Interpretive Jiggery-pokery; Part One

91237701A lot of electrons have been disturbed in commenting on the SCOTUS rulings last week. A lot more will be, some of them by me, but underlying the whole sordid mess, is a pernicious view of the law. Justice Kennedy opened his opinion of SSM with this:

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.

In the analysis section, he says this:

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.

Those two statements are consistent with each other and with the school of thought that can find new rights (or make them up out of the whole cloth) in a two hundred year old document, whose authors meant no such thing, if (and that’s very doubtful) they even thought of such things. That school is what is often called ‘the living constitution’. And it is fully capable of finding rights that don’t exist and were never intended.

Yesterday, No Mans Land published on All along the Watchtower, an excellent history of marriage in Christianity. But that, while interesting, has little to do with the court ruling, because like Roe v. Wade, the court simply decided what it wanted without recourse to the law. I probably should add that while I’ve always thought Marbury v. Madison was right, I’m beginning to doubt my conclusion.

Because the real problem isn’t with any of that, the real problem is the conception of the law. What Kennedy works from is the old Roman conception of the law that flows strongly in European law. It holds that one can do anything that the law permits. It leads to many laws, and a fair percentage of them perverse, and is imposed from the top down, like these SCOTUS opinions.

But American law, like English law, is based on the Common Law, and law that has built up over time, using precedents. We spoke the other day of the start of the written Common Law, in the days of King Æthelberht of Kent. Contemporary with St. Augustine of Canterbury, King Æthelberht’s Law was the first written version of the Common Law, indeed the first written law code in any of the Germanic languages. This was the basis of King Alfred the Great’s Code, and all subsequent English/American law, including Magna Charta.

The key takeaway here is that Anglo-American law is based on a different principle, that one can do anything that the law does not forbid. That difference is fundamental. That is also the basis of the Ten Commandments. That is an entire law code, in ten simple “Thou shalt not’s. More on that in an earlier post of mine, here, and Jessica postulated that Jesus boiled it down even more  here.

And so we see that there is a fundamental flaw in these decrees from SCOTUS, the court simply chooses to violate the fundamental basis of our law to grant non-existant rights.

More to come on this, of course.

This Week

English: Cover of a 1904 adaptation of Humpty ...

English: Cover of a 1904 adaptation of Humpty Dumpty by William Wallace Denslow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week has not been kind, especially at the Supreme Court, to conservatives and/or traditionalists. Between the ruling on the ACA mandate and gay marriage, more than a few seem shell-shocked. I’m going to have some things to say, at some point, but today is not that point. I need to get it organized first.

We rather expected to win on King v. Burwell, and the reason we didn’t is that the majority of the court, simply decided that Humpty-Dumpty was right: words mean exactly what they say they mean, today, not last week. They took as their mission to keep this bad law on the books, for the second time in two years. It’s purely political, I think, and that’s why I’m loath to discuss it yet.

Apparently we are going to the Soviet model of history as well, where things that don’t fit the narrative are simply washed down the memory hole. You know, like the Confederacy. It can join the attempted imposition of episcopacy as a cause of the Revolution there.

Well, whatever. I’m reminded of another foolhardy venture in American history. it’s the anniversary of the Little Bighorn, the victory that was so complete, that it ensured the total destruction of the victors, the Plains Indians. History is a funny thing, sometimes. And so:

What Happened In The Aftermath Of Charleston Shooting Was No Surprise

African Methodist Episcopal Church

African Methodist Episcopal Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The author here, Jay Caruso, had something important to say about the aftermath of the Charleston shooting. I’m giving you the meat of it, but that is no reason why you shouldn’t read his article, as always the author’s context us important.

On the flip side, so much of the negative side of what you’ve heard of the south is largely false. Northern liberal elites whose only time spent in the south is getting a connecting flight in Atlanta, would have you believe the south is still a hotbed of racism that existed in the 1950′s and 1960′s with Bull Connor types lurking about in every small town from North Carolina to Mississippi.

Naturally, there is racism in the south. No more so however, than I have seen in the north. I heard far more racial slurs being spouted by people living in progressive blue states than I ever have since living down here. Yes, there is the occasional white trash lowlife riding around with his confederate flag somewhere on his pickup truck and hoping one day that south will rise again, but these idiots exist in a vacuum. They overwhelmingly represent a bygone era.

It’s no surprise that leftists almost seem to be upset by what happened in the aftermath of the horrific murders committed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Others were blown away in surprise at what happened.

The only people not surprised are those who actually live in the south. 

What Happened In The Aftermath Of Charleston Shooting Was No Surprise | Pocket Full Of Liberty.

Well, not exactly. I suspect many of us in the Trans-Mississippi West were equally unsurprised, and for much the same reason, It was a show of mercy and grace that is within keeping with what we believe as real Christians. That doesn’t mean that we don’t think he should be prosecuted, just that we learned the Lord’s lesson, and we know that our health demands that we publically forgive him. Powerful testimony it was, and from a famous Christian denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

To be honest, it’s been a very long time since I spent any amount of time in the south, well over thirty years, but my memories are almost all good ones, and, in fact, the last time I was down south was in Charleston which is a beautiful city in a beautiful state. I think the time is coming for me to visit again because it sounds like it hasn’t changed much in it’s essentials.

What I really saw was the old America, that sometimes we despair of, working together to help our fellow man, mourning our losses together, praying for all concerned, and getting on with life.

What could be more American, or more Christian, than that? And yes, all concerned have been, and will remain, in my prayers as well. God Bless ’em all.

At Last – A Justice Secretary who Believes in Justice – slightly_grumpy – My Telegraph

This is a short post because there just isn’t much to add.  Michael Gove recently was the education Secretary in Great Britain, and he got into a certain amount of trouble, mostly because he insisted on high standards.

He now has a new job: Justice Minister and Lord High Chancellor. He’s likely, I suspect to get into more trouble making statements like this:

The sealing of Magna Carta, the calling of the first Parliament by Simon de Montfort, the establishment of habeas corpus, the challenge to the operation of the Star Chamber in early Stuart times, the fight by Parliament against the Crown under Charles the First, the Glorious Revolution, the Bill of Rights, the judgement of Lord Mansfield that affirmed the air of England too pure for any slave to breathe, Catholic Emancipation, the removal of discrimination against Jewish citizens, universal suffrage, the principle of judicial review of the executive – all of these are acts which have contributed to making us who we are – a people bound by rules and guided by precedent who settle issues by debate in Parliament and argument in courts, and who afford equal protection to all and cherish liberty as a birthright. These historic acts are what constitute our nation – they are our constitution. And it is my duty, as Lord Chancellor, to safeguard the principles that underlie that constitution.

From: At Last – A Justice Secretary who Believes in Justice – slightly_grumpy – My Telegraph.

Wish we had a few like that in our Department of Justice, let alone as Attorney General, or even heaven forfend, on the Supreme Court.

QUIZ: Which Handgun Are You?

Guns-Guns-Guns-998x659Usually when I run across these quizzes, if it looks fun, I Tweet it, and often they are fun. This one surely is. But it’s Monday and the dog ate my homework. So here you go, from The Federalist.

This is America, and in America we celebrate our rights. Especially theSecond Amendment right to defend ourselves. A sizable portion of the population believes the best way to protect themselves and their families is with a handgun.

Take the quiz at the link.

QUIZ: Which Handgun Are You?.

Me? Well, if you insist.

c1751139-bdf1-49dc-b759-67ec00b97b96“Reliable is your middle name, and you’re never afraid of getting your hands dirty if the job calls for it. You don’t crumble under pressure. You value accuracy over speed. And you know that strength and beauty often come in the same package. You are a .357 Magnum Colt Python.”

Not a bad outcome, really. In truth, I actually prefer the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army or the Colt Model 1911 Automatic, but the Python is plenty acceptable. :)

Mr. President, You Have One Job

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usua...

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usually called a “standard” in official U.S. government terminology). It is defined in Executive Order 10860. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In essence, the President of the United States has one job: to protect the Republic from all enemies, foreign and domestic. So a year and a half before we hire a new guy or girl, how are we doing?

I’d say not good. There are many things wrong, the government seems to have lost its way to the point that it cannot tell the good guys from the bad ones, the productive from the moocher, the anarchist from the fascist, in essence, good from evil.

Yes, I did say good from evil. But understand this, it’s not supposed to be the President’s job to help you get a degree, let alone a useful one, nor to make sure you don’t starve because you haven’t found a job. Those things are your job, not is. If you fail, it is your problem, along with those who were foolish enough to depend on you. You don’t want to be a burger flipper that’s commendable, learn a marketable skill, and you won’t be. It would help if the government would get out of the way enough for productive people to be productive.

It would also help if the government would get out of the way enough for the health care industry to provide health care, instead of filling out forms for Leviathan.

But in a sense, none of this is the President’s primary tasking. That is, as it always has been to protect the Republic from foreign enemies. And in that the administration has failed, utterly.

As the linked article says, to be safe one needs some combination of raw power, respect, admiration, and fear. No one of them will really work. And that’s where the US is failing. Raw power is the one we have, but since we are unwilling to use it, it no longer matters. Thousands of tanks in a tank park at Fort Hood are an interesting (to some, anyway) artifact, not a symbol of power. Those same tanks rampaging down ‘Thunder Road’ in Iraq are an unmistakable sign that one is extremely unwise to poke at the Eagle, overmuch.

Notice anybody refraining from that poking lately? Yeah, me either. Here’s why.

The United States is no longer a serious country.

Now, by this I do not mean that America is no longer a super-power. By any gross indicator of strength, the United States is as powerful as it’s ever been, perhaps more powerful than at any time in its history. It has a massive, highly productive economy, a military second to none, and an alliance that dwarfs all possible competitors. On paper, it’s still the only super-power on this planet (or on any other that we know of, so far).

But the status of a great nation is built on more than raw power. It includes intangible qualities like respect, admiration, and, yes, fear. We don’t need all three of them; no major power does. But we need at least one of them at any given moment, and right now, we’re bottoming out in each of these measures. President Obama may insist that America is now “the most respected country on Earth”—a claim even the normally more forgiving folks at PolitiFact rate as only “half-true”—but the Russians, Iranians, and Chinese clearly disagree, and for good reason.

The Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management is the most recent, and most obvious, example of how our status is going down the drain. This is a disaster of unimaginable proportions. The intelligence damage, including security-clearance information, will last for decades. (I, of course, am one of the millions of federal workers waiting to find out if my files are now in Beijing.) Almost as shocking as the size of this breach, however, is the fact that no one seems to care very much, including the Chinese, who have shown no concern at all.

An Act of War, Ignored

In any normal world, a super-power would not tolerate this kind of an attack. Perhaps more accurately, a true super-power would never have to endure such an attack in the first place, because other nations would be loath to engage in such a direct act of open hostility. States do lousy things to each other all day long, but the wholesale and brazen theft of personnel records is a different kind of espionage. The scale is so vast that it is a direct challenge to the United States of America.

Countries, as a rule, do not do whatever they can do, they do what they think they can get away with.

Contunue reading: America, The Unserious Super-Power. Emphasis mine.

Seems to me when saudi Arabia and Israel find that they have more in c0mmon with each other than they do with theUnited states, something has goe deeply wrong.

We are pretty much stuck with this until 20 January 2017, but we would be perhaps wise to start thinking ait now. And keep it uppermost in our minds as we think about a new prsident.

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