Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 39 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Chimney Rock, Flag Flying Half Staff In Honor Of Scalia

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

Over the weekend the family took a hike up Chimney Rock.  This is the flag flying half staff for the lion of the court, the one who single-handedly changed the arc of constitutional interpretation in America.

ChimneyRock_Scalia

John Yoo On Filling The Supreme Court Vacancy

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

NRO:

Republican senators and the presidential candidates should reject the claim that they have an obligation to fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy before the election. Senator Harry Reid, for example, declared that “it would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat.” He continued: “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential constitutional responsibilities.” Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded that the next president should fill the vacancy.

We should recognize first the Senate has no constitutional obligation to fill any vacancies on the courts or in the executive branch. Article II of the Constitution gives the president the power to appoint justices, but only with “the advice and consent” of the Senate. It does not require that the Senate give the president’s nomination approval, or a rejection, any more than it requires the Senate to quickly give its advice and consent to a treaty negotiated by the president. President Obama can nominate anyone he likes, or he can leave it to the results of the November election. The Senate can confirm, reject, or just sit on the nominee, just as it can with any other proposal from the executive branch. Its right to delay or reject nominees is an important weapon in the constant struggle for advantage between the executive and the legislative branches.

Some may suggest that the Court needs nine members to function properly. This argument is simply untrue. Unlike the presidency, the Supreme Court is a collegial body. It can do its job with eight members; at the beginning of the Republic, it operated with six. The Constitution itself requires only that the Court have a chief justice and reserves to Congress the choice over its size. The Court has virtually complete control over its docket, and if it were truly feeling burdened by too much work, it could just hear fewer cases. Although the justices are taking more-controversial cases than ever, they are also taking many fewer cases than they did 30 or 40 years ago.

I couldn’t care less if the Supreme Court didn’t have any justices whatsoever.  If this senate moves to approve Obama’s nominee, it will be the end of the republican party forever.  There will be nothing left.  No, I’m not saying that it should be the right kind of nominee who is agreed upon by all of the respectable senators like the little worm Lindsey Graham.

I’m saying I and the rest of conservative and libertarian America doesn’t want this senate to do anything with any nominee.  We don’t trust you because you aren’t trustworthy.  We don’t want this decision in your hands.  Stay in session for enough days to block any “recess appointment” Obama might want to make, work the system to block Obama and his minions, and wait until this must be done under a new president.

Oh, there is no end to the sky-is-falling commentators.  Ruth Marcus writes this.

Refusing to go forward would serve to deepen and entrench the existing partisanship and ensuing gridlock.

Finally, a Senate work stoppage would, in fact, be bad for Republicans. In the nation’s capital these days, everything is political, every institution politicized. That may be inevitable and irreparable, yet tables here have a way of turning. One party’s obstructionism ends up hurting it down the road.

[ … ]

Running out of time is not a credible claim.

Listen to the Republicans, in the Senate or on the campaign trail, arguing for inaction. Their claims proceed from the position of raw power, not constitutional language.

Ooo … the constitution … gridlock … a divided America … bad for republicans!  Perhaps even losing control of the senate!  Boo!  Hold me uncle Bob.  I’m askeerd!  Boo!  Cue eerie, creepy music.  Boo!

It’s not hard to see the likes of Mitch McConnell running scared and screaming like a little girl.  Lindsey Graham too.  But the rest of you had better hold firm.  And remember.  Our remedies are seldom used, but we do have them.  There is always hemp rope and light posts, or if you prefer, tar and feathers.  And don’t ever forget that gun ownership isn’t about hunting, self defense, or “sporting purposes.”  It’s about the people having a surety against tyranny.

Prior (for the influence of C.S. Lewis on Antonin Scalia): Remembering Antonin Scalia

See also David French on filling the vacancy, Elizabeth Price Foley, and especially Steven Calabresi, Scalia Towered Over John Marshall.

Remembering Antonin Scalia

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

When I found out about Scalia’s death on Saturday, I yelled “No, No, No, No,” fifteen or twenty times at the top of my lungs.  Much badness will follow.

While Mitch McConnell has said that the vacancy will be filled by the next president, he is a traitor like Paul Ryan.  The Senate and House have given Obama everything he’s asked for seven years.  They won’t stop now.  Ted Cruz has promised to filibuster any nominee, and good on him for planning this ahead of time.  I predict that the other senators will hang him out to dry like the worthless, quisling traitor, spineless crap weasels they are and like they did on his filibuster of Obamacare funding.

As to Scalia, I found that his Heller decision was his weakest, and leaves us with much work to be done by the Supreme Court in the future.  Perhaps it was the best he could get past the other justices, but he is now dead and the balance of the court may change for the worse.  This is a lesson for future justices.  Don’t do things incrementally.  We may not have you around long enough to finish the job.

His best work was in his dissents, and if you haven’t read the book “Scalia Dissents,” you owe it to yourself to get it and read it.  Not only is it educational for the cases that have been before the court (you need some understanding of them in order to understand his dissent), but it is a window into one of the great minds of the twentieth century.  His jurisprudence is a demarcation of the legal landscape for generations to come.

On a personal note, I do not know and have never met Scalia.  But my brother, who graduated from Emory Law School, has met him and had a chance to discuss his writings.  One question my brother posed went something like this.  “I admire your decisions and dissents, but what I really wanted to ask you pertains to your writing style and abilities.  Your writings can be understood by scholar and layman alike, and in my opinion it is part of what has made you so successful.  How did you learn to communicate the way you do?”

Scalia responded something like this.  “Thank you, I spent time reading and studying everything C.S. Lewis wrote.  Read and study his writings and you’ll find someone who can communicate to both scholar and layman.”  As for my reaction to what my brother relayed to me, I’m not surprised.  I know someone who visited England recently and took the C.S. Lewis tour, in which they saw his home, where he taught, personal effects and other such things.

The tour was given by one person, and my friends were the only ones on the tour.  “England,” said the tour guide, “has forgotten about Lewis.  The only people I guide now are Americans.”  How tragic.  Lewis was a national treasure.  So too, Scalia was a national treasure.  I fear we will not really know what we had and be able to miss it with necessary earnestness for a very long time.  But at least with me, I will not forget C.S. Lewis, and I won’t forget Scalia.  National treasures are like that.

Justice Scalia On Religion And The Constitution

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 4 months ago

AP:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday the idea of religious neutrality is not grounded in the country’s constitutional traditions and that God has been good to the U.S. exactly because Americans honor him.

Scalia was speaking at a Catholic high school in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana. Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 is the court’s longest serving justice. He has consistently been one of the court’s more conservative members.

He told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that there is “no place” in the country’s constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence.

“To tell you the truth there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?” he said. “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?”

He also said there is “nothing wrong” with the idea of presidents and others invoking God in speeches. He said God has been good to America because Americans have honored him.

Scalia said during the Sept. 11 attacks he was in Rome at a conference. The next morning, after a speech by President George W. Bush in which he invoked God and asked for his blessing, Scalia said many of the other judges approached him and said they wished their presidents or prime ministers would do the same.

“God has been very good to us. That we won the revolution was extraordinary. The Battle of Midway was extraordinary. I think one of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor. Unlike the other countries of the world that do not even invoke his name we do him honor. In presidential addresses, in Thanksgiving proclamations and in many other ways,” Scalia said.

“There is nothing wrong with that and do not let anybody tell you that there is anything wrong with that,” he added.

 

He’s right, of course.  Moreover, this thinking is right in line with the historical reformed thinking of men like Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, and my own professor C. Gregg Singer and others, on the logical impossibility of neutrality.  All syllogisms have presuppositions, those presuppositions being axiomatic irreducibles, with the balance of thought and deduction being impossible without them, and the rest of the system able to be judged on its logical consistency based on those presuppositions.  And I agree with Scalia, even if he doesn’t invoke reformed thinkers for his basis.

Unlike Scalia, however, who is Roman Catholic, I don’t think God cares very much whether we invoke His name in a presidential address or some similar charade.  The invocation of His name must be sincere, humble and within the context of repentance.

This is what I don’t see in America, and thus God will not long bless her.  She is even now experiencing the lack of God’s favor because of her stubbornness.

So Scalia is right, and he is wrong.


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