Responses to Massachusetts Abortion Clinic Bubble Zone Law Struck Down

  • Only truth has free speech.

  • “Public streets and sidewalks are traditional forums for speech on matters of public concern.”
    Is that really the law in the US? Ours is quite different. In McAra v. Magistrates of Edinburgh [(1913) S.C. 1059], the Lord President (Dunedin) said, “As regards the common law, I wish most distinctly to state it as my opinion that the primary and overruling object for which the streets exist is passage. The streets are public, but they are public for passage, and there is no such thing as a right in the public to hold meetings as such in the streets.”
    As for the right of free speech, he said that it undoubtedly exists but that: “the right of free speech is a perfectly separate thing from the question of the place where that right is to be exercised.”
    Hence, the common request by police officers to “Move along, there” and why demonstrations usually take the form of marches.

  • “Is that really the law in the US?”

    Yep. Parade permits normally have to be obtained if one wishes to march in the streets. Sidewalk protests in the US, completely unlicensed, are not uncommon. I walked through an anti-war one on public sidewalks, ironically aimed against Obama by far Leftists, after my family and I had lunch at a pub in downtown Urbana on the Saturday before Memorial Day. This group has been holding similar weekend protests in Urbana since 2003.

    https://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-demonstrations-and-protests

  • “Only truth has free speech.”

    No, since people differ on truth and many disagreements do not involve truth per se, or involve clashing truths: i.e. state’s rights v. freedom in the Civil War. Most tyrants throughout History, as they throttled the free speech of those who opposed them, would piously proclaim that they were only defending truth.

  • Agree, Donald. Man is not God, and by virtue of his fallen nature will always have a weak grasp of Truth. Hence we grope for it clumsily and with limited success, but it is important and we struggle and argue over it necessarily. Free speech is a key means by which we can make progress. It leads to Truth, however haltingly and imperfectly.

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  • “I wish most distinctly to state it as my opinion that the primary and overruling object for which the streets exist is passage”
    MPS, sidewalks in the U.S. are for passage also. However, we recognize that the right of the pedestrian for passage is usually not hindered by people who are exercising their free speech rights. Perhaps the sidewalks are just smaller in Scotland?
    We have recently had a spat of demonstrations by groups called ‘Occupy Wall Street’ or OWS. These groups did block sidewalks, to the consternation of many. All U.S. venues have laws that prohibit this, but the police often were reluctant to enforce them due to media sympathies for OWS and the knowledge that certain judges will go too far and agree with the OWS claim that their blockage is itself an exercise of free speech. The police would only act in the most outrageous situations.

    You may ask yourself, how did these judges get this idea? It all goes back to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, with the protests against legal segregation. The civil rights protestors maintained their blockage of sidewalks and entrances to segregated establishments was the only effective way they could protest and thus was an act of speech. What people forget is that those protestors never saw their actions as an act of free speech: they were not challenging public order laws in general, and fully expected to be arrested. In fact they were a bit apologetic about it, even as they maintained the necessity to do so. Today’s protestors claim their mantle but also claim their public disorder to be free speech. It’s a much different world, and in this regard not a better one.

  • The English law on the subject was stated by Lopes LJ in in Harrison v. Duke of Rutland ([1893] 1 Q.B. 142) Harrison was on a road running across the Duke’ land and was interrupting a shoot by scaring game away from the butts.
    At p. 154 he said: “The conclusion which I draw from the authorities is that, if a person uses the soil of the highway for any purpose other than that in respect of which the dedication was made and the easement acquired, he is a trespasser. The easement acquired by the public is a right to pass and repass at their pleasure for the purpose of legitimate travel, and the use of the soil for any other purpose, whether lawful or unlawful, is an infringement of the rights of the owner of the soil, who has, subject to this easement, precisely the same estate in the soil as he had previously to any easement being acquired by the public.”
    In Hickman v. Maisey ([1900] 1 Q.B. 752) it was held to be a trespass for someone (a racing tout) to use the road as a vantage point for observing and timing the performance of racehorses undergoing trial for an hour and a half. The same would, no doubt, apply to paparazzi on a stake-out, if the owner of the soil took exception.
    The law of Scotland is the same.

  • “Roe v. Wade has exerted a poisonous influence on the courts as laws, and traditional judicial modes of interpreting laws and the Constitution have been twisted and warped to protect the sacred [rite, ahem] right of women to slay their offspring.”
    Of course, it isn’t just Roe v, Wade, but the continuing love of abortion and the need to justify it that is poisonous.

    ” Imagine the damage that the Dred Scott decision would have done to American jurisprudence if it had not been overruled by the Civil War…”
    I have never seen this thought expressed, but it is so true. The Dred Scott decision would have infested the courts and generated more and more evil fruit with each case that relied on it as precedent. Arguably the timing of the Civil War and the postwar amendments to the Constitution saved this country from many legal monstrosities; a Civil War delayed to 1890 or 1900 would have allowed for a half century of bad precedent that even a Union victory could never repeal. Up for a novel, Don?

  • Every time Piers Morgan talks, I lose a brain cell.

  • Pontius Pilate asked of Jesus Christ, his prisoner: “What is truth?”
    .
    Truth is the absolute and perfect absence of evil. Pilate no longer recognized his own pure innocence and his soul created in perfect innocence. Jesus’ presence testified to Pilate’s guilt in not willing to stay pure and innocent, morally and legally innocent. It was incumbent upon Pilate, as governor of Judea, to defend truth and innocence, as it was Pilate’s function to deliver Justice and determine guilt; to judge the nation. Jesus stood as a witness against Pilate’s failure to be both a man and a leader.
    .
    “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” ought to have been Pilate’s constant prayer.
    .
    The obvious answer to “Who is truth?” is the three persons of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, filled with the Holy Spirit from creation, willed to be in perfect conformity to the will of God. To Mary, God gave the special privilege of the Immaculate Conception, the grace to have her pure and innocent desire fulfilled by God and to remain a virgin for all time. The next answer to: “Who is truth?”: is the newly begotten sovereign person, who is created in perfect and absolute innocence, moral and legal innocence, for God does not create sin or evil, and who must be visited by the sin of Adam, and who must desire to remain an innocent virgin as God created him and avoid the sin of Adam.
    .
    Truth is the absolute absence of evil and in this, truth is absolute. If it is not true, then it is a lie. Unalienable human rights must be endowed by an infinite God of absolute truth. Finite human rights endowed by a finite state, that is, a state constituted by men, with a beginning and, therefore, an end, cannot endow unalienable human rights because it is, of itself, alienable. “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government,” The Declaration of Independence. The finite state cannot endow unalienable human rights. The finite state can only endorse the human rights endowed by “our Creator”.
    .
    Pornography is a lie about the human being, his creation in perfect innocence and virginity and impacts our constitutional posterity by setting an evil precedent of ignoring the innocence and virginity required to establish Justice “to secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” From the Preamble to our Constitution.
    .
    Pornography profits from catering to the sin of Adam and therefore is not free or absent of evil. Abuse of the human being, body and soul, inheres in pornography. Pornography may be described as soul murder. That pornography was given freedom by the Court, while it is addictive and imprisons the soul, is a miscarriage of Justice.
    .
    Abortion destroys our constitutional posterity. Justice cannot be established by destroying the most innocent among us. Innocence, the absence of evil, is the compelling interest of the state and the indispensible reality for establishing and preserving Justice. “establish Justice” from The Preamble. Abortion violates the Preamble, the unchangeable purpose of the Constitution.
    .
    Sodomy denies the soul of the human being. Denying the human being composed of body and rational immortal human soul is a great lie.
    .
    Like prohibition with alcohol, abortion and pornography and sodomy might never become outlawed, but abortion, pornography and sodomy must be identified by the state as the evil they perpetrate. These evils must never be allowed. These evils must be outlawed, as for the common good and general welfare of the nation, and most certainly must not be supported by the laws levying taxation upon the innocent souls in our nation. Forcing innocent souls to support evil through public allowance of evil and levied taxation is taxation without representation.
    .
    If Hobby Lobby is not represented by our nation, or Hobby Lobby’s constituency is used against it, Hobby Lobby cannot be forced by its citizenship or constituency, which have been denied to it, to support a nation which refuses to acknowledge his citizenship and constituency. If Hobby Lobby does not win this judgment, Hobby Lobby will have been again denied his citizenship, his constituency overruled, and again refused to be represented and acknowledged.
    .
    Justice is of God.
    .
    All the state endows is citizenship and a tax bill at birth of an innocent soul. Taxing that innocent soul without representation is unconstitutional. Taxing that innocent soul without acknowledgement of his soul is unconstitutional and irresponsible.
    .
    The truth will set us free.

  • If same sex couples can come into bakeries to harass and sue for access to the bakery’s time and talent, and people out dining may come into the kitchen of restaurants at will to check on cleanliness, then, surely abortion clinics, which are places of commerce and are not non-profits cannot deny any person the freedom to come onto their premises to inspect, inform themselves, or to pray the rosary.
    .
    There is an excellent example in Obamacare coming into Hobby Lobby, a place of commerce, and not a non-profit, and making demands under penalty of law, that the corporation give to their workers a benefit to which the owners in good will, object. The government has no business, at the business, telling the owners and workers how the business will be run.
    .
    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has brought to the fore the question of changing the Constitution without three quarters of the states ratifying this, or any change. The change from “due process of law” to “substantive due process of law” gives the court the freedom to write law and rewrite the Constitution, a power reserved to the people. “substantive due process of law” may decide who is given due process of law and who is denied due process of law, as in the case of the newly begotten sovereign person’s being accused of murdering, or causing the death of his mother. In the case of abortion to save the life of the mother, death must be imminent. In “substantive due process of law”, the court has usurped legitimate authority to serve its bias against human life, and human beings’ right to life, and our founding principles that all men are created, not born, equal.
    .
    The Fifth Amendment, in the takings clause, has also been changed in collusion, from private property being taken “for public use” to private property being taken for public purposes” giving government and local officials total power over all private property under their control, and without the change being ratified by the states and without the people being notified of the change and without the change being put to the taxpayers’ vote. It is the government official who decides what is “public purposes”, without ratification or the peoples’ consent.
    .
    When an ordinary person serving in the capacity as government can overrule the will of the people, we are no longer the land of the free, we are subjects to the whim of an imperfect individual.
    .
    Donald your interpretation of Antonin Scalia is superb.
    .
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““As regards the common law, I wish most distinctly to state it as my opinion that the primary and overruling object for which the streets exist is passage. The streets are public, but they are public for passage, and there is no such thing as a right in the public to hold meetings as such in the streets.””
    .
    If people, persons, were monuments of stone in the passage way this law is true, but people deserving of respect and courtesy may be petitioned to give way or allow passage at will, barring assault and battery. The people at abortion mills are the most humble, peaceable, and generous.
    .
    All public lands and waterways belong to the people in joint and common tenancy. We own it all and I own it all, and therefore, the sidewalk cannot be reserved to serve the bias of the courts.

  • Clay: “Every time Piers Morgan talks, I lose a brain cell.”
    .
    I loved the way Scalia held his own and gave no ground to the bully.

Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Tuesday, February 4, AD 2014

In times of war the laws fall silent.  That is from the Latin maxim Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.  A  study of history reveals just how true that is, and Justice Scalia reminds us of that fact:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japa­nese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict.

Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Kore­ma­tsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hira­ba­ya­shi and Fred Kore­ma­tsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

“Well, of course, Kore­ma­tsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

“That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification but it is the reality,” he said.

Avi Soifer, the law school’s dean, said he believed Scalia was suggesting people always have to be vigilant and that the law alone can’t be trusted to provide protection.

Go here to read the rest.

Internment camps were set up after Pearl Harbor during the invasion scare.  Several thousand Italian-Americans and eleven thousand German Americans were interned during the war, but these were individuals who were picked up because investigations indicated that they could be a domestic threat.  The west coast  Japanese were simply scooped up with no individual investigations.  J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, opposed the internment of the Japanese, regarding it as completely unnecessary, but his views sadly were ignored.  About 120,000 Japanese -Americans were interned during the war, the vast majority loyal Americans.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the internment in the case of Korematsu v. United States.  The vote was 6-3.  Six out of the eight Supreme Court Justices appointed by FDR voted to affirm the constitutionality of the internment.  The lone Republican on the court, Justice Owen Roberts, wrote a dissent which deserves to be remembered.  It begins simply and directly:

I dissent, because I think the indisputable facts exhibit a clear violation of Constitutional rights.

This is not a case of keeping people off the streets at night as was Kiyoshi Hirabayashi v. United States,  320  U.S. 81, 63 S.Ct. 1375,  [323  U.S. 214, 226] nor a case of temporary exclusion of a citizen from an area for his own safety or that of the community, nor a case of offering him an opportunity to go temporarily out of an area where his presence might cause danger to himself or to his fellows. On the contrary, it is the case of convicting a citizen as a punishment for not submitting to imprisonment in a concentration camp, based on his ancestry, and solely because of his ancestry, without evidence or inquiry concerning his loyalty and good disposition towards the United States. If this be a correct statement of the facts disclosed by this record, and facts of which we take judicial notice, I need hardly labor the conclusion that Constitutional rights have been violated.

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6 Responses to Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

  • Liberty like Salvation itself demands perpetual vigilance

  • Obama’s (IRS war on the right, Obamacare WH “amendments”, executive orders, war on coal, etc.) applying that maxim in the class war.

  • Yet one more of many examples of why Justice Scalia has a permanent place in the top five of my personal list of people I’d love to have to dinner. Thanks for posting this.

  • When Justice Scalia arrives in heaven, I suspect that the Founding Fathers will collectively thank him for his integrity and inform him “Job Well Done”.

  • slainte: “When Justice Scalia arrives in heaven, I suspect that the Founding Fathers will collectively thank him for his integrity and inform him “Job Well Done””.
    .
    I am thinking the same.
    .
    In the matter of banning capital punishment:The state cannot ban capital punishment for capital homicide because the state does not own the victim nor does the state own the murderer. It is what it is.

  • “The state cannot ban capital punishment for capital homicide because the state does not own the victim nor does the state own the murderer. It is what it is.”

    By the same logic, the state in Roe versus Wade cannot approve, allow, or stand idly by when an innocent sovereign person’s life is threatened with destruction through abortion.
    A whole new human being comes into existence at fertilization. Science has discovered the unique DNA of every individual, not a part of the mother’s body, nor a disorganized clump of human cells but a growing baby in the womb, a sovereign person.
    .
    Roe versus Wade in whatever capacity does not own the newly created individual of a rational nature, St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of a human person. Nor does the mother or the father, or the physician with the mother, nor the state, own this person. The soul is sovereign.
    .
    The newly begotten sovereign person in the womb constitutes our nation from the very first moment of his existence. If the state gives or allows the child to be aborted, the state violates the child’s right to life.

Demons Have Grievances Too

Thursday, May 9, AD 2013

Demon Grievance

 

In Hell there will be nothing but law and due process will be meticulously observed.

Grant Gilmore

Dear Satan,

It is with great animosity that I file this official complaint regarding my recent assignment to possess a high school student at Blessed Karl Rahner Catholic Community.  As you are well aware I am a very junior demon and this was my first possession assignment outside of Hell. The training I received from senior demons in preparation for this assignment did not prepare me in the least for what I experienced. From what I was told, I would be sent into the world to fight the forces of good and score a victory for the powers of Hell. Instead I myself was exposed to a Hell I have heretofore never experienced.

As you are aware, as a junior demon I have been assigned to the more shallow circles of Hell and my contract explicitly states I am not to be exposed to anything approaching the 5th circle or greater. As you will see my experience during this possession rates at least an 8th, if not 9th circle level of torment.  I have included a statement of what transpired below as evidence of my claims.

In addition, I am petitioning for compensation.  I want to be assigned for at least six weeks to demon corps seven, which is assigned to tempt Catholic politicians. As you know the demons in this corps do practically nothing since it is impossible to tempt people who have no conscience. This will give me adequate time to recover from my traumatic possession experience inflicted by the negligence of those senior demons who failed to properly prepare me. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Demonically,

Anibalus

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14 Responses to Demons Have Grievances Too

April 24, 1863: Promulgation of the Lieber Code

Wednesday, April 24, AD 2013

Art. 43. Therefore, in a war between the United States and a belligerent which admits of slavery, if a person held in bondage by that belligerent be captured by or come as a fugitive under the protection of the military forces of the United States, such person is immediately entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman To return such person into slavery would amount to enslaving a free person, and neither the United States nor any officer under their authority can enslave any human being. Moreover, a person so made free by the law of war is under the shield of the law of nations, and the former owner or State can have, by the law of postliminy, no belligerent lien or claim of service.

Francis Lieber led a colorful life.  Born in Berlin in 1798, he enlisted in the Prussian Army in 1815 and was wounded at Waterloo.  Unable to attend a university in Berlin due to his membership in a Liberal group that opposed the Prussian monarchy, he attended Jena University and, a brilliant student, completed his dissertation on mathematics in four months in 1820.  He took time out from his academic career to fight in the Greek War of Independence in which he was severely wounded.  He served as a tutor for the son of the Prussian ambassador in Rome for a year and wrote a book about his experiences in Greece.  Receiving a royal pardon, he returned to Prussia only to run afoul of the authorities again for his Republican beliefs.  Imprisoned, he took advantage of the time to do what any good Romantic of his generation would do, he wrote a book of poetry, Songs of Wine and Bliss.

After his release he fled to England, where he supported himself by acting as a tutor.  Meeting his future wife and marrying her, the Liebers left the Old World to start a new life in the New World in 1827.  There Lieber embarked on an academic career.  In Boston he achieved notoriety for opening a school which gave instruction in swimming, a first in America.  He edited a 13 volume Encyclopedia Americana.  From 1833-1835 he resided in Philadelphia while preparing a plan of education for Girard College.  In 1835 he began a sojourn of 21 years duration at the University of South Carolina teaching history and political economics.  He retained an interest in Germany, and returned for a few months after the revolution of 1848 although his hopes that Germany would take the Liberal path he favored were quickly dashed.

From 1856-1865 he was professor of history and political science at Columbia.  In 1860 he was also appointed a professor of political science at the law school at Columbia, a post he would hold until his death in 1872.

The coming of the Civil War tragically divided Lieber’s family, just as it divided the nation.  One of his sons fought and died for the Confederacy, while his other two sons fought for the Union.  Lieber himself was a staunch advocate of the Union and an opponent of slavery.  He founded and headed the Loyal Publication Society that wrote scholarly pro-Union propaganda during the War.  He first met Lincoln at the White House in 1861 to confer upon him an honorary degree from Columbia.  Thereafter he was called to Washington frequently to consult with Lincoln, Stanton and Seward on questions of international law.

During his academic career Lieber had written many books and articles on law, politics and history that had given him an international reputation.  It is therefore not surprising that Lincoln turned to Lieber to draft a code of Law to govern the Union forces during war-time.  The Code was promulgated in General Order 100 on April 24, 1863.

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The Fear of God and the Law

Saturday, December 15, AD 2012

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is prudence.

Proverbs 9:10

 

Traditionally in English criminal indictments this formula was used “not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil”.  This of course contained a great truth that used to be embodied in Western jurisprudence, that human laws could do only so much to prevent evil and that the eternal battle waged in every human heart and mind between good and evil was the true determinant of whether men would commit terrible acts against, not merely the momentary statutes of Man, but the eternal Law of God, as partially represented in the Ten Commandments given to humanity by God on Mount Sinai.

In the wake of the appalling evil of the murder of the innocents at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday, there are cries for legislation, usually from advocates of gun control, to purportedly aid in preventing this type of tragedy from happening again.  There is also, inevitably, endless commentary.  One piece of commentary I found striking was that by John Podhoretz at Commentary:

 

The connection between the protection of children and the practice of monotheism dates back to the beginning. After Abraham becomes the first Jew, the first monotheist, he is tasked by God to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the miracle child of his and his wife Sarah’s old age, and he takes up the task without complaint until God stays his hand. The story of Isaac’s binding, the akedah, is one of the most challenging of the Bible and is often taken to mean God was testing Abraham’s faith with the ultimate demand. But one might also say that at the very dawn of the worship of the One God, the Bible was placing the sacrifice of children outside the realm of the thinkable for the first time.

The idea that civilization is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the weak and the innocent, and not about fulfilling evil impulses to defile and destroy innocence, is the root and core of the West. One cannot conceive of anything more monstrous than a person or persons who could look small children in the eye and systematically shoot them dead. Which is why this crime, among the worst crimes in American history, is not just an assault on the children, or their families, or the town of Newtown—though it is all those things.

What the killer(s) did today was nothing less than a contemporary sacrifice to Moloch, in whatever form Moloch manifests himself today—the appeasement of a voice in the head, most likely. Evil, even if it is loosed due to mental illness, is an effort to destroy the common good by making good appear powerless, ineffectual, weak. Today saw a horrifically effective effort to give evil a victory. It has opened a portal and brought Hell to earth.

Gehenna is real again.

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10 Responses to The Fear of God and the Law

  • A society that truly wishes to protect the weak and the innocent would not tolerate abortion on demand….

    You have it! The banners flew high in our very liberal downtown this past August…Stop Child Abuse. Try to explain the worse cases of child abuse, abortion, and I’m laughed at.

    Donald. What’s left for us to do to counter this attack on “goodness?” Pray?! With God All things are possible.

  • Abraham acknowledged that Isaac belonged to God,

  • “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    Money quote!

    I think we may blame 50 years of execrable elites (citing diversity and tolerance, seizing unlimited power) pitting Americans against God and against each other.

    For years they have constantly pushed on us: vice is virtue and blessings are curses.

    The OT says “Woe unto him who calls evil good and good evil.”

    We are reaping the whirlwind.

    “As ye sew, so shall ye reap.”

  • Phillip: If may answer your query to Donald Mc Clarey: “What’s left for us to do to counter this attack on “goodness?” Remember, reiterate and remind people of the self-evident truth and founding principle that all men are created equal by “their Creator” and that all men belong to God, first, and to the community/family second, that the church, community and family belong to God, first. Caesar belongs to God and ought to be rendered unto God, that any person who repudiates God, “their Creator”, and our founding principles, repudiates his sovereign personhood, his unalienable rights endowed by God and his citizenship granted by the state, by the state who belongs to God, that the newly begotten sovereign persons belong to God, their bodies and their souls, belong to God, first, to their church and community, second, and to themselves, lastly, that any person who may believe that the soul and body of the newly begotten belongs to another person has forfeit his soul and unalienable rights to the devil. The devil has no soul and covets each and every soul of man, but when the devil got the soul of the Son Man, Jesus Christ, the coward ran to the pit of hell to hide, where, if I may say, the personification of evil belongs.

  • Attempts to parallel Rome and America are often misguided. However, I see a parallelbetween Western Culture and Roman Culture.

    This has happened before: ancient religions that kept passions in check undermined and replaced by half-baked, hedonistic and falsely rationalist ideas that amount to little more than replacing concepts of the divine with an inflated sense of Man’s importance.

    Satan knows that Man is doomed when unchecked by a moral code. He uses the human intellect to undermine our acceptance that we are curiously God’s beloved creation. We convince ourselves that that which doesn’t make perfect sense to us, even though our knowledge is far from perfect, must not be true. Thus we become rebels against the natural order and, thus, God.

    Remember though that we are responsible for only that which is under our control. A heavy price is to be paid for not fulfilling our duties, to be sure, but we are not accountable for what was not ours. If we concentrate on using His gifts well and fulfilling our duties, if we work hard and honestly, raise our families well and are faithful to our spouses and parents, seek to heal the injuries of this world, we will have done what was right and, so, will have done the Good.

    Keep the faith, my friends… It is all that you can do and all you are responsible for.

  • Mary De Voe.

    Thank you. Remind them with actions and as a last resort with words.
    It is our responsibility to lead and teach by our lives. I must remind myself that we can’t be concerned with immediate results, rather leaving the results and timing in Gods hands.
    Thanks Mary.

  • Pingback: SATURDAY GOD & CAESAR EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind” (Jeremiah 19:5)

    The holy Fathers teach, “Which I commanded not”- this refers to the sacrifice of the son of Mesha, the king of Moab (2 Kings 3:27); “nor spake it”; this refers to the daughter of Jephthah (Judges 11:31); “neither came it into My mind”; this refers to the sacrifice of Isaac, the son of Abraham.

  • There is this second part, Phillip, to my response:
    The challenge of atheism must be met head on sometimes, because of the contempt the militant atheist has for God-fearing people. Remember, if the atheist believes himself to be God-like, and Catholics are God-fearing people, the atheist is emboldened and too easily assumes that Catholics are to be victimized, thereby disrupting the peace and security of the community. The atheist will respect my doctrine and dogma and my religion or I will not respect his atheism, his free will to repudiate our founding principles and our Creator and I will find that he has repudiated his sovereign personhood endowed by the Person of our Creator and all unalienable civil rights and I will find that he ought to be exiled and deported as he has disenfranchised himself, with no one to blame but himself, his arrogance, his lack of humility and his contempt for his neighbor…while at the same time I may be praying and staying close to God…
    Thank you for your kind words.

  • Mary-
    Your welcome.
    In [ Heretics ] by G.K.Chesterton; “We have to love our neighbor because he is there. He is the sample of humanity that is actually given us. Precisely because he may be anybody, he is everybody.”

    Some may say that no one can love his neighbor on an empty stomach, yet many Saints have found it very possible, as long as the heart is full. Example St. Maximilian Kolbe.

    Your second part, the contempt that some atheist may have agonist God-fearing people is correct. Standing in peaceful protest in Madison Wisconsin in 2002 was my first experience with your theory. Interestingly once in awhile, a conversion take place.
    So our public witness for Truth is vital.

    May Gods grace be forever with us in this ongoing 2,000 plus years of Good News broadcasting knowing full well that defending the faith is not for the faint of heart.
    Peace to you and your family Mary.

11 Responses to Defense of Self Against Unlawful Attack

  • Did you notice that according to that law and probably many such laws, a person cannot use force if the bad guy is escaping after stealing? Now this contradicts the ever prudent sage, Axl Rose inter alia…” you can take anything you want, but you better not take it from me.”…from the yesteryear tune, “Welcome to the Jungle”. You according to law have to watch the criminal leave with your goods….( in your fav blue athletic bag no less.) My bad. But I retrieved by force a lethal weapon that likely would have been used later in a street murder. Aquinas…”the lawgiver cannot foresee every situation”…ergo, epikeia is needed. The law literally means that a gunstore owner coming upon a thief leaving his store with 30 Taurus pistols in a sack….cannot use force to stop him despite the imminent distribution of said guns to thugs. Lawyers….help me out with this.

  • Bill, I’m pretty sure that if you run into a thief coming out of a gun store with guns, you can reasonably be expected to conclude he’s an imminent threat to life and limb.

  • Foxfier,
    I hope you are correct but if the bag were closed and like many burglars (for sentencing reasons) he carried no loaded weapon himself outside the bag, I wouldn’t bet on the outcome in court if the owner fractured the guy’s skull with a gun butt.
    On your topic of the police, there have been cases of home invaders announcing themselves as police. Awful dilemna….whether you have a gun or do not. What do you do outside Indiana? Amazon sells great adjustable door braces (knob to floor white metal pipes with rubber ends) that you place in position in a second.
    Very good for big city life.

  • If more Gentlemen and good willed citizens owned guns Criminals would think twice more often and people would not have to wait ten minutes for cops to arrive to arrest a man who left eight minutes before, The problem of Mexican drug smugglers killing ranchers in the Southwest would not happen as often because criminals get guns whether it is legal or not, your average Joe on the other hand tends to obey the law.

  • Bill whether someone is a cop or not it is still wrong for them to kill someone innocent.

  • Atleast in Newark Delaware a lot of cops act like totalitarians I know a story about a young girl who was taken to the Police station because she was looking for a balloon for her birthday with her friends in the middle of the day and the way the cop got her to go to the station was by threatening to send her parents to Jail. All because people are so freaked out about security when no one was doing any harm to them except the po po pig that took her away to the station on her birthday.

  • The common law rule was very simple and straightforward. A householder could use force against an unlawful intruder, but he acted at his peril: if the entry was authorised, then killing the officer was murder.

    Just as the entry was either lawful or unlawful, so was the killing. As far as justification went, the householder’s state of mind was immaterial. The fact that the householder believed the entry was lawful, when, in fact, it was not, would not turn him into a criminal for killing the officer. Likewise, his belief that it was unlawful, when it was not, was no defence.

    This meant that no enquiry as to his state of mind was necessary at the trial. The test was purely objective, which makes for simplicity and certainty.

  • Michael, I think you have it backwards, but you’re right– up to that court decision, the common law was perfectly fine.

  • I am not sure why a guy who you don’t know, probably doesn’t live in your neighborhood, and makes a living sending people to jail somehow is the exception to the rule of people not being allowed to barge into your house. I think neighborhood guards who are local and morally upright are more trustworthy than a lot of police officers.

  • I find it odd for police officers to be surprised when someone their putting in shackles fights back, I think something which Christ tells to Peter is “Those who live by the sword die by the sword” one of the things that means is that if you punch someone or spray mace at their eyes don’t be surprised to get a hay maker in the jaw.

The Declaration of Independence as Law

Monday, November 14, AD 2011

Debates sometimes arise as to whether the Declaration of Independence is law. The Declaration isn’t law as a law saying go on green and stop on red is, although it is set forth under the United States Code.  It is much more important than that.  It is one of the essential building blocks of what we as a people believe.  It has been held to be such in numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court and I cite one of them below:

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5 Responses to The Declaration of Independence as Law

  • Somewhere in the US Constitution it says something about bon homme Whomever will be deprived “life, liberty or property” without “due process.”

    The rub: Central planners, collectivists, control economists invented brave, new definitions of “due process”, as in you have what you have if the regime allows . . .

    Seems some liberal genius’ (e.g., the #OccupyWallStreet crowd) idea of “greater good” trumps “life, liberty, happiness.”

    There just ain’t enough bullets.

  • Nah, I think I’ll pass on using the Declaration as an adjunct Constitution, since it was not intended as a governing document, not received as such, and much mischief ensues when courts begin parsing out philosophical statements such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Courts need to stick to interpreting legislation according to the plain meaning of the law, the orginal intent of the drafters, and if, and only if, necessary, examining whether a given law is in accord with the Constitution, again, according to its plain meaning and original understanding.

    There’s been enough trouble keeping judges to these simple principles. Inviting them to look to an extra-legal source like the Declaration is to invite even more of the same.

  • As a matter of judicial interpretation Tom, I would agree with you. If I were a legislator however, the Declaration would be one of my guiding stars in carrying out my duties.

  • I also agree with Tom, and would note that Don makes an insightful distinction, and one I admit I never considered. Good on you both.

  • Ditto Mike on dittoing Don and Tom.

So You Want to Do Criminal Defense Work

Tuesday, November 8, AD 2011

 

 

As long time readers of this blog know I am an attorney, for my sins no doubt.  Although the bulk of my practice is civil, over the years I have defended hundreds of defendants accused of crimes, mostly felonies.  This is part of my ongoing series about the life of a lawyer.  For people who have not heeded my warnings about the profession and want to become attorneys, here are some tips regarding criminal defense work:

10.   Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!-  Contrary to what you may have gleaned from television, movies and novels, almost all of your clients will be as guilty as mortal sin.  However, there is a difference between actual guilt and what the State has the burden of proving at trial.

9.     Clients lie-  People accused of crimes will sometimes be forthright with their defense counsel, but frequently they will lie.  This can be a dangerous handicap at trial, especially since an attorney has an ethical duty not to knowingly have his client commit perjury.  Sometimes the best thing any defense attorney can do is to rip to shreds a client’s lies in an interview prior to trial and advise them that what you have just done is merely a foretaste of what they will receive in cross-examination from the prosecutor.

8.     Cops lie- Not all cops by any means, but enough so that a defense attorney will treat police reports with the scepticism of a priest listening to a politician’s confession and not hearing the sin of lying brought up.  An example of this is the videotaping of field sobriety tests.  It was assumed in Illinois that this technological development would lead to more DUI convictions.  After all, cops arresting people for DUI would routinely report that the person arrested had badly failed the field sobriety test.  Instead, it has been a boon for defense attorneys, since the videotape evidence is often at variance with what the police initially report after the arrest.

7.      Witnesses can surprise you-Last year I was defending an individual where a witness identification of my client was a significant factor.  At the bench trial the State produced a witness to identify my client.  The witness took a look at my client from the stand and said he could not be sure as to his identification.  That took both the State and my client by surprise.  Never assume that either your witnesses or the State’s will not give you both good and bad surprises.

6.       Motion to suppressRemember your constitutional law course?  It wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!  I enjoyed constitutional law in law school, and it is extremely useful on motions to suppress, as Supreme Court cases on fairly fine distinctions of constitutional law come in very handy in determining whether evidence is admissible or not.  It is often advisable to do a motion to suppress even if you think you will lose.  It gives you more insight into the State’s case as the prosecutor defends against the motion to suppress, since the investigating officers are subject to cross-examination, and often-times aspects of the case can be made to appear weak in the eyes of the judge, even if he allows the evidence in.  That can be a useful factor at both the trial and, if your client is convicted, at sentencing.  Most judges will be more inclined to leniency in sentencing in my experience if the conviction was based on some weak or questionable evidence.

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11 Responses to So You Want to Do Criminal Defense Work

  • Just a couple of days ago my wife was pulled over by a police officer while driving. My wife was stunned that she was pulled over in the first place. However she was polite and respectful, but completely railroaded by the officer. He was condescending, rude, and intimidating.

    After she got home she looked up the citation, we realized at once the officer was wrong. But also that the violation results in a misdemeanor. We were stunned. Because of the nature of her job, the misdemanor could put her employment in jeapordy. We immediatly called an attorney. We knew that this was something we needed to take seriously.

    I have a new found respect for attorneys, and I realize now how important they are. I used to think they were all “ambulance chasers”. But the fact is police can be wrong and are wrong at times. They wield great power and they don’t always have the responsibility that comes along with it. In a matter of minutes your job and livelihood, as in my wife’s case, is in jeopardy…

    We both learned a big lesson about police that day. our experience has been a real eye opener.

  • I’m mainly a civil litigation attorney, but in the few criminal defense cases I’ve worked, the sentencing stage was the most important. Like you say, most defendants are guilty, so a lot of the work is trying to get the lowest sentence possible.

    So another item on the list could be: get to know your sentencing procedures/guidelines.

  • “get to know your sentencing procedures/guidelines.”

    Indeed. Other sentencing tips:

    1. Have the client express remorse for the crime and say almost nothing beyond that, other than to apologize to any victims of the crime. Defendants often aren’t very articulate, and if care is not taken they will frequently go into excuse mode for their behavior which is precisely the wrong attitude to take.

    2. Have parents of the Defendant present if possible.

    3. Keep your client’s expectations reasonable. “No, I am afraid that the judge is not likely to give you no jail time on an armed theft conviction.”

    4. Never attempt to minimize the offense to the Court in closing at the sentencing hearing, but bring up all points possible indicating that your client has learned his lesson and is salvageable. (The worse the record the less this argument works.) Judges are often wondering two things at sentencing: “Am I going to have this Defendant in front of me again for another crime soon”, and “Has he gotten the message that he needs to obey the law in future?”

    5. If restitution is going to be an issue, if it can be paid to the satisfaction of the victim prior to sentencing that can have an immensely positive impact on sentencing. I have had very good results doing that.

  • Good points all, Don… I would especially emphasize # 3, knowing your court. I’ve had countless cases where new/visiting defense counsel have failed to do the most basic prep in this regard, to their detriment. Just ask the prosecutor or a seasoned defense attorney: “what do I need to know about appearing before this judge?”

    Some cops lie, but in my 24 years in the business, I think it’s exceptionally rare. It IS true that, as with all witnesses, perceptions are shaded by life experience, assumptions, and tunnel-vision that can all contribute to a truthful, but possibly not entirely accurate, accounting of what happened. In my experience, cops outright lie MUCH less frequently than many in the defense bar.

    I’d be very judicious about filing motions to suppress. I dealt with one yesterday that was really just one shade away from frivolous, but the earnest defense attorneys wasted 90 minutes of the court’s (and my) time, even arguing issues that they themselves knew, from a prior hearing, were utterly without legal merit. They did their client no good, and possibly some harm, by arguing an essentially baseless motion.

    Which brings me to the most important point of all, for defense or prosecutor: your credibility with the court is the most important quality you possess as a litigator. Do not squander it for one case or one client, no matter how urgently you think you should push a bad case or how sympathetic you are to a particular client. Cases and clients come and go, your credibility before the bench should remain uncompromised.

  • Oh, and definitely, a beginning defender needs to realize the client is often feeding you a pile of manure about his case. I love the look on a defense attorney’s face as we review the police report or even the defendant’s criminal history after the attorney relates a convincing story of innocence provided by his client, much like the first youtube clip, above.

    The Bottom Line for a defense attorney: Don’s #10 is spot on: It’s about damage control in 99% of the cases. You might get that genuinely innocent person 1% of the time, but the vast majority of times, the goal is to minimize the damage, by either charge reductions or sentencing agreements (Don’s #1 point).

  • I suppose this goes without saying, but how about, “be prepared.” I was on a jury once and was struck by the basic ineptness of the PDA. He was an elder gentleman and his client was obviously guilty. Yet he looked lost out there, and remember one exchange with the primary witness where he harped on a point that was completely meaningless. It sure didn’t help his client.

    By the way, the bit about cops is also true for prosecutors. My friend is a former DA in New York, and the biggest complaint he had was about the cops. Not only did they not always speak the truth, but he couldn’t rely on all of them to even be helpful with the prosecution. It’s certainly not true of all or most cops, but his view of the police certainly soured during his time as a DA.

  • “I’d be very judicious about filing motions to suppress. ”

    In my rural Illinois county Tom we can usually dispose of them in about 20 minutes on average. I never file one unless I have some legal basis for it. I know our 3 judges well: one for 16 years before he became a judge, and we tried cases against each other and together, and the other two since they began practicing law. I have a reputation for not wasting time, and they all know that even when I lose a motion to supress the hearing has served a purpose for the defense. It always amazes me, however, the number of attorneys that go out of their way to tick off judges by wasting court time, not being prepared, not being on time, etc. Simple things like dating orders before handing them up to a judge so he doesn’t have to do it can demonstate simple courtesy that most judges appreciate. Judges are only human, and an attorney they respect is usually going to fare better with him or her than an attorney they don’t.

  • Mr. McClarey: I am an undergraduate studying history and I am very interested in law as possible profession. I have heard that the job market for lawyers is not very good but I am interested in some sort of public service law such as indigent defense as opposed to private practice. Would you happen to know if that would improve my chances of employment at all? Your posts on law (and everything else) are informative and entertaining. Keep up the good work!

  • Thank you Pat! There is always work for attorneys depending upon what they wish to do. Jobs that pay attorneys 150k a year at big law firms are, indeed, in short supply. If you go to a prestigious law school and are in the upper 5% of your class, however, you would probably get one of those, but that is not what you are interested in.

    As an attorney for the indigent, you could be an assistant public defender or work for an entity partially funded by the federal government which provides legal services to the poor. Linked below is an example of such an entity:
    http://www.pslegal.org/

    Other avenues of service would be as an assistant prosecuting attorney, either state or federal. You could also apply to be commissioned as a Judge Advocate General, JAG, with one of the armed services. However, those slots where you are commissioned as an officer and serve as a military attorney tend to be highly competitive these days and not easy to get.

    My advice to you as an undergrad would be to watch as many hearings and trials you can at the local courthouse to make certain that this is what you wish to get into. See if one of the local lawyers might allow you to follow him or her around through a typical day to see if what they do is of interest to you.

    When you go to law school, shoot for one with the best scholarship to debt package. Remember that most law school scholarships have a fairly high grade point average requirement at law schools in order for them to be retained. The first year of law school is a shock for many students, since for the first time in his life the student is competing against students just as bright as him. It is not unusual at law schools where grade inflation has not completely taken over for even very hard working students to get a few dreaded C’s the first year!

    At law school take as many courses as you can on criminal law. There will always be crimes and a good criminal defense attorney or prosecutor will never lack for employment. If bankruptcy courses are offered take them. A good bankruptcy attorney can always find emplployment, and if you are going to represent the indigent, a knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code will come in handy. Administrative law might well be useful. Most states have plenty of jobs for attorneys skilled in administrative law. It can be a good career path, with an eventual administrative law judgeship down the road.

    One of the good things about the law is that there are plenty of avenues of employment if you know where to look, and I haven’t even touched on private practice at a small firm which is what I have done for 29 years! The main things are to keep your debt from law school as low as possible, make sure that the law is something you wish to do with your life, and see the reality of the law for yourself before you go to law school.

  • Pingback: The Sandusky Interview | The American Catholic

Rumpole of the Bailey

Wednesday, February 16, AD 2011

 

I have sometimes been known to say, especially after a fairly crazy day in the law mines, yesterday was such a day, that I practice law mainly because of the amusement that it affords me.  As long as courts, judges, attorneys, and innocent and not so innocent clients exist, vaudeville will never be dead.  I rarely have found entertainment on television to match it in dramas or comedies regarding attorneys.  Most of them tend to be bloated soap operas, a la that wretched piece of tripe from the eighties, L.A. Law, but every now and then I do find a show that is a cut above, entertaining while relaying some truth about the legal system.

Perhaps the best I have come upon is the British show Rumpole of the Bailey, which ran from 1975-1992.  Written by John Mortimer, a playwright and noted Queen’s Counsel, (a rank given to British Barristers who are considered the top of their profession),  it follows the legal misadventures of Horace Rumpole.  Rumpole is a barrister, a British attorney who represents clients in court.  A self-described “Old Bailey Hack” (The “Old Bailey” being the London criminal court.),  both fame and fortune have eluded Horace.  No judgeship for him, not even the rank of Queen’s Counsel.  (Horace refers to them dismissively as Queer Customers.)  However, Horace is a happy man.  He realizes that he is a gifted trial attorney, and that knowledge is good enough for him.  The episodes usually revolve around one case, as we see Rumpole mostly prevailing, while illustrating both his own absurdities and those of the British legal system, his clients and society at large.  John Mortimer, at least in his younger days, was a political left winger, but there are no sacred cows in Rumpole land, no matter if they moo to the left or the right.

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3 Responses to Rumpole of the Bailey

  • I’ve loved Rumpole for many a year… anyone who’s practiced crim law can empathize with his sotto voce courtroom observations, his nicknames for the various judges (“Death-head” is my favorite), and of course, his devotion to “she-who-must-be-obeyed.”

    My children often look at me oodly when I announce that the dinner wine will be a fine Chateau James River embankment.

  • Re: “colonic irrigation.” That reminds me of a meeting last week
    with “stakeholders. I told one of my colleagues afterward. “I knew it would turn ot that way. I should have given myself an enema before we started.” We were ambushed (with the tried and true old eleventh hour memo) with a “twist” we could have answered had we received it two hours before the meeting. Now, it drags on . . . It’s their money.

    Plus, I refer to my wife as “the Warden.”

  • The catalog long ago had a sweatshirt with the words “She who must be obeyed”. I sent one to my mother on Mother’s Day.

Notre Dame 88

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

By Charles E. Rice

Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., at the complaint of Notre Dame, was arrested in May 2009 and charged as a criminal for peacefully entering the Notre Dame campus to offer his prayer of reparation for Notre Dame’s conferral of its highest honor on President Obama, the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world.  The University refuses to ask the St. Joseph County prosecutor to drop the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others arrested, still known as the ND 88 although one, Linda Schmidt, died of cancer this past March.  Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, of St. Joseph Superior Court, recently issued two important orders in this case.

The first order denied the State’s motion to consolidate the cases of multiple defendants.  That motion would have denied each separate defendant his right to a separate jury trial.  The order did permit consolidation of the trials of twice-charged defendants on the separate offenses with which that defendant was charged; a defendant charged, for example, with trespass and disorderly conduct would therefore not have to appear for two trials.  Judge Scopelitis also denied the prosecution’s attempt to force each defendant to return to South Bend for each proceeding in the case, which would have coerced the defendants to abandon their defense.  Instead, the Judge permitted the defendants to participate by telephone in pre-trial conferences.

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38 Responses to Notre Dame 88

  • Pingback: Notre Dame 88 Update by Charles E. Rice « Deacon John's Space
  • What an outstanding article!! It would be nice if Catholic Universities actually lived up to “being Catholic” or that they lived out Catholic principles which are in line with Church teaching. Even those that are Traditional or conservative Catholic colleges find it very hard in some cases to actually walk-the-walk and not just talk-the-talk when it really counts (I know this from personal experience). I guess human nature takes over or something.

    The charges should have been dropped a long time ago. Shame on Notre Dame!

  • Catholic in name only.

    “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher, statement on sentencing by a saxon court.

    Matthew 12:34: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

  • “Notre Dame appears to be governed by academic ruling class wannabes. The operative religion of the academic and political establishments, however, is political correctness. Activist opponents of ROTC and activist advocates of “gay rights” are politically correct. Activist pro-lifers, such as Fr. Weslin and the ND88, are not. For Notre Dame’s leaders to show respect for the ND88, let alone apologize to them and seek an end to their prosecution, as they ought, would be to touch a third rail of academic respectability. It would not play well in the ruling academic circles. What would they think of us at Harvard, Yale, etc?”

    Bingo! The powers that be at Notre Dame are defending their faith against the heretics of the Notre Dame 88, and that faith has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is a disgrace that every bishop in this country has not condemned this.

  • Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.

    ND’s “inconsistent” treatment is also not shocking. Given the history of trespassing and the fact that past light treatment did not stop it, ND may be sending a stronger message to protect the safety and security of its community.

    Mr. Rice should also know, as a lawyer, that Fr. Weslin’s health or his past deeds are irrelevant as to whether he broke the law. Surely, they are great rhetorical flourishes, but they are just that, a trick used to distract you from the fact that a law was willfully and knowingly ignored.

    Finally, Mr. Rice also should know, as a lawyer, that clients discourage employees from being deposed for all sorts of reasons — not necessarily related to whether they are “hiding” something. This is libelous.

  • This is libelous.

    An easy stone to throw for someone hiding behind the veil of anonymity.

  • “The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.”

    Yeah, you can never know when an 80 year old priest peacefully praying will turn violent.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/08/father-norman-weslin-champion-of-the-unborn/

  • I was there, on campus for the mass and rosary. My daughter is one of the ND88. I walked out and joined the protesters for much of the day. The activities were all available on youtube. Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.

  • What about the 87 other people? Did ND and the police know the intentions of each of them? Frankly, I think it’s despicable that you use Fr. Weslin as your shield. Also, I missed the memo where we excuse the aged and people who have done otherwise good things in their lives for breaking the law. These people made conscious decisions to trespass. They could have stayed outside the university and gotten their point across. Rather, they wanted to make a spectable and get on TV, which they succeeded in doing. They now need to be adults and accept responsibility for their transgressions.

    Also, just because a person is 80, just because someone is a preist, just because someone is praying, doesn’t mean they can’t be violent. People pray to their god all the time before committing acts of violence — that cannot be denied. People who are 80 commit acts of violence, and we certainly have learned that priests are not above committing acts of violence. I would also point out that Fr. Weslin was just one person — there were many more.

    To an objective observer, and clearly you are not, these people trespassed. They were arrested. End of story. Any excuse you want to make is a consequence of your relgious and political views–which, of course, is your right and fine. Just don’t pretend it’s anything other than that.

    That day was supposed to be about the graduates celebrating their accomplishment. These clowns made it about their cause, which is a shame.

  • ” Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.”

    As our anonymous commenter is amply demonstrating. The Notre Dame 88 are being persecuted because they are a standing rebuke to the Notre Dame administration honoring the most pro-abortion president in our history. All the obfuscation in the world cannot disguise that very simple fact. My congratulations Larry on the fine job you obviously did in raising your daughter.

  • Anonymous, how long have you been a member of the Notre Dame administration?

  • In case Mr. McClarey does not have acces to a dictionary, please see the definition of “mob” and “dishonest.”

    Definition of MOB
    1: a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
    2: the lower classes of a community : masses, rabble
    3chiefly Australian : a flock, drove, or herd of animals
    4: a criminal set : gang; especially often capitalized
    5: a group of people : crowd

    Definition of DISHONEST
    Characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness : unfair, deceptive

    Here is an entry on ad hominem attacks — often resorted to by those who cannot win an argument on the mertis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    If you can, deep in your heart say that you would be defending, with the same zealousness, people who were protesting the “right to choose” or Islamic protestors, then, maybe I would believe you.

    It is sad that people turned a day of celebration for the graduates into a political side show. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • a group of 88 religious zealots

    Thank God Notre Dame is doing its damnedest stamp out religious zeal.

    Then again, it’s been doing that since the Land O’ Lakes Statement, so I guess it’s consistent.

    Oh, and nice job of hiding behind “the graduates,” anonymous ND admin guy.

    It’s this sort of mindset that reminds me why I’m recommending that my children go to an avowedly secular college as opposed to a Land O’ Lakes one. Sure, they’ll hate your faith at a state university, but at least they won’t wear a cloak of Catholic sanctimony while doing it.

    Better to be stabbed in the chest than the back.

  • Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    There are over 11,000 students at Notre Dame. Add the faculty and the staff and you have 15,000 people on the campus as a matter of course. Then you add in any visitors that day. The ’88 religious zealots’ will increase the size of the campus population by 0.6%. The rathskellar at the campus I know best will have that many people present around noontime, and that particular institution is one-quarter the size of Notre Dame.

    You might also note that his primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their resons for so doing.

  • Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk. He hides behind the institution. Let us make an analogy – he is hiding behind the skirts of Our Lady.

  • I looked up your ip address anonymous, and I really hope that you are not an attorney at the law firm you are e-mailing from, because you are not very good at arguing in comboxes and I truly would hate to be paying you to do so in court. The firm that you are e-mailing from seems to have quite a few contacts with Notre Dame. I wonder if you are doing this on your own time, or if someone at Notre Dame is actually foolish enough to pay you to mount this type of sophistical defense of the indefensible?

  • It’s a pretty large firm – I interviewed with them a while back and have friends that work there. In the DC office alone, there are fourteen Domers. It’s unlikely that the commenter above is billing time for arguing on blogs, but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.

  • “but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.”

    Quite true. I hope for anonymous that he wasn’t doing this on a firm computer equipped with tracking software. If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours. Ah, the advantages of being a self-employed attorney!

  • If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours.

    um…yeah…I agree…no junior associate should ever waste time on blogs during office hours…right on. Who are these people? 😉

    In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.” Another benefit of being self-employed, I suppose.

  • “In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.””

    That is precisely one of the main reasons I became self-employed John Henry. I wanted to have a family life and not work on weekends, and too many firms seemed to think that associates lived only to practice law, and to be the handy target of the ire of dyspeptic partners.

  • “Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk.”

    bingo. Fr. Jenkins is doing all he can do to stay in the good graces of his liberal friends. chump.

  • I believe Professor Rice’s general thesis is unquestionably correct: Notre Dame craves the approval of the Princes of this World.

    But from the belly of the beast, a few qualifications may be appropriate.

    I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.

    As Professor Rice documents, previous instances of this sort had been handled quietly by the university itself.This time the South Bend and St. Joseph county police were brought in, and I suspect that everyone in the administration now sees this was a blunder. Part of the reason for deposing Mr. Kirk may be to determine just how this decision came to be made.

    Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants. Plead guilty, accept some kind of nominal or suspended punishment, and put the whole thing behind us. The university is in the position of the poor Roman magistrate judging the typical virgin and martyr: Cut me some slack–just genuflect to that damned idol over there and we can all go home. Such blandishments were generally rejected; and I suspect the current ones will be as well.

  • I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass

    No kidding. If I am not mistaken, under New York law, an act of trespass does not qualify as criminal trespass unless (at a minimum) there is a fence or wall around the property which excludes intruders.

  • “I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.”

    You have been misinformed. Prosecutors nolle prosse countless cases across the nation each day. The consent of the court is pro forma since the court lacks the power to compel the State to prosecute anyone, which is wholly in the discretion of the prosecutor.

    “Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants.”

    Of course this demonstrates that Notre Dame is the driving force behind the prosecution. The terms that the Notre Dame 88 should accept from Notre Dame are the dismissal of all charges, payment of their legal fees, a written apology from Notre Dame, and a promise from Notre Dame that they will no longer honor pro-abort politicians.

    This of course is in the spirit of Theoden’s reaction to Saruman’s request for “peace”.

    “We will have peace. Yes, we will have peace, we will have peace when you and all your works have perished — and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired — even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Hama’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.”

  • Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get. That’s what other practitioners of this kind of civil disobedience do (or should do, in my opinion). They don’t argue that they are innocent and being persecuted, they acknowledge that they broke the law to call attention to their cause AND they’d gladly do it again. If that means they go to jail, that goes with the territory, doesn’t it?

    That being said, it would be fitting if Fr. Jenkins or other authorities at Notre Dame asked for the charges to be dropped as a gesture of mercy and solidarity with the cause they were espousing.

    All this, of course, presumes that the ND88 knowingly engaged in illegal actions and were clearly warned that they were risking arrest. If it was a case of a LEGAL protest gathering getting out of hand, or of the participants crossing some invisible “line” they hadn’t been told was there, that would be another story completely.

  • Also, the fact that Notre Dame allegedly let other protesters off more easily doesn’t change the nature of the illegal actions committed by the ND88. While it does show that Notre Dame isn’t being consistent in enforcing its supposed rules regarding protests — and that is a significant issue — still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!”

  • “Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get.”

    Only if Notre Dame wishes to be in the same moral category of the segregationists who legally prosecuted people who sat in at restaurants. When one is being punished unjustly, I see no merit in accepting punishment meekly. Make them prove it at trial. Turn the case against the prosecution by making a big stink about it in every forum possible. Make sure that the injustice of the prosecution becomes a cause celebre. Jenkins and his cohorts would love nothing better than the Notre Dame 88 to meekly admit their guilt and for them to accept their punishment like good boys and girls. I am glad that this satisfaction has been denied them by the intestinal fortitude of the Notre Dame 88.

  • “still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!””

    Actually Elaine I have done just that in some of my cases by proving selective prosecution and having judges determine that prosecutors have abused their discretion. It isn’t easy to do, but given fact situations egregious enough, it is possible.

  • “his (Rice’s) primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their reasons for so doing.”

    I understand this and it’s an appropriate question to raise. And, I suppose that by pleading not guilty and fighting the charges every step of the way, the ND88 could bring those two injustices to light. But, at the end of the day, it seems to me that “don’t do the ‘crime’ if you can’t do the time” applies to civil disobedience actions as well.

    Also, for reasons I have explained before, I don’t think civil disobedience that involves deliberately trying to get arrested for trespassing as an attention-getting device is quite in the same category as lunch counter sit-ins. Sit-ins involved people breaking a law that was inherently unjust — a law designed specifically to prevent people of a certain skin color from doing something they had a natural right to do — to show the world just how unjust and ridiculous the law was. Going out of one’s way to break an otherwise JUST law that has nothing directly to do with the injustice being protested (abortion) is different.

  • What is remarkable to me, and what I really just don’t grasp, is *what possible motive* ND could have in continuing with these charges. Fr. Jenkins, for all his limitations, is certainly no dummy, and he, as well as the other members of the senior administration (to say nothing of the Board of Trustees) must realize that ND qua university will not gain anything from this process. It’s not as though Princeton or Duke will suddenly kowtow to the Dome because a few pro-life activists were arrested there. This view can’t seriously be entertained. It’s also only attracting *more* negative press to ND, and further alienating fence-leaning Catholics who were not happy about Obama but were neither entirely supportive of much of the shenanigans and selective (and sometimes politically motivated) outrage expressed at his visit. These Catholics, seeing now ND’s apparent inconsistency of procedure, will now take more darkly a view of the administration than they ever did before. So I don’t see that ND has anything to gain here, while they have much to lose. If I did not already have experience with administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning, these two considerations would make me think that ND *can’t* remove the charges at this point (something Donald denies). The whole situation is just weird.

  • The whole situation is just weird.

    If you posit that Notre Dame’s administration despises the demonstrators and wants their ilk to stay away forever, the effort to humiliate and injure them seems less weird.

  • I suppose I find it self-evident that that strategy is counterproductive *given* the interests of ND, whatever they think of the demonstrators. (Whatever one thinks of the ND88, and I am generally supportive of them, turning them into martyrs for the pro-life cause will hardly have the effect you suggest.) And I suppose that I think the administrators themselves should realize this. But again, never overestimate administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning.

  • Just to be clear: I yield to no one in contempt for how Notre Dame has handled the case; and my opinion of the real motives of the university administration is culpably uncharitable. Nonetheless. . .

    In Indiana, criminal trespass includes entering private property without permission and refusing to leave when requested to do so by the owner or an authorized agent of the owner. If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    What possible motive can Notre Dame have for continuing these charges? Notre Dame has only itself to blame for the pickle that it is in, but it may have less freedom of action (pace Mr. McCleary) than people assume (if also more freedom of action than implied in my previous post). The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang). If the case is dismissed or the defendants acquitted, the university (and perhaps the South Bend police) might find themselves in line for a false arrest suit. How plausible this is I don’t know, but it’s what I gather third or fourth hand from lawyers familiar with the case.

    On a more principled level, the university has a legitimate interest in keeping its status as private property. Again, as I understand it, one line of defense by the 88 is that the university campus is in fact open pretty much to anyone, that it amounts to public space where they may legitimately exercise their first amendment rights (and, after all, the university took no action against those demonstrating in favor of the award to Obama). But the university does not in fact let the general public come and go as it pleases. At every home football game the area around the campus is filled with ticket scalpers, but scalpers are not allowed on campus. If the 88 win their point, would the university have welcome in the scalpers?

    (I also wonder if there isn’t some relevance to the Westboro Baptist case. One’s sympathies would be on opposite sides, but there may be a family resemblance in terms or principle. The families of fallen soldiers may have a legitimate complaint against those who obnoxiously interfere with the funerals; and Notre Dame may have a legitimate complaint against intrusion from those who the administration finds, however perversely, obnoxious to itself or its undertakings.)

    I hope the 88 get off, and, while normally I’m not wild about punishment of any kind, I hope the consequences to the university are sufficiently severe to cause some in the administration to rethink the actual values they live by. But in the abstract the university’s case is not entirely without merit.

    I’m also partly sympathetic to what I take to be Elaine Krewer’s point: If I actively court martyrdom and martyrdom is consequently offered to me, I should probably accept it gratefully, not whine about it. But it’s not clear that the 88 were actively courting martyrdom. It seems that many of them really did not think that the university would react in the clumsy, small-minded, militantly graceless way that it did.

  • “The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang).”

    You are confusing apples and oranges. Nolle Prosse is not a dismissal with prejudice. The Defendants could bring a motion to dismiss with prejudice at any time, as could the prosecutors, but nolle prosse is not the same thing. A nolle prosse simply means that the prosecutor is not proceeding with the prosecution. No double jeopardy attaches and the defendants can be recharged at any time. As for a civil suit from the ND88, that could be brought at any time and has little refence to what happens in the criminal case. A perfect example is how OJ Simpson could be found not guilty of the murders and still lose the civil suit over the murders.

  • If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    In New York, there is a ‘Trespass’, which is in a submisdemeanor category called a ‘violation’, and ‘Criminal Trespass’. There are three degrees of criminal trespass. For the most part, you have to be inside a building to be charged with ‘criminal trespass’, but you can be charged with the 3d degree criminal trespass if you enter grounds enclosed in some way.

    If I am not mistaken, the crime you describe is, under New York law, [non-criminal] ‘Trespass’. The maximal sentance for trespass is 15 days in the county jail and a three-figure fine. As a rule, the judiciary is quite lax when they are given the discretion, as they are in non-felony cases hereabouts. Then again, a large fraction of the municipal court case load Upstate is heard by lay J.P.’s. A buddy of mine in the state Attorney-General’s office tells me that lay judges are often quite good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

  • This may be getting to be too much inside baseball, and I’m not a very good player.

    Nolle prosse: The risk is that the judge’s reaction would be to dismiss with prejudice, which does happen sometimes. I hadn’t thought about a civil suit–but that’s unlikely on its face; and, anyway, Notre Dame didn’t suffer any damages.

    The Indiana law on criminal trespass is more stringent than what is typical of other states.

  • In regard to a civil suit I was referring to a hypothetical suit by ND88 against Notre Dame.

    I can’t imagine a judge dismissing a criminal case with prejudice based upon a nolle prosse motion by the State, absent a motion filed by either the State or the Defendants to dismiss with prejudice. In a nolle prosse motion the current prosecution and case simply ends because the prosecutor does not wish to proceed. A motion to dismiss with prejudice by the Defendants would have to establish that a successful prosecution was impossible due to some legal defect in the prosecution or that under any possible facts shown at trial no conviction would be possible. That is a very high standard to meet, and I do not see any way in this case that a judge could so find under the existing law and facts of the case.

  • This whole incident caused me to rule out ever applying to Notre Dame, which I seriously considered at one point. While attending a law school fair in New York, I approached the Notre Dame booth and asked the representative, in as neutral a tone as possible, if there was any emphasis on the Catholic nature of the school reflected on its campus, not mentioning that I myself was Catholic. She downplayed the notion, saying something to the effect of “no, it’s not a big deal.”

    “Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of. “

    No, indeed not. Recall the brave and truly Catholic students who stood up to and battled the ku klux klan in South Bend in 1924.

    How tragic that Notre Dame now wields nothing but moral cowardice in utilizing secular police power to promote abortion, the political lineage of which is directly traceable back to psychotic white supremacists and eugenicists.

Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

Saturday, August 28, AD 2010

The debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York has raised public interest in, and opposition to, other proposed or recently built mosques and Islamic centers throughout the country.

In areas where Muslim migration or immigration has been significant, some citizens have attempted to discourage construction of new mosques. Few come right out and cite the threat of terrorism; more often they seem to resort to time-honored NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tactics such as creative interpretation of zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I understand the need to be vigilant regarding the potential for violent subversion, as well as the dangers of taking such a politically correct approach to militant Islam that people hesitate to report obvious suspicious activity for fear of being labeled bigots (as seems to have happened in the Fort Hood massacre case).

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45 Responses to Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

  • Outstanding article — thank you!!

    Question (and please forgive this social-networking-backward-participant!):

    Why doesn’t American Catholic enable readers to SHARE this via Facebook? (Maybe I’m flunking the IQ test and missed the link??? I just did a “copy & paste” on the link above on my FB page . . . Sad to say, I am still trying to figure out this RSS stuff!!!)

    Thank you!

  • Elaine,

    You raise some very valid points. But, did Catholicism, or the perversion therof, and Catholics or any Christians for that matter murder 3000 innocents on September 11? Or have Catholics or Christians committed bombings in recent years or pose threats of bombings around the world?

    I think the problem here is that the Muslims who have proposed this mosque have displayed absolutely NO sensitivity to the families of victims of 9/11 while demanding all the tolerance in the world from those 9/11 families,as well as other citizens. These “moderate” Muslims claim that they want to build bridges but all they are doing by forcing the building of this mosque at this partiular ultra-sensitive location is burning bridges. Why is this location so important when there are over 100 mosques located in NYC already? How is this mosque being funded? By terrorist organizations or not? I believe in order for the community as a whole to benefit from this mosque our government and our citizens must be as certain as possible that this mosque is not funded by terrorist organizations and will not be used as a terrorist training center under the guise of religious freedom. If the mayor and others would be willing to look into the mosque’s financial funding I believe that this would allay many peoples’ fears.

    I do understand that the people behind the building of the mosque has a right to be built according to civil law. But, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, if zoning laws and aesthetics can trump one’s right to build why could the sensitivity to those families who had loved ones killed by a single act of war trump one’s right to build?

    As to the issue of this mosque being two blocks away from the primary ground zero site: Would you agree that wherever the planes hit or any of its part on 9/11 should be considered Ground Zero? If so, then so should the Burlington building since a part of the plane hit that building.

    I think this whole controversy could have been avoided if the NYC commission had shown some prudential judgment and declared the Burlingtion building as a historical landmark.

  • I agree that it wasn’t a good idea for the mosque/Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero. I see nothing wrong with encouraging them to build elsewhere. The $64,000 question, however, is whether or not the local government has a right to explicitly FORBID them to build at the site. That’s where the danger of setting a bad precedent comes in.

  • Elaine a ban on construction of new places of worship would be clearly unconstitutional and would not stand up in court longer than the time it takes a Chicago alderman to pocket a bribe. No one has been disputing the right of the Flim Flam Imam and his Cordoba Initiative (Dhimmis Always Welcome!) to build this Mosque, but whether it is right for them to do so. I am keenly aware of the frequent divergence of a legal right and a moral right. My opposition might well not exist if a local group of Muslims had wished to put up a Mosque for local worship. I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.

  • I thought this post by Bob Murphy about the Glenn Beck rally today was a propos:

    Of course Mr. Beck and his fans have every legal right to hold a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Nonetheless, we are asking that they hold their rally a few blocks away, and on a different date. There are 364 other days in the year; what’s wrong with them?
    Now look, we know full well that Mr. Beck and his supporters claim that they are trying to heal racial division. Intellectually, we black Americans know that just because we have been brutalized by angry white conservative males for as long as we can remember, that doesn’t mean that all angry white conservative males pose a threat to our physical safety.

    But this isn’t about logic or rationality. This is about sensitivity to our feelings. Surely Mr. Beck can understand why a majority of American blacks wouldn’t appreciate him holding a rally on the anniversary of Dr. King’s famous speech. If he goes ahead with his plans, he won’t promote racial unity. So we ask him to hold the rally in a different place, on a different date.

  • Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.

  • As usual, Blackadder mistakes cuteness for substance. By now Blackadder is aware that the objections to the Mosque are not grounded in a general objection to anything at all being built near Ground Zero.

  • “Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.”

    Our wars being the equivalent of Bin Laden’s murder of 3,000 innocent men, women and children? Moral equivalency: the opiate of the politically correct.

  • While I agree with Donald that the proposed ban shouldn’t pass constitutional muster (there’s a case that states you can’t ban all forms of religious speech-I think it’s Rosenberger v. Rectors & Vistors of UVA), you are absolutely right in stating that the opposition to the mosque establishes a precedent that is far more dangerous to Catholics than to Muslims insofar as some are advocating legal means to interfere with the building of the mosque.

  • “I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.”

    Donald, I agree.

    Blackadder,
    If Alveda King has no problem with the rally I don’t see why any other person, of any color black, white, red, brown etc., should have a problem with Beck and others honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s message of equality for all. Yeah, and if he didn’t do anything honoring Martin Luther King the Left would make accusations about no person caring about blacks and spreading King’s message, so Your “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” according to liberalism.

    Martin,
    First, is that an admission that our nation is rooted in Christian values?

    Second, Did we really go to war as “Christians” or as a nation fighting against terrorism and for our nation’s national defense?

    Third, I didn’t know that a group of Christians not associated with the U.S. government went off on their own and specifically targeted a building or another location just to murder Iraqi inocents? I think your the person who is a little confused with reality, Martin.

    Fourth, Please name me one war in history that has had no civilian casualties?

  • I’m with Gen’l. (Vinegar) Joe Stillwell, “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”

  • It isn’t even a matter of where the mosque is being built – replace the entire WTC site with the biggest mosque in the world, no problem – PROVIDED Islam changes its ways.

    I realize all the 1st Amendment issues involved here – but until I am no longer considered such subhuman filth that I cannot enter the precincts of Mecca, then I’m going to hold that Moslems must be curbed in what they do in the United States. Not stopped – not expelled; just carefully curtailed to ensure that everyone, especially in the Moslem world, knows that we have not lost our back bone.

    Tolerance does not mean going along happily with whatever someone wants to do – it is a two way street and it requires some compromise. We can easily tolerate a mosque in Manhattan – but we can’t tolerate it hard by Ground Zero…not now, and not until Islam changes its tune.

    Mark Noonan

  • Blackadder,

    I wonder if the author of that piece can find even a single black man brutalized by a conservative white man in the past 40 years.

  • We might just consider the possibility that these local pols want to limit the quantum of non-taxable property in that particular locality. Piggy, but unsurprising.

    It is not a novelty for houses of worship to face zoning tangles. Given the size of the metropolitan New York area, you will have to excuse me if I suggest that prohibiting the placement of a 13 story building of a particular character at a historic site of modest dimensions is a measure different in kind than prohibiting all construction of houses of worship in a given municipality.

    Martin:

    As far as I am aware, the Marine Corps does not have an icon of St. Michael on their weaponry and al-Qaeda does not do civil affairs projects.

  • Here’s my $64,000,000.03 question.

    If religious freedom/tolerance requires a $100 million mosque over the WTC site. How is religious liberty/tolerance served by denying the rebuild of THE Orthodox Church that THE muslim terrorists destroyed on 11 Sep 2001?

    AD:

    No! It’s much worse than that! USMC heroes wear (gasp) US flags on their uniforms.

    Re AQ civil affairs projects: They’re helping make Americans good. They believe the only good American is a dead American.

  • Lot of assumptions in this post; the assumption that the REAL motive folks have is fear of terrorism, and that they can’t possibly object for the reasons they give:

    zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

    Evidence for this claim? I know that the blog Beers with Demo did the research to show a pattern of harassment against a church in his area, but a blanket claim that 1) Mosques are being unusually opposed and 2) it is because of fears of terrorism is a claim that requires more than just a claim to be taken seriously.

    There’s also the issue of using charged terms inaccurately. NIMBY, while meaning “not in my back yard,” also implies that something is not opposed in general. (Example, opposing wind power generators in your area while promoting wind energy in general.)
    People who are worried about Islamic terror risings from Mosques are going to be bright enough to remember the home mosques of the 9/11 terrorists were far, far away, and would appose them in general, not just specific.

    Your notion of equivalence between “there shall be no non-profit organizational buildings in our district” and “no, you may not build a triumphalist religious center on the ruins created by said religion” is mind bending.

  • Martin-
    Go troll someplace else.

  • Wow. Far-ranging discussion.

    First, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The religion piece really has no bearing on the discussion over the Cordoba Mosque proposed for Ground Zero.

    How many mosques are there in Manhattan? About a hundred? Sounds like pretty free exercise of religion to me.

    Second: I challenge any black person who reads this blogs, or any black person who’s a friend of someone who reads this blog, to tell me the date of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I had to memorize parts of it as a child (stand down, racialists: I’m Black). Never knew what day it was given; barely knew it was in August. Glenn Beck planned this rally (which I wish I had had time to attend)for the last Saturday in August. An lo and behold, what date did that happen to fall on? Why, August 28! August the 28th, which happened to be an anniversary of Dr. King’s speech!

    Why should a mosque be built at the site of a murder committed by people motivated by Islam? Why should a church of any type be built at the site of the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people (and others, including Catholic Saints)? Why should the Japanese in Hawaii build a temple at the site of the sunken USS Arizona?

    Answer? None of them should. Because it’s disrespectful. Why is this so hard to grasp? And what does it tell those who truly hate us about whether we will truly resist them?

    It is not un-Christian to stand up for common politeness.

  • Gee, RR, why didn’t you link to this much more recent article on those idiots?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/nyregion/08hate.html

    Those morons were accused of racial hate crimes and seem to be gang related. Notably, not “conservative white men”– just idiot gang members. (is that redundant?)

  • What are you trying to prove by arguing that white people no longer attack black people? For one, it’s a sad, callous, and absurd battle to fight. Do you, like, remember this one time, in, like, 1992 in LA where, like, some white cops beat up this black guy named Rodney King? White on black violence occurs a lot, as does black on white, white on white, black on black, brown on black, brown on white, brown on brown, white on brown, black on brown, etc, etc, etc.

    Also, please STOP calling it a mosque. A mosque is specifically a Muslim holy place where only prayer can be conducted. This is a Muslim community center, similar to a YMCA. It will have a culinary school, basketball courts, etc. With a prayer room on one or two of the fifteen or so floors.

    I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    It is utterly absurd to demand that “Islam” renounce its terroristic ways before the community center is built, as Mr. Noonan said. A religion cannot change its ways. People can change their ways, but abstract nouns cannot. And the people behind this community center have no terroristic tendencies to modify. Furthermore, there is no central authority for Islam as there is for Catholicism. In fact, some radical sects of Muslims hate opposing Islamic sects more than they hate America. Like al-Qaeda. Bin Laden hates America not “for our freedoms” but because we prop up the (in his mind) heretical Saud monarchy in Arabia.

    Quite frankly, it’s astounding that a debate over a Muslim community center is occurring in 21st century America. As someone who would never have voted for George Bush, I will say that I am so grateful that he modeled Christ’s love to American Muslims by not targeting them after 9/11, as seems to be occurring now.

  • Pingback: Opponents of mosque may soon see tables turned | Holy Post | National Post
  • I would like to ask everyone – Do you think that Islam can be a “moderate” religion? I am not saying Muslims cannot be moderates, but can the religion itself really ever be considered moderate since it follows Sharia law?

    If Sharia law is one of the precepts of Islam then why wouldn’t Sharia law fall under the guise of religious freedom and challenge the constitution in several capacities and force all of us citizens to respect and follow Sharia as well? Is Sharia law and the Constitution really compatible?

    If those who believe in the “letter of the Constitution” instead of the “spirit of the Constitution” with regards to religious freedom truly believe that religious freedom is absolute without taking into account our national security interests (as it seems to me) how could one deny Muslims the “right” to follow their “moderate” religion that includes Sharia Law which would also impose Sharia Laws on the non-Muslim citizens when that clearly clashes with our Constitution?

    You might want to look at a some things that Sharia law demands:

    1 – Jihad defined as “to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion” is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph). Muslim Caliphs who refuse jihad are in violation of Sharia and unfit to rule.

    2 – A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power meaning through force.

    3 – A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.

    4 – A percentage of Zakat (alms) must go towards jihad.

    5 – It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.

    6 – A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave and a male.

    7 – The Muslim public must remove the Caliph in one case, if he rejects Islam.

    8 – A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.

    9 – A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of: 1) an apostasy 2) an adulterer 3) a highway robber. Making vigilante street justice and honor killing acceptable.

    10 – A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim.

    11- Sharia never abolished slavery and sexual slavery and highly regulates it. A master will not be punished for killing his slave.

    12 – Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging and other forms of cruel and unusual punishments even for crimes of sin such as adultery.

    13 – Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims and must comply to Sharia if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission. A non-Muslim is no longer protected if he commits adultery with a Muslim woman or if he leads a Muslim away from Islam.

    14 – It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims. However, the opposite is not true for Muslims.

    15 – A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.

    16 – Banks must be Sharia compliant and interest is not allowed.

    17 – No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs, such as street sweepers or a bathhouse attendant. Women in such low-level jobs such as professional funeral mourners cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.

    18 – A non-Muslim cannot rule even over a non-Muslims minority.

    19 – H***sexuality is punishable by death.

    20 – There is no age limit for marriage of girls under Sharia. The marriage contract can take place any time after birth and consummated at age 8 or 9.

    21 – Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her, gives him permission to beat her and keep her from leaving the home.

    22 – Divorce is only in the hands of the husband and is as easy as saying: “I divorce you” and becomes effective even if the husband did not intend it.

    23 – There is no community property between husband and wife and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.

    24 – A woman inherits half what a man inherits.

    25- A man has the right to have up to 4 wives and she has no right to divorce him even if he is polygamous.

    26- The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.

    27 – A man is allowed to have sex with slave women and women captured in battle, and if the enslaved woman is married her marriage is annulled.

    28 – The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.

    29- A woman loses custody if she remarries.

    30- To prove rape, a woman must have 4 male witnesses.

    31 – A rapist may only be required to pay the bride-money (dowry) without marrying the rape victim.

    32 – A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body which is considered “Awrah,” a sexual organ. Some schools of Sharia allow the face and some don’t.

    33 – A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife caught in the act of adultery. However, the opposite is not true for women since he “could be married to the woman he was caught with.”

    The above are clear-cut laws in Islam decided by great Imams after years of examination and interpretation of the Quran, Hadith and Mohammed’s life. Now let the learned Imam Rauf tell us what part of the above is compliant with the US constitution?

  • Ryan-
    who are you talking to?
    NO ONE was talking about “whites never attack blacks”. Blackadder posted a quote of someone claiming that “angry white conservative males” have been brutalizing blacks for “as long as they can remember,” and someone else challenged him to find a single case of a white conservative assaulting a black person. RR then posted an article that implied but did not claim anti-Dem motives, and which five minutes of research showed to just be gang idiots.

    Secondly, go yell at the Cordoba House proponents, and even the initiative itself; half the time, they call it a mosque. (Generally when they want to drum up the religion side of it; when it’s more flattering to emphasize the “community center” side, it becomes a building that includes a mosque.)

    If the reading comprehension and careful consideration of the argument you’ve shown in this post is standard for you, no wonder you can’t see how this is a topic for valid debate. Straw men with only a nodding acquaintance to the topic aren’t very good aids to understanding.

    A wise lady once told me that if you can’t argue the other side of something, you have no business arguing your own side because you clearly don’t know enough about the topic. I try to keep it in mind, maybe you should try it?

  • In response to jihad etc…

    I am not sure where you are getting your information on what jihad and sharia is….but you have incorrect information. Jihad and sharia is much more complex then what you have stated. As I have reserached this extensively I will just point out very plainly and in layman terms what jihad is. Jihad means “struggle”.
    More commonly known in the Muslim world as an internal spiritual struggle to be better and serve God. It can also mean warfare where one needs to defend themselves when attacked- so it has two meanings to it. There are a lot of inaccuracies in your e-mail and I do not have time to go over them now…but one just to correct one is that bride money is not given for sexual organs. Bride money is called “mehr” and it is an obligatory gift that the groom must give his wife so that she is not left with nothing if he decides to leave her. It is the right of a woman and not a man. Actually in researching Muslims I found that there are a lot of similaries to Catholicism…and then there were differences as well. An interesting bit of information I came across was “Marriage helps men and women to develop along natural lines and head towards development and success through mutual co-operation. Marriage prevents immorality licentiousness and irresponsibility. The spouses in marriage agree to share rights and responsibilities to develop a happy family”….doesn’t that sound like something Catholics believe in as well? What happened on 9/11 was plain WRONG. I have friends who are Muslims and they beleive it is wrong…they say that the people who did this are crazy. So I have to think before I judge anyone and encourage you to do the same.

  • Sandy-
    please do not misrepresent your study, which seems to have been of the more modern and mild forms of Islam, as representative of Islam in general.

    Also, your definition of “mehr” is incorrect, (In Canada, it often functions like a pre-nup– often enough that a basic google will bring up a LOT of legal help boards.) as is your characterization of Jihaad.
    (links to understanding-Islam.com, which is affiliated with Al-Mawrid Islamic Research foundation out of Pakistan.)

  • Foxfier, white conservatives can’t be in gangs?

  • RR,

    Gangs are color neutral, but I’m having a hard time picturing how a conservative could be in a gang since gang life and activities run counter to conservative values. My guess is that you’re perhaps angling toward skinheads because the media like to call them conservatives. However, conservatives have about as much appreciation for neo-nazis as they do racist gangs/parties typically associated with the left, which is to say none.

  • “Gang life and activities run counter to conservative values”

    Well, it goes without saying that violence, vandalism, drug use, other criminal activity, and intimidation of non-members go against conservative values (and probably even the values of most moderates and liberals I know).

    But, isn’t it true that gang membership, especially among urban teens, basically takes the place of the families they don’t have — giving them a structure, culture and sense of belonging that they don’t get from absent or incarcerated or unknown fathers, mothers who change boyfriends as often as they change clothes, being shuffled from one relative to another, etc.?

    So in that sense, gang membership does express (albeit in a perverted or distorted fashion) one very important “conservative” value: the absolute primacy of the family as the basic unit of society, and the consequences that result when it is undermined or destroyed.

  • I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    True to some extent. But it wasn’t expansionist.

  • Actually I think in a number of areas there are limits on, if not the building of churches, at least the size of churches. Where I once lived this limit made it impractical to build a Catholic Church as the size limit was too small for what was required to meet the needs of the Catholic population without building multiple small churches. Those restrictions were placed in the 90’s as I recall. No big First Ammendment concerns have been raised. Perhaps they should.

  • Mary Margaret Cannon,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Until recently, WordPress.com did not allow this function (WordPress.org does I believe).

    But today I noticed this option was now available and I have just finished adding this particular function.

    Enjoy!

  • Hey, why not make a page, too? You can set it up to autopublish your blog with the “notes” feed, or us
    e http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/newuser1.php

  • Foxfier,

    We have ‘something’ on Facebook, not sure what.

    I’m going to investigate and get this set-up/streamlined for greater social-networking-optimization (SNO).

  • Scott Gentries might want to take a look at this:

  • …Might strike home if the primary arguments weren’t specifically related to the history and culture of Islam, Ryan.

    Fail.

  • RL, if conservatives can’t be in gangs by definition then sure there are no white conservatives in gangs. There are no Catholics in gangs either then.

  • i would like to point out that the proposal only bars new buildings, and not changing the use to of already constructed ones. the mosque near to us was once a church, a church was previously a synagogue, and the nigerian christian group uses a clothing warehouse.

  • Teresa, half of what you said is inaccurate / disinformation. if the USA followed the other half, maybe they wont have millions of inmates that the taxpayer has to support.

  • I would just like to point out a couple of things that are on point:

    1. It’s not a mosque. It’s a community center, and you can read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/opinion/08mosque.html?_r=1&src=tptw the words of the chairman of the project, stating that one of the many goals of it is to include prayer centers for those of Christian and Jewish faiths in hopes that this will strengthen interfaith relations.

    2. I’m not usually a fan of Charlie Brooker, but he hit one point straight on the head when he said that being a 2 minute walk and around the corner is not at all the same thing as being AT the same location. He said something like, he’s used a bathroom 2 minutes away from Buckingham Palace, and has yet to be arrested for defecating on the Queen’s pillow. We’re talking about Manhattan, and if you’ve ever been there, it’s a crowded place. How close is too close, exactly?

    3. To the person who said Catholic/Christian extremists haven’t bombed or killed significant numbers of people in recent years, I ask: Have you ever heard of the Irish Republican Army? Visit Belfast or Glasgow sometime and ask around – just… be careful in which neighborhood you ask and what colors you’re wearing when you do.

  • 4. On the topic of how Muslim women are clothed, ask yourself if you’ve ever questioned the chaste garb (and lifestyle, for that matter) of nuns and priests. I bet you just take it as a matter of course, because it’s what you’re used to. Of course, there is spousal abuse and other unsavory activity that goes on among members of the Islamic faith, but again, look closer to home. Surely you cannot insist that no Catholic or Christian has ever abused another human being.

  • Brian,

    Strawman.

    The IRA is a nationalist organization. To be more accurate, they are a violent Marxist nationalist organization looking to impose communism under the guise of being “Irish” and “Catholic”.

    Being Catholic has nothing to do with it.

    They don’t espouse anything Christian AT ALL.

    You’ve never heard them saying they are dying in the name of Jesus. Only in the name of Ireland.

    You need to do better than that to espouse your anti-Christian bigotry around here.

  • Brian,

    Again your bias is grossly revealing itself.

    Religious wear their clericals as a choice, not in being imposed.

    Whilst on the other hand Muslims force women to wear burkas, regardless of their religiosity.

  • Brian, you’re exposing your ignorance or willful blindness– the folks building it called it a mosque until their PR guys realized that was not so good. They also called it the Cordoba House, until word got around what that indicated, especially with the 9/11/11 opening date.

    Also, you’re pointing to an opinion piece in the NY Times. Not exactly hard, unbiased facts– I notice you didn’t bother to do the research Powerline did about another time that “chairman” spoke in the NYTimes.

    As Teresa pointed out above, a building destroyed by chunks of the plane on 9/11 is part of ground zero.

Not So Fast…

Monday, August 16, AD 2010

A Panel of the 9th Circuit has surprisingly issued a wise decision, deciding to allow Proposition 8 to remain in place while the 9th Circuit considers its constitutionality.

This was undoubtedly the right decision. It makes no sense to force a state to marry people while knowing that a later decision could invalidate all those marriages.

One hopes that this is the beginning of a trend in reversing Judge Walker, whose rulings in this case can best be described as what happens when judicial activism meets the dictatorship of relativism.

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12 Responses to Not So Fast…

  • Judge Walker’s performance in this case would warrant impeachment if we were living in a just world. His bias in this case has been clear from the beginning and totally shameless.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/243693/most-egregious-performance-ever-federal-district-judge-ed-whelan

  • Was this actually surprising? Wasn’t everyone expecting a stay? I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

  • I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

    Sucka.

  • I was, but I was hoping Walker would be impartial enough to grant the stay himself. I hadn’t been paying attention to the trial, but I think Don is right: this is a really poor performance by a judge, and I sincerely hope Christians who handle abortion trials learn from Walker’s example of how not to behave.

  • Isn’t it awesome how the people of the state can decide the matter, but its really up to a judge or a panel of judges to decide what’s good for them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.” Some decisions though have got to be hard to re-cast. This is probably one of them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.”

    Actually, that’s not been my experience. The current spin (and I got it today in the opening class for Con Law II, which is about the Bill of Rights) is that all judges today are activist, not just liberals. Basically, when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

  • when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

    Judge A thinks the phrase “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, in a brief article which concerns that subject and the utility of the militia, refers to a personal right. Judge B fancies the phrase, “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” in an omnibus amendment granting freed slaves citizenship and cleaning up some other business from the civil war, requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes no matter what the various elected officials and general referenda say. Both are equally ‘activist’ to your classmates in Con Law II. Emphasis on ‘con’.

  • Good Morning Mr. Denton,

    1st – I hope your law school years are good and fruitful. Good luck and God bless.

    2nd – The narratives keep ranging back to what the Constitution IS – the whole Originalist vs. Living Constitutionalist debate. Since you are in law school, I’ll remind you that the Constitution is whatever your prof says it is. Work with their narrative and your grades will reflect your wisdom. (That is something I often found hard to do and my grades reflected that pig-headedness.)

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position than claiming that originalists are equally activist.

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position

    The notion that the phrases “The Judicial power shall extend to all cases under this Constitution” and “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” give you a roving mandate to arbitrarily annul any social policy you care to can be called many things. “Intellectually honest” is not one of them.

  • RR,

    How about a gravatar pic for your handle?

Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

By now I’m sure you all know that Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal judge. Who knows what will happen on appeal. There is much to be said, but I want to focus on one narrow and possibly tangential point. This phrase from the judge’s ruling, a phrase being reposted on facebook in many statuses:

“A private moral view that Same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.”

The absurdity of that sentence really struck me. There was nothing “private” about the view of the “superiority” of hetereosexual couples. It has been carried on through generations of communities and in the present day was represented by 52% of Californians. How a popular decision that represented thousands of years of ethical thinking and concern for the family became a private morality is baffling.

More troubling is the implication of the judge that a “moral view” is not a proper basis for legislation. Since when has this been the case? Our laws on pedophilia, minimum wage, health care, torture, human rights, etc. are based at least on part on “moral views,” views that in some respects may be just as if not more private than the ones the judge rejects today.

If morality is not a basis for legislation, what on earth is? Morality guides us in making decisions; without a moral or ethical compass (or perhaps even without a religious one) there is no basis for legislation to be made. Laws are supposed to help make society run better, but there is no way to make society run better unless you have a notion of what a “better society” looks like, and you don’t get to that notion without morality.

State recognition of homosexual marriage is one thing, but this ruling attacks the foundation of our government. Morality must have a place in the public sphere and must be one of the foremost foundations of legislation.

To be sure, the judge is simply smoke-screening for the fact that he is imposing his own standards of morality. But the fact that his statement rejecting a moral basis for legislation is being so celebrated should worry all Americans.

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6 Responses to Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

  • I heard several commentators on the radio using this language today. We need to put a stop to this “inferior” vs. “superior” language altogether. It is irrelevant to the question at hand and just pulls on the emotional strings of those on the fence who are concerned about “equality.”

    Gay marriages are not some form of marriage which we think is an “inferior form” to the “superior form” between heterosexuals. Gay marriage quite simply isn’t a “form” of marriage at all. It doesn’t exist. To let the pro-gay-marriage crowd frame it in these emotional, egalatarian-based terms is to get off track and play into their hands.

  • From the ruling:

    “Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage….. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage…”

    This passage from the ruling is the real core of this debate. Gender historically had and currently has nothing to do with the core of marriage? What an astonishingly bold and bald lie. That’s the level of unreality we are up against.

  • This is stupidity on afterburner. I’m actually ashamed of our judicial system; these judges are a joke. Between this and the “sweet mystery of life” passage, the rule of law is effectively dead. Pack up and go home.

    I suggest as a form of mass civil disobedience that all Christians commit a petty crime and use this decision and Casey as a defense. “The heart of liberty is to define one’s own concept of existence, and morality is no basis for legislation.” Our robed masters said so.

    There is no such thing as law free from morality; there is no metaphysically neutral politics. I have no sense for what greater good this progressive-liberal culture is aiming; what is its summum bonum? At least with Christianity, one knows where one stands. But where will this nonsense end? What moral outrage will we be forced to accept next year and the year after that?

    Not that I would do it, but I’m sort of starting to see why people burn American flags. I’m disgusted by this.

  • Really good article and pertinent to the points made here. I met the author, Thomas Messner, in my travels a few weeks ago, really smart with a law degree. Forgive me if it has already been discussed/posted here.

  • Given that the Dems control the Senate, is there any point to pushing for a removal from office of this judge? At this time the push would lose. Would that losing effort help or hurt the larger cultural war?

  • Depends on how strong a push you could mount. If anything, it should make those Senators up for re-election nervous to see the natives restless.

    The best push would be to push some of those Senators out (although I heard this guy was a Republican appointee).