Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.
Yes, we know it is not "official" until it is announced, but Thomas has received confirmation that Chief Justice William Rehnquist will be the first of the Supreme Court justices to step down during the Court’s "off-season". (Where does he come up with these terms?) It was rumored for some time, and many legal scholars and judicial experts were kerfuffled by no announcement from the Court in it’s final day. But many people, like Thomas, warned against a premature jump of the gun. He was quick to remind me that Rehnquist is a top-class poker player, and he was not going to reveal his hand yet.
Regardless of how it is done, the vacancy is only going to heat up the fight over the courts in the Senate. Now, we will see what "extraordinary circumstances" really means, and whether the seven Republicans will side with their party, or their ideological enemies. Of course, much of that answer revolves around those that are named as appointees to fill the vacancy.
But, of course, the first question is "who gets Rehnquist’s seat?". The appropriate person, in OUR opinion should be Scalia. And many people we know—personally—agree with that idea. Not only does it make sense, and is completely logical, but it would be the right thing to do. A new appointee assigned that position could cause division within an already ideologically-divided Court already.
So, you promote a sitting associate justice. Thomas pointed out that Justice Thomas is not interested in holding that seat. He does not want it. With the possibility of O’Connor stepping down, she is out of the running automatically. Justice Kennedy is not enough of a moderate for President Bush’s tastes. So, we are left with Justice Scalia. And that does not mean he is a last resort of any sort. Personally, Thomas and I have him at the top of our lists for prospective Chief Justices.
Ironically, we differ on the second choice. It was alluded to by administration officials that Judges Luttig and Roberts will be the nominees President Bush puts up to seat the vacancy. Thomas believes Luttig will get it, and will pass. I contend that Luttig will be too conservative for the Senate Democrats; that is unless they are asleep at the wheel. I believe Roberts will get the call. He clerked for Rehnquist, and has plenty of experience with the High Court. We will see.
This is going to be a painful period for either judge any way you look at it. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are going to grill them so hard, they will think they had a body cavity search with a microscope. "We found that gum you swallowed in 1962!" Ted Kennedy will bellow. Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme.
We know their personal views are going to be thrown in their faces. We know they will be questioned on any issue of contention (abortion, religious rights, gay/lesbian rights, etc.) and it will likely be used against them. What needs to happen is that the Republicans in the Senate need to locate their backbones, and stand up for the president’s nominees. This is the cat-bird seat in the Supreme Court. There can be no caving. There can be no "deal." Give them their vote, or else.
Just because seven Republicans agreed to such a foolish deal does not mean the Constitutional Option is off the board. Three of those seven Republicans (DeWine, Warner, and Collins) have said if they deem the "filibuster" unjust, they will side with Frist, and call for the Option’s execution. If those three switch, it could be possible for them to bring back Graham (I cannot trust Snowe, Chafee, or McCain), and even a Democrat or two (possibly Lieberman and/or Salazar). Point being is that Stage One was just that. We are going back in with at least two new nominees, on the heels of the retirement of one of the most-renowned jurist the Court has seen. He is a fine judge, an excellent Constitutionalist, and an extremely intelligent man. His place on the Court will be filled, but I doubt his shoes ever will be.
Justice Scalia, despite how much Thomas likes the man, will be close, and his shoes will fill out. But I think that Rehnquist will still be the superior in that mental battle of judicial wits. But gear up; the next couple of months might get bumpy. Stay the course, get the job done. Let us do what we can to reinforce the confidence in both nominees to our elected representatives.
Believe me, they will need it. I think I hear the knees knocking already.
Yesterday, an MH-47 helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. Initial reports stated that 17 people were on board. That number has been reduced to 16, with 8 of the dead confirmed as SEALs, and the other 8 possibly Army Rangers. (No need to ask guys, she’s worried.) But what isn’t being reported by the media (to my knowledge, only Reuters has picked it up at this point) was that helicopter was going into the area on an extraction operation.
A recon element in the area was ambushed by a large Taliban force, and called for a quick reaction force, or QRF. Aside from the Taliban taking credit for taking down the chopper, we haven’t heard yet how the chopper was downed. (I have been in touch with one of my close sources, who has kept me as updated as they can on this.) Honestly, it doesn’t matter how it happened.
That it did happen is tragic. But moreover, to the point the media isn’t following up with, is the recon force is still unaccounted for, as yet. The military is keeping a tight lip as to what SOF were involved in the recon group (SEALs, Marine Recon, Rangers, etc.) the fact is they’re still out there, and alive or dead, they need to be recovered. All hell is dropping on that area in Afghanistan, and our enemies are about to learn a valuable lesson from America as thousands of US troops descend upon our enemy in a rescue operation.
We don’t play games in the field, and we want the men back, now...or else.
And the "or else" is hell. It will rain down like fire from the sky. This nation watched in Somalia as "Black Hawk Down" unfolded. This is very similar. No, the recon force wasn’t shot down, but until help arrives, these guys are on their own. They’re SOF—professional operators. I got faith they’ll come home, but the anticipation is never-ending until the all clear is sounded.
I bring this up much for the reasons why Marcie touched on it today. She did a good overview of when our troops have been called upon to defend this nation, and she reminded us to remember those that fight for us today, and those that fought us yesterday. We should remember them; without them, we don’t have a nation.
But above all, this incident shows us much what we’ve already been told. This is a tough war. And it will be a long war. We’re going to depend a lot on our professional operators to fight the clandestine, shadow war within the overall Global War on Terror. Incidents like this, despite ALL the precautions, will occur. These men that died, and those that remain in harm’s way, don’t do this for fun, or for glory. That’s tertiary in their world. They do it for us, and they do it for the nation.
A long time ago I considered going into the military. I wanted to be a SEAL. I couldn’t (I got glasses, guys), and even with the corrective surgery, there was no guarantee I got into SEAL school. The recruiter even told me that that sort of surgery will count against me getting into SEAL school. So, instead of joining, I went to school...and I studied every aspect of the SEALs and our special warfare units. From their beginnings to modern day, I have a plethora of knowledge about our SOF guys. My uncle served in the Marines in Vietnam, and was part of Marine recon. Marcie’s brother is an Army Ranger. Trust me, I understand what her brother is going through, and what my uncle endured and experienced.
So, I salute these men. And I pray for the safe return of that recon group, and for the families that lost loved ones on that chopper. They will be in my prayers all weekend as I celebrate this nation’s independence, and the recon unit will be on my mind until word comes down—one way or another—that we have them back.
Arianna "Huff’n’Stuff" has an admission for everyone. She really likes Scott McClellan. After reading her post regarding this, I’d suggest to Mrs. McClellan to take precautions. Arianna is a vulture. But as Arianna is apt to do, in the same post where she is bouncingly infatuated with the White House press secretary, she turns snide and condescending.
It was Holden at FD who red-flagged the hands-down best post-speech Scottie-ism. When asked about criticism of the president’s linking of 9/11 and Iraq, Scottie responded, "And who made any suggestion of a link to the attacks?" Uh, that would be your boss Scott -- you know, the guy who brought up 9/11 five times in his big speech on Iraq.
Of course, this kind of answer is precisely what makes Scottie so endearing and compelling: his willingness to sound like an utter imbecile in the cause of covering his boss’s ass.
And it’s not just his boss… there he was last Thursday (yes, I do keep transcripts of his appearances pressed into my diary with gardenia petals), defending the Veep’s widely-ridiculed "last throes" comment.
First, he fell back on his default defense: "It doesn’t appear that you’ve looked at the context of his comments. And I would encourage you to do that." Context is always a very big deal to Scottie. And so is condescension. But on this occasion he went even further, twice asking a reporter, "You were in the interview?"… thus setting a new journalistic standard, wherein to understand what was said in an interview you have to actually be in the room at the time of the interview. But if, in the Scottie universe, physical proximity = understanding, why does he, the beneficiary of so much physical proximity to the commander-in-chief, always sound so winningly clueless?
Talk about clueless. The president has never—Let me repeat that, NEVER—stated that there was a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. And how many times he cites 11 Sept. In a speech is irrlevent; I’m sure he was trying to remind those on the Left—like yourself—of why we’re fighting this war. It’s not about oil. It’s not about Israel. It’s about liberation and freedom, at this current juncture, in addition to hunting down and destroying these terrorist groups that target innocent civilians.
And as for covering his "boss’s ass" I question the intelligence of Arianna here. The president hasn’t lied. He hasn’t mislead this nation. He cited chapter and verse why Iraq was Stage Number Two in the GWOT. It had little to do with WMDs, even though your side keeps hyping the hell out of it, and more to break up the terrorist connections that Saddam Hussein had. The same connections that Andrew McCarthy cited in his column from yesterday, where it is clearly cited that Iraqi Intelligence officials had declared bin Laden a "national asset" of Iraq, in 1992.
And you people just won’t let up on the "death throes" comment will you. Arianna, where is the intel experience of you or your writers? Have any of you even looked at the facts—presented by an extremely biased MSM—to prove that point? I have. I’ve seen it in the media, and I’ve seen some intelligence. Zarqawi’s losing lieutenants and field commanders, they’re having a problem with recruiting new blood for their jihad, and they are targeting civilians; it’s the last stage for Zarqawi’s forces in Iraq. Nazis in hiding in a post-World War II Germany did the same thing when they knew they were on their last legs.
Arianna, ever notice how your side really doesn’t look at the context of a statement, yet when we cite full statements by your side, and do so accurately, your side seems to state that we’ve taken you out of context? The context McClellan was talking about was in reference to your conspiracy-theory question. The president never said it. Context, Arianna, is a BIG deal for anyone with a brain. I can’t jump the gun on a buddy in a discussion until he says something, and if it raises an eyebrow from me, I want a clarification.
It’s called "language" and "speech". We use it on a daily basis to communicate. (That’s the art that Democrats lack.) You call the White House press secretary "clueless" because of the disdain you have for the administration. That can’t be helped. You’re wackier than the wackiest moonbat. And you think you’re actually making a difference with your little, nutty blog. Were that true, and you were truly winning people over to your way of thinking, why is it usually the butt of jokes by real bloggers, and online journalists?
I read a post by George Lakoff where he was belly-aching over the Rove statements of comparing the liberal response to 11 Sept. with the conservative response. It was made crystal clear by Congressional Democrats, not more than six days after the worst attack this nation has ever witnessed and endured, that they were going to dig in their heels, and refuse to play ball. So, yes, I do support Rove’s idea. He hit the nail on the head, and his message was more than clear. When it comes to defending this nation, and prosecuting this war, we don’t need the Left in this nation at it’s helm. We need conservatives because they’re not going to walk away when the going gets tough. They have done so before (read: Vietnam), and are talking up the idea of pulling out as quickly as possible. D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R: That’s what a pull out would spell. Get it through your heads.
Normally, I let garbage spouted by Arianna and her ilk slide. There are times where these people are utterly hilarious with their wacko theories and advice. But, I wasn’t going to let her off the hook over McClellan, and Lakoff needs to take a closer look at his party before he throws some stones.
As we are about to enter one of the most important holidays that this nation observes, I am reminded by the president what it took to build this nation, and how it is maintained. The Left has long since forgotten its storied history; the great leaders of their party that did what they had to do to make this nation strong and secure.
Our Founding Fathers pledged their devotion to this nation within the Declaration of Independence, in its concluding sentence.
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
And after a long, brutal war for independence, we birthed a nation. Those that fought in the war were seen as patriots; living legends of their time. They did not want the "notoriety" that arrived on their doorsteps from their actions during the war, but old legends die hard.
The next major conflict that engulfed the nation was the Civil War. Revisionists like to say that the Civil War freed the slaves. Um, no, I am sorry, you are incorrect. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863; almost two years before the end of the war. Again, this war had its patriots on both sides, fighting for what they believed in. All total, over three million men died during the war fighting to protect the Constitution, and our way of life in a representative republic.
World War I brought about a new face of war, as we witnessed the technological advances made by other countries. No previous conflict had mobilized so many soldiers or involved so many in the field of battle. It was supposed to be the "war to end all wars"; my great-grandfather, prior to his death, still referred to it as "The Great War". It was the first time chemical weapons were used, and the first time an aerial bombardment occurred on a civilian site. Trench warfare was used where on the Western Front, over nine million men lost their lives. Again, this nation’s military was set in motion to help our allies abroad fight back the expansionist Germans under the Kaiser. It should also be noted that during World War I, the Russians had their famous revolution, which propelled Lenin into power; the beginning of communism for Eastern Europe.
World War II erupted in September of 1939 when Nazi Germany leaped into action with an attack and invasion of Poland. For the longest time, World War II was Europe’s war. We tried to maintain neutrality, and thought ourselves safe and secure from the war across the Atlantic. Then, December 7th occurred, and America was called upon to defend herself, and to defend her allies. And defend we did, including a daring invasion of Normandy in 1944 to cut the Nazi forces in half, and easier to deal with, but also in August of 1945 when Pres. Harry Truman decided that dropping the A-Bomb on Japan was preferable to losing an estimated one million soldiers in an attempt to take Japan.
The Korean War, again, reminded us that our security was not secure, nor did it come free. This war has been disputed by historians and scholars over how it was started, and who really ran the show; the US or the UN. Under the auspice of a UN mission, Congress was not consulted for a formal declaration of war. It was the first "real" war of the Cold War, and was a wake-up call for our troops. Gone was trench warfare, but our troops still ended up fighting for hill after hill. We had to contend with a mountainous terrain, and the fact the government would not approve a unilateral bombing of North Korean forces. It was also the first war where a cease-fire ended it, rather than terms of surrender or a peace treaty.
Twelve years later, the second major war of the Cold War erupted when America became involved in the Vietnam War. Definitely the most contentious of any war our troops participated in, nonetheless the troops won their end of the war. It is the politicians who lost it, and did their best to perpetuate that. This war was one of the first wars of the new age of military combat as we learned what guerilla warfare was like. In the end, we left the nation; abandoning the nation to its communist enemies.
In the 1990s, we were called upon again to put down the unprovoked attack on Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. We were asked to help out in Kosovo and Somalia by the United Nations. Finally, on September 11th, 2001, this nation suffered its worst attack since Pearly Harbor. Again, troops were mustered, and sent abroad to engage our enemy in what I feel is the Fourth World War which ultimately has become a fight between Western Civilization and radical Islamo-fascists.
The point of this rambling, cold-medicine induced post is this: We have men and women in this nation that know that freedom is not free. These people put their lives on the line to protect this nation. I am reminded of a quote that is on the main page of the Mudville Gazette—a military blog. http://www.mudvillegazette.com/
"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
That is what our men and women in uniform do. That is what the Founding Fathers did, the veterans of all our past wars, in fact. They fought to protect this nation and keep it secure.
So, while we all barbecue, or cool off by the people, gathering with friends and family, I would advise we take time out of our busy recreation to remember those who ensured we can do this. The ones in the field right now are the ones that should be remembered primarily, but let us not forget those that drew the first line against tyranny and said, "This far and no further."
Without them, this nation may have never stood as it does today; that bright, shining city on a hill.
Pres. Bush addressed the nation on Tuesday night, and told the nation of the good that is occurring in Iraq. There were reasons for this address. Simply put, the MSM isn’t telling America the truth. The MSM is only hyping the bad news coming out of Iraq, which the Left in the country is taking as talking points, and running with it. Sen. Kennedy states repeatedly that we’re in a "quagmire"; Sen. Durbin compares our troops to the thugs from past brutal regimes; Sen. Byrd demands to know what our timetable in Iraq is. That’s just a snippet, and just over the last couple of weeks.
But if we thought the other side was bad, here’s some "wisdom" from Sen. McCain—a known and detested RINO from Arizona.
"[O]ne of the very big mistakes early on was that he didn't have enough troops on the ground, particularly after the initial victory, and that's still the case."
Sen. Biden joined John McCain in slamming the president over the "lack of troop strength" in Iraq.
"I'm going to send him the phone numbers of the very generals and flag officers that I met on Memorial Day when I was in Iraq,"the Delaware Democrat said."There's not enough force on the ground now to mount a real counterinsurgency."
John Kerry joined the cacophony of people berating the president over his tactics in this war. Now, I’m all for people stating their opinions, but frankly folks, these guys aren’t in the "know". They know bits, and they know pieces, but like every puzzle has an image, these guys are missing key pieces to finish that picture. Further, did they miss the president’s speech on Tuesday?
"Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders."
He has repeated these sentiments before. If we need more troops, ask and ye shall receive. But above all, we can’t give the Iraqis the impression we’re staying for a long haul. The Iraqis have to be able to stand on their own. They’re not going to learn how to do that if the US military is there always holding their hand. The president pointed out that the Iraqi forces have lost 2000 of their own, trained men. This process is not like a family outing in the country for a day. Maybe that’s how the Left views this war, and that’s probably the way they fight it, but that isn’t how we do it. We do it right—first time, every time—and we get the job done.
The troops on the ground is a sufficient amount. We’re training their people so they can be prepared. And they’ll learn. They’ll learn through hard work, tenacity, and experience. There is no other better teacher than experience. Our military leaders—from sergeants up through the top brass—can teach us the skills to survive and prevail on the battlefield, but it is experience that teaches the troops in the field what they really need to survive.
Some of the tactics we are using now have been adapted from what these people were taught. Likewise, it will be that way for the Iraqis, too. It’s just life. It’s war. It’s hell, and it can be planned, but hardly ever do the plans go exactly as they were laid out.
Pardon me for being about forty-eight hours behind on this, but these summer colds are no picnic. I felt like garbage yesterday, so I did not get to do anything on the computer except homework. But, this was started after the presidents speech Tuesday from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
His speech was right on the money, and as plain-spoken, clear, and concise as could possibly be imagined. He laid out what we have done, and why we invaded Iraq—an invasion that the people in Congress supported. He laid out the failures by the insurgents and terrorists running through the country.
"The terrorists -- both foreign and Iraqi -- failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our Coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large number with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy."
These failures are significant. It shows us—the little people over here—that this insurgency forces are losing. Further, how can the Left disavow that the terrorists are in "their death throes" when those terrorists will not engage our troops or Iraqi troops. They have targeted civilians; that is an act of pure desperation on their part, and it will not work. If Iraqis were willing to brave the terrorists the day they voted, and accept the fact they might die because they exercised their free, sovereign right, then what point can the terrorists make in blowing them up?
But after the speech, the Left took to the airwaves and savaged the president. They disliked his invocation of Sept. 11th. They carped that no WMDs were found in Iraq. One that I saw (A no-name Democrat from the House that I did not recognize) even stated that in no way was Saddam Hussein a threat. Bill Clinton jumped on the bandwagon yesterday with a truly idiotic statement. He asserted that Saddam Hussein was keeping terrorists out of Iraq.
Excuse me, Mr. President, but I guess you could make such a foolish statement like that if you were not paying attention to your job. But let me be frank, sir, you do not know what you are talking about. Andrew McCarthy—of NRO fame—laid out all the information that we had regarding Saddam’s ties to terrorism. The points he makes, that remind us of why Saddam was a threat are underlined by this piece of his column (link below. Read it.)
"Saddam Hussein’s regime was a crucial part of that response because it was a safety net for al Qaeda. A place where terror attacks against the United States and the West were planned. A place where Saddam’s intelligence service aided and abetted al Qaeda terrorists planning operations. A place where terrorists could hide safely between attacks. A place where terrorists could lick their wounds. A place where committed terrorists could receive vital training in weapons construction and paramilitary tactics. In short, a platform of precisely the type without which an international terror network cannot succeed." http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200506290912.asp
And the cry-baby Left ratcheted up their temper-tantrum on Tuesday night by basically accusing the president, again (ho hum), or lying. These people just do not get it. They are content to stick with their talking points—never changing them—and refuse to do what is right, proper, and just for the nation. They are the fifth-column defeatists that this war does not need; much like we did not need them during Vietnam.
The president has stated over and over again that this war is not going to be short. It will last beyond his presidency, and beyond the next president’s term. To truly defeat these jihadists, they need to be eradicated; that means hunting them down, cutting off their funds and other support, and either taking them into custody or killing them. As the funny line from the Three Musketeers points out.
"Get those Musketeers. I want them dead or alive...I prefer dead."Tim Curry, as Cardinal Richelieu, in Disney’s remake of the Three Musketeers.
And we prefer our terrorists dead, as well. Dead men not only do not tell tales, but they don’t kill innocent people either. And the Michael Moores and the Ward Churchills that believe that we deserved what we got would be apt to remember that there are men and women, fighting and dying abroad, protecting the right in the Constitution for these people to sound like uneducated, inept, asses. And that goes for the rest of the fifth-column Left. If you have nothing to contribute to this world than your stupidity, then by all means, keep that under wraps, as well.
But there are plenty of people that think it is time we pull out of Iraq. Like the president, I disagree. To do so would be utterly disastrous to the fledgling nation. To pull out now would abandon that nation to not only the terrorists still plaguing it, but to neighbors like Syria (who invaded and occupied Lebanon for over twenty years) and Iran (who is a blood-enemy of the nation of Iraq).
And yes, I have seen the news story about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s new president, and the ongoing speculation that he was involved in the Iranian takeover of the US embassy in 1979. The photos are compelling, and I am not discounting the former hostages insistence that he was one of them. But I want more proof. Photo manipulation is common on the Internet, and quite easy to do.
But for the fifth-column Left that continue to state that the president’s speech on Tuesday was not a reminder of why we invaded Iraq, but rather a shifting of the reasons, I cite this from The New Yorker. (Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt) http://hughhewitt.com/#postid1750
"In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular. In addition, Bush hinted at the possibility that Saddam might attack the United States or enable someone else to do so. There are so many reasons for going to war floating around—at least some of which, taken alone, either are nothing new or do not seem to point to Iraq specifically as the obvious place to wage it—that those inclined to suspect the motives of the Administration have plenty of material with which to argue that it is being disingenuous. So, along with all the stated reasons, there is a brisk secondary traffic in 'real' reasons, which are similarly numerous and do not overlap: the country is going to war because of a desire to control Iraqi oil, or to help Israel, or to avenge Saddam's 1993 assassination attempt on President George H. W. Bush.
Yet another argument for war, which has emerged during the last few months, is that removing Saddam could help bring about a wholesale change for the better in the political, cultural, and economic climate of the Arab Middle East. To give one of many possible examples, Fouad Ajami, an expert on the Arab world who is highly respected inside the Bush Administration, proposes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that the United States might lead 'a reformist project that seeks to modernize and transform the Arab landscape. Iraq would be the starting point, and beyond Iraq lies an Arab political and economic tradition and a culture whose agonies have been on cruel display.' The Administration's main public proponent of this view is Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who often speaks about the possibility that war in Iraq could help bring democracy to the Arab Middle East. President Bush appeared to be making the same point in the State of the Union address when he remarked that 'all people have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny—and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.'"
As I stated above, Andrew McCarthy does an outstanding job in his column of showing the significant ties to terrorism, and al-Qaeda in particular, that Saddam Hussein had. The man was a threat. We dealt with that threat, and we are still dealing with all the little threats in that country. We will leave when the job is finished, and not a moment before then. To do so would not only be disingenuous to the people of Iraq, but it would also wave a white flag to the terrorist animals that want us dead, and this nation destroyed.
As our regular readers know, I fancy myself as a bit of an "expert" when it comes to the Constitution: What it means, what it’s original meaning was, and the damage being done to it today. On this site, I’m the one that addresses Constitutional issues first, including those dealing with the Supreme Court, and I do it quite well. From time to time, I like to cite historical documents from this nation’s founding. My favorite one to look to is the Federalist Papers. But, as I was researching the judiciary recently, I remembered another book that I own, and have read. That would be the Anti-Federalist Papers. The Anti-Federalist Papers were an answer to the authors of the Federalist Papers, and the people pushing for a Constitution.
I bring this work up today because of Robert Yates. Yates was a New York judge at the time, and many scholars believe that he penned the Anti-Federalist Papers under the pseudonym of "Brutus"; this in direct opposition of "Publius" who are better known as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Yates wrote a total of thirteen essays on the opposition to the new, proposed Constitution. One of the things that plagues Yates’ conscience was how lax the Framers were in regard to the federal judiciary. Below are excerpts from his famous Essay XI. And as hindsight is always nice to have, I wonder if he truly understood what sort of a problem judges would ultimately be.
(For all those that will criticize any punctuation, grammar, or spelling, this is how it’s written in the original text. Don’t comment on this.)
The real effect of this system of government, will therefore be brought home to the feelings of the people, through the medium of the judicial power. It is, moreover, of great importance, to examine with care the nature and extent of the judicial power, because those who are to be vested with it, are to be placed in a situation altogether unprecedented in a free country. They are to be rendered totally independent, both of the people and the legislature, both with respect to their offices and salaries. No errors they may commit can be corrected by any power above them, if any such power there be, nor can they be removed from office for making ever so many erroneous adjudications.
The only causes for which they can be displaced, is, conviction of treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.
This part of the plan is so modelled, as to authorise the courts, not only to carry into execution the powers expressly given, but where these are wanting or ambiguously expressed, to supply what is wanting by their own decisions. They will give the sense of every article of the constitution, that may from time to time come before them. And in their decisions they will not confine themselves to any fixed or established rules, but will determine, according to what appears to them, the reason and spirit of the constitution. The opinions of the supreme court, whatever they may be, will have the force of law; because there is no power provided in the constitution, that can correct their errors, or controul their adjudications. From this court there is no appeal.
When the courts will have a precedent before them of a court which extends its jurisdiction in opposition to an act of the legislature, it is not to be expected that they will extend theirs, especially when there is nothing in the constitution expressly against it? And they are authorised to construe its meaning, and are not under any controul?
This power in the judicial, will enable them to mould the government, into almost any shape they please.
Perhaps nothing could have been better conceived to facilitate the abolition of the state governments than the constitution of the judicial. They will be able to extend the limits of the general government gradually, and by insensible degrees, and to accommodate themselves to the temper of the people. Their decisions on the meaning of the constitution will commonly take place in cases which arise between individuals, with which the public will not be generally acquainted; one adjudication will form a precedent to the next, and this to a following one. Granted, much of what was proposed was mucked up by Congress, starting with the Judiciary Act of 1801, but Yates, in my opinion, was very prophetic. He foresaw the problems that were going to arise. I know that I’m in the minority on this point, but Marbury v. Madison (1803) should have never been allowed to occur. With the power of "judicial review" came the powers the Supreme Court has continued to usurp from the other branches.
Think about the decisions they’ve made that drive you nuts. The new property non-rights we have, made last Thursday. We have the right to abort our children. We have the right to privacy, though there technically isn’t one. We have the right to own and use contraceptives. We even have the right to use a religious text in a display...as long as it’s not overly religious in nature. We have a freedom from prayer at schools for football games and high school commencements. We cannot kill a sixteen year old because he committed a murder, and we can barely kill those over sixteen, now. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
Yates was right. Without having further checks and balances installed to protect against the oligarchical rule they seem to have now, our freedoms are at risk. The old line that "Everyone’s safe, Congress is in recess" doesn’t apply any longer. No one is safe from the ever-reaching power the courts seem to have; most especially in the Supreme Court. When the Court rules, as we clearly saw in the Kelo case, we’re the ones who ultimately suffer. Our rights are being stripped away, and Congress fiddles while Rome burns. I truly wish that we could dispense with the brain-dead monkeys within the federal judiciary through an article of impeachment, but DC is too entrenched right now with people who could care less about us.
It’s time for a change. A change or a revolution, one of the two. I don’t advocate violence, and I’m nowhere near calling the people to arms. But, there’s a reason we have the freedoms we do—especially the right to bear arms.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
On the heels of the travesty known as Kelo v. New London, Connecticut, the Supreme Court handed down it’s final rulings for this term. It decided that: Internet file sharing companies can be sued.
Cable companies don’t have to share their lines. The police can’t be sued in regard to restraining orders. They have turned down the case involving two journalists—Judith Miller and Matt Cooper—in the Valerie Plame case; testify, or go to jail.
But the most contentious cases focus on the Ten Commandments. Now, I’m sure a lot of people are positively bored by these cases, where people like the ACLU file lawsuits at the drop of a hat over the Ten Commandments. But two cases—McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU and Van Orden v. Perry—had similar backgrounds; that being that the cases revolved around a display of the Ten Commandments. In Van Orden v. Perry what was in question was a six-foot monument to the Ten Commandments on a 22 acre lot on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Included in the field are seventeen other monuments to our nation’s history. The ruled that this monument could stay as it reflected the history and tradition of our legal foundings. To the Court, the monument in Texas was neutral enough to be allowed under the Establishment Clause. Now, for those that have missed this point, those that dislike these sorts of displays love to cite Justice Hugo Black’s misinterpretation of the Establishment Clause. There is no "wall of separation between Church and State." That isn’t what the Clause is about. It simply states that government may not establish a religion, nor dictate to us—the citizens—how we’ll worship. The Texas case doesn’t bother me. I expected it to pass, granted not as narrowly as it did, but I had a feeling that this one was going to be upheld.
In McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU the Court ruled 5-4 that a display of the Ten Commandments in their courthouse is unconstitutional; that it directly violates the Establishment Clause. I scratch my head over this case because the display was put up, and upon complaints and court cases, was subsequently changed, twice.
As directed by the resolutions, the Counties expanded the displays of the Ten Commandments in their locations, presumably along with copies of the resolution, which instructed that it, too, be posted, id., at 9. In addition to the first display's large framed copy of the edited King James version of the Commandments, the second included eight other documents in smaller frames, each either having a religious theme or excerpted to highlight a religious element. The documents were the "endowed by their Creator" passage from the Declaration of Independence; the Preamble to the Constitution of Kentucky; the national motto, "In God We Trust"; a page from the Congressional Record of February 2, 1983, proclaiming the Year of the Bible and including a statement of the Ten Commandments; a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln designating April 30, 1863, a National Day of Prayer and Humiliation; an excerpt from President Lincoln's "Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible," reading that "[t]he Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man"; a proclamation by President Reagan marking 1983 the Year of the Bible; and the Mayflower Compact. 96 F. Supp. 2d, at 684; 96 F. Supp. 2d, at 695-696. (Justice Souter)
Described above is the first revision. Yes, much of the display revolved around "religion" but for good reason. The founding documents of this nation involved a lot of religion. It—religion—was one of the guiding principles in establishing America. We have to recognize our faith at the nation’s founding, for without it there would have been no moral compass for the nation. In other words, without morals, the Constitution is nothing more than ink on a page. (Some could argue that has occurred over the years, and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.)
Assembled with the Commandments are framed copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, the Mayflower Compact, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, and a picture of Lady Justice. The collection is entitled "The Foundations of American Law and Government Display" and each document comes with a statement about its historical and legal significance. The comment on the Ten Commandments reads:
"The Ten Commandments have profoundly influenced the formation of Western legal thought and the formation of our country. That influence is clearly seen in the Declaration of Independence, which declared that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' The Ten Commandments provide the moral background of the Declaration of Independence and the foundation of our legal tradition." Id., at 180a. (Justice Souter)
Now, they changed the display again. Yes, the "religious overtones" are there, but the county courthouses aren’t "endorsing" a religion. They’re recognizing the very foundations of our laws in these displays. In fact, in the cases prior to this one, the state of Kentucky contends that the displays were erected "to demonstrate that the Ten Commandments were part of the foundation of American Law and Government" and "to educate the citizens of the county regarding some of the documents that played a significant role in the foundation of our system of law and government."
In my opinion, that’s exactly what these displays were meant to do. Yes, an argument could be made based on where they were placed, as it being "too open" to the public. We must remember that within the hallowed chambers of the Supreme Court, they, too, have a monument up for the Ten Commandments, which includes a relief of Moses receiving the Laws of God. But according to the Court, that display is "neutral" and "not open to the general public." Neutral, I can see. And it matters not as to who and who doesn’t see them.
So, aside from the ACLU’s inherent bias, which has been established over the last few years (Can we say Christmas?) I see no reason why the Court would have sided with them, and believes these monuments should be removed. Only the ACLU could find such a monument as "proselytizing" or promoting a religion. If I remove the Ten Commandments, or shrink the size of that piece of the monument, but leave up all the rest, am I equally promoting a religion? If so, can anyone tell me which religion I’m preaching?
It’s indiscernible. As equally so if only the Ten Commandments were up. The Baptist faith isn’t being pushed from such a display. Nor are Catholics, or Mormons, or Episcopalians, or even evangelicals. The Bible isn’t even being promoted, per se. What is being emphasized are the very laws—the beliefs Judeo-Christians have believed in for centuries—that God gave us (or supposedly did so, if you’re atheist or agnostic) are the foundations for our own laws. Murder is against the law. So is stealing. Anyone notice that those are two of the Ten Commandments?
But the lack of logic from Justice Souter continues.
When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment Clause value of official religious neutrality, there being no neutrality when the government's ostensible object is to take sides.
The State government of Kentucky wasn’t "taking sides" in this issue in relation to religion. Their stated purpose was to show where the foundations of our laws came from, not to push any particular religion.
Indeed, the purpose apparent from government action can have an impact more significant than the result expressly decreed: when the government maintains Sunday closing laws, it advances religion only minimally because many working people would take the day as one of rest regardless, but if the government justified its decision with a stated desire for all Americans to honor Christ, the divisive thrust of the official action would be inescapable.
Though he does point out after this that his court—the US Supreme Court—upheld the Sunday Closing laws. And NEVER has this federal government endorsed one religion over another, or demanded that the populace will now worship (insert deity’s name here).
Despite the intuitive importance of official purpose to the realization of Establishment Clause values, the Counties ask us to abandon Lemon's purpose test, or at least to truncate any inquiry into purpose here. Their first argument is that the very consideration of purpose is deceptive: according to them, true "purpose" is unknowable, and its search merely an excuse for courts to act selectively and unpredictably in picking out evidence of subjective intent. The assertions are as seismic as they are unconvincing.
The reason why they asked that the Lemon test be disregarded is because it is, quite simply, a lemon. It has easily tipped the balance of justice and jurisprudence against religion. The Lemon test requires the Court to strike down laws appearing to promote or aid religion unless it determines that: A) the government act had a secular purpose; B) the government action’s primary effect is not to advance religion; and C) the action does not foster an "excessive entanglement" with religion. The Kentucky case meets each of these criteria. It was secular (to give honor to the foundation of the law), it wasn’t advancing any said religion, and there’s no entanglement with religion. The King James Bible is recognized by every Christian church as "acceptable", and therefore neutral.
Nor is there any indication that the inquiry is rigged in practice to finding a religious purpose dominant every time a case is filed. In the past, the test has not been fatal very often, presumably because government does not generally act unconstitutionally, with the predominant purpose of advancing religion. That said, one consequence of the corollary that Establishment Clause analysis does not look to the veiled psyche of government officers could be that in some of the cases in which establishment complaints failed, savvy officials had disguised their religious intent so cleverly that the objective observer just missed it.
Dear Lord, talk about inventing the boogey-man. So, in essence, Justice Souter is hinting that the motives behind putting up such a monument, in such a prominent place, may have other sinister motives than to simply educate the populace in a place where law is interpreted where our laws originated? Is there special attention devoted to Judeo-Christian beliefs. Yes. Why? Because that’s where the basis of our laws came from. It would be no different if we were a Muslim democracy that highlighted the laws of the Koran in a public display. We are a Christian nation, for the most part, and the State of Kentucky recognizes where that law originated.
In 1993, the Supreme Court heard a case—Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District—where Justice Antonin Scalia interjected this sharp admonishment of the Lemon test.
"As to the Court’s invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks out Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District. Its most recent burial, only last Term, was, to be sure, not fully six feet under: Our decision in Lee v. Weisman (regarding commencement prayers at graduation) conspicuously avoided using the supposed "test," but also declined the invitation to repudiate it. Over the years, however, no fewer than five of the currently sitting Justices have, in their own opinions, personally driven pencils through the creature’s heart (the author of today’s opinion repeatedly), and a sixth has joined an opinion doing so.
The secret of the Lemon test’s survival, I think, is that it is so easy to kill. It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will. When we wish to strike down a practice it forbids, we invoke it, Aguilar v. Fenton (1985) (striking down state remedial education program administered in part in parochial schools); when we wish it to uphold a practice it forbids, we ignore it entirely, Marsh v. Chambers (1983) (upholding state legislative chaplains). Sometimes, we take a middle course, calling its three prongs "no more than helpful signposts" Hunt v. McNair (1973). Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.
For my part, I agree with the long list of constitutional scholars who have criticized Lemon and bemoaned the strange Establishment Clause geometry of crooked lines and wavering shapes its intermittent use has produced. I will decline to apply Lemon—whether it validates or invalidates the government action in question..."
Scalia, again today, showed just how sharp he is. Below, are excerpts from his separate, dissenting opinion in McCreary County v. ACLU. This opinion was joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas, and Justice Kennedy, in part.
These actions of our First President and Congress and the Marshall Court were not idiosyncratic; they reflected the beliefs of the period. Those who wrote the Constitution believed that morality was essential to the well-being of society and that encouragement of religion was the best way to foster morality. The "fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself." School Dist. of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U. S. 203, 213 (1963). See Underkuffler-Freund, The Separation of the Religious and the Secular: A Foundational Challenge to First-Amendment Theory, 36 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 837, 896-918 (1995). President Washington opened his Presidency with a prayer, see Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States 1, 2 (1989), and reminded his fellow citizens at the conclusion of it that "reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." Farewell Address (1796), reprinted in 35 Writings of George Washington 229 (J. Fitzpatrick ed. 1940). President John Adams wrote to the Massachusetts Militia, "we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. ... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Letter (Oct. 11, 1798), reprinted in 9 Works of John Adams 229 (C. Adams ed. 1971).
Nor have the views of our people on this matter significantly changed. Presidents continue to conclude the Presidential oath with the words "so help me God." Our legislatures, state and national, continue to open their sessions with prayer led by official chaplains. The sessions of this Court continue to open with the prayer "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." Invocation of the Almighty by our public figures, at all levels of government, remains commonplace. Our coinage bears the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST." And our Pledge of Allegiance contains the acknowledgment that we are a Nation "under God." As one of our Supreme Court opinions rightly observed, "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U. S. 306, 313 (1952), repeated with approval in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U. S. 668, 675 (1984); Marsh, 463 U. S., at 792; Abington Township, supra, at 213.
With all of this reality (and much more) staring it in the face, how can the Court possibly assert that " 'the First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between ... religion and nonreligion,' " ante, at 11, and that "[m]anifesting a purpose to favor . . . adherence to religion generally," ante, at 12, is unconstitutional? Who says so? Surely not the words of the Constitution. Surely not the history and traditions that reflect our society's constant understanding of those words. Surely not even the current sense of our society, recently reflected in an Act of Congress adopted unanimously by the Senate and with only 5 nays in the House of Representatives, see 148 Cong. Rec. S6226 (2002); id., at H7186, criticizing a Court of Appeals opinion that had held "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. See Act of Nov. 13, 2002, §§1(9), 2(a), 3(a), 116 Stat. 2057, 2058, 2060-2061 (reaffirming the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Motto ("In God We Trust") and stating that the Pledge of Allegiance is "clearly consistent with the text and intent of the Constitution"). Nothing stands behind the Court's assertion that governmental affirmation of the society's belief in God is unconstitutional except the Court's own say-so, citing as support only the unsubstantiated say-so of earlier Courts going back no farther than the mid-20th century. See ante, at 11, citing Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. Amos, 483 U. S. 327, 335 (1987), in turn citing Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602, 612 (1971), in turn citing Board of Ed. of Central School Dist. No. 1 v. Allen, 392 U. S. 236, 243 (1968), in turn quoting Abington Township, supra, at 222, in turn citing Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, 330 U. S. 1, 15 (1947).2 And it is, moreover, a thoroughly discredited say-so. It is discredited, to begin with, because a majority of the Justices on the current Court (including at least one Member of today's majority) have, in separate opinions, repudiated the brain-spun "Lemon test" that embodies the supposed principle of neutrality between religion and irreligion. See Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U. S. 384, 398-399 (1993) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment) (collecting criticism of Lemon); Van Orden, ante, at 1, 6 (Thomas, J., concurring); Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, 720 (1994) (O'Connor, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment); County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U. S. 573, 655-656, 672-673 (1989) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part); Wallace, 472 U. S., at 112 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting); see also Committee for Public Ed. and Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U. S. 646, 671 (1980) (Stevens, J., dissenting) (disparaging "the sisyphean task of trying to patch together the 'blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier' described in Lemon"). And it is discredited because the Court has not had the courage (or the foolhardiness) to apply the neutrality principle consistently.
What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle. That is what prevents judges from ruling now this way, now that--thumbs up or thumbs down--as their personal preferences dictate. Today's opinion forthrightly (or actually, somewhat less than forthrightly) admits that it does not rest upon consistently applied principle. In a revealing footnote, ante, at 11, n. 10, the Court acknowledges that the "Establishment Clause doctrine" it purports to be applying "lacks the comfort of categorical absolutes." What the Court means by this lovely euphemism is that sometimes the Court chooses to decide cases on the principle that government cannot favor religion, and sometimes it does not. The footnote goes on to say that "[i]n special instances we have found good reason" to dispense with the principle, but "[n]o such reasons present themselves here." Ibid. It does not identify all of those "special instances," much less identify the "good reason" for their existence.
I have cataloged elsewhere the variety of circumstances in which this Court--even after its embrace of Lemon's stated prohibition of such behavior--has approved government action "undertaken with the specific intention of improving the position of religion," Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U. S. 578, 616 (1987) (Scalia, J., dissenting). See id., 616-618. Suffice it to say here that when the government relieves churches from the obligation to pay property taxes, when it allows students to absent themselves from public school to take religious classes, and when it exempts religious organizations from generally applicable prohibitions of religious discrimination, it surely means to bestow a benefit on religious practice--but we have approved it. See Amos, supra, at 338 (exemption from federal prohibition of religious discrimination by employers); Walz v. Tax Comm'n of City of New York, 397 U. S. 664, 673 (1970) (property tax exemption for church property); Zorach, 343 U. S., at 308, 315 (law permitting students to leave public school for the purpose of receiving religious education). Indeed, we have even approved (post-Lemon) government-led prayer to God. In Marsh v. Chambers, supra, the Court upheld the Nebraska State Legislature's practice of paying a chaplain to lead it in prayer at the opening of legislative sessions. The Court explained that "[t]o invoke Divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making the laws is not . . . an 'establishment' of religion or a step toward establishment; it is simply a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country." 463 U. S., at 792. (Why, one wonders, is not respect for the Ten Commandments a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country?)
When Justice Scalia decides to admonish his fellow jurists for their asinine ideas, and foolish tests that prove nothing other than an inherent bias, as Lemon does, he doesn’t hold back. He has proven time and again that the Lemon test is worthless, and proves nothing. That the very evocation of the test is meant to invoke fear among the populace, and commands great power in the Court when they so choose to utilize it. But, as he points out, it’s use is so infrequent that it bears no merit within its use. It is a contradiction unto itself, and the justices that continue to invoke it do so because they have nothing else to fall back on.
Scalia has stated in a number of his opinions, that if the law is black and white, and there is no gray area, then the law means what it says. The Establishment Clause is crystal clear. Government can’t interfere in religion, nor can it endorse one.
I’m still waiting on Justices Souter and Kennedy to show me the religion this monument is promoting. Does it have a stamp on it somewhere that it was donated by a certain church, or that it was made by people from a certain church? Is a religion’s name on it anywhere? The answer is no. This monument is no different than Washington’s farewell address, or the Pledge, or our money, Jefferson’s prayer prior to his second term as president, etc. There is no overlying factor by the State of Kentucky to ram any religion or belief down anyone’s throat. Even an atheist acknowledges that the laws of civilized society have been derived from the Ten Commandments, despite the fact they don’t believe in God.
But, what is sad is that this decision won’t incite the passions that Kelo did. Kelo was central to the people as it struck down our rights to own property, and receive just compensation from the government if they deem they need my property for "public use". But equally so, each of these cases that revolve around our religious beliefs. I stated last week, after the Kelo case, and Marcie backed me up, that we established this nation on two important principles. First, our right to practice our religion freely, without government intervention. The second was the ability for us to own our property, again, without said government intervention to the contrary, arbitrarily.
Cases like this directly attack our fundamental rights to practice our religion and recognize it for what it is: Our moral foundation. On 11 Oct, 1789, John Adams, in a letter to the Massachusetts militia, included what many consider his most famous quote. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." I believe Scalia sums up the foolishness and folly of the Court when it deals with the First Amendment, and the Establishment Clause within it, in this simple statement.
Historical practices thus demonstrate that there is a distance between the acknowledgment of a single Creator and the establishment of a religion...Nor is it the case that a solo display of the Ten Commandments advances any one faith. They are assuredly a religious symbol, but they are not so closely associated with a single religious belief that their display can reasonably be understood as preferring one religious sect over another. The Ten Commandments are recognized by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike as divinely given. He is completely correct, and this is what exposes the bias inherent within the ACLU. God is not a religion. He is a being, taken on faith, but a great majority of people around the world. "I am the Lord Thy God" is not an establishment of religion. It is a sentence from a "document" from a long time ago. It does not say "Catholic God." It says "God." Would that be Elohim? Yahweh? Allah? Who? He is not named by any name that a religion would recognize other than "God." Therefore, this display wasn’t promoting any religion, and it was erected to inform court visitors where our laws come from, how they have evolved, and where we are today.
So, I join Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, and Chief Justice Rehnquist in their dissents.
Publius II ADDENDUM: John Podhoretz--of National Review--adds this bit of wisdom from NRO's "The Corner." Why didn't the Supremes just say you could display the 10 Cs on Monday, Wed, and alternate Fridays, but not on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Or that they could be viewed inside government buildings, but only on the walls of bathrooms and in janitors' closets? Has anybody ever advanced this radical opinion -- that the five justices in question may be intelligent and thoughtful people individually, but that together they form one blithering idiot?
I’m Not Chicken Little, But The Sky IS Starting To Fall
I picked this up today from the Washington Times. (Hat-Tip: Drudge) Bill Gertz, well-known and respected journalist on National Security, put up Part One of his investigative report on China’s state, as of right now. I’m not an alarmist. I’m a realist. I have seen the threat from this nation for years. I’ve never trusted them. I don’t like them. And I know they still want us to fall.
After reading Mr. Gertz’s column—posted here in it’s entirety—I had a moment of pause. Don’t worry about "boycotting" Chinese goods. They’re already at the door, folks, and they’ve got a big damned stick. North Korea has served as their agitator long enough; these people are ready to come out. And as of right now, they could push that issue when they make a move on Taiwan.
Don’t worry, it’s coming. China’s going to push us on defending the nation we said we would. I do hope this doesn’t end up the way Vietnam did when they begged us for help, after our pull-out, and Congress saw fit to ignore the promise of a president. I have said for many years that China’s been lying in wait—pondering the right time to move. It seems to me (And I’m no slouch to seeing information and intelligence from the military, and being able to make a couple reasonable analyses on what I read and know) that we’re shaping up for a fight that as it stands right now, we’re ill prepared for, and quite possibly unable to fulfill the promise we made to Taiwan.
China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.
U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
China's military buildup includes an array of new high-technology weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on Taiwan.
"There's a growing consensus that at some point in the mid-to-late '90s, there was a fundamental shift in the sophistication, breadth and re-sorting of Chinese defense planning," said Richard Lawless, a senior China-policy maker in the Pentagon. "And what we're seeing now is a manifestation of that change in the number of new systems that are being deployed, the sophistication of those systems and the interoperability of the systems."
China's economy has been growing at a rate of at least 10 percent for each of the past 10 years, providing the country's military with the needed funds for modernization.
The combination of a vibrant centralized economy, growing military and increasingly fervent nationalism has transformed China into what many defense officials view as a fascist state.
"We may be seeing in China the first true fascist society on the model of Nazi Germany, where you have this incredible resource base in a commercial economy with strong nationalism, which the military was able to reach into and ramp up incredible production," a senior defense official said.
For Pentagon officials, alarm bells have been going off for the past two years as China's military began rapidly building and buying new troop- and weapon-carrying ships and submarines.
The release of an official Chinese government report in December called the situation on the Taiwan Strait "grim" and said the country's military could "crush" Taiwan.
Earlier this year, Beijing passed an anti-secession law, a unilateral measure that upset the fragile political status quo across the Taiwan Strait. The law gives Chinese leaders a legal basis they previously did not have to conduct a military attack on Taiwan, U.S. officials said.
The war fears come despite the fact that China is hosting the Olympic Games in 2008 and, therefore, some officials say, would be reluctant to invoke the international condemnation that a military attack on Taiwan would cause.
Army of the future In the past, some defense specialists insisted a Chinese attack on Taiwan would be a "million-man swim" across the Taiwan Strait because of the country's lack of troop-carrying ships.
"We left the million-man swim behind in about 1998, 1999," the senior Pentagon official said. "And in fact, what people are saying now, whether or not that construct was ever useful, is that it's a moot point, because in just amphibious lift alone, the Chinese are doubling or even quadrupling their capability on an annual basis."
Asked about a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan, the official put it bluntly: "In the '07-'08 time frame, a capability will be there that a year ago we would have said was very, very unlikely. We now assess that as being very likely to be there." Air Force Gen. Paul V. Hester, head of the Pacific Air Forces, said the U.S. military has been watching China's military buildup but has found it difficult to penetrate Beijing's "veil" of secrecy over it.
While military modernization itself is not a major worry, "what does provide you a pause for interest and concern is the amount of modernization, the kind of modernization and the size of the modernization," he said during a recent breakfast meeting with reporters.
China is building capabilities such as aerial refueling and airborne warning and control aircraft that can be used for regional defense and long-range power projection, Gen. Hester said.
It also is developing a maneuverable re-entry vehicle, or MARV, for its nuclear warheads. The weapon is designed to counter U.S. strategic-missile defenses, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The warhead would be used on China's new DF-31 long-range missiles and its new submarine missile, the JL-2.
Work being done on China's weapons and reconnaissance systems will give its military the capability to reach 1,000 miles into the sea, "which gives them the visibility on the movement of not only our airplanes in the air, but also our forces at sea," Gen. Hester said.
Beijing also has built a new tank for its large armed forces. It is known as the Type 99 and appears similar in design to Germany's Leopard 2 main battle tank. The tank is outfitted with new artillery, anti-aircraft and machine guns, advanced fire-control systems and improved engines.
The country's air power is growing through the purchase of new fighters from Russia, such as Su-30 fighter-bombers, as well as the development of its own fighter jets, such as the J-10.
Gen. Hester compared Chinese warplanes with those of the former Soviet Union, which were less capable than their U.S. counterparts, but still very deadly. "They have great equipment. The fighters are very technologically advanced, and what we know about them gives us pause for concern against ours," he said. Missiles also are a worry.
"It is their surface-to-air missiles, their [advanced] SAMs and their surface-to-surface missiles, and the precision, more importantly, of those surface-to-surface missiles that provide, obviously, the ability to pinpoint targets that we might have out in the region, or our friends and allies might have," Gen. Hester said. The advances give the Chinese military "the ability ... to reach out and touch parts of the United States -- Guam, Hawaii and the mainland of the United States," he said.
To better deal with possible future conflicts in Asia, the Pentagon is modernizing U.S. military facilities on the Western Pacific island of Guam and planning to move more forces there.
The Air Force will regularly rotate Air Expeditionary Force units to Guam and also will station the new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle known as Global Hawk on the island, he said.
It also has stationed B-2 stealth bombers on Guam temporarily and is expected to deploy B-1 bombers there, in addition to the B-52s now deployed there, Gen. Hester said.
Projecting power China's rulers have adopted what is known as the "two-island chain" strategy of extending control over large areas of the Pacific, covering inner and outer chains of islands stretching from Japan to Indonesia.
"Clearly, they are still influenced by this first and second island chain," the intelligence official said.
The official said China's buildup goes beyond what would be needed to fight a war against Taiwan.
The conclusion of this official is that China wants a "blue-water" navy capable of projecting power far beyond the two island chains.
"If you look at the technical capabilities of the weapons platforms that they're fielding, the sea-keeping capabilities, the size, sensors and weapons fit, this capability transcends the baseline that is required to deal with a Taiwan situation militarily," the intelligence official said.
"So they are positioned then, if [Taiwan is] resolved one way or the other, to really become a regional military power as well."
The dispatch of a Han-class submarine late last year to waters near Guam, Taiwan and Japan was an indication of the Chinese military's drive to expand its oceangoing capabilities, the officials said. The submarine surfaced in Japanese waters, triggering an emergency deployment of Japan's naval forces.
Beijing later issued an apology for the incursion, but the political damage was done. Within months, Japan began adopting a tougher political posture toward China in its defense policies and public statements. A recent Japanese government defense report called China a strategic national security concern. It was the first time China was named specifically in a Japanese defense report.
Energy supply a factor For China, Taiwan is not the only issue behind the buildup of military forces. Beijing also is facing a major energy shortage that, according to one Pentagon study, could lead it to use military force to seize territory with oil and gas resources.
The report produced for the Office of Net Assessment, which conducts assessments of future threats, was made public in January and warned that China's need for oil, gas and other energy resources is driving the country toward becoming an expansionist power.
China "is looking not only to build a blue-water navy to control the sea lanes [from the Middle East], but also to develop undersea mines and missile capabilities to deter the potential disruption of its energy supplies from potential threats, including the U.S. Navy, especially in the case of a conflict with Taiwan," the report said.
The report said China believes the United States already controls the sea routes from the oil-rich Persian Gulf through the Malacca Strait. Chinese President Hu Jintao has called this strategic vulnerability to disrupted energy supplies Beijing's "Malacca Dilemma."
To prevent any disruption, China has adopted a "string of pearls" strategy that calls for both offensive and defensive measures stretching along the oil-shipment sea lanes from China's coast to the Middle East.
The "pearls" include the Chinese-financed seaport being built at Gwadar, on the coast of western Pakistan, and commercial and military efforts to establish bases or diplomatic ties in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand and disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The report stated that China's ability to use these pearls for a "credible" military action is not certain. Pentagon intelligence officials, however, say the rapid Chinese naval buildup includes the capability to project power to these sea lanes in the future.
"They are not doing a lot of surface patrols or any other kind of security evolutions that far afield," the intelligence official said. "There's no evidence of [Chinese military basing there] yet, but we do need to keep an eye toward that expansion."
The report also highlighted the vulnerability of China's oil and gas infrastructure to a crippling U.S. attack. "The U.S. military could severely cripple Chinese resistance [during a conflict over Taiwan] by blocking its energy supply, whereas the [People's Liberation Army navy] poses little threat to United States' energy security," it said.
China views the United States as "a potential threat because of its military superiority, its willingness to disrupt China's energy imports, its perceived encirclement of China and its disposition toward manipulating international politics," the report said.
'Mercantilist measures' The report stated that China will resort "to extreme, offensive and mercantilist measures when other strategies fail, to mitigate its vulnerabilities, such as seizing control of energy resources in neighboring states."
U.S. officials have said two likely targets for China are the Russian Far East, which has vast oil and gas deposits, and Southeast Asia, which also has oil and gas resources.
Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China's military, said the internal U.S. government debate on the issue and excessive Chinese secrecy about its military buildup "has cost us 10 years to figure out what to do" "Everybody is starting to acknowledge the hard facts," Mr. Pillsbury said. "The China military buildup has been accelerating since 1999. As the buildup has gotten worse, China is trying hard to mask it."
Richard Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said that in 10 years, the Chinese army has shifted from a defensive force to an advanced military soon capable of operations ranging from space warfare to global non-nuclear cruise-missile strikes.
"Let's all wake up. The post-Cold War peace is over," Mr. Fisher said. "We are now in an arms race with a new superpower whose goal is to contain and overtake the United States."
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case of Kelo v. New London, Connecticut. They, in essence struck down the Fifth Amendment by disregarding the Takings Clause. Now, I have had people argue that the state of Connecticut had the right to seize this property. The problem is that’s a lie. The Fifth Amendment prevents such a move, and for all those that continue to disagree I contend you’re judicially-inept. The Constitution is the end-all, be-all when it comes to trump cards.
A state can’t forbid someone the right to own a firearm, nor prohibit their free speech. They can’t make illegal any religion, nor can they enter your home and search it without a viable warrant. Yes, states have the ability to make laws to govern their citizens, but those laws can’t contradict the Constitution; such a law would be deemed "unconstitutional". But, this isn’t the point. The point is we have a federal judiciary that is out of control, and all but unaccountable. Let me present some quotes from some of the more "liberally-minded" jurists on the Court.
"The US Supreme Court has mentioned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a spare five times and only twice in a majority decision...nor does the US Supreme Court note the laws or decisions of other nations with any frequency...When Justice Breyer referred in 1997 to federal systems in Europe, dissenting from a decision in which I also dissented, the majority responded: ‘We think such comparative analysis inappropriate to the task of interpreting a constitution.’ In my view, comparative analysis emphatically is relevant to the task of interpreting constitutions and human rights. We are losers if we neglect what others can tell us about endeavors to eradicate bias against women, minorities, and other disadvantaged groups." —Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Ginsburg is equally as judicially inept as the detractors I have dealt with for the last few days. She doesn’t understand we’ve already addressed these issues. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution possesses the Equal Protection Clause which specifically states:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The rights of a US citizen are protected under this clause, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or ethnicity. That’s guaranteed, so I fail to see the logic in the comments made by Justice Ginsburg.
"The sweeping references by Chief Justice Burger to the history of Western civilization and the Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards [in a 1986 Supreme Court case, Bowers v. Hardwick] did not take into account of other authorities pointing in an opposite direction. A committee advising the British Parliament recommended in 1957 repeal of laws punishing homosexual conduct. The Wolfenden Report: Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offenses and Prostitution (1963). Parliament enacted the substance of those recommendations ten years later. Sexual Offenses Act 1967, Section 1. Of even more importance, almost five years before Bowers was decided, the European Court of Human Rights considered a case with parallels to Bowers and to today’s case (Lawrence v. Texas). An adult male resident in Northern Ireland alleged he was a practicing homosexual who desired to engage in homosexual conduct. The laws of Northern Ireland forbade him that right. He alleged that he had been questioned, his home had been searched, and he feared criminal prosecution. The court held that the laws proscribing the conduct were invalid under the European Court of Human Rights...To the extent Bowers relied on values we share with a wider civilization, it should be noted that the reasoning and holding in Bowers have been rejected elsewhere. The European Court of Human Rights has followed not Bowers but its own decision in Dudgeon v. United Kingdom. Other nations, too, have taken action consistent with an affirmation of the protected right of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual conduct. The right the petitioners seek in this case has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom in other countries. There has been no showing that in this country the governmental interest in circumscribing personal choice is somehow more legitimate or urgent." —Justice Anthony Kennedy
First, let me start by stating—point blank—that I have no problem with homosexuals. What someone does in the privacy and confines of their home is none of my damned business. Second, citing the case from Northern Ireland bears no merit in the decision. The rights in Northern Ireland are much different from those in this country. His home had been searched. I’ll bet that there was no warrant to search that home, whereas here in America it is an absolute necessity to have a warrant. Moreover, why do judges seem to think that nations don’t have the right to make laws governing their citizens? Third, we don’t recognize the European Court of Human Rights. Know why? Because we live in America, under her laws, and her court system, not some kangaroo-court across the pond. Fourth, there is no right for homosexuals to engage in any sort of conduct. It’s not enumerated anywhere in the Constitution, just like there’s no heterosexual right. A right—to help Justice Kennedy along here—is just that. If I have a right to my freedom of speech, I can demand it, and have it delivered to me. It doesn’t mean anyone’s going to listen to me, but I have a God-given right to speak. If I want to have sex with a female, and she says ‘no’, then if it were a right, I should be able to force the issue, yes? No. That’s called rape. It is asinine to assume that we have "rights" where we don’t possess them. Further, it is absolutely idiotic to assume that just because Europe does something, that we must follow in lock-step. Foreign law has no business within our court system, yet people like Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Kennedy continually look to foreign law when deciding cases.
But just wait, I’m not done yet.
"Although international law and the law of other nations are rarely binding upon our decisions in US courts, conclusions reached by other countries and by the international community should be at times constitute persuasive authority in American courts...While ultimately we must bear responsibility for interpreting our own laws, there is much to learn from other distinguished jurists who have given thought to the same difficult issues that we may face here...Nevertheless, I think that American judges and lawyers can benefit from broadening our horizons. I know from my experience on the Supreme Court that we often have much to learn from other jurisdictions...As the American model of judicial review of legislation spreads further around the globe, I think that we Supreme Court justices will find ourselves looking more frequently to the decisions of other constitutional courts, especially other common-law courts that have struggled with the same basic constitutional questions that we have: equal protection, due process, the Rule of Law in constitutional democracies." —Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
International law has no precedent in our courts; at least not right now, they don’t. Should we decide to adopt a law or precedent they have, then there is the proper procedure we can go through. It’s called making legislation, and it is laid out—clearly and concisely—under Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution. "Law" is not made by jurists. It is made by the properly enumerated legislature of the federal and state governments. True, many other nations have dealt with issues we have yet to address, but that doesn’t give our judges free reign to adopt their ideas. The sole duty of a judge is to interpret our laws, not inject laws from other jurisdictions into their thinking. Case in point: Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The state of Texas had a law on the books banning sodomy. The Supreme Court, in it’s infinitesimal wisdom, decided to strike down the state law, and proclaim that being gay is a right. No, no, no. There is nothing within the Constitution addressing the issue, and the state of Texas had a law on the books about the act that homosexuals engage in. Rather than striking the law down, the case should have been remanded back to the state of Texas, and allowed the citizens of Texas to decide whether they wanted the law left intact or repealed—either through a direct vote, or lobbying their legislature. Instead the Supreme Court—the majority of it in that decision—opted to refer to international law to decide the case.
"The conclusion that it would offend civilized standards of decency to execute a person who was less than sixteen years old at the time of his or her offense is consistent with the views at have been expressed by respected professional organizations, by other nations that share our Anglo-American heritage, and by leading members of the Western European community. Thus, the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute have formally expressed their opposition to the death penalty for juveniles. Although the death penalty has not been entirely abolished in the United Kingdom or New Zealand (it has been abolished in Australia, except in the State of New South Wales, where it is available for treason and piracy), in neither of these countries may a juvenile be executed. The death penalty has been abolished in [West] Germany, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, and all Scandinavian countries, and is available only for exceptional crimes such as treason in Canada, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Juvenile executions are also prohibited in the Soviet Union." —Justice John Paul Stevens
I’m sure the children that endured the cruelty, and death, in the gulag of the old Soviet Union were happy to know they couldn’t legally be executed. In this country we have varying degrees of crimes—misdemeanors and felonies—and with those crimes comes a punishment. If a person under the age of eighteen commits a heinous crime, such as murder, then there is a punishment to fit that crime. It can range from life imprisonment to death. That’s our society. We don’t believe in allowing vermin such as that continue to roam the streets, and we don’t believe in keeping them in jail, on the taxpayer’s dime, for an indefinite term—unless the crime is truly heinous, like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, or John Wayne Gacy. (Thank God Dahmer and Gacy are dead; Dahmer was killed in prison, and Gacy died of natural causes) But if it’s one murder, and the jury decides to choose the death penalty, then who is the Supreme Court to step in and rule that such a fate can’t be the punishment for someone under the age of eighteen. Do the crime, do the time, right? An adult crime calls for an adult punishment. That has been our rationale for quite some time in this country, so I fail to see where Justice Stevens logic is. It matters not if Europe has abolished it for such offenders. Good for them. But here, it is—correction—was still legal. It was, until a recent Supreme Court decision struck down such an idea.
The point of this particular blog is that these are four sitting USSC jurists, and these people are looking to foreign law to decide cases. The fate of the Court is reaching a fork in the road. We are, possibly, twenty-four hours away from watching one or more justices announce their retirements. People, like myself, feel that the courts are our final refuge. Indeed, Alexander Hamilton believed it to be so. (Yes, I’m falling back on my old standby)
Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. It equally proves, that though individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter; I mean so long as the judiciary remains truly distinct from both the legislature and the Executive. For I agree, that "there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.'' And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments; Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.
No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #78 The courts were established to interpret the laws, and rule on matters of law. The Constitution is, in fact, fundamental law. The Supreme Court rules on matters of constitutionality, but that is a most impossible task if they continue to defer to international law. And when they do so, it spells disaster for the people. We escaped England, and fought for our independence, so that we would no longer be under their yoke; their laws. We established our own laws, our own Constitution, and it has served us well for 229 years.
What isn’t serving us well are the jurists within the judiciary. These four I cited above are part of the problem, not part of the solution, and with vacancies coming up on the Court, we need to make sure the right people are put on the Court. (For all the moonbats out there, those would be originalists—of which I subscribe to when it comes to my interpretations of jurisprudence.)
Justice Scalia, I believe, said it best:
"Equally irrelevent are the practices of the ‘world community,’ whose notions of justice are (thankfully) not always those of our people. We must never forget that it is a Constitution for the United States of America we are expounding...Where there is not first a settled consensus among our own people, the views of other nations, however enlightened the Justices of this Court may believe them to be, cannot be imposed upon Americans through the Constitution."
That is why I say: "Give me six more Scalias for my Supreme Court." He is a first-rate jurist, with one of the sharpest constitutional minds in this nation. With six more minds like his on the Court, there might still be hope for this nation, yet.