My Suggestions As to How to Fix Our Public School System

by Diane Rufino, September 16, 2022

It has been said that if education doesn’t solve a problem, then it is a problem. And if the educated cannot solve problems, then they are the problem.

The problem right now is that education – public education, particularly – isn’t solving some of the problems that we have right now – to truly educate our next generations, to instill a sense of patriotism and love of country, to prepare our children for college and for life in general, to offer them the option of learning a trade (to fill the great voids that we have), to teach them the importance of hard work and pride in one’s work, and very importantly, the basic skills to work at a job without having gone to college.

Sadly, at least in the South, the large community schools are organized like a factory of the late 19th century – top down, command control management, a system designed to stifle creativity and independent intellectual growth. Schools today seem more focused on setting our next generations of college students, community members, and fellow citizens on a path of social change rather than provide them with a robust, solid, sound and basic education (like the education provided back in the 1950’s – 1970’s).

We, as a collection of state citizens and in general as Americans, need to fix the public school system. We need to transform it back to one of “education” and not indoctrination or one of social counseling.

Here are several suggestions that I believe would help greatly to improve the public school system:

  • State Constitutions and State Laws Need to Be Changed or Amended to Divest Authority for the Control and Administration of Education From a State Board of Education in Favor of Local Boards of Education
  • The Members of All Boards of Education (State and Local) Shall Be Elected By the People. (Aside from the election results, boards of education should not be a partisan government body)
  • Stop Viewing Students as Numbers (they are individuals)
  • Get Rid of Common Core
  • Do Not Accept Federal Funding for Anything Related to the Instruction of Content Material in the Classroom. (the US DOE is unconstitutional; federal spending on education is unconstitutional, per Article I, Section 8. Education is the responsibility of each State, starting with the state legislature)
  • Get Back to the Basic Education System of Math, Science, Reading, Writing, History, Social Studies, etc (“a robust sound, basic education” system)
  • Get Rid of Non-Value-Added school policies and doctrines (such as CRT, SEL, gender identity, gender fluidity, transgenderism, the LBGTQ agenda, panorama surveys, alternative sex education, pornography and inappropriate themes in required reading and in school libraries)
  • Prohibit the Influence of Teacher Unions and National Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the local public education systems
  • Give Homework (homework gives children the best opportunity to absorb and practice the day’s lessons)
  • Pay More Attention to Parents and Their Concerns
  • Teachers and Administrators Must NEVER Counsel Students About Their Sexual Identity or Bring Up the “Pronoun” Policy (This is a psychological issue that is best and responsibly left to the parents, professional counselors, doctors, and the church)
  • Teachers and Administrators Must Not Address or Discuss the “Transgender” or “Gender Identity” Issue to Students (Such issues naturally conflict with what they learn in Biology regarding biological/ genetic genders and will only serve to confuse them)
  • Adopt a Parents’ Bill of Rights (memorializing their rights as parents as it relates to the education of their children; refer to my suggestion at https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2022/03/29/a-parents-bill-of-rights-what-every-parent-is-entitled-to/)
  • Evaluate Teachers Often (make sure they are good, are dedicated, understand how to educate, and are effective)
  • Less Meaningless Tests (Stop “teaching to the tests”); teach students how to think and learn for themselves (No memorization)
  • Eliminate Standardized Tests (?)
  • Offer Classes to Prepare Students for Real Life (such as balancing a check book, understanding simple contracts, etc)
  • Offer a “Trade School” Option During High School for those students who have no plans to go to college
  • Teachers Must Never Make Any Student Feel Superior or Inferior (no “White Supremacy” or “Racism/Discrimination based on skin color)
  • Raise Standards for Teachers (Teaching young people how to think is far more important than teaching them what to think. Rote memorization of facts and figures may boost standardized test scores and immediately get the student a good grade, but it does not facilitate the primary goal of education, which is independent thinking which will be expected at a job and in everyday life
  • Hire Only Good Teachers. (It might be a good idea to have every “new hire” go through a probation period to make sure he or she is good enough to inspire children to think)
  • Reward Outstanding Teachers (including with pay raises and bonuses)
  • When Hiring Teachers, Make Sure There is Diversity of Thought (We stress diversity and inclusion so often these days yet when it comes to views and opinions, there is so little of it. We need conservatism back in the public school system)
  • No Politics or Controversial Topics Should Be Addressed and/or Discussed in the Public School System (unless there is a specific course, such as Debate, that would allow such material)
  • Each Day in the Public School System MUST Begin With a Moment of Silence and The Pledge to the American Flag (Schools have an obligation to foster and emphasize love of country and patriotism)
  • Put Decisions Regarding Curriculum in the Hands of the Community (don’t subject children to a curriculum designed in a place far away
  • Find Funding So That the County Can Hire Safety Officers for the Schools, or Ask for Veterans to Volunteer
  • Have the Local Boards of Education Conduct Random Unannounced Visits of County Public School Classrooms
  • There is to be no emphasis or promotion of racism in the school system. If there is to be a policy to guide children on how to view and treat one another, then it should be “The Golden Rule.” (As Derrick Wilburn told his daughter’s school board: “Let racism die the death it deserves.”)
  • Make Lessons More Engaging and Relevant (relate lessons to real life, as much as possible)

We demand that our primary and secondary schools prepare all students, regardless of background, for a lifetime of learning. We require that teachers guide every child toward a deeper understanding of the particular subject matter. And we strongly suggest that meaningful changes need to be made to the public school system in order to achieve such goals.

Businessman Robert Kiyosaki has commented: “I am concerned that too many people are focused too much on money and not on their greatest wealth, which is their education. If people are prepared to be flexible, keep an open mind and learn, they will grow richer and richer through the changes. If they think money will solve the problems, I am afraid those people will have a rough ride. Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without intelligence is money soon gone.”

In one of his articles, “The Objective of Education is Learning, Not Teaching,” author Russell Ackoff  wrote: “Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught. However, most of what we learn before, during, and after attending schools is learned without its being taught to us. A child learns such fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress, and so on without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or at leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much or what is remembered is irrelevant.” (Ackoff is the author of several books on education ).

References:

Diane Rufino, “A Parents’ Bill of Rights: What Every Parent is Entitled To,” ForLoveofGodandCountry’s blog, March 2022.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2022/03/29/a-parents-bill-of-rights-what-every-parent-is-entitled-to/   

Derrick Wilburn addresses School Board of Education – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2fGVbMYp54

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Conservatives at a Crossroads in Their Relationship With Government & Big Tech

by Diane Rufino, September 16, 2022

Conservatives are at a crossroads in their relationship with big government and big tech. It is, as Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it in the campaign speech he delivered on October 27, 1964 in support of Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. That memorable speech has been titled “A Time for Choosing.“ In that speech, Reagan explains that there are only two paths with respect to the role of government. One path not only requires, but champions, expanded government control of tech firms for the “greater good” of society – that is, as determined by politicians and bureaucrats. The other path relies upon competition, markets, and the rule of law to foster individual liberty and economic growth. As Reagan correctly observed, a government cannot control the economy without controlling its people. The choice before us will have immense consequences for the role of government and the rule of law for generations to come. It is important to get it right.

In that speech, he related this message:

“Not too long ago two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro. That refugee commented: ‘”How lucky you are to live in America and how lucky that I had someplace to escape to.’ In that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

I think every American should read this speech. It was not only appropriate for the era, but as it turns out, it is prophetic and perhaps even more appropriate for the current era.

What is the role of the federal government?  It is clear that there are two divergent views on the answer to that question – one view believes the federal government exists to take care of its people, from time in the womb to grave, while the other view continues to be the view of our Founding Fathers, which is that the government needs to be limited and constrained. In fact, if one takes the time to read the US Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the debates in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, and the debates and conclusions of the individual state ratifying conventions, it is abundantly clear, that this latter view is exactly what was intended when the current American union was formed with the official adoption of the Constitution. On June 21, 1788, the Constitution became the official framework of the government of the United States of America when New Hampshire became the ninth of 13 states to ratify it (as per Article VII). Yet the union was not complete as four states had yet to ratify it (North Carolina, New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island). In fact, it wasn’t until nearly two years later, on May 29, 1790 when Rhode Island became the last state to adopt it.

It is obvious which view has prevailed over the years, and with each leftist administration, we feel the consequences of those footprints in DC. To be fair, even conservative administrations have contributed to the mess – the over-regulation and the top-down control over almost every aspect of our lives and livelihoods.

The Declaration of Independence proclaimed to a “candid world” that the “united American Colonies are, and of right, ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full (sovereign) power.” To establish legitimacy, Thomas Jefferson (and the other members of the Committee of Five), included the reasons for declaring independence (to prove that the intention of the King was to establish an absolute tyranny over the colonies). The Declaration lists these (27) reasons as follows:

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

1.  He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good;

2.  He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them;

3.  He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only;

4.  He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures;

5.  He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people;

6.  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within;

7.  He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands;

8.  He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

9.  He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries;

10.  He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance;

11.  He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures;

12.  He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power;

13.  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation;

14.  For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

15.  For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States;

16.  For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world;

17.  For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent;

18.  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury;

19.  For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences;

20.  For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies;

21.  For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments;

22.  For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever;

23.  He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us;

24.  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people;

25.  He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation;

26.  He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands;

27.  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

I dare say that these “Facts” that were submitted rival some of the same facts that could easily be noted and submitted today. Our current bloated and unrestrained government (yes, “tyrannical”) is causing a stir among American patriots – ones who appreciate and take refuge in the system, the notions, and the values and principles of our Founding Fathers. There is talk of nullification, of an Article V Constitutional Convention, of revolution, of separation, and yes, even of secession. Apparently, the revolutionary spirit that guided the American colonies to seek independence from Great Britain in order to establish their own founding values and their own governments is re-kindled once again.

Much of the political class of our country’s founding generation viewed the Constitution as restraining, not unleashing, the government. They, especially and most notably James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, recognized that there are “natural rights,” which are areas of human behavior for which we do not need a permission slip from government to exercise, are truly inalienable. An inalienable right, like speech, worship, travel, self-defense, and privacy for example, is one that cannot be taken away by majority vote or by legislation or by executive command. It can only be taken away after the behavior of the person whose restraint the government seeks has been found by a jury to have violated another’s natural rights. This process and these guarantees (articulated in the Bill of Rights) are known today as the presumption of liberty. Stated differently, because of our recognition of natural rights, and our history, values, and written constitutional guarantees, we in America are self-directed and free to make our own choices. We have free will. In fact, the constitutional guarantee of due process mandates that because our individual liberty is natural to us, it is always presumed and therefore, it is always the government’s obligation, or government’s burden, to demonstrate our unworthiness of freedom to a judge and jury before it can curtail that freedom. It is not the other way around.

Until now.

Let’s face it, government has become hostile to the People. It has become hostile to the US Constitution, to our precious Bill of Rights, to States’ rights, and to the inherent and inalienable rights of the individual. As I wrote at the beginning of this article, a government cannot control the economy and cannot direct social engineering (social change) without controlling its people.

As Ronald Reagan explained in his ‘Time for Choosing’ speech:

“It doesn’t require government expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment. Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two political parties…that we are to choose just between those two. I believe that would destroy our country. And in destroying it, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear.”

What are some examples of how our federal government has become out of control and a direct threat to our human rights and liberties?

I’ve broken the examples into two general classifications: (1) Those schemes, actions, and initiatives that have been designed to control the American people, and (2) Those schemes, actions, and initiatives against targeted individuals and businesses (conservatives):

Government schemes, actions, and initiatives that have been designed to control the American people:

  • The election system has been compromised and citizens have no confidence at all in the election results.
  • 87,000 new IRS agents have been hired to harass and intimidate taxpayers.
  • COVID and Monkey Pox pandemics have been concocted in order for the government to claim “national emergency” powers so it can dictate and mandate what citizens can do and when they can do it.
  • With the new government healthcare insurance system, citizens are compelled and forced to follow government guidelines.
  • The federal government has hijacked the public education system to engineer a more progressive social order (“Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future”).
  • The federal government has become hostile to religion, allowing it to usher in progressive social values. (“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State….. The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”  — Everson v. Board of Education (1947) 
  • The federal government has become extremely hostile to gun rights and has been using mass shooting incidents (especially school shootings) to introduce, or threaten, gun control legislation.
  • The federal government is forcing religious institutions to accept and adopt progressive policies, even when such policies are in direct conflict with its foundational teachings.
  • The leftist element of the federal government has been weaponizing agencies to go after, harass, and even defame and imprison political undesirables.
  • The federal government has colluded with social media, the mainstream media, and big tech giants to push “one voice.”  (This is intended to indoctrinate an electorate that for all intents and purposes is ignorant and not likely to be independent thinkers and prefers ‘talking points’)
  • There have been countless individuals and businesses that have been “cancelled” by the left because they dared to express their conservative views. (One has to live in fear if he or she dares to express views that are contrary to the government’s agenda)

And yet, the real government and political criminals have not been investigated nor have they been subject to such unwarranted and intimidating searches and seizes. We all know who they are.

Government schemes, actions, and initiatives that have been designed to target conservative individuals and organizations:

  • The relentless and un-ending harassment of President Donald Trump by an unhinged Democratic majority in government, including the lawsuits and two baseless attempts to impeach him while in office (and then after he left office).  The charges never amounted to the constitutional criteria of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
  • The DOJ raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago. A court filing unsealed on Friday included a detailed inventory of the material that the F.B.I. removed in its Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s office and storage area at Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida. Among the items seized, according to the list, were 18 documents marked as top secret, 54 marked as secret, 31 marked as confidential and 11,179 government documents or photographs without classification markings. Forty-eight empty folders marked as having contained classified information were also taken, though the list did not specify whether that information was recovered. In total, the inventory included 33 groups of items that F.B.I. agents removed from Mar-a-Lago, including individual documents as well as containers full of materials like books, articles from newspapers and magazines or gifts and pieces of clothing. These seemingly more innocuous objects were often mixed together in the same boxes or containers as government documents, both with and without classification markings.
  • The raid on General Flynn and the harassment of he and his family, including his son. (Apparently, he was indicted for his role in schemes to rig bids in violation of the antitrust laws and engage in criminal fraud on insulation contracts in Connecticut and elsewhere)
  • In 2010, the US DOJ undertook surveillance of conservative FOX NEWS reporter (chief Washington correspondent) James Rosen, collecting his telephone records and seizing 2 days worth of private emails, and tracking his movements in and out the state. The government suggested that Rosen was a “co-conspirator” in a conspiracy involving the illegal leaking of confidential and classified government information by the State Department to the press. Additionally, the FBI accused Rosen of breaking anti-espionage laws. (What about the presumption of the right to a free press and the time-honored policy that a reporter never should have to divulge the identity of his or her sources?)
  • “It is downright chilling,” Fox News executive Michael Clemente said in a statement. “We will unequivocally defend [Rosen’s] right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.”
  • Prior to targeting Rosen, the Obama administration seized 2 months worth of telephone records of reporters and editors of the Associated Press.
  • In May 2013, the DOJ conducted a pre-dawn raid on Rosen’s home, confiscating his computer, his files, his phone, and his private notes. The Dept. of Justice also harassed his parents.
  • And how can we forget:  In 2013, IRS official Lois Lerner revealed that conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status had been getting extra scrutiny, based on words such as “tea party” or “patriots” in their names. In years that birthed the Tea Party movement (2009 – 2010), hundreds of groups affiliated with the party had sought tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4), as “social welfare” organizations. IRS demands for documents left many of them in bureaucratic limbo for a year or more. Many filed suit claiming that the IRS harassed them and discriminated against them.
  • This past summer, in June, federal agents conducted a pre-dawn search at the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. Clark played a key role in President Donald Trump’s efforts to get law enforcement officials to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory. Clad in his pajamas, the agents led Clark out of his Virginia suburban home and took his electronic devices. Why did the government see fit to raid Clark’s home?  Simply because he saw fit to investigate Trump’s allegation of voter fraud.
  • This summer, on September 13, Mike Lindell was surrounded by FBI agents at a Hardee’s drive-through, who then confiscated his cell phone. (Apparently, they are targeting him for his high-profile role in educating and confronting election fraud OR they simply want to intimidate and send a message to all those who are alleging election fraud and fighting for measures to ensure election integrity)

It’s getting too much to take. We just want to live our lives, free from government control and intimidation, and able to enjoy our inalienable natural and God-given rights and liberties. But (aside from the Trump years), it is getting harder and harder with each day.

In 1964, Ronald Reagan warned “We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in doing so lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well, I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.” (“A Time for Choosing” Speech)

We went on to say:

“Admittedly there is a risk in any course we choose to follow, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face–that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand–the ultimatum. And what then? When Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he has heard voices pleading for “peace at any price” or “better Red than dead,” or as one commentator put it, he would rather “live on his knees than die on his feet.” And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin–just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well, it’s a simple answer after all.

       You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” Winston Churchill said that “the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits–not animals.” And he said, “There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.

       You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” (“A Time for Choosing” Speech)

Again, I recommend that every American read Reagan’s full speech.

To sum up, let’s not forget the warning Ronald Reagan delivered in 1964: “This is the issue of this election:  Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

References:

Ronald Reagan, “A Time For Choosing” (September 27, 1964) – https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/reagans/ronald-reagan/time-choosing-speech-october-27-1964

Declaration of Independence (text) – https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township (1947) – https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/330/1

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REMEMBERING 9/11 in 2022

by Diane Rufino, September 11, 2022

21 years ago, on September 10, 246 people went to sleep in preparation for their morning flights. 2,606 people went to sleep in preparation for work in the morning. 343 firefighters went to sleep in preparation for their morning shift. 60 police officers went to sleep in preparation for morning patrol. 8 paramedics went to sleep in preparation for the morning shift. None of them lived to see 10:00 am the next day – Sept 11, 2001. In one single moment, life can change; it may never be the same. As you live and enjoy the breaths you take today and tonight before you go to sleep in preparation for your life tomorrow, kiss the ones you love, tell those you love how you feel about them, snuggle a little tighter, and never take one second of your life for granted.

Let’s Look Back at that Fateful Morning, 21 Years Ago when a series of horrifying events unfolded before the unbelieving eyes of the American people, involving American Airlines flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines flight 77, and United Airlines flight 93.

The attack on America known as 9/11 was comprised of four coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by the militant Islamic extremist network known as al-Qaeda[ against the United States. On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists—directed by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden—hijacked four commercial airliners mid-flight while traveling from the northeastern U.S. to California. The attackers were organized into three groups of five members and one group of four, with each group including one designated flight-trained hijacker who took control of the aircraft. Their goal was to crash the planes into prominent American buildings, inflicting mass casualties and major structural damage. The hijackers successfully crashed the first two planes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and the third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane was intended to hit a federal government building in Washington, D.C., but instead crashed down in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, following a passenger revolt that foiled the attack.

This is how the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 unfolded:

It was almost 8:40 am on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  It was a beautiful, clear, sunny morning.  Both towers of the World Trade Center, in lower Manhattan, were slightly less than half full.  Flight 11, heading from Boston to LA, had already been hijacked and had broken contact with air controllers.  At about that time, Betty Ong, an attendant on Flight 11, called American Airlines Operations Center, to report that the plane had likely been hijacked.  She reported that the first class attendant, the purser, and a first class passenger had been stabbed but no one really knew what was going on.  Flight attendant Amy Sweeney also called American Airlines. She was scared.  She said the plane was flying erratically and had all of a sudden made a rapid descent. She said: “I can see the water. I can see the buildings. The plane is flying so low.”  The transcript shows that she then took a slow, deep breath and calmly said: “Oh my God!”  The phone went dead for both Amy and Betty at 8:45.  At 8:46 am, Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. The plane struck the 93rd through 99th floors of the 110-story building. No one above the crash line survived; approximately 1,360 people died.  Below the crash line, approximately 72 died and more than 4,000 survived.  87 people perished onboard Flight 11. In addition to Betty and Amy, Sara Low was also a flight attendant who lost her life.  Her father described her as being prone to silliness and having an infectious personality, one that could calm even the most nervous traveler.  He said: “My life stopped when my daughter died.”

About the time of the crash, air controllers noticed that Flight 175 fell off the radar.  And a few minutes later, they learned that Flight 77 had been hijacked.  It was then that they then suspected that Flight 175 had also been hijacked.  In fact, both pilots on board that plane had already been stabbed to death.

At 8:55 am, Karl Rove took President Bush aside and told him of the crash at the North Tower. They were headed to an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida.  At first, they believed it was likely an accident, perhaps a pilot who had suffered a heart attack.

At 9:03 am, Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.  Millions watched the crash live on television. The plane struck the 77th through 85th floors of the 110-story building.  Approximately 100 people were killed or injured in the initial impact; and 600 people in the tower would eventually die. A woman on the 83rd floor made a last call to 9/11. She said: “The floor is completely engulfed in smoke.  We’re on the floor and we can’t breathe…. I don’t see any more air. … I’m going to die, aren’t I?”

The death toll from the South Tower was far lower than in the North Tower because when the occupants learned of the attack on its neighbor, about 2/3 immediately evacuated the building. 

The combined death toll from the two towers was estimated at 2,606.  60 people perished on board Flight 175.  343 first responders – firefighters and paramedics – would also perish. And 23 officers of the NYPD as well.  Firefighter Terence Hatton — who earned 19 medals in 21 years — died before his wife even had the chance to tell him that she was pregnant.

At least 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths from the burning towers.  We remember the footage of people gathered in groups at the windows in a last minute attempt to get some oxygen.  We remember many of them jumping in order to avoid a fiery death. The reporters called them “jumpers.”  We can’t imagine being faced with such a hopeless choice.  Our hearts ached as we watched the footage.

NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who arrived at the scene immediately, has been forever touched by what he witnessed that morning. He said: “As I looked up, my eyes caught on a man on the 100th floor of the North Tower near the top. I realized I was watching the man throwing himself out. I watched him go all the way down and hit…  I just stood there and watched, frozen, because it was so incomprehensible.  Over the course of time I saw several other people jumping, I can’t remember how many.  Two of them were holding hands. Of the many memories that stick in your mind from that day, that’s the one I remember every single day.”

At the time the second plane struck the South Tower, President Bush was in a second grade classroom promoting his education policy and listening to the children read a story about a pet goat.  At 9:06 am, Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, seized a pause in the reading exercise to whisper to him that a second plane had crashed into the Towers.  President Bush continued briefly to listen to the children read their story so as not to relay any sense of alarm to them and in front of the cameras.

At 9:16 am, the FAA learned that Flight 93 might also have been hijacked but it could not get confirmation.  At 9:20 CNN and Fox News commentator, Barbara Olson, a passenger on board Flight 77, called her husband, Ted Olson, Solicitor General at the Justice Department to tell him that the plane had been hijacked and that passengers were ordered to the back of the plane. The FAA then learned that Flight 77, originally en route from Dulles Airport to Los Angeles, had circled around and was heading towards Washington DC.

At 9:28 am, the hijackers on board Flight 93, which was flying across rural Pennsylvania, took out knives and stabbed pilots, flight attendants, and passengers. Then they relocated the remaining passengers to the back of the plane and threatened to detonate a bomb.  Air control was able to hear Arab voices on the radio.

At 9:29, President Bush delivered his first address to the nation that day –  from the elementary school, in front of about 200 children:  He said: “Today we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”

At 9:34 am, the FAA noticed that Flight 77 was missing. It had dropped from radar.  At 9:36, it crashed into the first floor of the Pentagon, along the west wall.  All 64 people on the plane perished and 124 people working in the building were killed.  A further victim would die in a hospital several days later.  Donald Rumsfeld ran from his office on the other side of the Pentagon and went immediately to the crash site.  He helped carry victims on stretchers and helped medics set up IVs.

At 9:42 am, Mark Bingham, on board Flight 93, called his mother and said, “I’m on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys who have taken over the plane and they say they have a bomb.”  He didn’t stay on the phone long, but he repeated several times: “I love you Mom.  I love you very much.”   Fellow passenger, Todd Beamer, was able to make a call for 13 minutes, to a GTE customer service supervisor, who then immediately notified the FBI.  He said that the plane was hijacked by 3 people and they killed the pilot and co-pilot.  He said the hijackers had locked themselves in the cockpit and appeared not to know how to fly the plane.  Whether they realized it or not at the time, Mark and Todd both attended the same high school – Los Gatos High. They were both athletes. Flight 93 was en route at that point for Washington DC.  F-16 fighter jets were in the air, tracking it and poised to shoot it down. 

At 9:57 am, it is believed that Flight 93 passengers, led by Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick, took a food cart and used it as a battering ram and shield to storm the cockpit.  As they rallied to take control of the plane, Todd recited the 23rd Psalm and ended with these words: “Are you ready guys.  LET’S ROLL.”

At 9:59 am, eyewitnesses at Ground Zero heard a series of loud explosions and then the unimaginable happened… the South Tower collapsed. 

At 10:06 am, Flight 93 began to break up in mid-air before it finally crashed into an empty field in a place called Shanksville, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, and about 124 miles or 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.   Debris was found very far away from the crash site and in fact, very little wreckage was found there.  All 40 passengers were killed.

At 10:28 am, eyewitnesses at Ground Zero heard another huge explosion and then the North Tower collapsed. They said they could hear the sound of twisting and crushing metal.  (If you close your eyes, I’m sure you can recall all these events as clearly as when they happened 10 years ago. I know I can)

Mayor Guiliani was asked how many had died and he answered: “The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear.”

2,606 people died in the towers or on the ground.  The death toll could have been much worse.  An estimated 15,000 people made it out of the World Trade Towers to safety after the first plane crash.   246 people on the four planes died. There were no survivors.  The hijackers turned our beloved Twin Towers into slaughterhouses.

Shortly after the towers fell, Kevin Shea, an off-duty firefighter, was found on West Street, with a broken neck, severed thumb, internal injuries, and very little memory of what he had done as the buildings burned. He suffered slight amnesia but was keenly aware that 12 other firefighters from his fire company who raced to the World Trade Center never made it out alive. Firefighter Anthony Sanseviro was in tears, mourning the death of his longtime friend and fellow firefigher Danny Suhr, who was struck by a falling body and killed as they were running to the burning towers.  

At 3:15 pm, President Bush had arrived back in DC.  Condoleeza Rice greeted him with these words: “We’re at war, sir.” Bush asked CIA Director George Tenet who he thought was responsible for the day’s attacks and Tenet replied: “al-Qaeda. The whole operation looked, smelled, and tasted like bin Laden.” Tenet then told him that passenger manifests showed that three known al-Qaeda operatives were on board Flight 77.

At 8:30 pm, President Bush prepared to address the nation –  to address 320 million Americans who had witnessed an unspeakable tragedy.  He gave these words: “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America… with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could….

I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible for these evil acts and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” 

Before going to bed that night, President Bush would write this in his diary: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.… We think it’s Osama bin Laden.”

It may have been the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in us, as Americans.   

Those working at the scene hoping to find any survivors were horrified. There were places they walked where they saw body parts — parts of human bodies…  hands, legs.  Mayor Guiliani would later report: “We recovered about 19,000 body parts – a very small percentage of intact bodies.  About half of the families got something they were able to bury and the other half got nothing.”

Today – 21 years later – we come together not as Men or Women, Young or Old, Rich or Poor, or members of any ethnic group.  We do not stand here as laborers or professionals or housewives or public servants.  Or as Christians or non-Christians.  We are Americans.  On the morning of 9/11, our enemies didn’t target any one group over another. They targeted Americans… American civilians. Not men and women in uniforms trained for military action.

 Firefighters and other first responders risked their lives to save those dying and in danger.  They didn’t see the scared and suffering in terms of race, religion, gender, or profession.  They simply saw them as fellow Americans. 

We especially recognize the unique value of first responders (firefighters, police, clergy) in such a tragedy as 9/11, just as we recognize their unselfish commitment to helping other human beings whenever and wherever they are in need and in danger. 343 firemen and paramedics lost their lives on that fateful morning.  They crawled up fiery blackened, smoke-filled staircases to save complete strangers… And they willingly did so.  We have such fondness and respect for our firefighters.  They are a special breed.  You see, the death card is one that every firefighter carries in his hand.  He hopes he never has to play it, but it’s always there.  Every time we hear a siren or a fire truck wail, we instantly know that a life will be saved. Sadly, we never know if the fireman’s life will be sacrificed.

Likewise, people look to clergy for comfort and empathy, and in fact, it was in this very capacity that Father Mychal Judge, chaplain of the NY Fire Department, lost his life at the site of the flaming Towers.  He was in the lobby of the South Tower administering last rites when it collapsed.  Debris flew everywhere, striking Father Mychal in the head. It was reported that at the time he was struck, he was praying out loud: “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”  When I was in high school,Father Mychal served at St. Joseph’s parish in my hometown of East Rutherford, in north Jersey.  I was in his youth group at the time.  

We recognize the same valor in those civilians who selflessly went back into the burning buildings to help save lives. Heroes were born that day.

Simply put, the attacks on NYC and the Pentagon were the most savage and audacious acts of terror ever perpetrated. They were also supposed to include government buildings in Washington DC. We wonder why our country was the target of such a brutal attack.  It’s because terrorism works. For us as Americans, we lost a lot of the freedom we had taken for granted on that day. We no longer feel safe within our borders, we spent years under “terrorist warnings,” we are harassed when we go on planes, we spent years not trusting anyone of middle-eastern decent. It was the most costly attack on American soil, even more costly than the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the forces of Imperial Japan killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. During the September 11 attacks, 2,977 people were killed and more than 25,000 others were injured. Of the 2,977 fatal victims, 2,753 were killed in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania. And then, of course, there were the 19 hijackers who committed suicide. Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto rightfully noted that they had “woken up a sleeping giant.” And 9/11 committed the United States to fight terrorism, wherever it originates and whenever it is used.

The spirit that the terrorists tried so hard to kill on September 11 has never been stronger. The attacks only solidified our commitment that America will survive and freedom will ring.  The attacked forged a new generation of patriots.  Men and women have been inspired in force to join the armed services.  Over 3 million have volunteered. It was an unfortunate event that created national unity. We continue to need that national unity today.

Remembering 9/11 and honoring its innocent victims isn’t about government or politics or political correctness. It’s about love of country and a bond with our fellow Americans. It’s about respect and an unspoken duty to keep 9/11 from fading in significance. It’s about a solemn promise to fellow Americans to keep their spirit and sacrifice alive.  As Scottish poet Thomas Campbell wrote: “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”  3000 unarmed, innocent Americans were targeted for death in NYC and Washington DC for no other reason except they were Americans.  It could have easily been my husband or my child who was on one of those planes, or your husband, wife, or child.  

It is said that the test of any religion, government, political system, or educational system is the type of man or person that it forms.  Let us think about that as we reflect on the events of 9/11. 

May all those who died on 9/11 rest in peace and may we continue to remember what happened on that horrible day…  If on no other day than this day, the anniversary of that horrible and savage attack on our country, let us continue to come together not as Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, Christians or agnostics, but simply as Americans…  as neighbors and members of our collective American society.

Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, helping a stranger, a humble donation to law enforcement or the fire station, displaying our flag, or volunteering at church, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11. 

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MY EXCHANGE WITH NC SENATOR THOM TILLIS

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on police use of force and community relations on on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 16, 2020 in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Pool via AP)

The following is an exchange I had with my US Senator, Thom Tillis regarding a piece of federal legislation – H.R. 8404 (“Respect for Marriage Act”)

Hello Senator Tillis,
I am writing to ask you to please, please, please VOTE AGAINST H.R. 8404. It is very important and not only that, it is the right and the constitutional thing to do.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise.” This is a cornerstone of the freedom and liberty we enjoy and cherish in this country. It is an absolute bar on the intervention of Congress into matters of religion. There is no such thing as “Wall of Separation of Church and State”; it is a legal fiction. It was only introduced, against the standard practice of the Supreme Court of referring to primary documents and references in reaching its opinion on a particular case, in the case of Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township (1947). It was introduced in the majority opinion by Justice Hugo Black, a leadership member in the KKK. “Wall of Separation” was a provision included in the KKK oath. 

H.R. 8404 reads: “(a) In General.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—
“(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or
“(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
“(b) Enforcement By Attorney General.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.
“(c) Private Right Of Action.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.

H.R. 8404 is a liberal attempt to not only codify “same-sex marriage” into federal law, but it is egregious attempt to violate the first amendment’s guarantee that US citizens and US churches have the FREEDOM to worship and believe as they choose (the “Free Exercise” Clause).

If passed, churches and other religious organizations, will be forced to accept the LGBTQ agenda and will be forced to recognize and accept gay marriage. It is a blatant attempt to destroy our traditional family structure.
I am not saying that I am against tolerance or in favor of discrimination. In fact, I am not. I believe people love who they love. It’s a matter of the heart. But just because we want to live in an ideal world and an ideal country, we cannot violate our US Constitution, our Bill of Rights, to do so. That is where the Article V amendment process comes into play. That is the constitutional provision that allows the Constitution to update to the changing societal values (that is the only way the Constitution can be “a living, breathing document.” Justices, on their own, cannot take it upon themselves to do an end-run around the Constitution and change it at will).

You have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

Please honor your oath, support and defend our US Constitution, and bring honor to the federal government. The States, which are the true depositories to define and regulate marriage, will do what they think best. We have to believe and have faith in that.

Most Sincerely,
Diane Rufino, attorney, molecular biologist, high school teacher, writer, blogger, and activist
My Blogsite: www.forloveofgodandcountry.com 

RESPONSE FROM SENATOR TILLIS:

Dear Ms. Rufino: Thank you for taking the time to contact me about same-sex marriage. I appreciate hearing from you.

The House recently passed legislation that would codify the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the right to marriage for interracial and same-sex couples. I support codifying the right to marriage in federal law. I am working closely with my Senate colleagues to ensure that legislation to codify the right to marriage does not in any way limit or inhibit religious freedom. 

As Senator, I believe that all individuals should receive equal treatment under the law. This is as true for the LGBTQ+ community as it is for any other American. 

I also strongly oppose any effort to infringe on any American’s First Amendment rights to religious freedom. I will only support legislation that maintains the existing law in North Carolina and across the country regarding marriages between two people and does not include any restrictions on the religious liberty rights of individuals and religious institutions.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I serve on the committee with jurisdiction over this issue. Please know that if this legislation comes before the Judiciary Committee or the full Senate, I will keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to contact me again about other important issues.   

Sincerely,  
Thom Tillis
US Senator

MY REPONSE TO SENATOR TILLIS RESPONSE:

Hello Senator Tillis, 

I tried to send you this message online, but I kept getting the message, “Your message cannot be delivered.”  And so I figured I would send you a physical letter, with the same message.

This response is in response to the response that you sent me (refer to that response, attached below). Before reading what I would like to share, please refer to your response below.

I understand that is YOUR belief and personally, I believe as you do. But I am concerned about what the federal law at issue will do to the tenets of certain churches. As you know, respecting the equal treatment of individuals and their choice of life partners doesn’t exactly line up with the fundamental tenets of certain religions. Can you assure me that federal law will not infringe upon those tenets and the church’s first amendment guarantee to follow those tenets?

I ask this because in this country, we enjoy a free-market approach to almost everything. If a person does not like or would rather not be associated with a church because of its stance on alternative marriage, they can leave that church and find another. Or, a new church can be founded on principles and lessons that best suit their social values. In the end, I believe it will all work out and there will be a fitting religion for everyone in this country, and that is the way it should be. 

I would like to ask you two questions and then I will leave you alone:

  •  Do you believe Jesus Christ was a racist homophobe? Do you believe Christianity is built on racist homophobic tenets?  I shutter to think what the liberal/progressive element of our country would do to Him if he would come to us again, in this current time.
  •  What do you think is meant by “Congress shall make no law……..”?

Thank you for agreeing to keep my concerns in mind when the bill comes up for a vote.

Sincerely,

Diane Rufino, attorney, molecular biologist, high school teacher, writer, blogger, and activist
My Blogsite: www.forloveofgodandcountry.com

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AN URGENT REQUEST TO PATRIOTS –

The following is a letter I just wrote and sent to my US Senators (North Carolina), emphasizing that they need to vote AGAINST H.R. 8404 – the “Respect for Marriage Act,” sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

I sent the identical message to Senator Thom Tillis.

Hello Senator Burr,

I am writing to ask you to please, please, please VOTE AGAINST H.R. 8404. It is very important and not only that, it is the right and the constitutional thing to do.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise.” This is a cornerstone of the freedom and liberty we enjoy and cherish in this country. It is an absolute bar on the intervention of Congress into matters of religion. There is no such thing as “Wall of Separation of Church and State”; it is a legal fiction. It was only introduced, against the standard practice of the Supreme Court of referring to primary documents and references in reaching its opinion on a particular case, in the case of Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township (1947). It was introduced in the majority opinion by Justice Hugo Black, a leadership member in the KKK. “Wall of Separation” was a provision included in the KKK oath. 

H.R. 8404 reads: “(a) In General.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—
“(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or
“(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
“(b) Enforcement By Attorney General.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.
“(c) Private Right Of Action.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.

H.R. 8404 is a liberal attempt to not only codify “same-sex marriage” into federal law, but it is egregious attempt to violate the first amendment’s guarantee that US citizens and US churches have the FREEDOM to worship and believe as they choose (the “Free Exercise” Clause).

If passed, churches and other religious organizations, will be forced to accept the LGBTQ agenda and will be forced to recognize and accept gay marriage. It is a blatant attempt to destroy our traditional family structure.
I am not saying that I am against tolerance or in favor of discrimination. In fact, I am not. I believe people love who they love. It’s a matter of the heart. But just because we want to live in an ideal world and an ideal country, we cannot violate our US Constitution, our Bill of Rights, to do so. That is where the Article V amendment process comes into play. That is the constitutional provision that allows the Constitution to update to the changing societal values (that is the only way the Constitution can be “a living, breathing document.” Justices, on their own, cannot take it upon themselves to do an end-run around the Constitution and change it at will).

You have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

Please honor your oath, support and defend our US Constitution, and bring honor to the federal government. The States, which are the true depositories to define and regulate marriage, will do what they think best. We have to believe and have faith in that.

Most Sincerely,
Diane Rufino, attorney, molecular biologist, high school teacher, writer, blogger, and activist
My Blogsite: www.forloveofgodandcountry.com 

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Why It’s Crucial to Repeal the 17th Amendment

by Diane Rufino, August 4, 2022

When I talk to folks about the Constitution, I usually comment that “the Constitution holds all the answers to the problems that are plaguing us as a country,” and as a republic. This article will explain why the original Constitution, which was written in Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified by the States in 1788, and which essentially remained in effect without change until the turn of the 21st century, with its provision on how US senators were to be selected, is one of those solutions.

The original Constitution provides a unique process for selecting US senators; that process was provided in Article I, Section 3, which read: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” In short, our Founding Fathers incorporated the plan proposed by Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut who advocated for the small states, articulated a national legislature with two parts. He envisioned a bicameral legislative branch, which gave equal representation to each state in the Senate, and representation based on population in the House of Representatives. The US House is the “people’s body” and the US Senate would be the “States’ body.” The House would represent the constituency and legislate on their behalf while the senators would specifically show allegiance first and foremost to their States.

In fact, no issue was more important to our Founders than the balance of power between the States and the new federal government. They knew first-hand what it was like for a government thousands of miles away to issue a decree that forced private citizens to comply and forfeit treasure in the form of unjust taxes. From his “throne” in the White House, a US president can declare anything he deems important as a “national emergency” thereby allowing federal agencies to prohibit what individuals can and cannot do, require or compel them to do what they ordinarily would never agree to do, and suspend their civil and individual liberties. From that same throne, he can issue an executive order and regulate the behavior of fishermen on both coasts of the United States, and in doing so, can steal their livelihoods by denying them the right to fish. From his “throne” in the president’s cabinet, the Secretary of the Department of Interior can declare any animal, bug, bacteria, virus, or species of plant to be an endangered species, thereby assuming authority to regulate the behavior of private citizens on whose land one of those endangered species may happen to inhabit or possibly inhabit, as well as to regulate the land itself.

In other words, our Founding Fathers put a critical element of federalism directly in our bicameral Congress. If the House attempted to pass a law that was deemed unconstitutional, for example (and quite likely) or if the President abused his Treaty-making or judicial appointment powers, the States, through their senators, could immediately block such laws and presidential abuse. To use the language of Thomas Jefferson, the Senate, acting on behalf of the States, could immediately “nullify” (to render “null and void”) such unconstitutional laws and prevent them from being enforced on sovereign States and on a free people. This government feature was potentially the last and one of the strongest of checks and balances in our constitutional system of checks and balances. I will address this issue in more detail below. Ultimately, I hope to emphasize that we NEED TO REPEAL THE 17th AMENDMENT. Our government, now more than ever, needs to revert to the original method of selecting US senators.

Did our Founding Fathers intend for the US Senate to act as an integral element of federalism in our government structure?  I believe so.

Having just fought a revolutionary war against Great Britain and defeated the powerful nation to be recognized as independent sovereign states (and eventually as an independent sovereign nation), our Founding Fathers were distrustful of tyrannies, fearful of governments becoming arbitrary and capricious, obsessed with designing and creating a limited “common government” to regulate common functions of all States and just as importantly, to secure and safeguard the rights and liberties of the American people.

The Constitution Center explains on its website that after returning from France in 1789, Thomas Jefferson supposedly asked George Washington, during breakfast one morning, why Washington had agreed to the creation of the US Senate in the Constitution. Noting the saucer on which Jefferson’s hot morning beverage rested, Washington explained, “we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” Is this story really true? Apparently ,no one can confirm it. Nonetheless, it nicely captures what the Framers hoped to achieve in establishing the US Senate. First, and most importantly, as reflected in Article I, Section 3, the Framers designed the Senate, like they had other fixtures within the Constitution, such as the Electoral College and the judiciary, to be independent of the voting majority. The Senate was originally designed, created, and empowered to function in ways that frustrated direct democracy and designed to keep the House of Representatives in check. Second, it was designed to temper government passions and slow down the legislative process, giving government more time and wisdom (hopefully) to act in the most judicious, responsible, and rational manner – for the good of the country.

In fact, the Constitution originally treated Senators quite differently. In the original design, Senators were chosen by their respective State legislatures, and as a result, they were subject to instruction and recall if they did not do what their legislatures instructed them to do. (Note that while the Constitution provided the minimum age for membership in the House of Representatives to be 25 and for every seat in the House to be up for re-election every two years, it provided that senatorial candidates have a minimum age of 30 in order to serve in the Senate and for each Senator’s term to last for six years. The relatively higher minimal age requirements for Senators and longer lengths of Senate terms were designed to increase the likelihood that Senators would be better educated and more disposed than their House counterparts to take the long view on important issues. The distinction of powers for the House and the Senate – namely, the Senate’s responsibility to ratify treaties and judicial appointments by the president and its sole power to remove a president after being “impeached” (convicted) by the House – would seem to explain why there are different criteria expected of each chamber representative. Such specific responsibilities, as James Madison explained it in Federalist No. 58, serve as “a shield to some particular interests, and another obstacle generally to hasty and partial measures.”

All that changed in 1912 when Congress passed the proposed Seventeenth Amendment on May 13 and then when the States ratified it on April 8, 1913. The Seventeenth Amendment reads: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.”  [The amendment also altered the “filling of vacancies” clause]. In short, the Seventeenth Amendment calls for a dramatic change in how US senators are selected. From 1913 to today, senators are chosen and elected by the people. They have become political creatures rather than representatives of the States and their sovereign interests and concerns.

Indeed, the Seventeenth Amendment totally transformed the Senate and its essential and critical purpose. And this has been very unfortunate. By making Senators subject to popular election in their respective States, it effectively democratized the Senate and, in doing so, abandoned one of the critical differences between the House and the Senate, namely, the primary allegiance of senators to their individual States. The change introduced by the Seventeenth Amendment has made it easier for Senators to pay less attention to local or state leaders’ concerns, to ignore fundamental state issues and concerns, and to ignore the critical importance of federalism and instead more prone to follow the popular will. It essentially created a second body of democratically-elected representatives, each one beholden to the people. It has dealt a dangerous blow to State sovereignty. To be honest, I don’t know what possessed the States to ratify the amendment in 1913.

The growing power in the federal government for the past one hundred years has been possible because of the loss of this critical element of federalism. Because both the House members and senators are elected directly by the people, there is no check or balance on the power of the federal government. Were the Senate body still the instrument of the collective power of the state governments, there could be some pushback when the federal agencies intrude into jurisdictions that should rightfully belong to the States.

I do know, however, that many constitutional scholars believe that it was after the ratification of this transformative Amendment that the Senate joined the House in expanding the size and scope of the federal government to unprecedented degrees, all at the expense of State sovereignty. With this Amendment firmly in place, these scholars argue further that there is no turning back from this foundational transformation.

Before going any further, I’d like to spend just a few paragraphs on the US Constitution.

What is a Constitution –

What is a constitution anyway?  A constitution is the act of a People governing themselves. It is a social compact among members of a society agreeing and acknowledging a particular form of government. The agreement creates and establishes a government and delegates powers to it. The powers delegated are transferred from the original source of sovereign power – the individual  …. We the People.

The Individual, inherently vested by God and by Nature to govern himself, can technically use whatever type of force he deems necessary to protect himself, his family, or his property, including murder. When individuals form together in a society, an agreement (ie, compact/contract) is necessary to establish a uniform set of laws to govern conduct and behavior for the benefit of everyone and to establish a government to execute and enforce those laws. That is the purpose of a constitution. For example, we wouldn’t want Mr. Smith to shoot Mr. Jones for simply picking an apple off his apple tree.

Our US Constitution is exceptional, not only in its words and provisions, but perhaps in the fact that it embodies a unique idea. Nothing like it had ever written and established before. The power of the idea was in the recognition that individual rights are granted directly by the Creator and not by the state (government). And following that premise, it is the people, and only them, that are able to delegate authority to their government. The concept is so simple and yet so very fundamental, far-reaching, and yes, revolutionary.

America’s founders embraced a previously unheard-of political philosophy which held that people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. This was the statement of guiding principle for the new nation, and, as such, had to be translated into a concrete charter for government. The Constitution of The United States of America became that charter. Other forms of government, as we all know, past and present, rely on the state as the grantor of human rights. If government can “allow” its people to exercise certain rights and privileges, they can also take them away. But our American Founding Fathers understood that such a system could never recognize and secure individual liberty, which was to be the founding ideal of America, and so they adopted John Locke’s belief that sovereignty vests first and foremost with the individual. Our Founders also believed that a government made up of imperfect people exercising power over other people should possess limited powers. Through the Constitution they created for us and our country, they wished to secure the blessings of liberty for Americans and for their posterity by limiting the powers of government. Through it, they delegated to government only those rights they wanted it to have, holding to themselves all powers not delegated by the Constitution. (See the limitations in the words and provisions of the Constitution, and especially the Ninth and Tenth Amendments). They even included a means for controlling those powers they had granted to government, and that is our governmental system of Checks and Balances. Many problems we face today result from a departure from this basic con­cept.

Thomas Jefferson and many other members of our founding generation were deeply influenced by the 18th-century European intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, and most noticeably by English philosopher John Locke. Enlightenment philosophy stressed that liberty and equality were natural human rights. The novelty of the Declaration of Independence – that is, its most famous paragraph, the second one (“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. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”) comes almost directly from the writings of John Locke. Locke discussed these themes in his Second Treatise of Government in 1689 at the time of England’s Glorious Revolution, which overthrew the rule of the arbitrary and tyrannical King James II.

The American colonies, then States, and finally the United States, were founded on a revolutionary and magnificent idea. Indeed, the world has changed and become a more civil place since the publication of the Declaration of Independence, the birth of the United States, and the creation of the US Constitution.

The US Constitution is brilliant in that the government so created not only governs the explicit affairs of the States (interstate commerce, money, border security, money, mail, etc) and governs We the People, but it also itself. It is the oldest, and most well-thought out, written constitution in the world.

Checks & Balances

The US Constitution created our federal government. The federal (a name used to incorporate the “federalist” nature of our government system) or “common” government was designed with 3 independent branches, each with its particular responsibilities. To keep each branch confined to its particular responsibilities, our Founding Fathers devised an ingenious system of checks and balances. Actually, the concept was addressed earlier by the French philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu. In his famous work “The Spirit of the Laws,” Montesquieu argued that the best way to prevent the concentration of power arbitrarily in a single branch was through a separation of powers, in which different bodies of government exercised legislative, executive, and judicial power, with all these bodies subject to the rule of law. In addition, each branch enjoys a power that “checks” a power of another branch.

The system of checks and balances is an important part of the Constitution. With checks and balances, each of the three branches of government are given specific abilities to limit the powers of the others. And this way, theoretically, no one branch could become too powerful. The caveat, however, is that should branches collude and work together, then checks and balances will not work to prevent a concentration of government power.

The most obvious of this system of checks and balances is that the president can veto any bill passed by Congress, but a two-thirds vote in Congress can override the veto. Other examples include:

  • The House of Representatives has sole power of impeachment, but the Senate has all power to try any impeachment.
  • Any bills that intend to raise revenue must originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate also has to approve the bill.
  • Congress has the power to set and collect any taxes or duties.
  • The House of Representatives and the Senate both have to pass the same bill before it can become a law.
  • The president is commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army and Navy.
  • The president has the power to grant pardons and reprieves for crimes against the U.S. except in an impeachment.
  • The president can make treaties, but only with a two-thirds agreement from the Senate.
  • The president can appoint Supreme Court judges, but the Senate must approve these choices.
  • Supreme Court judges have the power to declare presidential and Congressional actions as unconstitutional.
  • The vice president is also automatically the president of the Senate.
  • Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution, which, of course, must be ratified by three-fourths of the individual States.
  • Congress can pass laws, or propose amendments to the Constitution (as mentioned above) that essentially can override a Supreme Court decision. (see the Reconstruction era amendments).
  • The States, upon application by two-thirds majority, can apply to the Congress to call a Convention whereby they have the ultimate sovereign power (supreme even to the federal government) to amend, change or even discard the Constitution.

In 1787, the States set out “to amend the Articles of Confederation” in order to overcome its defects. But the agenda soon changed when the delegates met in Philadelphia that summer. Their goal was to create a new constitution that would give a central or common government power to act nationally but not take away the rights of any State or its people. They specifically wanted to avoid a government that copied the king of England and his parliament.

As mentioned earlier, having US senators selected by state legislatures and therefore acting for the benefit of state interests, state sovereignty, states’ rights, was a powerful check and balance, integrated physically and meaningfully in the very design of the legislative branch. Sadly, that immediate check is no longer able to act for our benefit, which is to check the power of Congress and the president so that our essential rights and liberties remain safe and secure

Federalism –

Federalism is our strongest and most effective form of “Check and Balance.” Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government.  It is often referred to as our system of “dual sovereignty.” Our Founding Fathers designed a government which is predicated on the division of political power between the national or federal government and the individual States. Technically, it was the sovereign States that surrendered a limited number of their sovereign powers to the federal government to exercise for their mutual benefit, while retaining most of them. The Constitution clearly reflects this by its express enumeration of powers delegated to the new government it created as well as by the addition of the Tenth Amendment (a remnant of the Articles of Confederation), which restates the principal of federalism. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.” James Madison went on to explain this division in his essay The Federalist No. 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.”

Our system of dual sovereignty implies that each sovereign possesses a specific sphere of governing power. And that separation of power implies that each sovereign will jealously guard their powers. Because of this tension, they will take note of when the other side infringes on and usurps their sovereign powers. The system created is necessarily adversarial, just like the legal system whereby the two opposing attorneys vigorously defend their clients and go against each other in a court of law.

Why is this unique government design feature so critical to our idea of government?

Federalism is one of the most important and innovative concepts in the design of our American government system and in the drafting of the Constitution, although the word never appears there. In America, the states existed first and they struggled to create a national government that would not compromise their sovereignty.  The US Constitution is “hardwired” with the tensions of that struggle, and in fact, the States demanded that the Tenth Amendment be added to remind the federal government and to remind the People that its powers are limited to the plain words and provisions in the Constitution and the remainder are reserved to the States. (The language of the Tenth Amendment is extremely similar to Article II of the Articles of Confederation). The Tenth Amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  It emphasizes that the inclusion of a Bill of Rights does not change the fundamental character of the national government. It remains a government of limited and enumerated powers, so that the first question involving an exercise of federal power is not whether it violates someone’s rights, but whether it exceeds the national government’s enumerated powers.

Note that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments also evoke themes of popular sovereignty, which was articulated in the Declaration of Independence, and which highlights the foundational role of the people in the constitutional republic. “A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Perhaps most importantly, however, federalism is the last and most important of our checks and balances. When all other means of checks and balances fail to curb the ambition of the federal government, the States can always use their authority as an equal sovereign (some might say a superior sovereign) to resist the government in DC and refuse to acknowledge and enforce an unconstitutional law, federal policy, executive order, or emergency order, as well as a federal court opinion which is deemed an exercise in judicial activism and/or an erroneous interpretation of the Constitution. [See Nullification]. And that makes it the most critical in helping to keep the federal government in check and preventing it from usurping powers not specifically delegated to it and becoming too large and tyrannical.

To repeat, having US senators selected by state legislatures and therefore acting for the benefit of state interests, state sovereignty, states’ rights, was a powerful check and balance, integrated physically and meaningfully in the very design of the legislative branch. Again, that immediate check is no longer able to act for our benefit, which is, of course, to check the power of Congress and the president so that our essential rights and liberties remain safe and secure.

Nullification –

Nullification is the legal theory that holds that the States can refuse to comply with federal laws that they deem to be unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson articulated the doctrine/theory in his Kentucky Resolutions of 1799, in which he also added the term to our lexicon:

RESOLVED, That this commonwealth considers the federal union, upon the terms and for the purposes specified in the late compact, as conducive to the liberty and happiness of the several states: That it does now unequivocally declare its attachment to the Union, and to that compact, agreeable to its obvious and real intention, and will be among the last to seek its dissolution: That if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence: That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, IS THE RIGHTFUL REMEDY: That this commonwealth does upon the most deliberate reconsideration declare, that the said alien and sedition laws, are in their opinion, palpable violations of the said constitution; and however cheerfully it may be disposed to surrender its opinion to a majority of its sister states in matters of ordinary or doubtful policy; yet, in momentous regulations like the present, which so vitally wound the best rights of the citizen, it would consider a silent acquiescence as highly criminal: That although this commonwealth as a party to the federal compact; will bow to the laws of the Union, yet it does at the same time declare, that it will not now, nor ever hereafter, cease to oppose in a constitutional manner, every attempt from what quarter soever offered, to violate that compact:

Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions of 1799 followed up on his earlier draft – The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 in which he essentially stated the same thing, just not using the exact term “nullification.”  James Madison drafted a similar set of resolutions in 1798 – The Virginia Resolutions of 1798. In that document, he introduced another word to our lexicon – “Interposition,” which is the act of intervening or interposing between government and the People. (Interposition is a claimed right of a U.S. state to oppose actions of the federal government that the state deems unconstitutional). Here is the language Madison used:

That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and ARE DUTY BOUND, to INTERPOSE for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

The resolutions, which were written specifically to motivate the individual States to declare John Adams’ “Sedition Act” (of 1796) unconstitutional, assert and re-state two key founding propositions: First, the Union is a compact among individual states that delegates specific powers to the federal government and reserves the rest for the states to exercise themselves. Second, it is both a right and a duty of individual states to interpose themselves between their citizens and the federal government. On these bases, Virginia’s resolution, penned by Madison, declared that the Sedition Act was unconstitutional and that measures should be taken by all states to retain their reserved powers under the Tenth Amendment. Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution took Madison’s theory of interposition a step further and concluded that because the Sedition Act was unconstitutional, it was null and void and therefore unenforceable. That is, because it exceeded the powers delegated to the US Congress and the US President, they were null and void from the inception and from the moment of its passing. [Note, the Resolutions actually accused the Alien and the Sedition Acts (of 1796) of being unconstitutional, but the Sedition Act was the most offensive].

Checks and balances and especially state nullification & interposition are peaceful remedies to keep the government from becoming tyrannical. Without these “peaceful” remedies, we face violent remedies such as revolution, secession, and war. In making their case for nullification and interposition at the time of the Alien & Sedition Acts in 1798, Jefferson and Madison made this important point.

Nullification, as explained above, is an American founding legal theory, just as secession is. They transcend the Constitution in that no government can regulate or abolish such doctrines and theories. And since the Constitution delegates powers to the federal government, and nullification and secession are intentionally withheld, they are not mentioned in that founding document. Just as we as individuals have “inalienable rights” that no government can violate or take away from us, the States (as individual and independent sovereigns) have the inalienable powers of nullification and secession. If anyone wishes to find even a hint of these powers in our Founding documents and in our Constitution, I would argue that they are implied in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, our federal government structure (“federalism”), and in the Tenth Amendment. Throughout US constitutional history, legitimate scholars have held that the States have the right to declare null and void any federal law that they deem to be unconstitutional under the US Constitution. Of course, nullification is considered an “extreme application” of States’ rights. Of course it would be labeled as such because IT IS !!  As I mentioned earlier, nullification is the last, most important, and most effective of checks and balances on the federal government. Because of its power to limit the ambition of the federal government, the federal government refuses to recognize it (characterizing it as “not legitimate”) and the federal courts have never upheld it.

About 20 years ago, while I was helping to run the NC Tenth Amendment Center, I predicted that the day would come when Americans would finally become acquainted with the doctrine of Nullification, and I believe we are seeing that happen. Today, States continue to enact laws and policies essentially nullifying and resisting federal laws in areas such as health care regulation, gun control, and abortion within their borders.

Once again, having US senators selected by state legislatures and therefore acting for the benefit of state interests, state sovereignty, states’ rights, was a powerful check and balance, integrated physically and meaningfully in the very design of the legislative branch. That immediate check is no longer able to act for our benefit, which is, of course, to check the power of Congress and the president so that our essential rights and liberties remain safe and secure.

Author Thomas DeLorenzo explains the situation very well in his article “Is the Lunatic Left is Getting Desperate”:

The founding fathers intended that state legislatures would appoint senators and then instruct them on how to vote in Congress. This was to safeguard against the corruption of senators by special interests. The ability of state legislatures to instruct senators was mentioned frequently during the Constitutional Convention and the state ratifying conventions and was always assumed to exist.

At the New York ratifying convention John Jay, one of the three authors of The Federalist Papers, said that the Senate is to be composed of men appointed by the state legislatures…. “I presume they will also instruct them, that there will be a constant correspondence between the senators and the state executives.” At the Massachusetts ratifying convention, Fisher Ames referred to U.S. senators as ambassadors of the states. James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45 that because of this system the U.S. Senate would be disinclined to invade the rights of the individual States, or the prerogatives of their governments. This was an important element of the whole system of states’ rights or federalism that was created by our founders. Madison wrote in Federalist No. 62 that the system gave to state governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former. It helped establish the fact that the citizens of the states were sovereign and the masters, not the servants, of their own government.

The legislative appointment of U.S. senators was responsible for the most famous declarations of the States’ Rights philosophy of our most influential Founders, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson articulated the doctrine of Nullification in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and then the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799, and Madison articulated the doctrine of Interposition in his Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and then his Report of 1800.  These Resolutions were used as part of the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures’ instructions to their senators to vote to repeal the offensive and unconstitutional Sedition Act, which effectively prohibited free political speech.

John Quincy Adams resigned from the Senate in 1809 because he disagreed with the Massachusetts state legislature’s instructions to him to oppose President James Madison’s trade embargo. Senator David Stone of North Carolina resigned in 1814 after his state legislature disapproved of his collaboration with the New England Federalists on several legislative issues. Senator Peleg Sprague of Maine resigned in 1835 after opposing his state legislatures’ instructions to oppose the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. When the U.S. Senate censured President Andrew Jackson for having vetoed the rechartering of the Bank, seven U.S. Senators resigned rather than carry out their state legislatures’ instructions to vote to have Jackson’s censure expunged. One of them was Senator John Tyler of Virginia, who would become President of the United States in 1841.

In other words, the original system of state legislative appointment of U.S. Senators did exactly what it was designed to do – limit the tyrannical proclivities of the central government. The Senate played an active role in preserving the sovereignty and independent sphere of action of state governments in the pre-Seventeenth Amendment era prior to 1913. Rather than delegating lawmaking authority to Washington, state legislators insisted on keeping authority close to home, as our Founding Fathers intended. As a result, the long-term size of the federal government remained fairly stable and relatively small during the pre-Seventeenth-Amendment era.

Compare that to the size and scope of the federal government today.

Some Examples –

Let’s look at some specific cases where the US Senate as intended by our Founding Fathers would have rescued Americans from federal over-reach.

In February 1938, the US Congress passed a major piece of New Deal legislation – The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. The program was enacted as an alternative and replacement for the farm subsidy policies, with its goal being the restoration of agricultural prosperity during the Great Depression by curtailing farm production, reducing export surpluses, and raising prices. The bill established limits on wheat production, based on the acreage owned by a farmer, in order to stabilize wheat prices and supplies. Farmers who grew in excess of the limits set by the bill were fined. The Agricultural Adjustment Act was passed to replace a previous farm subsidy bill – the New Deal’s Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 – which had been found to be unconstitutional (as exceeding Congress’ taxing power). The act revived the provisions in the previous Agriculture Adjustment Act, with the exception that the financing of the law’s programs would be provided by subsidies from general tax revenues instead of a new tax.

How might things have worked out if the US Senate has been comprised of representatives appointed by their state legislatures to represent state interests?  Being that the United States was in the Great Depression (the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939), was being led by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal program, and realizing that a war was beginning in Europe and threatening to reshape the political and geographical landscape, the US House would undoubtedly have passed the bill. The bill would then have gone over to the Senate. The States, informing their representatives that the bill potentially would give the federal government too much power, would have emphasized that the bill was unconstitutional. The Senate would have (hopefully) voted against the bill, thereby preventing it from becoming law and preventing the federal government from abusing the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

If the Senate can ever derail a piece of unconstitutional federal legislation or strike it down, and thereby preventing it from going to the federal courts, that should be its goal. Allowing a federal bill to go to the federal courts, including and especially the Supreme Court, gives the court (liberal court) the chance to find in favor of the government and to implicitly expand its powers. It should be noted that it has been the federal judiciary over the many years that has recognized and affirmed ever larger and expansive powers to the federal government.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 was especially noteworthy in that it was at the center of a so-called “landmark” Supreme Court case – Wickard v. Filmore (1942). Some may remember that the Obama administration cited Wickard when it defended its signature bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC). What Obama was insinuating was that the federal government has almost absolute power when it comes to regulating commerce.

In 1940, Ohio farmer Roscoe Filburn became the plaintiff in the lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the federal farming bill. For many years, he had owned and operated a small farm in Montgomery County, Ohio, maintaining a herd of dairy cattle, selling milk, raising poultry, and selling poultry and eggs. It had been his practice to raise a small acreage of winter wheat, sown in the fall and harvested in the following July, to sell a portion of the crop, to feed part to the chickens and livestock on the farm, to use some in making flour for he and his family, and to keep the rest for the following season’s seeding.

Farmer Filburn admitted producing wheat in excess of the amount permitted by law but maintained that the excess wheat was produced for his private consumption on his own farm (as explained above) – specifically to feed the animals on his farm. Since it never entered commerce at all, much less interstate commerce, he argued that it was not a proper subject of federal regulation under the Commerce Clause.

The case made it all the way up to the US Supreme Court. By the time the case reached the high court, eight out of the nine justices had been appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt, the architect of the New Deal legislation. In addition, the case was heard during wartime, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized the United States to enter the Second World War. Filburn argued that since the excess wheat that he produced was intended solely for home consumption, his wheat production could not be regulated through the Interstate Commerce Clause. The Supreme Court rejected the argument and reasoned that if Filburn had not produced his own wheat, he would have bought wheat on the open market.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ruled against Filburn and for the government. In fact, the Court not only recognized the Commerce Clause as being the source of the government’s power, but greatly enlarged that power.

The opinion of the Court read: “Whether the subject of the regulation in question was ‘production,’ ‘consumption,’ or ‘marketing’ is, therefore, not material for purposes of deciding the question of federal power before us. That an activity is of local character may help in a doubtful case to determine whether Congress intended to reach it…. But even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’

In other words, the Supreme Court greatly expanded the meaning of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause – from its original meaning, which was “interstate commerce” to “anything that directly or indirectly has an effect on interstate commerce.”  Anything and almost everything can be found to have an indirect effect on interstate commerce. This means that the Supreme Court has recognized a plenary (absolute) power to regulate commerce.

Note that one of the most important of our founding values has been the right of private property and the ability to use one’s property to its fullest potential. One such “potential” is to use the land to grow food for personal consumption. To want to grow wheat to feed one’s farm animals certainly would be covered by such an assumption.

Wickard marked the beginning of the Supreme Court’s total deference to the claims of the U.S. Congress to Commerce Clause powers until the 1990s.

The post-New Deal Supreme Court, through the opinion in Wickard and in subsequent opinions related to New Deal programs gave Congress almost limitless power to regulate private economic activity as it saw fit. That greatly-expanded interpretation of the Commerce Clause remained in effect until the Supreme Court decided the case of United States v. Lopez (1995), which was the first decision in six decades to invalidate a federal statute on the grounds that it exceeded the power of the Congress under the Commerce Clause. The opinion described Wickard as “perhaps the most far-reaching example of Commerce Clause authority over intrastate commerce” and judged that it “greatly expanded the authority of Congress beyond what is defined in the Constitution under that Clause.”

It is important to note that the federal courts have been the legal gate that has consistently allowed the federal government to grow and concentrate its powers, even by usurping them from the rightful sovereigns, which are the States and the People. (Roe v. Wade was one such case and Obergefell was another). Do you see a pattern here? This is exactly what our Founding Fathers feared – a federal monopoly over the meaning and intent of the US Constitution.

Remember back during Barack Obama’s administration when he fought and schemed to get a government health insurance bill (“Obamacare”) passed. If it weren’t for an egregious intervention by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a blatant act of judicial activism, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC, or “Obamacare”) would have been found to be unconstitutional. There was no Article I power to sustain it. Yet Roberts gave it federal “life” and a constitutional basis when he used legal magic to link it to Congress’ power to tax. Twenty-six States filed suit to have it declared unconstitutional. [See the National Federation of Independent Business, et al v. Sebelius, 2012].

Here is how that situation would have worked out if the Senate represented the interests of the States: The US House would have passed the bill and then it would have gone over to the Senate. The States, informing their representatives, would have emphasized that the bill was unconstitutional and infringed on an area traditionally and historically reserved to the individual states. The Senate would have voted against the bill, thereby preventing it from becoming law. Alternatively, the bill could have gone back to the House where defects could have been addressed to bring it in line with the Constitution and then it could have gone through the passage procedure with better luck.

The 1985-86 US Congress passed a bill titled the “Firearms Owners’ Protection Act” (codified as 18 U.S.C. 924) which amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 to redefine “gun dealer” and to exclude those making occasional sales or repairs. It also exempts certain activities involving ammunition from current prohibitions, permits the interstate sale of rifles and shotguns, provided that: (i) the transferee and transferor meet in person to accomplish the transfer; and (ii) such sale complies with the laws of both States. Furthermore, it presumes the licensee to have actual knowledge of the laws of both States. It revises the current prohibition against the sale of firearms or ammunition to certain categories of individuals and makes it unlawful, with certain exceptions, for any individual to transfer or possess a machine gun. [for a more detailed list of amendments, go to this government link:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/99th-congress/senate-bill/49 ]

The statute 18 U.S.C. 924 contains a “Penalties” provision – 18 U.S.C. 924 (c)(1)(A):

(c)(1) (A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime,

(i)  be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years…… 

There was a potential constitutional problem with this provision. Nowhere in the statute is “crime of violence” defined as having “violence” as one of its elements. This problem wasn’t addressed until 2019.

In 2019, in the case United States v. Davis, the Supreme Court held that this provision, which provides enhanced penalties for using a firearm during a “crime of violence,” is unconstitutionally vague. As such, it violates the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The judicial doctrine of prohibiting the enforcement of vague laws rests on the twin constitutional pillars of due process and separation of powers. Only the people’s elected representatives in the legislature are authorized to “make an act a crime.” Vague statutes threaten to hand responsibility for defining crimes to relatively unaccountable police, prosecutors, and judges, eroding the people’s ability to oversee the creation of the laws they are expected to abide and the right to know clearly and exactly what type of behavior a law prohibits. Unconstitutionally vague statutes are easy for law enforcement officers to abuse and they open the door to judicial activism.

How could a Senate comprised of representatives appointed by state legislatures been able to prevent the problem with this law? States are exceedingly scrutinous in laws affecting the right to keep and bear arms. Assuming that States select their brightest to represent them in the Senate, the body of Senators would likely have picked up on the “vagueness” problem. The Senate would have refused to affirm the bill, would have sent it back to the House for amending, and then taken it up again only after its constitutional defects were remedied.

In 2020, several cases were brought citing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual preference and on transgender status. They alleged that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or transgender status. The cases were consolidated in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and the question before the Court was whether Title VII’s prohibition against employment discrimination “because of . . . sex” includes discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Supreme Court found that each of the plaintiffs was protected under Title VII. In a 6-3 decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court found that each of the employees’ sex played a role in their adverse employment actions and, applying a literal interpretation of the statute, concluded such discrimination is forbidden. The Court acknowledged the employers’ argument that Congress, when it enacted Title VII, contemplated that “the term ‘sex’ in 1964 referred to ‘status as either male or female as determined by reproductive biology.’”

Congress, in 1964, could have included a provision to ban discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and on “gender identity” but it did not. In dissenting opinions, Justices Samuel Alito (joined by Justice Clarence Thomas) and Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the majority departed from Congress’s intent when Title VII was enacted. The majority, however, asserted that the statute’s text should serve as the measure of Congress’s intent and that “when the meaning of the statute’s terms is plain, our job is at an end.”

The Supreme Court committed judicial activism in the Bostock case, by substituting its interpretation for the interpretation of the legislature (Congress). What the Court should have done was to remand the bill back to Congress for amending, if deemed important enough. Laws are the supreme province of the legislature.

How could a Senate comprised on representatives appointed by their state legislatures been able to intervene on such a situation? Such a state-led body of Congress could have issued a public statement asserting a policy whereby the Senate judicial confirmation process will be infinitely more scrutinous, making sure to vet each appointee thorough, pinning them down on where he or she stands on judicial activism, interpretation ideology, views on issues and prior Court opinions, etc. With the Senate being the States’ “check and balance” to a president’s judicial appointments, its members can make that confirmation grueling.  

In July 2022, the US House passed a federal gun control law – H.B. 7910 (“Protecting Our Kids Act”) which would make various changes to the federal firearms laws, including establishing new criminal offenses and expanding the types of weapons and devices that are subject to regulation. Among the other changes the bill proposes to make are the following:

  • prohibits (generally) the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to individuals who are under 21 years of age;
  • establishes new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking and related conduct;
  • establishes a federal statutory framework to regulate ghost guns (i.e., guns without serial numbers);
  • establishes a framework to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at the federal, state, and tribal levels;
  • subjects bump stocks to regulation under federal firearms laws;
  • generally prohibits the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices; and
  • requires the Department of Justice to report on the demographic data of persons who are determined to be ineligible to purchase a firearm based on a background check performed by the national instant criminal background check system.

Think of how a Senate comprised of representatives appointed by the state legislatures would react to such a federal gun control law. States – most states, that is – are very protective of the right to keep and bear firearms without burdensome federal regulations.

Think of how a State-led Senate would handle the border issue and the illegal immigration issue and the drug trafficking and sex trafficking issues. These are particularly important and critical issues to the States and consequently, they would make sure their representatives in the Senate did the right thing to force the federal government to take its responsibility at the border very seriously.

The Senate, as the Founders agreed, should be the legislative body for the individual States. They understood that the House of Representatives would be the body that represents the people and therefore, each State would have representation that correlates with its population. The small states, at the Philadelphia Convention, were concerned that this way of selecting legislative representatives would discriminate and be disadvantageous to them and consequently, their influence, their concerns, their issues, etc would be minimized and essentially ignored in the US Congress. The Senate, therefore, was proposed as a co-equal legislative body with equal representation of all States – each State getting 2 senators. It made sense. As a co-equal legislative body, and as a direct representation of the States, the States could feel comforted that they were represented equally by their new “common” government.

Once again, the transformation of the US Senate in 1913 by the addition of the Seventeenth Amendment to our Constitution weakened one of the strongest connections between Senators and their States as sovereign entities and destroyed one of the strongest and most important of constitutional/governmental checks and balances. It has made it easier for Senators to pay less attention to local or state leaders’ concerns about federalism and more prone to follow the popular will, even if it has meant sacrificing State sovereignty, and we have certainly seen this over the past 100 years or so. Our Founding Fathers and the drafters of our precious founding documents did their jobs with the utmost skill and intelligence, basing all decisions upon a diligent study of history, with the urging of Providence, and with their ultimate goal in mind – the preservation and security of individual rights and liberty.

I’ll make the point yet again – The Constitution holds all the answers for the problems that are plaguing our country. And most of the problems stem from a government that has consistently ignored its Constitutional limits, has been overly ambitious, and has played more to politics than to the American people. Furthermore, ambitious politicians and ambitious political parties have weaponized the federal government for their own purposes. One particular remedy, the US Senate, as described and recognized in the original Constitution (Article I, Section 3) is very important as it puts the power of the States directly in the business of government. Unfortunately, the Seventeenth Amendment was passed to take that remedy away.

I therefore urge citizen activists to contact their state representatives and their DC representatives to demand that the Seventeenth Amendment be repealed. This way, having US senators selected by state legislatures and therefore acting for the benefit of state interests, state sovereignty, states’ rights, can once again be an immediate and powerful check and balance on the federal government, integrated physically and meaningfully in the very design of the legislative branch. Of course, keeping the federal government limited and confined to the restrictions in the Constitution, is the best way to maintain and secure our precious and essential rights and liberties.  

Of course, the most important reason to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment is to restore the rightful balance of power between the federal government and the State governments, and in doing so, restoring the rightful balance of political power between the federal government and the People.

I hope I have made that point clear.

REPEAL THE SEVENTEENTH AMENDMENT !!!

References

Federalist No. 45 (written by James Madison) – https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed45.asp

Interpretation of Article I, Section 3, The Constitution Center – https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/article-i/clauses/765

Kentucky Resolutions of 1799 (written by Thomas Jefferson), The Avalon Project –  https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/kenres.asp  

Virginia Resolutions of 1798 (written by James Madison) – https://billofrightsinstitute.org/primary-sources/virginia-and-kentucky-resolutions

Thomas DeLorenzo, “The Lunatic Left is Getting Desperate,” Lew Rockwell, March 22, 2010.  Referenced at:  https://www.lewrockwell.com/2010/03/thomas-dilorenzo/smearing-ron-paul-and-states-rights/

Henry Lamb, REPEAL 17 NOW! Why the 17th Amendment Should Be Repealed and How to Do It, National Center for Constitutional Studies, January 2011.

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The Problems With America’s Public Schools

by Diane Rufino, July 27, 2022

The first occurs during ages 2-7, with a second one occurring during adolescence. At the start of these periods, the number of connections (synapses) between brain cells (neurons) doubles. What this means is that 2-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults. Because these connections between brain cells are where learning occurs, twice as many synapses enable the brain to learn faster than at any other time of life. Therefore, children’s experiences in this phase have lasting effects on their development. The opportunity to learn is great, children have an enhanced ability to soak in a wide range of skill sets, but the brain still needs a lot of re-modeling before it can function as an adult brain.

And then there is the second phase, in adolescence. The brain re-modeling happens intensively during adolescence, continuing until a child is in his or her mid-20s. Brain change depends on age, experience, and hormonal changes in puberty. During adolescence, the brain undergoes a process known as “pruning.” The frontal part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is pruned or re-modeled last. The prefrontal cortex is the decision-making part of the brain which is responsible for a child’s ability to plan and think about the consequences of actions, solve problems and control impulses. Changes in this part of the brain continue into early adulthood.

Essentially, teenagers are working with brains that are still under construction.

The combination of a child’s unique brain and environment influences the way he or she acts, thinks and feels. For example, the child’s preferred activities and skills might become ‘hard-wired’ in the brain.

Why is this important and critical?  It’s important because the school-age years have the great potential of making the most permanent influence on a child. Preferred activities and viewpoints have the potential to become “hard-wired’ in their brains. School activities and sports pose a healthy influence on children; teaching (ie, indoctrinating) such progressive and controversial doctrines and policies pose an unhealthy influence on them.

These are the years when parents, family, and the church are the rightful parties to influence them on moral and social issues. Certainly, the progressive school system is not. Teachers do not know better than parents. The indoctrination, the personal values, views, and politics of teachers and school officials must never supersede or undermine the values and views of a child’s parents, family, and church. Teachers and progressive school policies pose a potential danger to the development of a child’s brain development.

This article explores just a few of the failures affecting the American public education system today. We’ll also explore five of the biggest emerging trends in American education.

Policymakers are constantly fighting to make changes to the American public education system, and not all of them are beneficial. Over the years, there has been a great deal of back-and-forth that has left the public education system in shambles. Some of these problems are easy to identify and have been long-standing issues while others are new, brought about by advances in technology, changes in policy, and general change that happens with time.

Every story has two sides, and for every policy or program put into place, there are going to be proponents and critics. Below you’ll find an overview of some of the biggest issues facing the American public system as well as arguments from people on both sides of the issue.

1.  Parents are not Involved Enough — Teachers in public schools can only do so much to support their students. When the students go home for the day, the state of their home life can impact their development both personally and academically. In cases where parents lack higher education, they may not be able to provide the assistance students need to learn and to complete homework. Students in low-income families face additional challenges at home, though even middle- and upper-class families aren’t off the hook. In many families, parents are too career-focused and have little time to spend supporting their child’s education.

2.  Problems with the Common Core Curriculum — The Common Core State Standards were developed to specify exactly what students should know before graduating high school. It was developed in 2009 to promote educational equity across the country, holding all students to the same standardized testing requirements. Some see the problem as a federal intrusion into the state control of education and others say that it doesn’t allow for teacher innovation and flexibility with the learning process. Most states adopted the standards when they were introduced but more than a dozen have since repealed or revised them.

3.  Emphasis on Standardized Testing — Along with Common Core, there has been an increased focus on standardized testing, especially during the No Child Left Behind years. Schools and teachers are judged based on student test scores which, many argue, is not a fair or accurate measure of efficacy. Many critics argue that standardized testing is one of the biggest problems in American education, suggesting that the pressure to produce high test scores leads to a teach-to-the-test approach and reduced focus on non-tested subjects like art.

4.  Decline in School Safety — There has been a string of high-profile mass shootings in American schools, resulting not only in dozens of deaths but many debates about school safety. In one poll, over 50% of teenagers said they were worried about the possibility of gun violence in school. Teachers all across the country are faced with the problem of figuring out how to prevent attacks and protect the lives of students and personnel. Some suggest special straining for teachers and concealed weapons might make schools safer while critics argue that more guns in schools could lead to more accidents and injuries. Others suggest moving funding around to hire school safety officers, hiring veterans, or even asking for volunteer veterans to help keep school children, teachers, and personnel safe.

5.  School Choice, Including Charter Schools, Voucher Programs, and Home Schooling — A particularly hot topic in education today is school choice. Charter schools and school vouchers allow parents to choose options other than traditional public schools for their children, while home schooling appears to be the most popular alternative choice. Home schooling allows the parents to completely control their child’s education and curriculum, and college admissions offices admit that their best applicants have been home schooled. Charter schools are funded by a combination of private and public funds and operate outside the public school system. School vouchers allow parents to use public funds to send their child to a school of choice, including private schools. Supporters of school choice assert that “money should follow the student” while critics complain that charter schools and voucher programs siphon funds away from public schools that are already struggling financially.

6.  The Dilution of a Sound, Basic Education with Non-Essential and Non-Value-Added Progressive Policies and Curriculum Additions – Education is being replaced with INDOCTRINATION. While state boards of education and local boards of education are responsible for providing a robust, sound, and basic education (which is the rightful expectation of parents) and in most cases are constitutionally tasked “to guard and maintain the right to a sound, basic education for every child” in the state’s public schools,” they make decisions for our students (and in disregard of parents) that go completely against those expectations and instead push all kinds of non-value-added, harmful, and perverse progressive and leftist policies down the pipeline to all local public schools. [Note, the North Carolina Supreme Court determined in the 1997 case of Leandro v. State that children in NC are entitled to a “sound basic education”[.

What are these progressive policies? They actually have various names and take various forms:

  • Critical Race Theory (CRT)
  • Social Emotional Learning policies (SEL)
  • Panoramic Surveys (and other Identity surveys)
  • Equity & Inclusion Programs  (Advancing Social Justice, Racial Equality, and the stressing of ‘Equity’ over ‘Equality’)
  • LGBTQ policies and programs
  • Transgenderism and Gender Fluidity lessons
  • Progressive and Inclusive Sex Education in Health classes
  • Pornography in public school reading material

Critical Race Theory policy is perhaps the hottest issue that has parents all across the country up in arms over what is going on with the public school system and what is wrong with the public school system. CRT is all about indoctrinating students with anti-American history and divisive concepts regarding race. It asserts that the United States is historically, systemically, and structurally racist because that is how white persons can continue to benefit. Rather than bringing students together with love and respect for one another, and with an appreciation of our “differences” and our “diversity” (which, incidentally, supporters of CRT claim is our greatest strength), CRT divides students along racial lines, having them look first at skin color rather than looking at the “content of one’s character.”

Derrick Wilburn, an African-American father and pastor, told a school board back in August 2021: “CRT in the classroom is taking our country in the wrong direction. Racism in America would, for all intents and purposes, be dead today if it weren’t for certain individuals, a certain political party, and certain institutions keeping it on life support. Putting CRT in the classroom does nothing to combat racism. What it really does is to fan the flames of what little embers remain of this toxic and divisive form of discrimination. Members of the board of education, let racism die the death it deserves.”

Another hot issue is gender identity and the counseling and questioning by school officials of students regarding such. Parents have become horrified to discover that their school policy allows for, and implements, plans to help “transition” gender-confused children, without parents’ knowledge or consent. In some instances, school officials were instructed to use the students’ correct name and pronouns when speaking with parents, but transgender names and pronouns when parents weren’t present. Why are schools all of a sudden sexualizing of children, including small children. Remember what I wrote at the very start of this article – about the underdevelopment of a child’s brain and their inability to rationalize and analyze. When did it become the responsibility of the public school, a government institution, to discuss and question a child’s gender identity? The way I see it, such a conversation would only confuse a child and eventually cause psychological issues.

How do any of these policies and programs and curriculum additions further a robust “sound, basic public school education”?

7.  The Transformation of an Institution for Education Into One That Performs Therapy —  Parents are outraged that teachers and school officials are instituting counseling, including for gender identity issues and gender dysphoria, social emotional learning policies (SEL), and panoramic surveys to mine personal information on children.

SEL, according to progressive school board members and school administrators, helps school officials find out about students’ emotions and social awareness in order to help them manage in the public education setting. How do school officials gather this information?  They pass out a survey, a series of very personal questions asking about the child’s outlook, emotional status, gender status, home life, religious status, relationship with mother, relationship with father, inquiring if there is both a mother and father, asking how much time he or she spends alone at home without a parent in the house, asking if daddy hits mommy, asking if the child has been abused by a parent, asking if there is a gun in the house, asking if the child has had sexual relations and if so, with how many partners, asking if the student needs to speak to a counselor, etc.  The questions, aside from being very (and unnecessarily) probative, intrude most directly on a child’s right to privacy and the right of his or her parents to safeguard the information that the public school (and by extension, the government) collects. (Violation of privacy and a violation of parental rights). But the questions don’t stop with an inquiry as to the child’s emotional and psychological well-being. They ask unacceptable questions about sexuality and gender (unacceptable for the age and development of school-age children) as well as questions that can be used to report the child and the family to the departments of social services and to the local law enforcement agencies.

Panoramic Surveysare a series of carefully-designed questions, intended to pull students’ information together in one report apparently to give the school system insight into their individual identity, their emotional status and vulnerability, and psychological status and vulnerability for the purpose of helping to “improving student outcomes.”  The explanation sold to parents and to the community is that Panorama surveys provide a valid and reliable way “to measure and improve social-emotional learning (SEL) in the public school system.” SEL and Panorama have an incestuous relationship; SEL requires invasive Panorama Surveys to be administered to 1.5 million public school children via a software program attached to their student identifier number. Children are their sexuality, race, nationality, and about their lifestyles and safety at home. As if these series of questions aren’t enough, school-age children are also asked to complete a psychiatric evaluation.

A number of school systems all across the country are utilizing Panorama to collect student data – including information not related to “engagement and connection to the school community.” Why are they doing this?

8.  Equity in Education. Many believe that equality, rather than equity, should be the proper policy in the public school system, if it is to properly prepare students for the real world. Equity in education implies and indirectly teaches students that there is a dual social system – one for some people and another for minorities (mostly for minorities, I should say). “Equity in education” is the process of reforming practices, policies, and procedures at the school and district levels to support academic fairness and inclusion and ensure that every child has the resources, teachers, interventions, and supports they need to be successful. Equity, which is determined on a student-by-student basis, is giving specific resources and support to disadvantaged students to bring them up to the same opportunity level as their peers. In more simple terms, those who need more get more.

9.  Teaching Methods Are Changing, Thanks to Diversity & Inclusion Policies – The teaching methods of yesterday which have been based on the competition method (which reward students who work the hardest, study diligently, and invest in their education and get the best grades) are being replaced by “group think” and “group work/group projects” methods. The “competition” method has been criticized as being racist, with white students apparently benefitting most, while minority students aren’t successful using that method. They apparently learn best in groups, sharing in grades and often leaning on the smarter students to complete assignments and projects (after all, the smarter students would never allow themselves to get a substandard grade).

10.  The Substitution of Teachers and the School System for the Child’s Parents – Parents all across the country are getting off the couch, out of the kitchen, and out of their homes to confront their boards of education complaining that their “parental rights” are being disrespected and ignored. Many schools feel it is their job and their responsibility, and not the parents’, to make decisions for the benefit and in the best interests of the child. They are demanding that their state governments and local boards of education adopt a formal “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”  A sample Parent’s Bill of Rights might look something like:

  1. Education funds must follow students, not systems.
  2. Parents have the right to engage in the selection and approval of academic standards.
  3. Parents have the right to access educational materials, resources, and syllabi taught to their children in the classroom.
  4. Parents have the right to make medical care decisions on behalf of their children.
  5. Parents will receive timely notification of information related to the health, well-being, and education of their children.
  6. In-person education is a right that should always be available as a choice.
  7. Parents have the right to transparent access to school and school district academic performance.
  8. Parents have the right to access detailed and up-to-date district financial records.
  9. Parents have the right to opt their children out of the classroom for delivery of content listed in the syllabus with which they disagree.
  10. Parents have the right to know about situations affecting their minor child’s safety in school (individually or school-wide).. Parents shall be notified in a timely manner of all reported incidents pertaining to student safety, including all crimes or misdemeanors committed by teachers or other school employees.
  11. Parents should never have to “co-parent” with government. “Basic and sound education” is the sole province of government; parenting is the sole province of parents.
  12. The right to know what their minor child is being taught in school, including, but not limited to, curricula, books, and other instructional materials.
  13. Parents have the right to determine and choose which education environment will best serve their child’s education needs, without judgement from others or resistance by the school system, even if that environment is at home (home-schooling).
  14. Parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding their child’s education, well-being, and access to public school progressive indoctrination. Religion, morality, family and social values are matters to be directed and respected as belonging to parents.
  15. Parents shall not be required to sign non-disclosure agreements or similar forms for parental review of curricula and shall be allowed to make copies of curriculum documents.
  16. Parents have the right to visit their child during school hours and to be able to sit-in on their child’s class, upon making a request to do so.
  17. Parents have the right to be provided with information, data, and statistics as to the shortcomings or failures (as well as successes) of each school system their child can potentially attend.
  18. Parents have the right to information on who is teaching their minor child, including guest lecturers and outside presenters.
  19. Parents have the right to information on individuals and organizations receiving school contracts and funding.
  20. Parents have the right to all school records, medical or otherwise, concerning their (minor) child.
  21. Parents have the right The right to information about the collection and transmission of their minor child’s data. Schools and school districts shall obtain parental consent prior to collecting any biometric data or other sensitive personal information on the minor child.
  22. Parents have the right to be notified should the school feel the need to have a counselor speak to their child, and to have the right to refuse to have their child “counseled” by the school.
  23. Parents have the absolute right to be notified of and to be involved in the filling out of ANY questionnaire or survey that the school assigns to their child. Likewise, parents have the absolute right to refuse to have their child answer such questionnaires or surveys. Parents have the right to control what information is shared with the school system (ie, government).
  24. For parents of exceptional children: Parents have the right to have their child’s exceptionalism diagnosed and served by the education system.
  25. Parents shall be able to remove their child temporarily from a class or activity that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
  26. Parents have the right to be heard regarding complaints about their child’s education, their child’s teacher/teachers, and how their child is being instructed. School boards must establish a way to consider and respond to complaints from parents.
  27. Parents have the right to make suggestions to their child’s school regarding education and to be taken seriously. Parents have a stake in their child’s education and a duty to over-see how it is being delivered.
  28. Gender identity is a matter that lies with a child’s parents and not with the school system or the government.
  29. Parents shall be empowered to sue schools for injunctive relief that do not protect these rights. A pattern of such violations in a particular jurisdiction will trigger major reductions in education funding.

11.  Funding Issues with the Public School System — Funding is always an issue for schools and is, in fact, one of the biggest issues facing the American public education system today. The public school system never has enough money. Teachers are always crying for more funding for their classrooms and for their students. Approximately 85-90% of K-12 schools funding comes from state and local governments, largely generated by sales and income taxes. Research shows, however, that funding has not increased with need and many states are still issuing funding that is lower than it was before the Great Recession. Lower funding means fewer teachers, fewer programs, and diminished resources. The problems with the need for more funding are two-fold: It incentivizes states to seek federal funding (which, according to the express language of the US Constitution, is unconstitutional) and also means that teachers continue to make low wages. The benefit is that it allows and incentivizes teachers to be creative in their lesson delivery (which, after all, is where the real skill of a teacher lies).

12.  The Unions Have Too Much Power Over the State and Local Boards of Education – Concerned parents and concerned citizens are finally understanding the power that teacher unions have with respect to state and local boards of education. The unions have an iron grip on the delivery of publicly-funded education in government schools, Parents and concerned citizens need to work to break the monopoly that they have and insist that the only groups that technically and reasonably should have an iron grip are themselves.

In short, and in summary, state boards of education and local boards of education have become too political and too overly activist. We must never forget that “Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future.”  Look closely at who controls the education of our children. What kind of future are they looking to create?

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America, The Land That I Love

by Diane Rufino, July 11, 2022

I’m a long-time activist. I started a Tea Party group in 2009 in my area of North Carolina and have been running it ever since. I believe in the Tea Party movement because it embraces our core American values and principles and fights for them. I recently (November 2021) started another citizen-activist group, a conservative education advocacy group for outraged and frustrated parents and concerned citizens. The group not only has already made a difference with the local board of education but has inspired neighboring counties to form similar groups of their own.

I fight tirelessly for them. I fight because this is the land that I love. I wish more people would. As Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

A growing number of Americans distrust the federal government. According to a Pew Research Center poll published on June 6, 2022 and a Monmouth University poll released on May 12, 2022, a growing number of Americans distrust the federal government and believe our country is headed in the wrong direction. “Only two-in-ten (20%) Americans say they trust the government in Washington DC to do what is right ‘just about always’ or ‘most of the time.’” Even more telling, 79% of Americans surveyed said that they believe the country has “gotten off on the wrong track.” The fact is that most Americans recognize that an all-out war is being waged against our republic and against every American’s individual liberty. That war is being waged in the name of socialism, social justice, and an uber-progressive agenda.

I fight for our founding values and principles because this is my country. I fight because this country, for better or worse, is the land that I love.

Why do I love her?

I love her because she was founded and designed to be exceptional. The Declaration of Independence, a brilliant and revolutionary document written largely and substantially by my favorite Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, articulates the reasons why the founding American colonies decided to separate from Great Britain but most importantly, the values and principles that would come to define them.

Paragraphs one and two articulate those values and principles. They read:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

These principles were considered “revolutionary” back in the 17thand 18th centuries. Back in those days, countries were ruled by kings and blue-bloods. They believed that there was a divine right for certain individuals to rule. America would be different. They would be the source of government power, through elected officials, and government would be tasked to protect and secure their individual rights and liberty.

The Declaration didn’t just proclaim to a candid world our reasons to separate from Great Britain but rather, it continues to influence our country to this very day. What many people don’t know is that the Declaration influenced the very drafting of the Constitution in 1787 when the States decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation in favor of a totally new constitution and new form of government. It also inspired the abolitionist movement and the ultimate prohibition of slavery in this country, it inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to lead his people to fight against racial discrimination and fight for a federal civil rights law, and most recently, it offers encouragement and direction to the modern conservative originalist movement [including the Tea Party movement starting back in 2009 and continuing, Turning Point USA, Judicial Watch, the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Watch – with its motto “Government fails, freedom works”, Citizens United, The American Conservative Union (ACU), American Family Association (AFA), Americans for Prosperity (AFP), The Conservative Caucus, Family Research Council (FRC), and Eagle Forum].

As mentioned above, the Declaration informed our US Constitution and continues to do so.

Most Americans don’t actually know the nature of the Constitution. Many regard it as nothing more than a founding document and those on the left regard it as something even more inconsequential – as an outdated founding document. The truth is that it is so much more. In fact it is critical to our constitutional republic. It created the federal government, assigned it a series of enumerated powers, sets limits and boundaries on the branches of government, provides for a series of checks and balances to keep the government in check (with the antagonism of the States being the most powerful of those checks and balances), and provides a legal mechanism for changing or amending it (Article V). It establishes the “Supreme Law of the Land” (Article VI) which therefore forms the basis for our Rule of Law.

Our US Constitution, like all constitutions, is a social compact, drafted and ratified by the people of the several states, to protect We the People from an ambitious and oppressive government. The Constitution is intended for We the People; it is for the protection of our Liberty. People need to view it that way in order to understand why it is so important and critical and why activists like myself fight so hard to defend it, to chastise elected officials for violating it, and to explain it to others. Education is the best way to keep we Americans informed and help them be responsible voters.

The fact is that we almost didn’t get that Constitution in 1787. The discussions and debates among the delegates devolved into headstrong arguments and stubbornness. When it seemed that there would be no overcoming this and that the Convention had come to an impasse, the eldest delegate to the Convention, Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin called upon all the delegates to take a moment and appeal to God to imbue them with rationality, purpose, and vision and to remind them of why they had met in Philadelphia in the first place. This is what he said on June 28, 1787, just one month into the convention:

We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages…I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”   

Granted, the Constitution was not perfect when the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention (Constitutional Convention) completed their draft and signed it (on September 20, 1787). In fact, several key delegates found the final draft to be unsuitable and a danger both to state sovereignty and to individual liberty and refused to sign it. They demanded that a Bill of Rights be included and certain key states, including Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, agreed (and made note of that condition in their ratification conventions).

Alexander Hamilton, in his Federalist Papers essay No. 1, understood how difficult it would likely be for the Constitution to be ratified by all the independent States. He explained:

“After an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind. This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many local institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little favorable to the discovery of truth.

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.

A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

After having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.

I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars: The utility of the Union to your political prosperity, the insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union, the necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed by this new Constitution, the conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government, its analogy to your own state constitutions, and lastly, the additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to Liberty, and to property.

It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole.1 This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance an open avowal of it. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.”

The strongest argument against the ratification and adoption of the new constitution by certain key delegates to the Convention and then by certain key States during the ratification period was its lack of a Bill of Rights. They argued that the new constitution was defective in its failure to protect individual freedom and liberty because it lacked such a bill. They pointed to England, which adopted a Bill of Rights in 1689 (and which the colonists regularly pointed to in defense of their rights – their “rights as English subjects”).

A Bill of Rights was finally added when the first US Congress convened, thanks to James Madison, who kept his promise to Virginia and introduced a series of amendments (proposed in large part by the individual states themselves) on June 8, 1789 and to Thomas Jefferson for emphasizing to his good friend that “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” The Bill of Rights was hugely popular and overwhelmingly supported, and it officially became part of the US Constitution in December 1789.

The Declaration was “submitted to a candid world” in July 1776 as the American Revolution was just getting started. The American colonies/states fought successfully and against all odds when British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington (who had help from French General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, and French Army troops) at Yorktown (VA) on October 19, 1781. The treaty of Paris, signed by American delegates Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and a representative of the King of Great Britain, King George III, on September 3, 1783, acknowledged the independence and sovereignty of all the American states.

Article I reads: “His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island & Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia, to be free sovereign & Independent States; that he Treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors relinquishes all Claims to the Government Propriety and Territorial Rights of the same & every Part thereof.”

With respect to the Declaration of Independence, America was, and continues to be, founded on its “revolutionary” principles. She appeals to a higher standard than other countries. In America, we believe that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. All nations, all people, look to our country as a beacon of light and right. It’s this principle, along with our commitment to individual Liberty that makes America a truly unique and legitimate nation.

I love America for her commitment to the Declaration and because it defines us as Americans. I know it defines me. I sing its praises whenever I speak to my Tea Party group and I sing its praises, and reference it, whenever possible when I write.

The Declaration is masterful and revolutionary because it explains the concept of Individual Sovereignty, which is the concept upon which our nation and our government system was based, and explains the proper purposes of government.  Individual Sovereignty is the government philosophy that asserts that true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments. Since government belongs inherently to the people, it must act in their best interests. And since government belongs to the people, whenever they believe it to be destructive of its purposes (as the Declaration explains), they have the right to “throw off” that government and resume all sovereign power over themselves until a new government is established. If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses (which they do by calling for an Article V Convention or pressuring their States to interpose and nullify abusive and unconstitutional federal laws and actions or in the last resort, to revolt or to secede), outside interference is justified. By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens. Perhaps that is why it is important to maintain friendly relations with like-minded nations.

Related to the concept of “individual sovereignty” is the understanding that a person has the right of conscience – the right to think and believe as he or she chooses. A person has a functioning mind and the actual or potential ability to make choices based on reason and awareness, in accordance with his or her belief set, which may or may not be justified by religious teachings. Young children have such minds and are therefore also sovereign, but the ability to use reason is something that develops as the child’s brain matures, and therefore the parents have a responsibility to exercise some of the sovereignty rights on behalf of their children. This “parental obligation” creates a moral obligation on the part of parents to provide wisdom and judgement, as well as education oversight and material needs for their children. Upon the age of maturity, the child becomes a fully sovereign human being and is emancipated from his or her parents. Individual sovereignty also explains why we as Americans have the rights to life, to speak freely, to exercise our religious beliefs, to assemble, to protest, to keep and bear firearms for self-protection, and to be safe and secure in our homes and to have our privacy respected. These are inalienable rights, which means they attach to us by way of our very humanity.

Also related to the concept of individual sovereignty is the notion that Americans have the right to the fruits of their own labor and should be minimally taxed. The fundamental right to acquire, possess, and sell property is the reason Jefferson included the term “and the pursuit of happiness” as one of the inalienable rights included in the Declaration of Independence. The fundamental right to acquire, possess, and sell property is the backbone of opportunity; it incentivizes us and gives us a valid reason to get a good education, to decide on a good and prosperous career, to save our money, to invest, to seize opportunities, and to invest in starting a business. It’s the most practical means to protect one’s assets and the most practical means to pursue happiness. This right, along with the free enterprise system (articulated by Adam Smith in “Wealth of Nations”) that stems from it, is the source of individual prosperity, national prosperity, and the foundation of economic liberty.

In short, our country was founded on the revolutionary notion of Individual Liberty. I love that about America. I am free. Every day I can exercise my freedoms without government oppression or suppression (as long as I am not around members or organizations on the extreme left, although I’m confident I can hold my own).

“Liberty” is defined as the state of being free to exercise one’s inalienable and civil rights and to be free from unreasonable government control. Liberty means a person can freely exist within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority (government) on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

I doubt that those rounded up after the January 6 so-called “insurrection” believe this is a free country. I doubt Donald Trump believes this is a free country after what the Democrats in Congress did to him while he was duly elected to serve as president. I doubt that all those (politically targeted) who have been needlessly and unfairly harassed, defamed, and financially drained by the government believe this is a free country. I realize that many Americans doubt that we are still a “free people.” They doubt that this country can still be characterized as “the land of the free” (even though we are defended by “the brave”).

But we continue to look to the Declaration of Independence as the defining articulation of what it means to be an American and to live in America.

Besides being our initial founding document, the Declaration of Independence guided, and continues to guide, our understanding of the US Constitution. It provides the foundation, the foundational principles, and the intention of our Founding generation in drafting the Constitution and creating the government it did. It continues to be our nation’s moral compass. That is, except when certain factions try to divide our nation’s people and communities according to race.

America is the product of religion and world history, namely western civilization (the Bible, Rome’s Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, Plutarch, etc), the influence of English and French Enlightenment philosophers (such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Baron de Montesquieu, Frederic Bastiat, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant), and the history, in particular, of Great Britain, our mother/parent country. The ol’ saying that “we stand on the shoulders of others” is certainly true when it comes to this wonderful country.

Despite what those on the left may say, this country has been shaped by Judeo-Christian beliefs and culture. John Winthrop, who sailed across the Atlantic on board the ship Arbella in 1630, delivered the following sermon just before he and his fellow Puritans arrived in New England (where they settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony):

“We are entered into covenant with Him [God] for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant……….

To provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory… For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”

As mentioned earlier, it was a call to God and a call for daily prayer at the convention center in Philadelphia in June 1787 by Ben Franklin that enabled the delegates to get beyond their petty differences and push forward and eventually come to a consensus regarding a new Constitution and a new form of government.

Furthermore, in his Farewell Address, President George Washington said: Liberty is “the palladium of your political safety and prosperity….  The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts—of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

      The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the

whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. 

      A government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

      The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

        Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…..”

John Adams famously explained in his letter to the Massachusetts militia, on October 11, 1798: “Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and religion, avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

In fact, it is religion and morality (virtue) that is necessary to support and sustain our constitutional republic. If we expect to have a “limited government” as the originally-intentioned Constitution created, We the People must be expected to be able to govern ourselves appropriately, and those guidelines come from God’s law and from the teachings of Jesus. It is from the Judeo-Christian tenets and teachings that we can clearly and assuredly know the difference between right and wrong and therefore guide our conduct.  If a free people are to govern themselves politically, they must first be able to govern themselves morally and effectively.

Our nation’s appreciation and adherence to such tenets and teachings continued up until 1962. In that year, the US Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Engel v. Vitale, which declared that school-sponsored prayer is unconstitutional, as being a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The following year, the Supreme Court handed down an equally disastrous ruling. In Abington Township (PA) v. Schempp (1963), the Court declared that Bible readings and the recitation of the Lord’s prayer also violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

It was Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an avowed hedonist and atheist activist, who filed numerous lawsuits challenging various laws and government practices based on the issue of ‘separation of Church and State,’ with one such case eventually making its way to the Supreme Court (consolidating into the Abington v. Schempp case). To understand just how much this woman was despised and how dangerous Americans believed her to be to our critical national institutions, LIFE magazine, in 1964, did a cover story on her and referred to her as “the most hated woman in America. [As a side note, in 1995, O’Hair, her son, and her granddaughter, went missing in their home state of Texas. Rumor has it that she was still so utterly despised that law enforcement didn’t even bother to look for her for over a year].

1962-1963 – that’s when public schools began to fall apart, that’s when society began to degenerate, that’s when social morality began to become a thing of the past, that’s when violence began to increase, and that’s when the incidence of school shootings began to rise (sharply with each succeeding decade).

I remember attending high school from 1974-78 and we still were able to start our days in home room by enjoying a moment of silence in order to pray (or to just contemplate). When I was doing my student teaching in 2012 in the public school system, students began their day watching President Obama on the televisions that were installed in each classroom.  Quite a difference, yes?

If there is any confusion or denial of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, one just needs to look at the first and second paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. Our American Founders staked this country on “self-evident truths” that stem from “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God. They did so in order to justify the dedication of America to individual liberty. That is, that liberty comes from our humanity and not from government. If the Declaration is to be believed worldwide, then America’s “self-evident truths” are not just unique to our country and to Americans, but they apply to all men and women everywhere. They are as true today as they were in 1776. This universal principle of Liberty and the defense of it is what inspires men and women to enlist in our armed services and to spread and defend it all across the planet. The oath that our enlisted men and women take reads: “I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… “

Americans still believe in these ideals. They are still willing to fight for them, whether as enlisted men and women or as citizen-activists.

Our founding values and founding principles, our founding documents, our nation’s devotion to individual Liberty, and our foundations in, and reliance on, religion are just some reasons I love America.

Our government, created and vested with enumerated powers by the US Constitution, was initially unique and self-containing. But we all know that government has been dishonest and scheming over our 230-plus years for the sole purpose of enlarging and consolidating its powers and for taking greater and greater control over our lives, our property, and our livelihoods. If you have any doubt about this inglorious history, try comparing the “facts submitted (by the 13 colonies/states) to a candid world” in the Declaration to support their claim that Great Britain had established “an absolute tyranny” over them to the actions of our current federal government. [For additional arguments to this point, read my article “A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” written and posted on my blogsite January 22, 2021 – https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ]

I love this country because I love its people. They are among the most hard-working, church-going, God-fearing, industrious, affluent, and generous in the world.

Every nation has something to build a spirit of nationalism, to derive meaning and purpose and to stir in its people a sense of patriotism. Examples include a specific ethnic character, a shared history, a shared purpose for existing, a common religion. In the case of America, our sense of patriotism derives from our glorious history (although spotted and stained at times), our love and appreciation of the Declaration of Independence, our shared love and pursuit of liberty, and our appreciation of the US Constitution. In short, our patriotism and our love of country stems from an IDEAL. “We hold these truths 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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”

English writer G.K. Chesterton famously observed that “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.” (which was/is set out brilliantly and clearly in the Declaration of Independence).

The country that I love holds a great promise for all, no matter where they may be, that all men everywhere are endowed at creation – at birth – with an inalienable right to liberty. In fact, it seems that America’s role in the world is to preserve and to spread, by example and by action, that “sacred fire of Liberty.”  I am encouraged by this reality. I am also encouraged at the groundswell of patriotism and the groundswell of activism and protest to defend our Constitution, our precious republic, and our founding values, principles, and institutions. It gives me hope. It is because of our foundational principles and values, not despite them, that America is great in my eyes.

America, for all its faults and its unglorified history, is still the land that I love. I will always love her, I will always praise her, and will always fight for her.

Diane Rufino


References

Matthew Spalding, “Why is America Exceptional?”, The Heritage Foundation.  Referenced at:  https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/report/why-america-exceptional

The Declaration of Independence – https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

The Federalist No. 1 (Alexander Hamilton) – https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed01.asp

“John Winthrop’s Dream of a City on a Hill, 1630,” The American Yawp Reader.  Referenced at:  https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/colliding-cultures/john-winthrop-dreams-of-a-city-on-a-hill-1630/

Diane Rufino, A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” my blogsite (ForLoveofGodandCountry), January 22, 2021.  Referenced at: https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ]

Treaty of Paris (1783) – https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-40-02-0356

George Washington’s Farewell Address – https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf

John Adams’ letter to the Massachusetts militia, October 11, 1789 –  https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102   and  https://oll.libertyfund.org/quote/john-adams-religion-constitution

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SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS ROE v. WADE: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (June 24, 2022)

by Diane Rufino, June 25, 2022

Make no mistake, abortion on-demand is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result (referring to Roe v. Wade) has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right…But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.”   — Ronald Reagan, from “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation”

As we all know, an abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The question of whether there is a constitutional right for women to abort their pregnancy is perhaps the most controversial issue facing our country right now. It is a moral and religious issue, and one that offends, or should offend, one’s conscience. As the United States has enjoyed broad abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was handed down by the US Supreme Court in 1973, the majority of countries around the world have greater limitations on that ‘right.’

In fact, The United States is one of only seven nations in the world that permits nontherapeutic or elective abortion-on-demand after the twentieth week of gestation. Seventy-five percent (75%) of all nations do not permit abortion after twelve weeks’ gestation, except (in most instances) to save the life of the mother or to preserve her health.

Prior to the Roe v. Wade opinion handed down in 1973, the issue of abortion was a state matter, as the opinion actually and correctly pointed out. Abortion is one of the issues reserved to the sovereign states by the Tenth Amendment, which is essentially a restatement of the doctrine of federalism, which is the system of government established by our Founding Fathers. There is no mention in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, specifically, of an express right to an abortion. The ruling rightfully sends the issue of abortion back to the individual states, where it belongs. Roe was, after all, a usurpation of state authority.

The reality is that every pregnancy involves 2 distinct human lives. The mother’s life, as stressed in Roe, is most important and therefore, if the pregnancy poses a health risk, is inconvenient and causes undue stress, will cause a financial burden, etc, then the woman can exercise her “right” to an abortion and terminate the unique life growing inside her. The second life, the life of the unborn, a blessed creation, is minimalized and for all intents and purposes, ignored. A life not wanted is a life not protected or respected. A life unwanted is a life that can be sacrificed and terminated. The very sad thing is that while the pregnant woman may not want the baby she is carrying, there are so many others who would cherish the ability to love that child and offer it a stable home.

There is a clear ideological divide in our country over the issue of abortion and its rightful place. On the one hand, feminists and feminazis believe they have complete control over their body and whatever is inside it and they alone have the right to decide what to do. The Supreme Court gave them “a constitutional right to an abortion” with Roe and they refuse to want to give that gift up. We see how they are behaving.  The motivation for the Roe case was to give woman the right to an abortion in order to control her body and allow her to achieve full equality with males in employment.

On the other hand, there is a huge majority who believes that abortion offends the conscience of our Christian nation. If we expect our Divine Creator to guide and protect us, we must believe as He believes and as Jesus has taught us.

As Justice Samuel Alito stated in his opinion: “Americans continue to hold passionate and widely divergent views on abortion, and state legislatures have acted accordingly. Some have recently enacted laws allowing abortion, with few restrictions, at all stages of pregnancy. Others have tightly restricted abortion beginning well before viability. And in this case (Dobbs), 26 States have expressly asked this Court to overrule Roe and Casey and allow the States to regulate or prohibit pre-viability abortions.”


The reality is that the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling will not take away a woman’s ability to get an abortion. In most cases, the ability will just be limited to a certain time frame. Liberal (blue) states will no doubt continue enacting laws to recognize and permit abortions, and I would imagine that many will even enlarge that right. Conservative (red) states will most likely either prohibit abortions (highly unlikely) or severely restrict them (like Mississippi has done with its Gestational Age Act).

In the end, liberal pro-abortionists will not have suffered, nor will suffer, as they are so vocally and demonstratively claiming.

I’m not taking the position that all abortion should be prohibited. I believe that a woman, if she suspects she might be pregnant, should be able to: (1) obtain the “Morning-After” pill, or (2) have an abortion up until the fetus is nearly fully-formed and can feel pain. Otherwise, an abortion will not only kill the developing child, but will also torture it.

BACKGROUND

The abortion law at the center of the Dobbs case is Gestational Age Act adopted by the state of Mississippi in 2018. It was enacted to limit abortions to a time up to the fifteenth (15th) week of gestation.


The bill reads:

Medical and other authorities now know more about human prenatal development than ever before including that:

1. Between five (5) and six (6) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being’s heart begins beating.

2. An unborn human being begins to move about in the womb at approximately eight (8) weeks’ gestation.

3. At nine (9) weeks’ gestation, all basic physiological functions are present. Teeth and eyes are present, as well as external genitalia.

4. An unborn human being’s vital organs begin to function at ten (10) weeks’ gestation. Hair, fingernails, and toenails also begin to form.

5. At eleven (11) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being’s diaphragm is developing, and he or she may even hiccup. He or she is beginning to move about freely in the womb.

6. At twelve (12) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being can open and close his or her fingers, starts to make sucking motions, and senses stimulation from the world outside the womb. Importantly, he or she has taken on “the human form” in all relevant aspects. Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 160 (2007).

7. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the State of Mississippi has an “important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life,” Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 162 (1973), and specifically that “the state has an interest in protecting the life of the unborn.” Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 873 (1992).

8. The majority of abortion procedures performed after fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation are dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb. The Legislature finds that the intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.

9. Most obstetricians and gynecologists practicing in the State of Mississippi do not offer or perform nontherapeutic or elective abortions. Even fewer offer or perform the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure even though it is within their scope of practice.

(ii) Abortion carries significant physical and psychological risks to the maternal patient, and these physical and psychological risks increase with gestational age. Specifically, in abortions performed after eight (8) weeks’ gestation, the relative physical and psychological risks escalate exponentially as gestational age increases. L. Bartlett et al., Risk factors for legal induced abortion mortality in the United States, Obstetrics and Gynecology 103(4):729 (2004).

(iii) Importantly, as the second trimester progresses, in the vast majority of uncomplicated pregnancies, the maternal health risks of undergoing an abortion are greater than the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term.

(iv) Medical complications from dilation and evacuation abortions include, but are not limited to: pelvic infection; incomplete abortions (retained tissue); blood clots; heavy bleeding or hemorrhage; laceration, tear, or other injury to the cervix; puncture, laceration, tear, or other injury to the uterus; injury to the bowel or bladder; depression; anxiety; substance abuse; and other emotional or psychological problems. Further, in abortions performed after fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation, there is a higher risk of requiring a hysterectomy, other reparative surgery, or blood transfusion.

(v) The State of Mississippi also has “legitimate interests from the outset of pregnancy in protecting the health of women.” [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey] as the “medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion are serious and can be lasting …”

(c) Based on the findings in paragraph (a) of this subsection, it is the intent of the Legislature, through this section and any regulations and policies promulgated hereunder, to restrict the practice of nontherapeutic or elective abortion to the period up to the fifteenth week of gestation.

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act provides that ‘except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality, a person shall not intentionally or knowingly perform . . . or induce an abortion of an unborn human being if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.”

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law, commenting publicly that he was “committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal.” He added: “We’ll probably be sued here in about a half hour, and that’ll be fine with me. It is worth fighting over.” 

As predicted, within a day of the Gestational Age Act’s passage, Mississippi’s only state-run abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Jackson Women’s Health Center), and one of its doctors, Sacheen Carr-Ellis, sued state Health Officer Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs and Kenneth Cleveland, executive director of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, in federal district court to challenge the Act’s constitutionality of the law. They argued that the court should adhere to its longstanding principle of stare decisis (“let the ruling stand”) and continue to recognize the constitutional right to abortion. Petitioner Dobbs in defending the law, argued that the Court should overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) for its incorrect assertion that there is a constitutional right to an abortion or alternatively, should reject viability as an unworkable and imprecise measuring tool. In short, Dobbs asked the court to overturn both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). In response, Respondent Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Jackson Women’s Health Center),

The District Court granted summary judgment and permanently enjoined enforcement of the Act, reasoning that Mississippi’s 15-week restriction on abortion would likely be found violative of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability. The Fifth Circuit thereafter affirmed.

Those defending the Gestational Age Act (ie, petitioners) have taken the position that both Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Act is constitutional because it satisfies rational-basis review (the ordinary legal standard of review when a non-constitutional right is at stake). The Supreme Court agreed with them.

In 1973, in his dissenting opinion in Roe, Justice Byron White characterized the decision of the Court as an “exercise of raw judicial power” that has sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half century.

OVERVIEW OF THE RULING:

In a 6-3 opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court held that Constitution, in fact, does NOT confer a right to abortion. The Court concluded that Roe and Casey were both incorrectly decided and are now, by this opinion, overruled. What this opinion means is that the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people of the individual states and their elected representatives – where it rightfully belongs.

The critical question is whether the Constitution, properly understood, confers a right to obtain an abortion. If it does, then Roe must be allowed to stand. But if not, then the Court is obligated to determine if a mistake had been made and the nature of that mistake.

Casey’s controlling opinion skipped over that question and reaffirmed Roe solely on the basis of stare decisis (which is a latin term which informs the federal courts that they must allow a former opinion to continue to stand). A proper application of stare decisis, however, requires an assessment of the strength of the grounds on which Roe was based. The Court therefore had to turn to the question that Roe addressed: Whether there is an articulated constitutional right to an abortion. And second, to the question that the Casey plurality did not consider: Whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to ‘liberty’ protects a particular right.

In fact, the Constitution makes no express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, but several constitutional provisions had been offered (in Roe) as potential homes for an implicit constitutional right.

Roe held that the abortion right is part of a right to privacy that springs from the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Casey Court grounded its decision solely on the theory that the right to obtain an abortion is part of the ‘liberty’ protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Others have suggested that support can be found in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, but that theory is squarely foreclosed by the Court’s precedents, which establish that a State’s regulation of abortion is not a sex-based classification and is thus not subject to the heightened scrutiny that applies to such classifications. (Rather, regulations and prohibitions of abortion are governed by the same standard of review as other health and safety measures).  

The 2022 Supreme Court did not agree with the reasoning of Roe.

Next, the Court had to determine if the right to obtain an abortion is rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition and whether it is an essential component of ‘ordered liberty.’ The Court’s decisions have long held that the Due Process Clause protects two categories of substantive rights – those rights guaranteed by the first eight Amendments to the Constitution and those rights deemed fundamental that are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. In deciding whether a right falls into either of these categories, the question is whether the right is ‘deeply rooted in our history and tradition’ and whether it is essential to this Nation’s ‘scheme of ordered liberty.’

“In interpreting what is meant by ‘liberty,’ the Court must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what the Fourteenth Amendment protects with the Court’s own ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy. Note that the term liberty alone provides little guidance. For this reason, the Court has been reluctant to recognize rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution.

And so, again, the 2022 Court could not find that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.

Guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of the Nation’s concept of ordered liberty, the Court finds the Fourteenth Amendment clearly does not protect the right to an abortion. Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise. Indeed, abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy. This consensus endured until the day Roe was decided.

“Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis. Respondents’ argument that this history does not matter flies in the face of the standard the Court has applied in determining whether an asserted right that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution is nevertheless protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Solicitor General repeats Roe’s claim that it is ‘doubtful . . . abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus,’ but the great common-law authorities—Bracton, Coke, Hale, and Blackstone—all wrote that a post-quickening abortion was a crime. Moreover, many authorities asserted that even a pre-quickening abortion was “unlawful” and that, as a result, an abortionist was guilty of murder if the woman died from the attempt. The Solicitor General suggests that history supports an abortion right because of the common law’s failure to criminalize abortion before quickening, but the insistence on quickening was not universal, and regardless, the fact that many States in the late 18th and early 19th century did not criminalize pre-quickening abortions does not mean that anyone thought the States lacked the authority to do so.”

Instead of seriously pressing the argument that the abortion right itself has deep roots, supporters of Roe and Casey contend that the abortion right is an integral part of a broader entrenched right. Roe termed this a right to privacy and Casey described it as the freedom to make “intimate and personal choices” that are “central to personal dignity and autonomy,” ordered liberty sets limits and defines the boundary between competing interests. Roe and Casey each struck a particular balance between the interests of a woman who wants an abortion and the interests of what they termed ‘potential life.’

But the people of the various States may evaluate those interests differently. The Nation’s historical understanding of ordered liberty does not prevent the people’s elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated.

Finally, the Court had to consider whether a right to obtain an abortion is part of a broader entrenched right that is supported by other precedents.


Once again, the 2022 Court concluded that the right to obtain an abortion cannot be justified as a component of such a right. Attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one’s ‘concept of existence’ prove too much. Those criteria, at a high level of generality, could license fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like. What sharply distinguishes the abortion right from the rights recognized in the cases on which Roe and Casey rely is something that both those decisions acknowledged: Abortion is different because it destroys what Roe termed ‘potential life’ and what the law challenged in this case calls an ‘unborn human being.’ None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion. Accordingly, those cases do not support the right to obtain an abortion, and the Court’s conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right does not undermine them in any way.

The doctrine of stare decisis does not counsel continued acceptance of Roe and Casey. Stare decisis plays an important role and protects the interests of those who have taken action in reliance on a past decision. It “reduces incentives for challenging settled precedents, saving parties and courts the expense of endless re-litigation.” It contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process. And it restrains judicial hubris by respecting the judgment of those who grappled with important questions in the past.

But stare decisis is not an inexorable command and “is at its weakest when the Court interprets the Constitution,” Some of the Court’s most important constitutional decisions have overruled prior precedents. [See Brown v. Board of Education, (overruling the infamous “separate but equal doctrine” established in Plessy v. Ferguson]

The Court’s cases have identified factors that should be considered in deciding when a precedent should be overruled:  For one, the nature of the Court’s error: Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided. Casey perpetuated its errors, calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side (those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life) could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who disagreed with Roe.

Second, the quality of the reasoning: Without any grounding in the constitutional text, history, or precedent, Roe imposed on the entire country a detailed set of rules for pregnancy divided into trimesters much like those that one might expect to find in a statute or regulation. Roe’s failure even to note the overwhelming consensus of state laws in effect in 1868 is striking, and what it said about the common law was simply wrong. Then, after surveying history, the opinion spent many paragraphs conducting the sort of fact-finding that might be undertaken by a legislative committee and did not explain why the sources on which it relied shed light on the meaning of the Constitution. As to precedent, citing a broad array of cases, the Court found support for a constitutional right of personal privacy. But Roe conflated the right to shield information from disclosure and the right to make and implement important personal decisions without governmental interference.

None of these decisions involved what is distinctive about abortion, which is its effect on what Roe termed “potential life.” When the Court summarized the basis for the scheme it imposed on the country, it asserted that its rules were “consistent with,” among other things, “the relative weights of the respective interests involved” and “the demands of the profound problems of the present day.” These are precisely the sort of considerations that legislative bodies often take into account when they draw lines that accommodate competing interests. The scheme Roe produced looked like legislation, and the Court provided the sort of explanation that might be expected from a legislative body.

An even more glaring deficiency was Roe’s failure to justify the critical distinction it drew between pre- and post-viability abortions. The arbitrary viability line, which Casey termed Roe’s central rule, has not found much support among philosophers and ethicists who have attempted to justify a right to abortion. The most obvious problem with any such argument is that viability has changed over time and is heavily dependent on factors – such as medical advances and the availability of quality medical care – that have nothing to do with the characteristics of a fetus. When Casey revisited Roe almost 20 years later, it reaffirmed Roe’s central holding, but pointedly refrained from endorsing most of its reasoning. The Court abandoned any reliance on a privacy right and instead grounded the abortion right entirely on the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The controlling opinion criticized and rejected Roe’s trimester scheme and substituted a new and obscure “undue burden” test.

Casey, in short, either refused to reaffirm or rejected important aspects of Roe’s analysis, failed to remedy glaring deficiencies in Roe’s reasoning, endorsed what it termed Roe’s central holding while suggesting that a majority might not have thought it was correct, provided no new support for the abortion right other than Roe’s status as precedent, and imposed a new test with no firm grounding in constitutional text, history, or precedent.

Deciding whether a precedent should be overruled depends in part on whether the rule it imposes is workable—that is, whether it can be understood and applied in a consistent and predictable manner. Casey’s “undue burden” test has scored poorly on the workability scale. The Casey plurality tried to put meaning into the “undue burden” test by setting out three subsidiary rules, but these rules created their own problems. And the difficulty of applying Casey’s new rules surfaced in that very case. The experience of the Courts of Appeals provides further evidence that Casey’s “line between” permissible and unconstitutional restrictions “has proved to be impossible to draw with precision.” Unfortunately, Casey has generated a long list of Circuit conflicts. Continued adherence to Casey’s unworkable “undue burden” test would undermine, not advance, the “evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles.”

In the final analysis, according to a majority of the Supreme Court, the cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey needed to be overturned as being egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

As Alito wrote in his opinion, in which he was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely – the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’ It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

EXCERPTS from the OPINION:

The following are excerpts and commentary from the opinion issued by Justice Samuel Alito, which apparently hadn’t changed much from the leaked version:

Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe was handed down, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise of which we are aware. And although law review articles are not reticent about advocating new rights, the earliest article proposing a constitutional right to abortion that has come to our attention was published only a few years before Roe. Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow. Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis. It is therefore important to set the record straight.

We begin with the common law, under which abortion was a crime at least after “quickening”—i.e., the first felt movement of the fetus in the womb, which usually occurs between the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy.

The Court’s opinion in Roe itself convincingly refutes the notion that the abortion liberty is deeply rooted in the history or tradition of our people. The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions. On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973. The Court in Roe could have said of abortion exactly what Glucksberg said of assisted suicide: “Attitudes toward [abortion] have changed since Bracton, but our laws have consistently condemned, and continue to prohibit, [that practice].”

The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone one that is ‘deeply-rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.’ We have held that the “established method of substantive-due-process analysis” requires that an unenumerated right be so ‘deeply-rooted’ before it can be recognized as a component of the “liberty” protected in the Due Process Clause. But despite the dissent’s professed fidelity to stare decisis, it fails to seriously engage with that important precedent—which it cannot possibly satisfy.

In this case, there are five factors that weigh strongly in favor of overruling Roe and Casey: (1) the nature of their error, (2) the quality of their reasoning, (3) the “workability” of the rules they imposed on the country, (4) their disruptive effect on other areas of the law, and (5) the absence of concrete reliance.

The Nature of the Court’s Error:  An erroneous interpretation of the Constitution is always important, but some are more damaging than others. The infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, was one such decision. It betrayed our commitment to “equality before the law.” It was “egregiously wrong” on the day it was decided) and as the Solicitor General agreed at oral argument, it should have been overruled at the earliest opportunity. Roe was also egregiously wrong and deeply damaging. For reasons already explained, Roe’s constitutional analysis was far outside the bounds of any reasonable interpretation of the various constitutional provisions to which it vaguely pointed. Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors, and those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people. Rather, wielding nothing but “raw judicial power” (according to Justice White), the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people. Casey described itself as calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe. “Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since.” (opinion of Justice Scalia in Casey). Together, Roe and Casey represent an error that cannot be allowed to stand.

This Court has previously overruled decisions that wrongly removed an issue from the people and the democratic process. As Justice White later explained, “decisions that find in the Constitution principles or values that cannot fairly be read into that document usurp the people’s authority, for such decisions represent choices that the people have never made and that they cannot disavow through corrective legislation. For this reason, it is essential that this Court maintain the power to restore authority to its proper possessors by correcting constitutional decisions that, on reconsideration, are found to be mistaken.”

The weaknesses in Roe’s reasoning are well-known. Without any grounding in the constitutional text, history, or precedent, it imposed on the entire country a detailed set of rules much like those that one might expect to find in a statute or regulation. Dividing pregnancy into three trimesters, the Court imposed special rules for each. During the first trimester, the Court announced, “the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.” After that point, a State’s interest in regulating abortion for the sake of a woman’s health became compelling, and accordingly, a State could “regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” Ibid. Finally, in “the stage subsequent to viability,” which in 1973 roughly coincided with the beginning of the third trimester, the State’s interest in “the potentiality of human life” became compelling, and therefore a State could “regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” It relied on an erroneous historical narrative.  

This elaborate scheme was the Court’s own brainchild. Neither party advocated the trimester framework; nor did either party or any amicus argue that “viability” should mark the point at which the scope of the abortion right and a State’s regulatory authority should be substantially transformed.

If one takes the view that “personhood” begins when a certain attribute or combination of attributes is acquired, it is very hard to see why viability should mark the point where “personhood” begins. The most obvious problem with any such argument is that viability is heavily dependent on factors that have nothing to do with the characteristics of a fetus. One is the state of neonatal care at a particular point in time. Due to the development of new equipment and improved practices, the viability line has changed over the years. In the 19th century, a fetus may not have been viable until the 32d or 33d week of pregnancy or even later. When Roe was decided, viability was gauged at roughly 28 weeks.

Today, respondents draw the line at 23 or 24 weeks. So, according to Roe’s logic, States now have a compelling interest in protecting a fetus with a gestational age of, say, 26 weeks, but in 1973, States did not have an interest in protecting an identical fetus. How can that be? Viability also depends on the quality of the available medical facilities. Thus, a 24-week-old fetus may be viable if a woman gives birth in a city with hospitals that provide advanced care for very premature babies, but if the woman travels to a remote area far from any such hospital, the fetus may no longer be viable. On what ground could the constitutional status of a fetus depend on the pregnant woman’s location? And if viability is meant to mark a line having universal moral significance, can it be that a fetus that is viable in a big city in the United States has a privileged moral status not enjoyed by an identical fetus in a remote area of a poor country? In addition, as the Court once explained, viability is not really a hard-and-fast line. A physician determining a particular fetus’s odds of surviving outside the womb must consider a number of variables, including gestational age, fetal weight, a woman’s general health and nutrition, the quality of the available medical facilities, and other factors.

It is thus only with difficulty that a physician can estimate the probability of a particular fetus’s survival. And even if each fetus’s probability of survival could be ascertained with certainty, settling on a probability of survival that should count as ‘viability’ is another matter. Is a fetus viable with a 10 percent chance of survival? 25 percent? 50 percent? Can such a judgment be made by a State? And can a State specify a gestational age limit that applies in all cases? Or must these difficult questions be left entirely to the individual “attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him”? The viability line, which Casey termed Roe’s central rule, makes no sense, and it is telling that other countries almost uniformly eschew such a line.52 The Court thus asserted raw judicial power to impose, as a matter of constitutional law, a uniform viability rule that allowed the States less freedom to regulate abortion than the majority of western democracies enjoy.

Workability:  Our precedents counsel that another important consideration in deciding whether a precedent should be overruled is whether the rule it imposes is workable—that is, whether it can be understood and applied in a consistent and predictable manner. Casey’s ‘undue burden’ test has scored poorly on the workability scale. For example, the majority opinion found that Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period requirement and its informed-consent provision did not impose undue burdens. In fact, the test is ambiguous and has generated a long list of circuit court conflicts. It is an unworkable test.

The Court concluded that both the Trimester Approach of Roe and the Undue Burden Test of Casey are not only outdated, but unworkable.

Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so. In the last election in November 2020, women, who make up around 51.5 percent of the population of Mississippi, constituted 55.5 percent of the voters who cast ballots.

Abortion is a unique act because it terminates life or potential life. Abortion is inherently different from marital intimacy, marriage, or procreation. And to ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right.

Having shown that traditional stare decisis factors do not weigh in favor of retaining Roe or Casey, we must address one final argument that featured prominently in the Casey plurality opinion. The argument was cast in different terms, but stated simply, it was essentially as follows. The American people’s belief in the rule of law would be shaken if they lost respect for this Court as an institution that decides important cases based on principle and not on social and political pressures. There is a special danger that the public will perceive a decision as having been made for unprincipled reasons when the Court overrules a controversial watershed decision, such as Roe. A decision overruling Roe would be perceived as having been made under fire and as a surrender to political pressure and therefore the preservation of public approval of the Court weighs heavily in favor of retaining Roe.

This analysis starts out on the right foot but ultimately veers off course. The Casey plurality was certainly right that it is important for the public to perceive that our decisions are based on principle, and we should make every effort to achieve that objective by issuing opinions that carefully show how a proper understanding of the law leads to the results we reach. But we cannot exceed the scope of our authority under the Constitution, and we cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work. That is true both when we initially decide a constitutional issue and when we consider whether to overrule a prior decision. As Chief Justice Rehnquist explained, ‘The Judicial Branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights whether legislative enactments of the popular branches of Government comport with the Constitution. The doctrine of stare decisis is an adjunct of this duty and should be no more subject to the vagaries of public opinion than is the basic judicial task.’ In suggesting otherwise, the Casey plurality went beyond this Court’s role in our constitutional system.

Neither the Roe or the Casey decision has ended debate over the issue of a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Indeed, in this case, 26 States expressly ask us to overrule Roe and Casey and to return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives. This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling the people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the strength of our opinions, not an attempt to exercise ‘raw judicial power.’  

We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly. We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.

Roe’s trimester rule was expressly tied to viability and viability played a critical role in later abortion decisions.

We must now decide what standard will govern if state abortion regulations undergo constitutional challenge and whether the law before us satisfies the appropriate standard. Under our precedents, rational-basis review is the appropriate standard for such challenges. As we have explained, procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.

It follows that the States may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons, and when such regulations are challenged under the Constitution, courts cannot “substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies.” That respect for a legislature’s judgment applies even when the laws at issue concern matters of great social significance and moral substance. A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to a “strong presumption of validity.” It must be sustained if there is a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests. These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development, the protection of maternal health and safety, the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures, the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession, the mitigation of fetal pain, and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability.

These legitimate interests justify Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. Except “in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality,” the statute prohibits abortion “if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.” The Mississippi Legislature’s findings recount the stages of “human prenatal development” and assert the State’s interest in “protecting the life of the unborn.” The legislature also found that abortions performed after 15 weeks typically use the dilation and evacuation procedure, and the legislature found the use of this procedure “for nontherapeutic or elective reasons [to be] a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.”

These legitimate interests provide a rational basis for the Gestational Age Act, and it follows that respondents’ constitutional challenge must fail. Thus, we end this opinion where we began. Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.

CONCLUSION

Now that the Supreme Court has finally come to the right opinion regarding abortion and has over-turned Roe v. Wade, the second of its opinions to stain the moral conscience of our country (the first being the Dred Scott case of 1857, written by Justice Roger Taney which held that negroes, whose ancestors were imported into the US and sold as slaves,” whether enslaved or free, were never intended to be included as citizens of the country and therefore have the right to sue in federal court), it’s time for the American people to realize that the high court has NOT stripped women of their “right” to an abortion. It has simply recognized the reality and legality of the issue, which is that it belongs with the individual states, which is where it was vested before the Roe opinion. That power to legislate on abortion now returns back to the states, where it rightfully belongs. The states were originally the ones left with facing these difficult questions and our Founding Founders knew that not every state would have the same answer.  But then again, that’s how our beautiful, messy system of federalism, liberty, and self-governance works.

Of course, if the American people truly want a constitutional amendment that identifies and protects a woman’s right to an abortion, there is a legal way to do so. It’s called the Article V Amendment process. Until that time, all debates, all protests, all drama queen moments, all calls to ignore the Court’s ruling, and all calls for insurrection are moot, destructive, and non-value-added.  Time to put our big lady and big man underpants on.

GOING FORWARD:  What needs to be done in the wake of Dobbs:

(1)  Since the Dobbs decision rightfully concludes that there is no “constitutional right” to an abortion (no right of a woman to control her fertility), that means abortion is no longer a federal issue and should no longer be addressed by the federal court system. Congress should pass a law that restricts the jurisdiction of the federal court system and eliminates certain issues, including abortion.  (See Reference section for treatise on “Congress’s Power Over Courts – Jurisdiction Stripping”)

(2)  Congress should enact a federal “Definition of Life” law which will define when a human life begins and which includes time(gestational) in the womb.

We need to be respectful of this landmark abortion ruling. It not only recognizes and revitalizes the Tenth Amendment and the critical principle of States’ rights, but it respects the sanctity and vulnerability of unborn human life. That should be an issue that we can all get behind.

Our opponents tell us not to interfere with abortion. They tell us not to impose our morality on those who wish to allow or participate in the taking of the life of infants before birth. Yet no one calls it imposing morality to prohibit the taking of life after a child is born. We’re told about a woman’s right to control her own body. But doesn’t the unborn child have a higher right, which is to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”  –President Ronald Reagan

Every legislature, every doctor and every citizen needs to recognize that the real issue is whether to

affirm and protect the sanctity of all human life, or to embrace a social ethic where some human lives

are valued and others are not. As a nation, we must choose between the sanctity of life ethic and the

‘quality of life’ ethic.”   — Ronald Reagan

References

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (June 24, 2022) – https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Law

“Congress’s Power over Courts: Jurisdiction Stripping and the Rule of Klein,” Congressional Research Service, August 9, 2018.  Referenced at: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R44967#:~:text=Congress%20has%20gone%20so%20far,of%20interest%20to%20the%20legislature

“The Supreme Court and Abortion,” The John Birch Society, May 17, 2022.  https://thenewamerican.com/the-deep-state-supreme-court-and-abortion/

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 959 (1973) – https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/410/113

The Liberty Belle, “Roe v. Wade and the US Constitution,” May 2022.  Referenced at

ADDENDUM

I.  SELECTED EXCERPTS from ROE v. WADE, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) – Opinion written by Justice Harry Blackmun

The principal thrust of appellant’s attack on the Texas statutes is that they improperly invade a right, said to be possessed by the pregnant woman, to choose to terminate her pregnancy. Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal ‘liberty’ embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause; or in personal marital, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its penumbras [See Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)] or among those rights reserved to the people by the Ninth Amendment. Before addressing this claim, we feel it desirable briefly to survey, in several aspects, the history of abortion, for such insight as that history may afford us, and then to examine the state purposes and interests behind the criminal abortion laws.

The  Common Law: It is undisputed that at common law, abortion performed before ‘quickening’-the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy was not an indictable offense. The absence of a common-law crime for pre-quickening abortion appears to have developed from a confluence of earlier philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins. These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became ‘formed’ or recognizably human, or in terms of when a ‘person’ came into being, that is, infused with a ‘soul’ or ‘animated.’ A loose consensus evolved in early English law that these events occurred at some point between conception and live birth. This was ‘mediate animation.’ Although Christian theology and the canon law came to fix the point of animation at 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female, a view that persisted until the 19th century, there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation. There was agreement, however, that prior to this point the fetus was to be regarded as part of the mother, and its destruction, therefore, was not homicide. Due to continued uncertainty about the precise time when animation occurred, to the lack of any empirical basis for the 40-80-day view, and perhaps to Aquinas’ definition of movement as one of the two first principles of life, Bracton focused upon quickening as the critical point. The significance of quickening was echoed by later common-law scholars and found its way into the received common law in this country.

England’s First Criminal Abortion Statute: England’s first criminal abortion statute, Lord Ellenborough’s Act, 43 Geo. 3, c. 58, came in 1803. It made abortion of a quick fetus, § 1, a capital crime, but in § 2 it provided lesser penalties for the felony of abortion before quickening, and thus preserved the ‘quickening’ distinction. This contrast was continued in the general revision of 1828, 9 Geo. 4, c. 31, § 13. It disappeared, however, together with the death penalty, in 1837, 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict., c. 85, § 6, and did not reappear in the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861, 24 & 25 Vict., c. 100, § 59, that formed the core of English anti-abortion law until the liberalizing reforms of 1967. In 1929, the Infant Life (Preservation) Act, 19 & 20 Geo. 5, c. 34, came into being. Its emphasis was upon the destruction of ‘the life of a child capable of being born alive.’ It made a willful act performed with the necessary intent a felony. It contained a proviso that one was not to be found guilty of the offense ‘unless it is proved that the act which caused the death of the child was not done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother.’

A seemingly notable development in the English law was the case of Rex v. Bourne, (1939) 1 K.B. 687. This case apparently answered in the affirmative the question whether an abortion necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman was excepted from the criminal penalties of the 1861 Act. In his instructions to the jury, Judge MacNaghten referred to the 1929 Act, and observed that that Act related to ‘the case where a child is killed by a willful act at the time when it is being delivered in the ordinary course of nature.’  He concluded that the 1861 Act’s use of the word ‘unlawfully,’ imported the same meaning expressed by the specific proviso in the 1929 Act, even though there was no mention of preserving the mother’s life in the 1861 Act. He then construed the phrase ‘preserving the life of the mother’ broadly, that is, ‘in a reasonable sense,’ to include a serious and permanent threat to the mother’s health and instructed the jury to acquit Dr. Bourne if it found he had acted in a good-faith belief that the abortion was necessary for this purpose. The jury acquitted.  

Recently, Parliament enacted a new abortion law. This is the Abortion Act of 1967, 15 & 16 Eliz. 2, c. 87. The Act permits a licensed physician to perform an abortion where two other licensed physicians agree (a) ‘that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated,’ or (b) ‘that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.’ The Act also provides that, in making this determination, ‘account may be taken of the pregnant woman’s actual or reasonably foreseeable environment.’ It also permits a physician, without the concurrence of others, to terminate a pregnancy where he is of the good-faith opinion that the abortion ‘is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.’

American Law:  In this country, the law in effect in all but a few States until mid-19th century was the pre-existing English common law. Connecticut, the first State to enact abortion legislation, adopted in 1821 that part of Lord Ellenborough’s Act that related to a woman ‘quick with child.’ The death penalty was not imposed. Abortion before quickening was made a crime in that State only in 1860. In 1828, New York enacted legislation that, in two respects, was to serve as a model for early anti-abortion statutes. First, while barring destruction of an unquickend fetus as well as a quick fetus, it made the former only a misdemeanor, but the latter second-degree manslaughter. Second, it incorporated a concept of therapeutic abortion by providing that an abortion was excused if it ‘shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such mother, or shall have been advised by two physicians to be necessary for such purpose.’ By 1840, when Texas had received the common law, only eight American States had statutes dealing with abortion. It was not until after the War Between the States that legislation began generally to replace the common law. Most of these initial statutes dealt severely with abortion after quickening but were lenient with it before quickening. Most punished attempts equally with completed abortions. While many statutes included the exception for an abortion thought by one or more physicians to be necessary to save the mother’s life, that provision soon disappeared and the typical law required that the procedure actually be necessary for that purpose.

Gradually, in the middle and late 19th century the quickening distinction disappeared from the statutory law of most States and the degree of the offense and the penalties were increased. By the end of the 1950’s a large majority of the jurisdictions banned abortion, however and whenever performed, unless done to save or preserve the life of the mother.34 The exceptions, Alabama and the District of Columbia, permitted abortion to preserve the mother’s health.35 Three States permitted abortions that were not ‘unlawfully’ performed or that were not ‘without lawful justification,’ leaving interpretation of those standards to the courts.36 In the past several years, however, a trend toward liberalization of abortion statutes has resulted in adoption, by about one-third of the States, of less stringent laws, most of them patterned after the ALI Model Penal Code, § 230.3,37.

It is thus apparent that at common law, at the time of the adoption of our Constitution, and throughout the major portion of the 19th century, abortion was viewed with less disfavor than under most American statutes currently in effect. Phrasing it another way, a woman enjoyed a substantially broader right to terminate a pregnancy than she does in most States today. At least with respect to the early stage of pregnancy, and very possibly without such a limitation, the opportunity to make this choice was present in this country well into the 19th century. Even later, the law continued for some time to treat less punitively an abortion procured in early pregnancy.

Grave defects of our laws, both common and statute, as they regard the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being. These errors, which are sufficient in most instances to prevent conviction, are based, and only based, upon mistaken and exploded medical dogmas. With strange inconsistency, the law fully acknowledges the fetus in utero and its inherent rights, for civil purposes; while personally and as criminally affected, it fails to recognize it, and to its life as yet denies all protection.’

abortion in early pregnancy, that is, prior to the end of the first trimester, although not without its risk, is now relatively safe. Mortality rates for women undergoing early abortions, where the procedure is legal, appear to be as low as or lower than the rates for normal childbirth. Consequently, any interest of the State in protecting the woman from an inherently hazardous procedure, except when it would be equally dangerous for her to forgo it, has largely disappeared. Of course, important state interests in the areas of health and medical standards do remain. The State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient. This interest obviously extends at least to the performing physician and his staff, to the facilities involved, to the availability of after-care, and to adequate provision for any complication or emergency that might arise. The prevalence of high mortality rates at illegal ‘abortion mills’ strengthens, rather than weakens, the State’s interest in regulating the conditions under which abortions are performed. Moreover, the risk to the woman increases as her pregnancy continues. Thus, the State retains a definite interest in protecting the woman’s own health and safety when an abortion is proposed at a late stage of pregnancy,

The third reason is the State’s interest-some phrase it in terms of duty-in protecting prenatal life. Some of the argument for this justification rests on the theory that a new human life is present from the moment of conception.45 The State’s interest and general obligation to protect life then extends, it is argued, to prenatal life. Only when the life of the pregnant mother herself is at stake, balanced against the life she carries within her, should the interest of the embryo or fetus not prevail. Logically, of course, a legitimate state interest in this area need not stand or fall on acceptance of the belief that life begins at conception or at some other point prior to life birth. In assessing the State’s interest, recognition may be given to the less rigid claim that as long as at least potential life is involved, the State may assert interests beyond the protection of the pregnant woman alone.

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio (1968), Katz v. United States (1967); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut; in the Ninth Amendment, or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed ‘fundamental’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,’ Palko v. Connecticut (1937) and are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts (1944); and child rearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future.  Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation.

On the basis of elements such as these, appellant and some amici argue that the woman’s right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses. With this we do not agree. Appellant’s arguments that Texas either has no valid interest at all in regulating the abortion decision, or no interest strong enough to support any limitation upon the woman’s sole determination, are unpersuasive. The Court’s decisions recognizing a right of privacy also acknowledge that some state regulation in areas protected by that right is appropriate. As noted above, a State may properly assert important interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in protecting potential life. At some point in pregnancy, these respective interests become sufficiently compelling to sustain regulation of the factors that govern the abortion decision. The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court’s decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past.

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation. Although divided, most of these courts have agreed that the right of privacy is broad enough to cover the abortion decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute and is subject to some limitations; and that at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant. We agree with this approach.

Appellant (Roe) claims an absolute right that bars any state imposition of criminal penalties in the area. Appellee, on the other hand, argues that the State’s determination to recognize and protect prenatal life from and after conception constitutes a compelling state interest. As noted above, we do not agree fully with either formulation.

The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on re-argument. On the other hand, the appellee conceded on re-argument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus, which at some point becomes a living human being. (The unborn, of course, was immediately created as a unique individual the moment of conception). The situation therefore is inherently different from marital intimacy, or bedroom possession of obscene material, or marriage, or procreation, or education. As we have intimated above, it is reasonable and appropriate for a State to decide that at some point in time another interest, that of health of the mother or that of potential human life, becomes significantly involved. The woman’s privacy is no longer sole and any right of privacy she possesses must be measured accordingly.

Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

It should be noted that there is a divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question – when does ‘life” begin. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. As we have noted, the common law found greater significance in quickening. Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable’ (fetal viability), that is, potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. Substantial problems for precise definition of this view are posed, however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a ‘process’ over time, rather than an event, and by new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the ‘morning-after’ pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs.

In areas other than criminal abortion, the law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before life birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon life birth. For example, the traditional rule of tort law denied recovery for prenatal injuries even though the child was born alive. That rule has been changed in almost every jurisdiction. In most States, recovery is said to be permitted only if the fetus was viable, or at least quick, when the injuries were sustained, though few courts have squarely so held. In a recent development, generally opposed by the commentators, some States permit the parents of a stillborn child to maintain an action for wrongful death because of prenatal injuries. Such an action, however, would appear to be one to vindicate the parents’ interest and is thus consistent with the view that the fetus, at most, represents only the potentiality of life. Similarly, unborn children have been recognized as acquiring rights or interests by way of inheritance or other devolution of property and have been represented by guardians ad litem. Perfection of the interests involved, again, has generally been contingent upon live birth. In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.

In view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake. We repeat, however, that the State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman, whether she be a resident of the State or a non-resident who seeks medical consultation and treatment there, and that it has still another important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life. These interests are separate and distinct. Each grows in substantiality as the woman approaches term and, at a point during pregnancy, each becomes ‘compelling.’

With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in the health of the mother, the ‘compelling’ point, in the light of present medical knowledge, is at approximately the end of the first trimester. This is so because of the now-established medical fact that until the end of the first trimester mortality in abortion may be less than mortality in normal childbirth. It follows that, from and after this point, a State may regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health. Examples of permissible state regulation in this area are requirements as to the qualifications of the person who is to perform the abortion; as to the licensure of that person; as to the facility in which the procedure is to be performed, that is, whether it must be a hospital or may be a clinic or some other place of less-than-hospital status; as to the licensing of the facility; and the like. This means, on the other hand, that, for the period of pregnancy prior to this ‘compelling’ point, the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to determine, without regulation by the State, that, in his medical judgment, the patient’s pregnancy should be terminated. If that decision is reached, the judgment may be effectuated by an abortion free of interference by the State.

With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the ‘compelling’ point is at viability (fetal viability). This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications. If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

Measured against these standards, Art. 1196 of the Texas Penal Code, in restricting legal abortions to those ‘procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother,’ sweeps too broadly. The statute makes no distinction between abortions performed early in pregnancy and those performed later, and it limits to a single reason, ‘saving’ the mother’s life, the legal justification for the procedure. The statute, therefore, cannot survive the constitutional attack made upon it here.

To assess the interests at stake in a pregnancy (the interests of the woman to control her body, health, and fertility versus the state’s interests in protecting the life of the unborn, the Supreme Court came up with a “Trimester Framework” to guide states to. enact different categories of abortion regulations at different stages. of pregnancy:

(From the Opinion)

A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a life-saving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Trimester Approach:

(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

This holding, we feel, is consistent with the relative weights of the respective interests involved, with the lessons and examples of medical and legal history, with the lenity of the common law, and with the demands of the profound problems of the present day. The decision leaves the State free to place increasing restrictions on abortion as the period of pregnancy lengthens, so long as those restrictions are tailored to the recognized state interests. The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention. Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician. If an individual practitioner abuses the privilege of exercising proper medical judgment, the usual remedies, judicial and intra-professional, are available.

Our conclusion that Art. 1196 is unconstitutional means, of course, that the Texas abortion statutes, as a unit, must fall. The exception of Art. 1196 cannot be struck down separately, for then the State would be left with a statute proscribing all abortion procedures no matter how medically urgent the case.

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THE SUPREME COURT RULES ON THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SECOND AMENDMENT CASE: NY State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (June 23, 2022)

by Diane Rufino, June 23, 2022

Mark Levin has called the most recent Supreme Court ruling on the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment “the most significant Second Amendment case since Heller and McDonald.”  (landmark Second Amendment cases, 2008 and 2010, respectively). And I believe he is correct.

The state of New York makes it a crime to possess a firearm without a license, whether for inside or outside the home. An individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his or her home may obtain an “unrestricted” license to “have and carry” a concealed pistol or revolver IF he/she can prove that “proper cause exists” for doing so. An applicant satisfies the “proper cause” requirement ONLY IF he/she can “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

There is no NY statute that adequately defines what constitutes “proper cause.” Consequently, the term is considered constitutionally “vague.”

In NY, a license applicant who wants to possess a firearm at home (or at a place of business) for self-defense must convince a “licensing officer” (usually a judge or law-enforcement officer) that, among other things, he is: (1) of good moral character; (2) has no history of crime or mental illness, and (3) that there exists no good cause for the denial of the license. To obtain a firearm license to carry outside the home for self-defense, the applicant must obtain an unrestricted license to “have and carry a concealed pistol or revolver.” If the applicant cannot make such a showing that “proper cause exists” to issue such a concealed carry license, he can only receive a “restricted” license for public carry, such as for hunting, target shooting, or employment.

NY requires evidence of a “special need” for self-protection outside the home. This special need standard is demanding and can rarely be met. NY courts generally require evidence of “particular threats to life and safety, attacks, or other extraordinary danger to personal safety.”

Petitioners Brandon Koch and Robert Nash, who are adult, law-abiding NY residents, were denied such an unrestricted license to carry a firearm in public on the basis that they failed to satisfy the “proper cause” requirement. They, in turn, sued state officials for a violation of their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to bear arms in public for self-protection by being required to show “a unique need for self-defense.”

In a ruling handed down today, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the US Supreme Court held that New York’s “proper cause” requirement, in fact, violates an individual’s Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In a 6-3 opinion, the Court held that NY’s law prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

Not only did the Court re-affirm the essential and critical meaning of the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms for self-protection and self-defense) and affirm that the right is not a secondary right but an essential right, but it also rejected a “2-step framework” (or test) that federal courts have instituted for analyzing Second Amendment challenges.

In order to determine whether a firearm regulation is consistent with the meaning and spirit (intent) of the Second Amendment, both the Heller and McDonald cases point to at least two relevant metrics: (1) whether modern and historical regulations impose a comparable burden on the right of armed self-defense, and (2) whether the regulatory burden is comparably justified.”

The test or framework from District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and from McDonald v. Chicago (2010) is actually a simple one; it’s primarily a textual and history test. The test demands that there be a connection rooted in the text and history of the Second Amendment (which goes back to the 1600’s of England and to our American colonial times). The federal courts of appeal, however, have added a second step to the framework for Second Amendment challenges. They have added an “ends versus means” type of scrutiny or analysis. That is, the courts have included an analysis that would justify the means (the burden to one’s right to keep and bear arms) to the ends. In this case, by this opinion, the Supreme Court has outwardly rejected this second prong and announced that only the history and contextual prong of the test is necessary. The other prong violates and burdens an individual’s Second Amendment right, according to the Court. “We concluded that a constitutional

guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.”

“Despite the popularity of this two-step approach, it is one step too many. Step one of the predominant framework is broadly consistent with Heller, which demands a test rooted in the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by history. But Heller and McDonald do not support applying a “means-vs- end” analysis in the Second Amendment context. Instead, the government must affirmatively prove that its firearms regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms.”

“We reiterate that the standard for applying the Second Amendment is as follows: When the Second

Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’”

And so, it is with this new clarification of a Second Amendment test that the Supreme Court analyzed NY’s “proper cause” requirement in order to receive an unrestricted conceal-carry license to carry a firearm.

“The Heller case exemplifies this kind of straightforward historical inquiry. One of the District of Columbia’s regulations challenged ‘totally banned handgun possession in the home.’ The District addressed a perceived societal problem – firearm violence in densely populated communities, and it employed a regulation which was an outright ban on the possession of handguns in the home. Would the Founding Fathers have considered such an outright ban? After considering founding-era historical precedent,” including “various restrictive laws in the colonial period,” and finding that none was analogous to the District’s ban, the Court concluded that the handgun ban was unconstitutional.

New York’s ‘proper-cause’ requirement concerns the same alleged societal problem addressed in Heller – handgun violence, primarily in urban areas.”

In concluding his opinion, Justice Thomas wrote:

It is undisputed that petitioners Koch and Nash – two ordinary, law-abiding, adult citizens – are part of ‘the people’ whom the Second Amendment protects. Nor does any party dispute that handguns are weapons ‘in common use’ today for self-defense. We therefore turn to whether the plain text of the Second Amendment protects Koch’s and Nash’s proposed course of conduct—carrying handguns publicly for self-defense. We have little difficulty concluding that it does. Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms. As we explained in Heller, the ‘textual elements’ of the Second Amendment’s operative clause – ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’- guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. Heller further confirmed that the right to ‘bear arms’ refers to the right to ‘wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ This definition of ‘bear’ naturally encompasses public carry. Most gun owners do not wear a holstered pistol at their hip in their bedroom or while sitting at the dinner table. Although individuals often keep firearms in their home, at the ready for self-defense, most do not ‘bear’ them in the home beyond moments of actual confrontation. To confine the right to bear arms to the home would nullify half of the Second Amendment’s operative protections. Moreover, confining the right to bear arms to the home would make little sense given that self-defense is the central component of the Second Amendment] right itself.  [See Heller and McDonald]

After all, the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation and confrontation can surely take place outside the home. Although we remarked in Heller that the need for armed self-defense is perhaps “most acute” in the home, we did not suggest that the need was insignificant elsewhere. Many Americans hazard greater danger outside the home than in it. For example, an individual in Chicago is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of the Park Tower. The text of the Second Amendment reflects that reality. The Second Amendment’s plain text thus presumptively guarantees petitioners Koch and Nash a right to ‘bear’ arms in public for self-defense.

Conceding that the Second Amendment guarantees a general right to public carry, respondents instead claim that the Amendment “permits a State to condition handgun carrying in areas ‘frequented by the general public’ on a showing of a nonspeculative need for armed self-defense in those areas,” that claim, the burden falls on respondents to show that New York’s proper-cause requirement is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if respondents carry that burden can they show that the pre-existing right codified in the Second Amendment, and made applicable to the States through the Fourteenth, does not protect petitioners’ proposed course of conduct. (Respondents could not make such a showing).

Before offering the Crown to William and Mary, the British Parliament wrote the predecessor to our Second Amendment into the 1689 English Bill of Rights, guaranteeing that ‘Protestants . . . may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions, and as allowed by Law.’ Although this right was initially limited (being restricted to Protestants and held only against the Crown, but not Parliament), it represented a watershed in English history. Englishmen had never before claimed the right of the individual to arms. And as that individual right matured, by the time of the founding,” the right to keep and bear arms was “understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.

At the end of our long journey through the Anglo-American history of public carry, we conclude that respondents have not met their burden to identify an American tradition justifying New York’s ‘proper-cause requirement.’ The Second Amendment guarantees to ALL AMERICANS the right to bear commonly-used arms in public subject to certain reasonable, well-defined restrictions. Those restrictions, for example, limited the intent for which one could carry arms, the manner by which one carried arms, or the exceptional circumstances under which one could not carry arms, such as before justices of the peace and other government officials. Apart from a few late-19thcentury outlier jurisdictions, American governments simply have not broadly prohibited the public carry of commonly used firearms for personal defense. Nor, subject to a few late-in-time outliers, have American governments required law-abiding, responsible citizens to ‘demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community’ in order to carry arms in public.

The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees. We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”

Summing up, according to Clarence Thomas’ majority opinion, the majority of the Supreme Court had little difficulty concluding that:

  • The plain text of the Second Amendment protects Koch’s and Nash’s proposed course of conduct – to be able to carry handguns publicly (ie, outside the home) for self-defense;
  • Nothing in the text of the Second Amendment draws any distinction between the right to keep and bear arms for self-protection in the home and the right to keep and bear arms for self-protection outside the home. There is no difference between the two. Both are an equally-protected right;
  • The definition of “bear” (to keep and bear arms) naturally encompasses the right to public carry;
  • The Second Amendment guarantees an “individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of a confrontation and safety threat, whereby such confrontations and safety threats certainly are more likely to take place outside the home;
  • The Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense is NOT a second-class right. It does not require individuals to explain their intent for wanting to bear arms in public and doesn’t require them to demonstrate to government officials some special need to do so.

A dissenting opinion was written by Justice Breyer, with Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joining.

WHAT TO TAKE HOME FROM THIS CASE:  

  • The Supreme Court, in assessing Second Amendment cases, must always look to history because “It has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment codifies a PRE-EXISTING right.” The Second Amendment was not intended to lay down a novel principle or a new right but rather codified a right – a natural right which has been inherited from our English ancestors.”  (After surveying English history dating from the late 1600’s, along with American colonial views leading up to our nation’s independence and founding, the Court concluded that “there is no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
  • The clear and unequivocal meaning of the Second Amendment is that the right to keep and bear firearms is for self-protection. It encompasses, first and foremost, an individual right, as well as a collective right (when individuals form a militia)
  • The Court now holds that the Second Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment (which incorporates the Second Amendment on the States) protect an individual’s right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home.

Reference:

NY State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruenhttps://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-843_7j80.pdf

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