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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Judge Jones' "true religion" missing from Supreme Court precedents

Judge Jones said in a commencement speech at Dickinson College that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions. He said,

. . . this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state. (emphasis added)

However, in establishment clause histories given in two Supreme Court decisions, Everson v. Board of Education (1947) and Engel v. Vitale (1962), Jones' above "true religion" is not mentioned at all, not even as a contributing factor. Everson does mention "true religion," but it is not the kind of "true religion" that Judge Jones described above -- Everson says (page 12) that Madison "eloquently argued that a true religion did not need the support of law."

The hypocritical Judge Jones ignored Supreme Court precedent himself while falsely accusing his critics of ignoring Supreme Court precedent. In a speech at Bennington College, Jones said about media criticisms of his decision,
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What all of them had in common -- all of these criticisms -- was that they omitted to note the role of precedent, how judges work, the Rule of Law. Trial judges carefully find the facts in a case and apply existing precedent as handed down by higher courts -- most notably, in this case, the Supreme Court of the United States. There was simply no attempt [in these media criticisms] to illuminate those issues or educate the public . . . .

To hear these critics tell it, we live in a world where judges make essentially ad hoc determinations. This is really a false world that they tend to propagate, where judges rule according to personal bias, particular whims or political philosophies, or in order to please political benefactors -- or, worse perhaps, respond to the perceived public will at any given time. . . . And that gets into a still larger issue that I think is of somewhat crisis proportions, which I call a crisis in judicial independence. Many judges across the country feel exceedingly threatened by a public, a punditry, and a political establishment that tends to launch ad hominem attacks against individual judges when they disagree with them.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

> However, in establishment clause histories given in two Supreme Court decisions, Everson v. Board of Education (1947) and Engel v. Vitale (1962) Jones' above "true religion" is not mentioned at all <

Can you cite an example of where a college commencement speech has been cited as precident?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:13:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Can you cite an example of where a college commencement speech has been cited as precident? <<<<<<

Practically anything -- law journal articles, speeches, private letters, etc. -- may be cited in a court of law but only citations of court opinions are called "precedents." As I remember -- but have been unable to prove -- the 9th Circuit federal court of appeals once had a rule prohibiting citation of federal district court opinions in the courts of the 9th Circuit.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Practically anything -- law journal articles, speeches, private letters, etc. -- may be cited in a court of law <

Then do you fault the court for not publishing the basketball scores?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Then do you fault the court for not publishing the basketball scores? <<<<<<<

WHAT is your point, dunghill?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the 9th Circuit federal court of appeals once had a rule prohibiting citation of federal district court opinions in the courts of the 9th Circuit

"Once had a rule" is an oxymoron.

The 9th Circuit being what it is, this "rule" would have been applied as needed to ensure a liberal interpretation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> WHAT is your point, dunghill? <

You can't be that dumb, Cretin. His point is obviously exactly what he stated. There is no requirement for a speaker to speak about, nor to agree with the motto or idea behind the logo on the podium. I would have thought that even you would know that but your comments indicate that it has gone right over your head (as do most things).

I recently saw a podium with the symbol of an eagle on the front. Would you expect any speaker using it to just caw and flap his arms?

Come on Larry. Even you can't be as stupid as you are now pretending to be.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Come on Larry. Even you can't be as stupid as you are now pretending to be. <

Yes he can.

Perhaps I can dumb it down to the point that even Larry can understand what we are trying to say.

A - There is an idea behind the college seal on the front of the podium.

B - There is the point that Jones was trying to make.

There is no requirement for B to relate to or agree with A.

Watch this go right over the idiot's head.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> There is no requirement for B to relate to or agree with A.

Watch this go right over the idiot's head.
<<<<<<

No, bozo, my point went completely over your head. I only pointed out the irony that A is blatantly inconsistent with B. The inconsistency would be ironic even if what Jones said were true as a general rule. Of course, it is possible that Rush and Dickinson were exceptions to a general rule that the Founders believed that organized religions are not "true" religions, but I have seen no evidence of such a general rule.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See. It did go over Larry's head.

It seems a waste of time to lower this discussion down to Larry's level. Let's just ignore him and discuss the issues among ourselves.

Friday, February 29, 2008 2:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Let's just ignore him and discuss the issues among ourselves.<

That would take the fun out of it. I enjoy seeing Larry twisting in the wind while declaring himself to be Napoleon Bonaparte.

Friday, February 29, 2008 12:28:00 PM  

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