Peggy Noonan: The Court, Like the Country, Needs Balance

I’ve always like Peggy Noonan, anybody who could write the ‘Pointe du Hoc’ speech for Ronald Reagan is far from all bad. Yes, she got caught in the umbrella of the Acela corridor for a while and Obama dazzled her. Well, how is that different than all the conservatives dazzled by Donald Trump? It’s not.

Here, she tells some truth, and she’s right.

The president has every right to nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia. He shouldn’t, but he has the right by law and precedent.

The reasons he shouldn’t spring from facts particular to the moment and having to do with what Justice Scalia symbolized.

In a 50/50 country, one that suffers deep ideological divisions and is constantly at its own throat, Justice Scalia stood, for that half of the country that is more or less conservative, for wisdom, permanence, enduring structures and understandings. That he was brilliant, witty and penetrating in his thought goes without saying. He was also brave, with that exhausting kind of courage that has to do with swimming each day against the tide. Here is Justice Scalia as prophet, dissenting in 1992’s sweeping abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v Casey: “Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. … [But] by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.”

It did; it has.

And very sadly, she is right about why the people should have the choice on the nominator of Scalia’s replacement too:

There is something increasingly unappeasable in the left. This is something conservatives and others have come to fear, that progressives now accept no limits. We can’t just have court-ordered legalized abortion across the land, we have to have it up to the point of birth, and taxpayers have to pay for it. It’s not enough to win same-sex marriage, you’ve got to personally approve of it and if you publicly resist you’ll be ruined. It’s not enough that we have publicly funded contraceptives, the nuns have to provide them.

This unappeasable spirit always turns to the courts to have its way.

If progressives were wise they would step back, accept their victories, take a breath and turn to the idea of solidifying gains, of heroic patience, of being peaceable.

Don’t make them bake the cake. Don’t make them accept the progressive replacement for Scalia. Leave the nuns alone.

Progressives have no idea how fragile it all is. That’s why they feel free to be unappeasable. They don’t know what they’re grinding down.

They think America has endless give. But America is composed of humans, and they do not have endless give.

Isn’t that what we’re seeing this year in the political realm? That they don’t have endless give? And we’ll be seeing more of it.

via Peggy Noonan: The Court, Like the Country, Needs Balance — The Patriot Post.

She’s very right here, there is an end to the give in the American people, it was last seen in the 1860 election. Wise (or even clever) people don’t want to find it again. But the Progressives, like the Democrats of Dixie in 1860 seem oblivious to the approaching apocalypse.

Requiescat in pace

Scalia-Clerks

Justice Scalia’s clerks lined up as an honor guard at the Supreme Court

And so Saturday, I watched the funeral of Antonin Scalia.* It was a most moving service, from the processional

Which is, of course, one of the great old English hymns, based on the 90th Psalm, written by Isaac Watts, a nonconformist, and the father of English hymnody and the tune (St Anne) by William Croft. At his death, Watts’ papers were given to Yale Univesity in the Connecticut Colony, which the nonconformists had founded. Watts is on the Calender of Saints of the CofE and the Lutheran Church 25 November, and the Episcopal Church the following day. Knowing some of that is why it struck me, both because it was a Catholic Mass, and its connections with early America, as so very appropriate.

I’m no expert on Catholic Masses, funeral or regular, although I note that Justice Scalia preferred the Latin Mass, while this was in English, a great gift to those of us not Catholic. My friend Cultural Limits is something of an expert, though and she had some thoughts yesterday on the Mass. Let’s let her guide us.

After what is a typical 24 minute procession for such an occasion, Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington gave remarks of welcome, and apologizing for the seating and scaffolding as the Basilica is currently being renovated.  The principle celebrant for this Funeral Mass was Rev. Paul Scalia, son of the judge, of the Archdiocese of Arlington, where the Scalias live.   (He has a lovely singing voice and chanted the prayers, and led the congregation in the Our Father chant that every Catholic knows.)

As the Mass proceeded, the First Reading was from the Book of Wisdom* from the Third Chapter read by the Executive Vice President of Federalist Society Leonard Leo.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace.  And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.  Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.

The Responsorial Psalm was a modern setting if the now fairly traditional or a Funeral The Lord is My Shepherd.  The Second Reading, Hope Does Not Disappoint from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, was read by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  The Gospel from St. Matthew, Praise to You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth…Come to Me all who are labored and burdened and you will find rest, was proclaimed by a Deacon from the Archdiocese of Arlington.

“We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us. Known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many. Scorned by others. A man known for great controversy. And for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.” (Fr. Paul Scalia, Homily at his father’s funeral)

Father Paul gave a moving homily relating the connection of the Funeral Mass to Christ, the past, the present and the future, and told a charming story of his father finding himself in Fr. Paul’s line for confession once.  Justice Scalia promptly removed himself from the line and later told his son that he’d be darned if he confessed his sins to HIM.  Father Paul readily agreed with his Dad. […]

Writer’s note: no, this was NOT overdone for a simple, parish Mass as the Scalias requested.  We do this music all the time in my parish.  The incense and the bells weren’t even too much. [I don’t doubt anything she says here, but it looked to this liturgical Lutheran, as the next best thing to a state funeral, which would have been earned by his service. Neo]

As is actually liturgically correct at a Catholic Funeral Mass – or because, as Father Paul told us, Justice Scalia HATED eulogies – there was not one.  In attendance of note: Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife, Jill,  Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich whose wife, Calista, is a member of the professional choir at the Basilica, the full Supreme Court, and countless mourners who were not recognized formally.

Do read it all, it’s very interesting, link here.

CL reminds us that:

The Funeral Mass of Justice Antonin Scalia ended with “O God Beyond All Praising,” a hymn set to THAXTED and one of the themes from the Jupiter movement of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.”  In great keeping of the idea of vocation, Justice Scalia was led to his rest to one of the great hymns imploring the people of doing the job God put you on earth to do.  Justice Antonin Scalia was put on this earth to defend the Constitution of the United States, raise a family of good citizens and faith, and give us all an example of courage in the face of adversity.  He accomplished that in spades.

Indeed, he was, and he did.

The rightscoop shared a story last week from a US Marine about Justice Scalia:

My cousin is a U.S. Marine. He shared this on Facebook tonight about Justice Scalia:

I once had the pleasure of hearing Justice Scalia speak. He told a story about a small dinner he attended in England. His hosts raised their classes and said “God save the queen.” 

He asked his hosts what the equivalent statement would be in the United States. They responded, “God save the President.”

Justice Scalia said, “no, God save the Constitution.”

I’m quite certain that as he crossed over, he was welcomed with the words,

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

And now it is up to us.


If you missed the funeral, or just want to see it again, here is the video


Staddle of the Republic

English: Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of ...

English: Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Georgian (or thereabouts) England they used to build barns on top of mushroom-shaped stones, called staddles. Two of the major reasons they did this was that it is nearly impossible for vermin to climb them, and they allow air to circulate below the floor, keeping the grain from spoiling. Justice Antonin Scalia was rather like that, keeping the vermin who would spoil the Constitution out (as much as possible) and keeping it fresh with his wit.

When his death was announced Saturday morning, my first thought (after prayers for his family) was a sense of discomfort that the Republic had lost a great champion of freedom. I still feel that way. We have unexpectedly lost one of the greats of the Supreme Court, and America.

Ilya Somin posted a sensitive professional remembrance of him here:

Scalia’s most significant legacy is his insightful defense of originalism in constitutional theory and textualism in statutory interpretation. Both textualism and originalism have far more support today than they did back when he was first appointed to the Court, thirty years ago. Significantly, some of that support crosses ideological lines, […]. While the rise of originalism and textualism has many causes, some of that progress is undoubtedly due to Scalia’s forceful and effective advocacy.

Scalia’s views on textualism are well-summarized in his book A Matter of Interpretation. His famous article “Originalism: The Lesser Evil” is probably his best-known defense of originalism (see also this critique by Randy Barnett).

While Scalia’s views on judicial methodology have had widespread influence, many of his opinions on specific legal issues remain highly polarizing, often admired by conservatives but hated by many liberals. Critics argued that his reasoning was flawed in various ways, and that he did not always follow his own methodological commitments when it was inconvenient to do so. In some areas, such as his opinions in affirmative action cases, he did not even try to make originalist arguments for his positions, even though there is a serious originalist case for striking down seemingly “benign” racial preferences. I myself differed with Scalia on a number of important issues, such as the constitutionality of laws banning same-sex marriage, and whether Congress has the power to ban the possession of medical marijuana that had never crossed state lines or been sold in any market.

But whether you agree with his views or not, it is hard to think of any other recent Supreme Court justice who has made a comparably great contribution to debates over both statutory interpretation and constitutional theory. It may be a long time, if ever, before we reach any consensus about Scalia’s legacy. But its importance cannot be denied.

Via: Justice Antonin Scalia, R.I.P.

If you are not familiar with his views, and scholarship, and yes, his wit, here he is addressing the Cambridge Union on 3 September 2012. It’s a fascinating speech.

Governor Abbott of Texas’ statement said it well:

“Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

From my neighborhood:

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse:

“A tireless defender of the rule of law, Justice Scalia’s precise thinking, sharp wit, and unwavering commitment to American constitutionalism will be remembered for generations. We are grateful for his service and heartbroken at this sudden loss. Melissa and I uphold the Scalia family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer:

“Our nation mourns the loss of a brilliant legal mind and selfless servant of the law. Justice Scalia lived a life dedicated to preserving and upholding the rights granted by our Constitution. Bruce and I join all Nebraskans in offering our condolences and prayers for the Scalia family.”

Iowa Senator, and Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley:

“He was a person who interpreted the Constitution to its original intent, and that he’ll be badly missed for that reason, and he leaves quite a legacy of scholarship.”

My condolences to the family, and may you rest in peace, sir. You will be both mourned and remembered as a hero of America.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Lawless America

I was watching the dramatisation of the Nuremberg Tribunal (the one with Alec Baldwin) last night, and it made me think.

First, with the immigration status, and such, how far is Germany again from the maelstrom that existed under Weimar? And what will happen this time? We know history doesn’t repeat, exactly, but it does rhyme. Something to think about, for us all.

But my stronger feeling was that America may be circling that same drain, for all the reasons that Bob Livingston writes of here. It doesn’t mean that it has to happen, or that it has to happen this way, but it means that we have a serious problem with this, and we’d best be thinking about a solution.

America is a nation of thousands if not millions of laws, yet it is a lawless nation.

A lawless nation is no nation at all. It is merely a Third-world backwater where those in power who lord over the people and abuse them for their own gain, for the gain of the bureaucrat class, and for the benefit of the banksters and the crony corporations who fund the charade elections every two or four years.

So those thousands or millions of laws written “for our benefit” – at least that’s what we’re told each time another edict from the District of Criminals becomes “law” – are employed against us while those in power are given a pass on them. Beyond that, those in power make the laws arbitrary by enforcing them or not enforcing them on a whim.

Last week, Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council told  a House Judiciary Committee that the Barack Obama Department of Homeland Security had instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings. The stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals not be tracked, the Washington Examiner reported.

Judd said the new policy was implemented because only about 40 percent of illegal aliens apprehended and given a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge actually show up. The process became so farcical that Border Patrol agents began calling them Notices to Disappear.

So in order to avoid the embarrassment of admitting that 60 percent of all illegals apprehended fail to appear before an immigration judge as required, the DHS and the Attorneys from the Department of Just(us) decided that any illegals apprehended who had no felony convictions and who claim to have been in the U.S. since January 2014 are to be released without an NTA.

Judd further testified:

Not only do we release these individuals that by law are subject to removal proceedings, we do it without any means of tracking their whereabouts. Agents believe this exploitable policy was set in place because DHS was embarrassed at the sheer number of those who choose not to follow the law by showing up for their court appearances. In essence, we pull these persons out of the shadows and into the light just to release them right back to those same shadows from whence they came.

Let me give you an example from my sector in Montana. Several months ago we arrested an illegal alien with a felony domestic violence arrest from another state. He was released because his trial had not occurred and therefore had not been convicted. Mind you he had not been acquitted either but we had to let him go all the same.

Under the law he should have been set up for removal proceedings, but under the policy he was let go. And he was let go even though he first proved that he cared so little about our laws that he entered the United States illegally, and once here, he proved further disdain by getting arrested for a serious violent act against another. What did we teach him and everyone else he undoubtedly told about his experience? We taught him our laws mean very little, but policies mean everything.

via Lawless America – Personal Liberty®.

Answers? I’m not sure I have any, but until we define the problems that doesn’t matter, so let’s get to defining!

Give Women the Right to Defend Themselves

Nederlands: Geert Wilders op campagne in zwolle

Nederlands: Geert Wilders op campagne in zwolle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is from Geert Wilders and Machiel de Graaf writing for the Gatestone Institute.

“Cultural enrichment” has brought us a new word: Taharrush. Remember it well, because we are going to have to deal with it a lot. Taharrush is the Arabic word for the phenomenon whereby women are encircled by groups of men and sexually harassed, assaulted, groped, raped. After the Cologne taharrush on New Year’s Eve, many German women bought pepper spray. Who can blame them?

A culture that has a specific word for sexual assaults of women by groups of men is a danger to all women. The existence of the word indicates that the phenomenon is widespread. Frau Merkel, Prime Minister Rutte and all the other open-door politicians could and should have known this.

The Islamic world is steeped in misogyny. The Koran explicitly states that a woman is worth only half a man (Suras 2: 228, 2: 282, 4:11), that women are unclean (5:6), and that a man can have sex with his wife whenever he wants (24:31). The Koran even says that men are allowed to have sex slaves (4:24), and that they have the right to rape women whom they have captured (24:31).

The hadiths, the descriptions of the life of Muhammad, the ideal human being whose example all the Islamic faithful must follow, confirm that women are sex objects, that they are inferior beings like dogs and donkeys, and that there is nothing wrong with sexual slavery and raping female prisoners.

Taharrush is quite common in Islamic countries. Women are frequently surrounded by men and subsequently abused. The Egyptian website Jadaliyya points out that it also happens to veiled women. Women are victims simply because they are women and not because they have provoked the men by their conduct or “provocative” clothing. It can happen in the streets, public transport, supermarkets, or during protest demonstrations. […]

The solution is not that our women keep an arm’s length from the male barbarians, but that the government keeps these men thousands of kilometers away from us. Until that happens, other measures are needed. It is irresponsible to turn our country into a jungle and subsequently send women unarmed into the jungle. They must at least have the right to defend themselves. Contrary to countries such as Germany and France, in our country it is illegal to carry pepper spray. With the Netherlands now being overrun by men who see women as inferior sex tools, it is time to legalize pepper spray in the Netherlands as a weapon against taharrush.

via Give Women the Right to Defend Themselves.

The only real problem that I have with this is this. Women, like men, have an inherent, God-given, right of self-defense, not to mention the duty to defend others. It is simply the right to life. It is illegitimate for any government to think it has any right at all to preemptively remove this right from any member of society. Pepper spray (and tasers and the like) are an OK stopgap. But the only way to stop animals like this is to put them down, and therefore, lethal self-defense is the answer.

Yes, for most of us that means guns. Not for nothing, in the Old American West, was it said that God created men and women, but Colonel Colt made them equal. How else is an 110-pound woman going to defend herself from 2 dozen or so young men? The answer is, she isn’t.

It’s far too late, in Europe certainly, but here as well, for half measures. Either we allow our women (and men, incidentally) to defend themselves, or we allow them to massacred at the will of the insurgents. That is the bottom line decision we have to make.

Buy Ammo

We talk about problems almost everyday here, and most of them, while we (and you) may know at least some of the answers, nobody is likely to ask us. Not least because the correct answers would probably cost them, at least, some of their mostly ill-gotten gains (Yes, you can easily read rent-seeking and corruption here).

Still if enough of us yell about it, and take what actions we can, we may well improve the situation. Donald Trump is an indication of that. Personally, I detest the idea of him as President, it’s almost like a third term of Obama in my mind, just like Clinton. But that’s me, I can remember when the Constitution stood for something, and that something was real equality, equality under the law. Which is the only kind of equality government can legitimately provide. All else is theft of one kind or another. But he has certainly changed the debate in the last year.

But, in many ways, the president is constrained by Congress and the courts, and that will be more true, not less, for a president who seeks to rule constitutionally. And America (Europe, as well) has embarked on a journey into uncharted territory, we are only a stone’s throw from catastrophe. Or as Kurt Schlichter puts it, walking a tightrope over chaos.

And so, I think Kurt has one of the answers for what we, individually, can do. It’s an important piece of the puzzle, and one that perhaps more than any other, separates America from the rest of the world: Buy Ammo.

Why is that important, Because the American people, almost alone in the world, have reserved sovereignty to themselves. Everyone else, even it seems, the British, who taught us, have sold their freedom to the government for a little temporary safety. They will (and in fact already are) finding they now have neither. Sad, but that was their (actually their grandparents) choice. Seems the Brits can’t even figure out that fleeing the sinking ship of Europe is a good idea. But we, who have done more to defend Europe in the last hundred years than anyone, know better. I doubt we will try again, three strikes and you’re out, you know.

In the last analysis, as Americans, it is up to us to defend our friends and families, our communities, and yes, our country and our Constitution. There is no one in the world to whom we can turn to for help, as an organization, although we will find many people, as the scales of propaganda fall from their eyes, who will cheer us on, and help individually, but it is up to us, each of us, individually, to decide if America, the dream, and the promise, of the last 250 years is worth keeping alive. Buy Ammo!

Here’s the Colonel:

I have never, ever had anyone tell me that he had too much ammunition.  Not in a combat zone, not in a civil disaster, not even in peacetime.  Never.  Nor have I lived through a time where our governing class was so deeply corrupt, so utterly foolish, and so dangerously focused on the perpetuation of its own power that it risked bringing down everything we have built not merely in the United States but in the entire West.

Right now, if you are watching the news, you have questions about the future.  And the answer to all of them is to buy ammo.

Buying ammo is a no-lose proposition.  Look, the worst thing that happens if you buy more ammo is that you have more ammo.  Plus, much of our consumer ammo is made by hardworking Americans, and many of those ammo makers are located in red states where the right to keep and bear arms is celebrated and respected.  So you’re helping fellow conservative Americans, which is good.  And you’re infuriating people like that sanctimonious, Second Amendment-hating incompetent infesting the White House, which is great. […]

Now, many of our urban liberal friends will not understand why we insist on ensuring that we have plenty of guns and ammo.  They are, not coincidentally, the same urban liberals who don’t understand how creating economic and political chaos by screwing up the economy, coddling crooks, allowing unrestricted immigration, refusing to defeat our enemies, and frittering away the rule of law all act to undermine this wonderful island of relative peace and stability we call the United States.  The über-beta editor of a well-known liberal website once chided me on Twitter for pointing out the fact that civilization walks on a tightrope over a chasm of chaos, telling me I was essentially nuts for thinking this could all fall apart much faster and much more violently than any of us imagine.  But I was not nuts.  I was remembering.  I was remembering Los Angeles on fire during the Rodney King riots.  I spent three weeks on the streets with the Army during that little life lesson based out of an armory south of I-10 and east of the 405.  Let’s just say that it was a looty, shooty area.  So I don’t need chaos lessons from some tweedy femboy, nor do you.  It may not be apocalypse now, but it could very well be apocalypse soon.

Do you think our elite is going to protect you during the next “uprising?”  Remember, it’s a “riot” only if elite liberals are at risk like they were when Beverly Hills got threatened; it’s an “uprising” if only you are.  Remember that “stand down” order in Baltimore?

Do you think the Iranians and our other enemies haven’t been watching Team Feckless in inaction and thought about popping off a hot rock or two a hundred miles above Kansas City to fry all our wonderful electronic gizmos with EMP?  A couple days after our logistics networks go down those urban hipsters are going to learn what really constitutes a “food desert.”

And this:

But deterrence is a wonderful thing.  An armed, trained populace is not only prepared for when things go bad, but the fact that it is armed and trained makes it much less likely that things will go bad in the first place.  Last year, Americans voted for liberty by buying well over 15 million new guns.  That’s roughly 40,000 a day, every day.  That’s enough to arm three infantry divisions.

Every.  Single.  Day.

Just don’t forget to buy ammo.

via Buy Ammo – Kurt Schlichter – Page full.

I call that

A good start!

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