Tag Archives: Civil liberties

Too Far Too Fast

The Warren Court had made a habit… out of rewriting Constitutional law.  Landmark civil rights cases such as Baker vs. Carr and Brown v. Board of Education drastically altered the segregated South, while Engel vs. Vitale and Griswold vs. Connecticut would fuel the culture wars for decades to come.  It was the criminal procedure mandates handed down by Earl Warren that have drawn his court’s legacy into question.  Brady vs. Maryland, Gideon vs. Wainwright, and  Escobedo vs. Illinois radically altered due process and police procedure, some argue to the detriment of law enforcement.  No other case symbolizes the Warren Court’s activism better than Miranda vs. Arizona, handed down on June 13, 1966.

Legislating from the bench

Few cases are as misunderstood…and detested as the ‘Miranda’ ruling.  The basic holding was that due process begins when a suspect is taken into custody, not when they enter legal proceedings.  Warren was not satisfied with a simple procedural question, taking the decision to the Constitutional level-

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.

“The Court is not a general haven for reform movements”.[

 It was now the responsibility of the state to inform the citizens of their 5th and 6th amendment protections The Warren Court was deeply divided in delivering a 5-4 decision.  Justice John Marshall Harlan did not approve of Warren’s reach, “nothing in the letter or the spirit of the Constitution or in the precedents squares with the heavy-handed and one-sided action that is so precipitously taken by the Court in the name of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities….This Court is forever adding new stories to the temples of constitutional law, and the temples have a way of collapsing when one story too many is added.”    

Civil libertarians argue the technical risks of freeing criminals …is worth the protections the opinions offer, but Justice Byron White could not concur, “I have no desire whatsoever to share the responsibility for any such impact on the present criminal process. In some unknown number of cases, the Court’s rule will return a killer, a rapist or other criminal to the streets and to the environment which produced him, to repeat his crime whenever it pleases him. As a consequence, there will not be a gain, but a loss, in human dignity.”


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Ramblings of an Antiquated Mind

We are the wretched refuse….


  • If there was ever an election to vote third party– this is it
  • The Johnson/Weld ticket is the most trustworthy, hands down
  • Why not just ask about Syria?
  • The media should not be in the business of proving points
  • I had no idea where Aleppo was
  • Wasn’t Aleppo the sixth Marx brother?
  • Clinton vs. Trump =  Blaine vs. Cleveland
  • The United States needs a new party- not another third party, but an entirely new party
  • The Republican party is crumbling before our eyes
  • Trump should have taken the auto tour in Gettysburg
  • No candidate or politician should ever compare their speech at Gettysburg to Lincoln’s
  • Populism has never had a positive impact on this country
  • Demagogues thrive on populism
  • Populism always involves healthy doses of fear and resentment 
  • Trump’s talk of “settling scores”  comes directly out of Germany in the 1930’s
  • PracticallyHistorical.net  endorses the Johnson/Weld ticket in 2016
  • Voting is a privilege that can never be overrated 



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The Shepherd Returns

Abraham Lincoln had to sneak through… the city of Baltimore on the road to his inauguration.  His election had stirred a hornet’s nest in that town as violence and secession were proving to be inseparable.  Plots were discovered to kill Lincoln as he passed through the city- so much for the rule of law, republican elections, and the will of the people.  Lincoln would effectively deconstruct the illogical foundation of secession in his inaugural address, the violent streets of Baltimore served as living proof of its absurdity.


A violent, pro-secession mob shed first blood… in the American Civil War.  Massachusetts militiamen were assaulted on the streets of Baltimore while traveling to Washington DC.  Lincoln used the provocation to suspend habeas corpus in Maryland. The city was placed under martial law and the mayor, members of the town council, and eventually one third of the state legislature were arrested.  All involved, at least in part, played a role in inciting the violence.  Lincoln had to enforce ALL the laws, in ALL states- Maryland wanted special treatment, in a sense to be ABOVE the Union.


  In April of 1864 Lincoln returned… to Baltimore with a message.  The city was still hostile, but pacified under Lincoln’s direction.  He reminded the people there that liberty was not a word they owned- it had a bigger, more profound meaning.  He told them, “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty…”     Self interest and narrow-minded politics influenced the violence in Baltimore- and the Civil War.  Lincoln was the shepherd guiding the country toward the truth.



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