The Supreme Law of the Land

by Farkel 65 Replies latest jw friends

  • HintOfLime

    No single human viewpoint/worldview/document is - nor ever can be "the supreme law". Human society and morality must continue to grow and evolve. If there is anything we should learn from human history it is this: That no singluar point in human ideals should be regarded as perfect and infallible - humanity is and always will be a work in progress.

    To regard the US Constitution as holy and infallible is yet another primal "cling to tradition" sort of simplicity. There are absolutely valuable ideals to be taken from it - but it is still short-term thinking. Like everthing else invented by mankind - the US Government/Constitution has its flaws (unfortunately enough, only likely to be acknowledged and addressed after the death and suffering of millions or perhaps billions) - and will ultimately be but a single point in a grander tapestry of human progress. Do you really still believe there will only be 7 "super-powers" per WT doctrine? 7 came and went.. 8 is now rising. After we are all dead 9, 10, 11 and 12...

    I do not believe the forefathers of this country were aiming to set an 'ultimate' set of rules to stand for all time (else why did they consider the right to bare arms so important?) - but rather that they were looking toward the continued progress of human civilization. Like our forefathers, I think we should keep an eye not toward the just the limited short-term constitutional tradition - but towards the long-term progress of human civilization.

    - Lime

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    They set up normative laws. Because of the need for consesus and secrecy concerning the politcal rangling, many terms were left blank. When you read the bios of the Federalist period, most had no idea whether the Constitution would work. Even Madison had doubts. One of the reasons it was so vague was that everyone saw Washington as a demigod, able to bring unity. I doubt if another were selected to be president, the Const'n would have fallen apart.

    The Chief Justice, John Roberts, a truly brilliant, nice conservative, studied his mentor Rehnquist and felt Rehnquist was wrong in cutting off lawyers abruptly during oral arguments. Now lawyers can finish their sentences. He felt all the 5/4 decisions were bad for the court. The number of unanimous opinions has never been higher as under his watch.

    My point was to be that the Court is complex and people like to make it cartoonish. Kelo I had to report on for the National Constitution Center. When I first heard the result, I said crazy. Reading the decisions, I felt that majority was right. Kelo had a built in solution. Connecticut law embraced this sort of taking. The Court said if there were no law embracing it, the result would be different. So many states passed laws in its aftermath outlawing such takings. So Kelo was resolved at the state level. Some states, like NY, had need to do large scale economic development decided to keep the laws.

    I feel it is no accident that viciousness breaks out on a former JW site. My personal theory is that we had no voice as Witnesses so maybe we all overstretch here. Clearly, I was guilty. Taking away the sting, it was not a bad thread. I feel if we were facing each other in a living room, none of this harshness would have existed. Of course, I will take a bit of nastiness over the saccharine of the Witnesses. As far as Supreme Court jurisprudence, it is a very large part of the legal industry. In my decades of reading or discussing it, I've never come across a cohesive doctrine.

  • Farkel


    : I invite you both to enjoy a trip to hades.

    No way. I don't want to run into you there.


  • Farkel

    hint of lime,

    : No single human viewpoint/worldview/document is - nor ever can be "the supreme law"

    If you actually believe that this applies to the laws of the land in America, then you are a traitor. The supreme Law of the Land in the United States of America IS the Constitution.

    It doesn't imply that it trumps God's law or any other supreme law at the "God" level, but it does say it is the supreme law in the USA compared with the God crap level which, Biblically quoting, is the worst of crap laws which ever existed in the whole existence of all of humanity. No! The Constitution is too wise to mention all of that rotten, evil bullshit and doesn't claim to trump that dog shit.

    But it should have.


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Someone made this thread fresh. The Const'n is our supreme law. No doubt about it. The problem occurs b/c the Founders deliberately left the word vague or incomplete when it came to issues on which there was little consensus. It was a compromise. They took care that the public was not aware of the compromises between North and South, small states and large states. If it were to function as a const'n rather than legislation or a party platform, the document needed the haziness that would bring great legitimacy.

    I read const'nl history voraciously. One enormous influential factor in its formation was that no one present could envision anyone but George Washington as the first president. Well, John Adams had some hopes but they were dashed. Washington had been heavily criticized and mocked during the Revolutionary War. As the "hero" of the War, he had godlike status. He had a perfect blend of deep, agrarian Southern routes as a plantation owner but his commander in chief position exposed him to a very broad national and international view. Alexander Hamilton and he had almost identical view points on the role of the Const'n.

    John Marshall was not the first Chief Justice. The Court was very boring in the beginning. Marshall strategized several cases, beginning with Marbury v. Madison to give the Court expanded jurisdiction. So many times the personal preferences of the actors of the Founding generation established tradition that remains to this day.

    Contrary to what I believed from a public school education, the Court has most often ruled in the interests of property holders over individual rights. The Court ruled that the Interstate Commerce Clause did not give Congress much jurisdiction during the Great Depression. Child labor laws, health codes, a wealth of what we consider normal, were rejected. FDR became enranged. He announced he would greatly increase the number of justices until the Court was composed to his liking. Suddenly, the Court started upholding Congressional acts regulating interstate commerce clause. The switch in time that saved nine.

    Several of my professors worked on pro-choice, Roe v. Wade. It was a concentrated legal pr campaign. People never raised the abortion is const'l right argument directly but chatted the justices at parties, etc. about broader legal topics that would influence their decision. Law review articles were co-ordinated to reach the objections of specific justices. Everything was above board but it created a climate. Women's groups wanted Justice Brennan to write the decision. He offered to do it but, in a stroke of bad luck, the other justices did not want him excommunicated b/c he was a devout, active Catholic. Blackmun offered. He based it more on medicine than law. The privacy right started to be defined in a series of cases unrealted to abortion.

    I would characterize it as the majority of cases are clear under the Const'n. When matters become complicated and approach the borders of a concept, there is leeway in deciding one way or the other. The vast majority of cases are decided by very strong majorities or unanimous votes.

  • Farkel

    band on the run.

    As this post will attest, let the board be notified that I never attack a reasoned and respectful post. I will only attack assholes are are neither reasoned, nor respectful.

    You said:

    :John Marshall was not the first Chief Justice. The Court was very boring in the beginning.

    John Jay, one of the 3 awesome writers of the Federalist was the first Supreme Court Justice being sworn in sometime in October 1789.

    : Well, John Adams had some hopes but they were dashed.

    Wasn't it John Adams who tried to do a Roosevelt and stack the Federal Courts with a bunch of Judges who favored his agenda, and wasn't it his successor, Thomas Jefferson who remedied his shameless act of hijacking the Courts by rescinding Adams' nominees?

    Yep. It was.


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