Below you will see in my upload (3rd video below), that it is true that the witnesses the Democrats call are refuting their narrative. EVEN WITHOUT REPUBLICANS calling witnesses of their own. So while the total count on the committees are 58 Democrat and 47 Republicans — the Founders set it up for the entire House to be involved. And as you will see, the inquiry has begun last week (again, 3rd video).
And when they are allowed to cross examine (the Democrats often times stop this from happening by shift which committee is handling the interview, or making it an Intel case), QUID PRO QUO is not crossing the witnesses lips:
REP. RATCLIFFE: Ambassador Taylor again today I found him to be forthright. He had very strong opinions on Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy. But again the mainstream media reporting that he provided evidence of a quid pro quo involving military aid is false. I questioned him directly on that. Under Adam Schiff’s rules I can’t tell you what he said but I can tell you what he didn’t say. Neither he or any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aide was being withheld. You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo!
I put together a “collage” of issues detailing why Republicans would “STORM” these secretive — nonConstitutional — hearings in order to try and make them public. Public. They are not trying to cover up anything, they are trying to make it fair and open. You would think the media would flock to this idea… however they are not. What follows are talking heads, politicians, and the like discussing and clarifying the issues.
Here is a person intimately involved in the process during the Clinton process in the house, Newt Gingrich. His NEWSWEEK article is excellent!
…two very different approaches can be seen in the voting pattern in the House. In November 1973, the House voted to fund the investigation into President Richard Nixon on a bipartisan 367-51 vote. By February 1974, everyone was so convinced that Rodino was being fair and nonpartisan that the resolution to conduct a formal investigation passed 410-4.
The result of our openness was that a substantial number of Democrats continued to vote with us on the procedures despite intense pressure from the White House and outside groups. In September 1998, the House voted to release the Starr report by 363-63 (nine failed to vote). Among Democrats, 138 voted to proceed in a fair way, and only 63 voted against investigating President Clinton.
Think about that. In 1998, we carried House Democrats by better than 2:1 to investigate President Clinton.
In the current atmosphere—with the dishonest, one-sided rigged game, and indeed, an obvious liar as chair of the investigation—can you imagine two-thirds of the House Republicans voting with Pelosi and Schiff for a witch hunt conducted under totally partisan rules?
It will make crystal clear that the current partisan actions are a complete sham.
Mark Levin had an excellent dressing down of Jake Tapper from CNN regarding his recent commentary on the GOP “STORMING” the sham process the Democrats are calling an impeachment inquiry. Levin plays audio of Jake Tapper discussing the impeachment issue of the recent “STORMING” of the sham process the Democrats have made the vaunted impeachment inquiry. The GOP, mind you, merely wants the process in the public with the same rights afforded to Trump as were afforded to Nixon and Clinton. You would assume the media want the same thing… but in fact they are supporting the “Star Chamber” like process.
What kind of issues might the GOP regarding witnesses they would call up? Hunter Biden maybe? Joe Biden? Bill Taylor… in cross-examination? Maybe on the following snippet from ACE OF SPADES?
Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who provided key testimony to the Democrats’ controversial impeachment inquiry yesterday, has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, even writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.
The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
In addition to a direct relationship with the Atlantic Council, Taylor for the last nine years also served as a senior adviser to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which has co-hosted events with the Atlantic Council and has participated in events co-hosted jointly by the Atlantic Council and Burisma.
Meanwhile, a search of government records reveals that Joe Biden intervened with both the DHS and the DOJ on behalf of Graft Hunter’s clients.
Joe Biden privately contacted the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice when he was a senior and influential U.S. senator to discuss issues that his son Hunter’s firm was being paid to lobby on, according to government records.
On at least two occasions, Biden contacted federal departments to discuss issues related to Hunter’s firm’s lobbying clients, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
Government records show that Biden, who has always insisted he knows nothing about his son’s business activities, helped Hunter’s work with strategic and highly specific interventions that could have benefited his son to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars….
If the hearing was fair and honest… the Democrats know they would lose the public confidence. Hence the secrecy. Even with the Republicans — with biased rules, are prevailing when allowed to cross examine.
More Video Fodder
After Rep. Adam Schiff read a false version of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky and claimed it to be parody, Larry decides to do a little investigating into why the Congressman is so confident in the whistleblower, whether he had contact with him, and whether the whistleblower actually had firsthand knowledge of the call. Larry also takes a look into why the whistleblower process requirement for firsthand knowledge was mysteriously removed.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, but through his own heroic efforts became one of the most influential advocates for freedom in American history. His journey, a tale both agonizing and inspiring, should be known by everyone. Timothy Sandefur, author of “Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man,” guides us through Douglass’ amazing life.
NOQ has this interesting response by Ted Cruz to Alyssa Milano’s Tweet… first their set up:
Professional Hollywood radical progressive activist Alyssa Milano has taken her war against conservatism and common sense to the gun arena as she’s now their leading gun control advocate. At least that’s what one can glean from her recent Tweets. Her vision of how she will run the country when she’s finally in control has shifted over the years as she’s gone from #MeToo headmaster to open borders spokesperson, from proud double-abortion princess to her current position as lead interrogator in the fictional NRA trial.
She’s even attacking Bible-believers for their defense of the 2nd Amendment.
Did someone say “Bible” and “guns” in the same sentence? Cue Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who happens to be a devout Christian and Constitutional scholar. His 10-Tweet reply was a master’s course on why you shouldn’t try to attack the Bible with the Constitution and visa versa:
Here is the exchange put into order by (*breathes on finger nails, polished them on my tattered morning shirt) myself:
(1) Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) admonished former special counsel Robert Mueller for not following the regulations by writing about decisions that weren’t reached.
(2)Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, pushed back on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s characterization that his investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice did not “exonerate” the president. “There is no power or authority to exonerate,” Turner said in the July 24 hearing with Mueller, pointing out that “exonerate” is not a legal term.
In an older interview revisited, I wanted to isolate this comment about the importance of tow Supreme Court Justices and their influence on the Court. Links to the original REASON-TV interview can be found via my post: “Why Merrick Garland Should NOT Be on SCOTUS.”
…“Subject to the jurisdiction” means more than simply being present in the United States. When the 14th Amendment was being debated in the Senate, Senator Lyman Trumbull, a key figure in its drafting and adoption, stated that “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States meant not “owing allegiance to anybody else.”
And Senator Jacob Howard, who introduced the language of the clause on the floor of the Senate, contended that it should be interpreted in the same way as the requirement of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which afforded citizenship to “all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power.”
The Supreme Court has never held otherwise. Some advocates for illegal immigrants point to the 1898 case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, but that case merely held that a child born on U.S. soil to parents who were lawful, permanent (legally, “domiciled”) residents was a citizen.
The broader language in the case suggesting that birth on U.S. soil is alone sufficient (thereby rendering the “subject to the jurisdiction” clause meaningless) is only dicta — not binding. The court did not specifically consider whether those born to parents who were in the United States unlawfully were automatically citizens.
The misunderstood policy of birthright citizenship provides a powerful magnet for people to violate our immigration laws and undermines the plenary power over naturalization that the Constitution explicitly gives to Congress. It is long past time to clarify that the 14th Amendment does not grant U.S. citizenship to the children of anyone just because they can manage to give birth on U.S. soil.
…My friend John Eastman explained why the 14th Amendment does not mandate birthright citizenship in this 2015 New York Times op-ed. In a nutshell, the Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The highlighted term, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was understood at the time of adoption to mean not owing allegiance to any other sovereign. To take the obvious example, if a child is born in France to a married couple who are both American citizens, the child is an American citizen.
I won’t rehash the arguments on both sides. With due respect to our friend Dan McLaughlin (see here), I think Professor Eastman has the better of the argument. As I have observed before, and as we editorialized when Donald Trump was a candidate (here), this is a very charged issue, and it is entirely foreseeable that the Supreme Court (to say nothing of the lower federal courts teeming with Obama appointees) would construe the term jurisdiction differently from what it meant when the 14th Amendment was ratified….
A caller asks Dennis Prager a question… I only include the response by Prager as the caller drug-on-and-on Good short way to see the issue[s] at hand.
“One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.” — Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard law professor (SEE MORE: “Roe v. Wade Is Bad Law ~ Per Liberal Scholars“)
(School is in!) Mark Levin shares his study of the U.S. Constitution and it’s Founding. The American Founding. Levin discusses the miracle of the death of the two men key to the Declaration’s appearance (Jefferson and Adams) on the Fourth of July. He then treads into progressive waters and the current dislike of our American Founding as compared to history. He reads from Woodrow Wilson (our first Ph.D. President) and his disdain for the Founding document and Principles. Then a reading from — really a counter point — Calvin Coolidge to cement the idea that these are eternal principles. Levin wonders aloud how Leftists can even celebrate the 4th in good conscience.
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers. — Calvin Coolidge (POWERLINE)
BTW, if one does not know the history of the fourth in regard to Jefferson and Adams, or the eternal principles BEHIND the Declaration, here are some decent videos:
I have heard from many talk show hosts that you can impeach a ham sandwich for jay-walking. However, like with other issues, the framers of the Constitution had a convention — they spoke on many of the items added to it’s text, clearly, and were working from definitions and meanings enumerated from their day… and in writing.
MARK LEVIN reads from the book “IMPEACHMENT: THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS“, and lays down the case that the writers of the impeachment clause in the Constitution would not allow any frivolous issue be the driver for impeachment.
…It’s the opinion of the courts, as the LA Times reported back in May of 2016–it’s unconstitutional:
House Republicans won Round 2 in a potentially historic lawsuit Thursday when a federal judge declared the Obama administration was unconstitutionally spending money to subsidize health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.
Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer broke new ground by ruling the GOP-controlled House of Representatives had legal standing to sue the president over how he was enforcing his signature healthcare law.
On Thursday, she ruled the administration is violating a provision of the law by paying promised reimbursements to health insurers who provide coverage at reduced costs to low-income Americans.
The judge’s ruling, while a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.
Josh Blackman elaborated on this subsidy provision in National Review back in July:
In 2014, a federal judge concluded that with the so-called OPM fix, the “executive branch has rewritten a key provision of the ACA so as to render it essentially meaningless in order to save members of Congress and their staffs.” Allowing the administration to rewrite the law, he wrote, “would be a violation of Article I of the Constitution, which reposes the lawmaking power in the legislative branch.” However, because the plaintiffs in the lawsuit (Senator Ron Johnson and one of his staffers) were not personally injured by OPM’s policy — indeed they benefited — the case was dismissed for lack of standing. While the Obama administration was content to make these illegal payments, the Trump administration should halt them.
Congress is not the only beneficiary of such illegal largess. The ACA employed two strategies to make health insurance more affordable. Section 1401 of the law provides for the payment of subsidies to consumers to reduce premiums. Section 1402 provides payments to insurers to offset certain “cost sharing” fees, such as deductibles and co-pays. But while the ACA funds the subsidies under Section 1401 with a permanent appropriation, to date, Congress has not provided an annual appropriation for the cost-sharing subsidies under Section 1402.
Once again, where Congress would not act, President Obama did so unilaterally. The executive branch pretended that the ACA had actually funded Section 1402 all along, and it paid billions of dollars to insurers. Once again, Mr. Trump is exactly right that this is a “BAILOUT.” And, once again, the payments are a violation of the separation of powers.
Now, we have Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar at the George Washington University Law School, reiterating the point that the Obamacare subsidy provision was unconstitutional with Fox News’ Bret Baier last Friday…..
“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness 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.”
John Adams, first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 11 October 1798, in Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull (New York, 1848), pp 265-6.
And this great quote and commentary:
And Montesquieu got even more specific when he broke down which Christian religions he believed were better fit for certain governments:
When a religion is introduced and fixed in a state, it is commonly such as is most suitable to the plan of government there established; for those who receive it, and those who are the cause of its being received, have scarcely any other idea of policy than that of the state in which they were born.
When the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the north embraced the Protestant, and those of the south adhered still to the Catholic. The reason is plain: the people of the north have, and will for ever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not; and therefore a religion which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independence of the climate than that which has one. In the countries themselves where the Protestant religion became established, the revolutions were made pursuant to the several plans of political government. Luther having great princes on his side would never have been able to make them relish an ecclesiastical authority that had no exterior pre-eminence; while Calvin, having to do with people who lived under republican governments, or with obscure citizens in monarchies, might very well avoid establishing dignities and preferments.
In other words, the Catholic version of Christianity is best for monarchies, while Protestant/Calvin faiths are suited to republics…or so says Montesquieu.
The below if an extended quote from a book that I highly recommend for the beginner if you are truly interested in this endeavor. A list of other resources can be found in my BIBLIOGRAPHY section of a paper for school. I will also include MLA and APA for helping the student to quote. from Joshua Charles book, LIBERTY’S SECRET. Enjoy:
John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book, 1987), 54-61.
[APA] Eidsmoe, J. (1987). Christianity and the Constitution. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
[MLA] Eidsmoe, John. Christianity and the Constitution. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987. Print.
Charles Louis Joseph de Secondat, the Baron Montesquieu of France (1689-1755), was cited by the founders of this nation more frequently than any other source except the Bible. His best-known work, The Spirit of Laws, distinguished four forms of government: monarchy in which the guiding principle is honor, aristocracy in which the guiding principle is moderation, republican democracy in which the guiding principle is virtue, and despotism in which the guiding principle is fear. His main contribution to the thinking of the founders of this nation was the concept of separation of powers between legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. This concept is so vital to the American constitutional system.
Because he lived in France and taught in French universities during the time of the philosophes, Montesquieu is sometimes identified as a deist. But he was born a Catholic, and remained a Catholic to his death. He did have some private questions concerning Catholic dogma. Stark suggests that Montesquieu moved closer and closer to Christian orthodoxy as he grew older, noting Montesquieu comment that the establishment of Christianity among the Romans would be an absurdity if it were merely a natural historical event.2 In any event, he received Communion shortly before he died, and he emphatically declared his belief that the elements were the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.3
Montesquieu believed all law has its source in God. As he says in the opening of The Spirit of Laws: “God is related to the universe, as Creator and Preserver; the laws by which He created all things are those by which He preserves them.”4These laws apply to the physical world and human beings. Men make their own laws, but these laws must conform to the eternal laws of God.
Particular intelligent beings may have laws of their own making, but they likewise have some which they never made…. Before laws were made, there were relations of possible justice. To say that there is nothing just or unjust but what is commanded or forbidden by positive laws, is the same as saying that before the describing of a circle all the radii were not equal.5
[p.55>]Montesquieu believed man was basically evil and self-centered. His pessimism was due to the fact that he felt intelligent beings do not choose to follow God’s laws:
But the intelligent world is far from being so well governed as the physical. For though the former has also its laws, which of their own nature are invariable, it does not conform to them so exactly as the physical world. This is because, on the one hand, particular intelligent beings are of a finite nature, and consequently liable to error; and on the other, their nature requires them to be free agents. Hence they do not steadily conform to their primitive laws; and even those of their own instituting they frequently infringe….
Man, as a physical being, is like other bodies governed by invariable laws. As an intelligent being, he incessantly transgresses the laws established by God, and changes those of his own instituting. He is left to his private direction, though a limited being, and subject, like all finite intelligences, to ignorance and error: even his imperfect knowledge he loses; and as a sensible creature, he is hurried away by a thousand impetuous passions. Such a being might every instant forget his Creator; God has therefore reminded him of his duty by the laws of religion. Such a being is liable every moment to forget himself; philosophy has provided against this by the laws of morality. Formed to live in society, he might forget his fellow-creatures; legislators have, therefore, by political and civil laws, confined him to his duty.6
He compared Christianity to Islam and declared Christianity superior partly because of the better government it promotes, “a moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian Religion, and a despotic Government to the Mahommedan”:
The Christian religion, which ordains that men should love each other, would, without doubt, have every nation blest with the best civil, the best political laws; because these, next to this religion, are the greatest good that men can give and receive….
The Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty….
While the Mahommedan princes incessantly give or receive death, the religion of the Christians renders their princes less timid, and consequently less cruel. The prince confides in his subjects, and the subjects in the prince. How admirable the religion which, while it [p.56>] only seems to have in view the felicity of the other life, continues the happiness of this!7
In addition he explained that “the Catholic Religion is most agreeable to a Monarchy, and the Protestant to a Republic,” because “the people of the north have, and will forever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not; and, therefore, a religion which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independence of the climate than that which has one….” This was more true of Calvinist societies than Lutheran societies.8
In his writings, Montesquieu explained the role of religion in fostering values which find expression in civil laws. He pointed out that this is also true in non-Christian societies. He expressed the orthodox conviction that Christianity is a religion revealed by God himself. “In a country so unfortunate as to have a religion that God has not revealed, it is necessary for it to be agreeable to morality; because even a false religion is the best security we can have of the probity of men.“9 Thus, even a false religion can positively affect society if it fosters values which find expression in good laws.
While Montesquieu’s countrymen followed the way of the radical philosophes which ultimately led to destruction, the American founding fathers were receptive to his views. He recognized the value of religion, Christianity in particular, in fostering good laws and good government. Knowing the sinful nature of man, he advocated separation of powers by which power checks power. That was Montesquieu’s main contribution to the thinking of the founders of this nation: the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
Noted for literary quality and readability as well as for legal and historical scholarship, Sir William Blackstone’s famous Commentaries on the Laws of England are rated as the most famous treatise on common law.
Blackstone (1723-1780) was an English barrister whose talents and inclinations were more suited to teaching law than to practicing law. Harvard Law Professor Duncan Kennedy describes Black-[p.57>]stone’s Commentaries as “an important 18th-century treatise that all legal scholars have heard of but practically no one knows anything about.”10 One reason may be that Blackstone’s God-centered view of law is out of fashion in today’s legal community.
Throughout the latter half of the 1700s and the first half of the 1800s Blackstone’s popularity in America was uneclipsed. It is said that more copies of Blackstone’s Commentaries were sold in America than in England, that his Commentaries were in the offices of every lawyer in the land, that candidates for the bar were routinely examined on Blackstone, that he was cited authoritatively in the courts, and that a quotation from Blackstone settled many a legal argument.11
The founders of the nation read Blackstone with great interest. At least one delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Charles Cotes-worth Pinckney of South Carolina, had been Blackstone’s student at Oxford and was Blackstone’s firm disciple. James Madison wrote in 1821, “I very cheerfully express my approbation of the proposed edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries…”12
The founding fathers drew three major points from Blackstone. The first was his conviction that all law has its source in God. Blackstone wrote about various categories of law, one of which is the law of nature:
Law of Nature. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when He created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when He created man, and endued him with free will to conduct himself in all parts of life, He laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free will is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.
Considering the Creator only a Being of infinite power, He was able unquestionably to have prescribed whatever laws He pleased to His creature, man, however unjust or severe. But as he is also a Being of infinite wisdom, He has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice, that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all his [p.58>] Dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such, among others, are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to everyone his due; to which three general precepts Justinian has reduced the whole doctrine of law….
This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this…
Blackstone then described revealed law, the law of God as found in the Bible.
Revealed Law. This has given manifold occasion for the interposition of divine providence; which in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason, hath been pleased, at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature as they tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity. But we are not from thence to conclude that the knowledge of these truths was attainable by reason, in its present corrupted state; since we find that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wisdom of the ages. As then the moral precepts of this law are indeed of the same original with those of the law of nature, so their intrinsic obligation is of equal strength and perpetuity. Yet undoubtedly the revealed law is of infinitely more authenticity than that moral system, which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the natural law. Because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God Himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.
Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human law should be suffered to contradict these.13
For the founding fathers, a second significant point in Black-stone’s writings was the role of judges. In Blackstone’s view, judges discover and apply law; they do not “make” law. This closely [p.59>] follows from Blackstone’s underlying view of law as part of the revealed law of God or the law of nature. Judges were not a source of law. There are only three sources of law—general custom, the court precedents which present-day judges are not free to alter; special custom, rights of private parties that had ripened into rights by prescription; and statute law, that which was passed by Parliament. In respect to the latter, the role of the judge is to interpret the will of the legislature, not to substitute his own ideas in their place.14 Blackstone, like Montesquieu, saw three branches of government, but envisioned the legislative as superior to the judiciary.
A third significant point in Blackstone’s Commentaries was his expert systematizing of the common law of England. While this systematizing was needed in England, it was even more necessary in America because America was a new nation that did not have England’s long traditions.
The common law of England is generally founded on biblical principles. The Anglo-Saxon Alfred the Great, for example, started his legal code with a recitation of the Ten Commandments and excerpts from the Mosaic law. There were additions to the Anglo-Saxon law. In the eleventh century Henricus Bracton systematized the common law according to Roman law as revised by the Justinian Code. The result was a Christianized version of the Roman law.
The Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament influenced the commercial law of England and the rest of Europe. Throughout much of the Middle Ages the church prohibited money-lending at interest, based on the interpretation of certain passages of Scripture. The Jews interpreted these Scriptures differently and were willing to lend money at interest. Often the only place one could borrow money was in the Jewish community. Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimondes) codified the Jewish law and it formed the basis for much of English commercial law.
The canon law of the church and the emphasis on individual rights found in the Viking[p.60>]law from portions of England controlled by Norwegians and Danes also influenced English common law.15 The noblemen who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in A.D. 1215 came mostly from areas which had been under Viking control. While the Vikings were not Christians until about A.D. 1000, their emphasis on individual rights was consistent with biblical principles.
Although for a time it was popular to belittle Blackstone and his beliefs,16 his views are becoming increasingly valued by legal scholars. One of Blackstone’s former students, Jeremy Bentham, charged that Blackstone was an arch-conservative and an “enemy of reformation.” But, fortunately, Bentham never gained the following in America that he had in England.
The 1986 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica puts it well: “Blackstone’s description of the law as it existed was accurate and comprehensive, and was of great use to those who wished to reform it.”17 The author adds that it is “amusing” (the 1911 edition changes this word to “curious”) that even today Blackstone’s Commentaries “probably express the most profound political convictions of the majority of the English people.”
The common law of England is part of the Christian heritage of America. That so much of it survived the migration to America is due in large part to Sir William Blackstone.
John Locke (1632-1704) was the British philosopher and political theorist who inspired a generation of Americans to thoughts of independence and the rights of man. His best-known works are his “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” and his two treatises “On Civil Government.”
John Locke was born into a Puritan family, the son of a rural Calvinist lawyer who fought on the side of the Puritans in the English civil war. He was educated at Calvinist institutions and emerged with a Calvinistic world view although he was a bit more moderate than some Calvinists.
Locke, sometimes identified as a deist and freethinker, was actually a staunch and fervent Christian. He placed a higher value[p.61>]on human reason than most orthodox Christians; but he used his powers of reason to arrive at Christian truths. According to his understanding of original sin, children are born neither good nor bad, but rather with a “tabula rosa” or “blank slate” upon which good or bad can be written during life. He wrote a treatise titled “The Reasonableness of Christianity,” in which he attempted to prove the truth of Christianity. Locke believed that if he showed people how logical and reasonable Christianity was, everyone would accept it. He did not realize that most objections to Christianity come from the heart and not the mind.
He was a pious man,18 and always held a high view of Scripture. Locke studied the Bible extensively and wrote paraphrases of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians, as well as “An Essay for the Understanding of St. Paul’s Epistles, by consulting St. Paul himself.” These were published after his death. He derived his view of Scripture largely from Richard Hooker’s “On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.” Hooker, an Anglican theologian, took a middle-ground position between the Catholics who placed church tradition on a par with Scripture, and the Puritans who stood for Scripture alone. Hooker argued that where the Scripture is clear, Scripture alone must govern. Where Scripture is unclear, church tradition may be employed to help interpret it; and where both Scripture and church tradition are unclear, or where new circumstances arise, reason may also be employed to apprehend God’s truth.19
Locke frequently cited the Bible in his political writings. In his first treatise on government he cited the Bible eighty times. Forty-two of these citations are from Genesis, mostly chapters 1 and 3. Twenty-two biblical citations appear in his second treatise in which he argued that parents have authority over their children based upon the creation of Adam and Eve and their offspring. He also argued that man has the right to possess property since God gave the earth to Adam and later to Noah. He based the social compact which government is established upon “that Paction which God made with Noah after the Deluge. “(4)20 His basic doctrines of parental authority, private property, and social compact were based on the historical existence of Adam and Noah.
John Locke made two major contributions to the thinking of America’s founding fathers. The first was his doctrine of natural law [p.62>] and natural rights which the founding fathers were acquainted with from other sources but found most clearly expressed in Locke’s writings. He based both of these concepts on Scripture:
Human Laws are measures in respect of Men whose Actions they must direct, albeit such measures they are as have also their higher Rules to be measured by, which Rules are two, the Law of God, and the Law of Nature; so that Laws Human must be made according to the general Laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive Law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.21
Locke identified the basic natural rights of man as “life, liberty, and property.” This phrase is part of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence, where Jefferson expanded “property” to “pursuit of happiness.”
Second, Locke contributed the theory of social compact: the idea that men in a state of nature realize their rights are insecure, and compact together to establish a government and cede to that government certain power so that government may use that power to secure the rest of their rights. The social compact theory is similar to the Calvinist idea of covenant. The social compact theory, like the covenant, allows the government only the power God and/or people delegate. This is the cornerstone of limited government. It finds expression in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence which states that governments exist to secure human rights and “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
2)Werner Stark, Montesquieu, Pioneer of the Sociology of Knowledge (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961), pp. 14-16.
3) Robert Shackleton, Montesquieu: A Critical Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 395-96.
4) Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws (New York: Hafner, 1949, 1962), 1:1.
7) Ibid., 24:27-29.
9) Ibid., 24:32.
10)Duncan Kennedy, “The Structure of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” Buffalo Law Review (1979), 28:203-375, 209.
11)Lutz, “Relative Influence of European Writers,” pp. 195-96.
12) Madison, quoted by Verna M. Hall, The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government with Union (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1962, 1979), p. 130A.
13) Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, quoted by Hall, Christian History of the Constitution, pp. 140-46.
14) Kennedy, “Structure of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” p. 250.
15)Thamar E. Dufwa, The Viking Laws and the Magna Carta: A Study of the Northmen’s Cultural Influence on England and France (New York: Exposition Press, 1963), pp. 32-92. For a general discussion and detailed documentation of the Christian and Jewish influence on the development of English common law, see John Eidsmoe, The Christian Legal Advisor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984, 1987), pp. 26-29.
16)“[Blackstone] had only the vaguest possible grasp on the elementary conceptions of law. He evidently regards the law of gravitation, the law of nations, and the law of England, as different examples of the same principle—as rules of action or conduct imposed by a superior power on its subjects. He propounds in terms a fallacy which is perhaps not quite yet expelled from courts of law, viz., that municipal or positive laws derive their validity from their conformity to the so-called law of nature or law of God. ‘No human laws,’ he says, ‘are of any validity or contrary to this”’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1896, s.v. “Blackstone, Sir William”; cf. 1911 ed.).
17) Encyclopedia Britannica: Micropedia, 1986, s.v. “Blackstone, Sir William.”
18) Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia: Knowledge in Depth, 1986, s.v. “Locke.”