Archive for April, 2012
Did you know that 93 years ago the Supreme Court decreed that advertising to your fellow Americans about their constitutional rights to be a federal crime? Astoundingly, this was the unanimous 9-0 decision of the case Schenck v. United States (1919). This case, in an openly fascist manner, violated defendant Schenck’s First Amendment rights to distribute flyers alerting his fellow citizens of their First, 10th and 13th Amendment rights not to comply with the draft and fight in World War I.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the legendary German theologian, was one of the central figures in two separate and complex plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler – Operation 7 and Operation Valkyrie. This hero paid the ultimate price in fighting against Nazism, fascism and the so-called “German Christian,” leading to his martyrdom at Flossenbürg concentration camp exactly two weeks before it was liberated by the U.S. Army 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions and three weeks before Hitler committed suicide inside his underground secret bunker in Berlin.
If you were to ask a typical liberal, progressive, or even a Marxist/socialist jurist who was the most important Supreme Court justice of the 20th century, invariably the name cited most often would be Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes served on the Supreme Court from 1902-32, and many of his majority (and dissenting) opinions are considered some of the most legendary and sublime utterances in the history of the high court.
As the Supreme Court ended a tumultuous week of oral arguments on Obamacare, all of the legal and political pundits are scurrying around like ants, reading and rereading every word of the justices, dissecting every syllable, every verbal inflection; trying in vain to read the tea leaves, to deduce how the court, or more pointedly how the court’s swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, will decide the fate of the Obamacare mandate tax/penalty.