The Constitution is a Timeless Document – RED ALERT!

Posted by Tina

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner says he sees “absolutely no value” in studying the U.S. Constitution because the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post-Civil War amendments “do not speak to today.”

Is it gun control (Orlando) or is it language (Orlando) that has Posner tied in knots over the limitations our Constitution places on our legislators and leaders? It’s hard to say, perhaps neither. In any event his remarks come at a time when issues of speech, guns, assimilation and Sharia law are on a lot of minds.

Posner cited Robert Jackson as the Supreme Court justice he most admired. Jackson is famous for saying about the court, “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.” – Wikipedia

Jackson’s remarks in the case Dennis v. United States seem appropriate to discussions about language and speech rights:

In 1951, the Supreme Court decided Dennis v. United States.[22] In Dennis, the petitioners were zealous Communists who organized for the purpose of teaching the “Marxist-Leninist Doctrine”.[23] The principal texts used to teach the doctrine were: History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; Foundations of Leninism by Stalin; The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels; and State and Revolution by Lenin.[16] The Petitioners were convicted for violating §2 and §3 of the Smith Act which, among other things, made it unlawful to conspire to organize a group which advocates the overthrow of the United States government by force or violence.[24] The issue before the Supreme Court was “[w]hether either §2 or §3 of the Smith Act, inherently or as construed and applied in the instant case, violates the First Amendment and other provisions of the Bill of Rights…”

In Dennis, Jackson concludes that the clear and present danger test (the “Test”) should not be applied.[26] To this end, Jackson analyzed: the effect communism had outside the United States; the nature of communists; and the problems with applying the Test. Jackson’s analysis can be summarized as follows:

On the effect communists historically had on foreign countries, Jackson analyzed their effect on Czechoslovakia.[27] In Czechoslovakia, a communist organization disguised as a competing political faction secretly established its roots in key control positions “of police and information services”.[16] During a period of national crisis a clandestine Communist organization appeared and overthrew the Czechoslovakian government.[16] Establishing control of mass communication and industry, the communist organization’s rule was one of “oppression and terror”.[16] Ironically, as Jackson points out, the communist organization suppressed the very freedoms which made its conspiracy possible.

It appears to me that Jackson would find protections guaranteed in our Constitution absolutely worthy of advanced study and appropriate to all times. I went looking for more clues and found them. As it turns out he was a Nuremberg prosecutor and in the course of the trial western values as expressed in our documents as opposed to Sharia law were discussed. In an incredibly prescient statement he addressed the notion that our Constitution is compatible with Sharia law:

In any broad sense, Islamic law offers the American lawyer a study in dramatic contrasts. Even casual acquaintance and superficial knowledge – all that most of us at bench or bar will be able to acquire – reveal that its striking features relative to our law are not likenesses but inconsistencies, not similarities but contrarieties. In its source, its scope and its sanctions, the law of the Middle East is the antithesis of Western law.

Given the times in which we live, given any circumstance of “contrarieties,” do we want to see, or be told in study, our Constitution is a flexible, living document?

He77 no! Andrew McCarthy whose article is the source of the quote concludes:

There was a time, not so long ago, when America’s national security leaders and legal titans grasped the need to be informed about Islamic law as it actually exists, not as they wished it were. Until we recover that understanding, we will be able neither to protect ourselves nor to know how and when to intervene in the world’s most volatile region.

Perhaps too many of our present “titans” have sat through classes led by Professors like Richard Posner who can find “no value” in studying our Constitution. If you can find no value in our Constitution then you have no business aspiring to leadership where you are required to vow to uphold and defend it. You also have no business teaching classes on the Constitution and our law in our colleges, either in my opinion.

If we don’t study the Constitution how can we know what’s in it? How can we see it’s inherent value? I conclude that’s the point of Posner’s opinion. An ignorant populace is much easier to manipulate and control.

Here’s the deal. The Constitution is not a document filled with loop holes and exceptions. It’s purpose is to create a clear contract of equality for all and to protect the people from tyrannical leaders. What could possibly be outdated in that? How is that not valuable enough to warrant study? Our Constitution is brilliant because it is timeless. The only people who want it seen as pliable and flexible are those who, like children, want to have their own way. Without the individual protections our Constitution guarantees the people are set up as victims to be herded, silenced, and directed by any tyrant who happens to gain power. Sounds a bit too much like Sharia to me.

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9 Responses to The Constitution is a Timeless Document – RED ALERT!

  1. RHT447 says:

    Cut and paste—

    8. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep, and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Amendments to C.U.S. Art. 4.

    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. … The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been [239] the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorize the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty.

    —from here. Study to your heart’s content.

    • Tina says:

      This is the reason the founders, in their wisdom, gave us the right to keep and bear arms:

      Shortly after the German invasion of Poland, in September 1939, more than 400,000 Jews in Warsaw, the capital, were confined to an area of the city that was little more than 1 square mile. In November 1940, this ghetto was sealed off by brick walls, barbed wire and armed guards, and anyone caught leaving was shot on sight. The Nazis controlled the amount of food that was brought into the ghetto, and disease and starvation killed thousands each month. (Ghettos were established in cities throughout Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. The Warsaw ghetto was the largest in Poland.)

      People are naive if they think the same mentality doesn’t exist in our world today.

  2. Chris says:

    “If you can find no value in our Constitution then you have no business aspiring to leadership where you are required to vow to uphold and defend it. You also have no business teaching classes on the Constitution and our law in our colleges, either in my opinion.”

    I absolutely agree with this, and Posner’s statements are appalling.

  3. Libby says:

    Well, old guys, they get cranky and mouth off. Judges aren’t supposed to, but nobody’s perfect.

    I could only find one backup not of the rabid right, the Santa Monica Times, if you please. And for some reason the reporter felt compelled to include this:

    Thomas Jefferson said: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

    But we’re not going to talk about this. We’re going to talk about you propensity to go off half cocked at every little thing. Posner is a “conservative” jurist, appointed by Reagan, but he’s not allowed the occasional foray onto other grounds? … without you all screeching doom and disaster?

  4. J. Soden says:

    Posner needs immediate removal from the bench. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not re-write it.

  5. Pie Guevara says:

    Red alert!

    *iss claims “If you can find no value in our Constitution then you have no business aspiring to leadership where you are required to vow to uphold and defend it. You also have no business teaching classes on the Constitution and our law in our colleges, either in my opinion.”

    I absolutely agree with this, and Posner’s statements are appalling.

    *iss’es usual comments in these pages completely belie this phony declaration.

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