Memo to Mark Levin: Article V Convention of States Has One Big Caveat

By Alan W. Cohen

Watch out Mark Levin. It has all happened before. The author and conservative radio host has begun a movement under Article V of the Constitution to create a convention of states to amend the constitution to strip the federal government of much of its ill-gotten gains, gains that have diluted freedom from the individual and authority from the states. On his radio show of October 10, 2017, a caller warned him that the federal courts are lurking in the shadows, waiting to override any sweeping changes the convention might pass. In response, Levin was confident that the states would prevail.

Yet, that is exactly what happened with the Fourteenth Amendment, and we still have not recovered almost 150 years later. As I explain in much greater detail in my latest book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce, the Civil War ended with a great Republican majority passing a series of Amendments, each with their own purpose. The Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery. The Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed the right to vote. But the Fourteenth Amendment had another, more profound, purpose.

As Mr. Levin explains in great detail in his most recent book, Rediscovering Americanism (please see the link to my review at the end of this blog), the Founders of our nation believed, and declared it in 1776, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. And, with all due respect to those morons on MSNBC and CNN, those rights predated, and are the basis for, the Constitution. That is because we are all individuals, individuals that banded together to protect the rights of other individuals. Yet, somewhere along the line, our nation changed from being a republic to being a democracy. Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett explains that when the Founders created the Constitution, it was based on the Declaration of Independence, and that the preamble said it all. We the People means we the people as a collection of individuals, not of the majority. Unfortunately, a movement began, less than 25 years later, to justify slavery, a movement that became the Jacksonian Democracy. Levin calls it mobocracy. Barnett calls it the Democratic Constitution. A key illustration is this phenomenon is the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, an act that empowered the citizens of those states to vote on whether to enslave a minority of their peers.

The Supreme Court signed onto the Jacksonian Democracy in 1833, the year after Jackson’s landslide victory over Henry Clay for his second term. Here I will invoke the name of a person that Mr. Levin detests as a bigot, a racist and an anti-Semite: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Despite his serious flaws, Justice Black proposed in a dissenting opinion in 1948 that we lost our republic in 1833 with the case of Baron ex rel. Tierman v. Mayor of Baltimore, where the Supreme Court declared that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states, but only to actions of the federal government. Black suggests that Chief Justice John Marshall was just a bit dishonest in his four-page opinion, a sparse writing of what was one the most important decisions of the century. In fact, as I explain in Private Vows, Marshall was scared, and had good reason to be. President Jackson was a scoundrel, and had recently refused to abide by a Supreme Court opinion protecting the Cherokee leading to the infamous Trail of Tears. Until Jackson came onto the scene, Marshall had carefully fostered the Supreme Court’s authority to override legislation and executive actions through the power of judicial review. Marshall anxiously wanted to preserve his gains, and knew to tread carefully to avoid Jackson’s wrath.

The real question in Baron was whether the federal courts had the authority to enforce the inalienable rights recognized in the Declaration, the rights of the individual against the authority of the state or local government that was violating those rights. That same question is with us today. In a dissenting opinion in 2000, Justice Antonin Scalia agreed with fellow Justice Clarence Thomas that the Constitution preserves those inalienable rights within the Ninth Amendment, but refused to enforce them because the Constitution did not specifically provide for a remedy. The question for Justice Scalia then, as with Chief Justice Marshall in 1833, is this: What good are rights if there is no place to enforce them? According to Justice Black, Marshall adeptly sidestepped the issue, and for good reason. As I explain in Private Vows, if the federal courts had the authority to enforce inalienable rights against state or local governments in 1833, slaves would have been coming in droves to seek redress and there would have been a civil war. Since Marshall sidestepped the issue, the Court could not enforce Dred Scott’s claims for freedom only a few years later, an event that ironically led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans that Marshall had so greatly sought to avoid. After the Civil War, according to Justice Black, it fell on Congress to right the wrong of Baron and restore the Republic, and individual liberty, with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, making it clear that individuals did indeed have a right to redress of state and local violations of their individual rights in the federal courts (as well as in the state courts).

There was one big problem. The Supreme Court was filled with Jacksonians who refused to comply with Congress’ mandate even if it was the will of the required number of states. In the infamous Slaughter-House Cases in 1873, the Court all but nullified the Fourteenth Amendment by calling it just an anti-slavery amendment:

The constitutional provision there alluded to did not create those rights, which it called privileges and immunities of citizens of the States. It threw around them in that clause no security for the citizen of the State in which they were claimed or exercised. Nor did it profess to control the power of the State governments over the rights of its own citizens

Thus began more than a century of state control over the individual so vast that individual freedom was all but lost, freedom that the Founders intended, freedom that we still don’t have today. Soon after The Slaughter-House Cases, the Supreme Court affirmed state policies based on eugenics, justifying discriminatory laws and, as a means of enforcing them, created out of thin air, as I explain in Private Vows, a justification for state regulation of marriage and divorce. As Levin explains in Rediscovering Americanism, this statist thinking became the fodder for the socialists, the so called Progressives as a means for controlling the masses. It inspired the ever Progressive Woodrow Wilson to re-segregate the entire federal government during his first term of office. It empowered the KKK to rule with a violence, ending black lives on the spot just for the crime of not being white.

Thus, the lesson for Mark Levin and his followers is that that an Amendment to the Constitution is not enough. We have to fill the Supreme Court with those willing to enforce it. While, as with the Trump travel ban, we cry over the illegal nature of the Ninth Circuit and other federal courts, those actions pale in comparison to the 19th Century and a Supreme Court that was hell bent to undo the Union victory, to preserve and restore the Jacksonian Democracy. and to preserve racial and religious discrimination.

Alan W. Cohen practiced law for more than 25 years before retiring. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and the Washington University School of Law.  Besides Private Vows, he is also the author of America Solved: A New Family for the 21st Century, as well as several other books on family law.

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How the Conservative/Libertarian Media Revolution Can Save America from McConnell and his Washington Cartel

By Alan W. Cohen

It would be John McCain’s biggest nightmare. It would be an equivalent blow to the mainstream media, and particularly Mitch McConnell. What if Republicans only nominate those who meet the approval of Conservative and Libertarian media? Each candidate must meet a basic litmus test. If elected, they will be under constant scrutiny of those that supported them. That would mean, gasp, honesty in politics.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz tells us he was shocked to find out that 95 percent of what his colleagues did in the Swamp was to work for their re-election, and their morbid fear of destruction in the mainstream media, particularly the Washington Post, the New York Times and the major networks. Yet, Mark Levin’s CRTV and other social media sites have stepped in to fill a void that Fox News has failed to do, to teach Americanism. Now,   perhaps for the first time in more than a century, Americans want to know how the Founders would have seen this issue or that, whether their view of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence might apply to a particular issue.  We tune in to Rush or Levin or even Hannity,  who collectively take a machete to the D.C. jungle to clear a path for us to see right and wrong.

Yet, it’s not enough just to complain about it. Rush, who has worked for decades to establish a Republican majority, can barely believe his ears (no offense intended) as he hears about their refusal to tow the capitalist line and adopt Progressivism (a/k/a Socialism).  Hannity screeches his despondence on a daily basis. His show so depressing that its hard to listen without wanting to throw yourself off the nearest highrise in utter despair. Levin gives us perspective. All agree that the Republican Party is a joke. We cannot trust the label. Politicians are addicts, but instead of cocaine or heroin or opium, they are addicted to power. And with any other addict, you know when they are lying don’t you? When they open their mouths. They will say anything and do anything to maintain their addiction. And, as long as cronies like Mitch McConnell are the pushers, we have no prayer. Imagine the Senate as a huge opium den, filled with stoners sucking from the public teat.  The temptation is overwhelming for most, and going straight might result in utter destruction, if not their political death. McConnell runs the D.C. cartel and has the keys to the Senate stash that bankrolls Senate campaigns, and to maintain his power, a power he uses to attack anyone that might be a threat, particularly Freedom Caucus associate member Mo Brooks who is running for the Senate in Alabama, and anyone who might dare to support him.  Why? Because Brooks would join true believers Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, three men who have refused to indulge in McConnell’s treason.  Mark Levin openly endorses Brooks on his radio show, and is urging Alabamans to reject McConnell and his arrogance and audacity to tell them who they should select as their Senator.

Yet, McConnell’s fears are real, and his destruction might be at hand. Last week, John McCain went on the mainstream to instruct his fellow Republicans to stop listening to “the bombastic loudmouths” on talk radio or other Conservative media. I don’t know if McCain is just that stupid, swamp infested, or is so addicted to power that he doesn’t get the fact that we don’t watch or listen to the mainstream media who have moved so far left that they actually walk in circles. Doesn’t he read the polls? Republican voters trust politicians more than they do the mainstream media, that is about 2 percent of the time. God knows, the networks even skew the weather forecast to spin their craziness on so called climate change. So, the only way that we even know that John McCain said what he did about talk radio is from … da da da da … Conservative media. What a dipshit. Sorry for that language, but there is no other word to describe McCain. I would say brain damaged, but that would be cutting it too close to the heart considering his present health condition. So, I’ll stick with dipshit. Sorry.

So, how do we keep these elected officials on the straight and narrow? How do we keep them out of McConnell’s opium den, and eventually close it down.  Two ways. First, taking from Bernie Sanders, we select only candidates that refuse financing from large corporations or super PACs. They must rely exclusively on private donations from a website. Second, these candidates must achieve a good review from Levin, who, above all, can grill them on the wisdom of the Founders and instruct them on the evils of Progressivism (a/k/a/ Marxism). A perfect candidate is Austin Peterson of Missouri, whose background is solidly in Freedomworks and is truly libertarian in his beliefs. If he survives a primary fight against the RINO candidate (likely Josh Hawley the state AG), Peterson would be the perfect foil for left of left #FireClaire McCaskill who, after due consideration, might not even run considering Donald Trump won the state by double digits.

But I digress. Political action groups give number or letter grades to candidates. Conservative and Libertarian media should do the same. We need a ten issue litmus test that they must promise to abide, or else. And, if, once elected, they might stumble into the opium den, well, then we call them out. It will take time, but sooner or later we will end up with legislators who are dedicated public servants, dedicated to the Constitution and their constituents, not to their pocketbooks ala Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders and, of course, the Clintons. But most of all, we will end up with legislators who are faithful to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in a way that the Founders intended, a world of right reason and the Golden Rule, where our only ruler is Natural Law, not a select group of elitists in the never never land that is Washington, D.C. Eventually, if we hold are course, our selected representatives will attain leadership status, where they, like McConnell, would hold the financial key to the D.C. washroom. Only then would we be able to drain the swamp.

Thirty years ago to the day, Rush Limbaugh plowed through the liberal muck and emerged as a national voice. In 1994, he was credited as a motivating force in the Contract for America. And, while that success was short lived, he is now one of many voices that outshine the now quickly dissolving mainstream media’s control of the daily message. With the election of Donald Trump, they have lost both their collective minds and their credibility. They are no longer the gatekeepers to power. Now the Conservative/Libertarian media’s turn at the wheel.

Alan W. Cohen retired after more than 25 years as a family law attorney. Besides this blog, he is also the author of seven books, all available on Amazon.  His latest book is Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce, a deep dive into unconstitutional state and federal control of the family and its contribution to the destruction of marriage.

Comments:

Email him at: alan@privatevows.com

Three Important Lessons I Learned From Mark Levin’s Rediscovering Americanism

By Alan W. Cohen

You are never too old to learn some  new tricks about understanding the Constitution, and Mark Levin just gave me a few pointers on how I can do just that with his new book, Rediscovering Americanism. I am not a longtime fan of Mr. Levin, but I am now. In fact, it was just about four months ago that I turned on my radio and listened to him make an argument that I made in my latest book,  Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce. As you might expect from the title, my conclusion is that government interference in the family is not only unconstitutional, but it has been, especially for the past 50 years, completely destructive to the institution of marriage. Until I read his book, I could not understand why.  Now I know, thanks to Mark Levin.

As Mr. Levin has maintained, the Founders of our great nation believed in Natural Rights, and they considered those rights unalienable (or inalienable), meaning that they cannot be transferred or surrendered.  In the words of the Declaration of Independence, those rights are God-given. We are born with them and they remain with us until our demise. The Founders so believed in what John Locke and Aristotle called right-reason and Natural Law that they did not even consider the possibility that any government in America would interfere in the individual families of its inhabitants. After all, as Locke tells us, religious liberty was and is at the heart of the freedom the Founder fought, and died, to achieve, and the family was and is the heart of religious liberty. After the Revolution, the newborn Republic tossed out the Anglican Church, and with it state control of marriage and the family.  And, at least for the first 50 years of our nation, that was the rule, as the Supreme Court so admitted in 2015, that marriage in America began as a purely private affair. The Founders, with the Contracts Clause, made it part of the Constitution. Marriage is a private contract, and government interference would be prohibited. Yet, a little more than 100 years after the Declaration, couples could not get married or divorced without the permission of the state. And, if they were interracial, they might as well forget it. If they wanted to practice some other religion other than Protestantism, like Mormonism, and marry within its tenants, forget it. Catholic vows were irrelevant. The government was in charge.  Yet, for the vast majority of people, government interference in the family was minimal, if not infinitesimal. That all changed in the 1960s, when socialism began to overtake the religious right and wrestled control of government.

Now here are the three important lessons I learned from Mark Levin and his new book, Rediscovering Americanism:

  1. We are already a socialist nation. Political parties are useless descriptions.  In fact, with the exception of three in the Senate, and a few more in the House, there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats. That’s because, as Levin tells us, the Mainstream Media has taken charge of the Socialist (Progressive) Agenda. Politicians only care about their reelection, and they are too frightened of bad press to cross it. That fact became all the more clear with the election of Donald Trump. The media is hell bent on his destruction, even more so than that of his Republican predecessors.  As I stated in a prior blog, journalism is not dead. It was never alive. Fair and balanced is nothing more than a tagline to convince the viewer (or reader) of its truthfulness. Even Thomas Jefferson complained about the dark side of the free press, that newspapers were the voice of the wealthy, not of the People. Film buffs will recall Citizen Kane, where the protagonist declares that his newspaper would not report the news, but rather make the news. We see that now with RussiaGate. Many of the Main Stream Media (CNN, Washington Post, New York Times) have thrown off their false bravado to achieve their ultimate goal: what Levin calls a Silent Coup Timid Republicans in Washington acquiesce, cowering in a quiet corner. They know who the boss is and it’s not the People. I join in most of mid-America that have taken Levin’s advice, and have turned off the noise that is the media because we know that they are not looking out for our interests, only their own.
  2.  Socialism is evil  Therefore, we cannot compromise, for every compromise with the Progressives gives up territory that cannot be easily regained.  Just like their compatriots, the Bolsheviks, Progressives chose their name to convince the masses that they speak for the majority, knowing that the opposite is true. And just like the Bolsheviks, Progressives have largely succeeded in taking power. But, as Levin tells us, this is not a new plan, or even, as I had believed, a plan that came to pass in the 1960s. Rather, the counterrevolution in America has been mounting for more than 125 years. In fact, it has been there from the beginning, waiting in the darkness, seeking the right time to strike. When Benjamin Franklin emerged and told his public that we have a Republic if we can keep it, he knew of this darkness. All the Founders did. It was the same tyranny they had fought to overcome. It was not limited to a monarchy. Mob rule was just, if not more, dangerous. As Levin explains, the Founders rejected Rousseau in favor of Locke, unlike the French, whose revolt ended in mass murder and the emergence of a savior who promised order from the madness, Napoleon Bonaparte,  who would, in turn, lead his people to utter destruction. We saw the same with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini, and a slew of dictators of would be socialist countries, most recently Venezuela. For socialists, America’s exceptionalism has proved a more difficult quarry. The ride from freedom to tyranny has been gradual. Socialists understand that, given our stubborn individualism,  it is necessary, to steal our freedom little by little, generation by generation, relying on a left skewed educational system as Levin tells us is their Mein Kampf. For example, historians celebrate Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Yet, as Levin teaches us, those leaders disavowed the Founders as historical creatures, that their time has passed, as had their beliefs in Natural Law and unalienable rights. The Bible teaches us about recognizing evil, and our character is built on how we overcome it. Mark Levin is our filter. He points out for his millions of listeners the sheer folly of compromising with socialists (or Statists) because any breach in the wall of freedom is a pathway to tyranny. Unfortunately, we are well on our way to that end. More than ever we must teach the virtues of capitalism and purge socialism from our midst.
  3. Property rights are just as important as liberty because it is our ability to acquire property and to control it that ensures our liberty. In a recent broadcast, Levin cited a laundry list of Socialist (a/k/a Democrat) politicians that have become super rich as a result of what our Founders described as public service. Bill Clinton was dirt poor as a governor. Now he is worth hundreds of millions, as is Al Gore, Bernie Sanders, and most recently Barrack Obama. Even liberal icon Maxine Waters, who claims to act for the poor, lives in a four million dollar estate in a 95 percent white and affluent neighborhood outside of her poverty-stricken district. She entered into politics, as many of her counterparts, not to serve, but to earn. These so called leaders demonstrate the folly of socialism. Marx and Engels said in their manifesto, each according to their needs, but who would decide those needs? A ruling elite of experts that, by the nature of the system, would be exempt from the scrutiny of the rest of the masses (see e.g., Bernie Sanders wife, Hillary Clinton, etc.). Levin tells us that our Founders  devised a system that divided economic power from political power because they knew that property rights kept tyranny outside that wall. That is why our Founders rejected government interference in the family, because historically, wealth is built on the stability of its shoulders. That is how Great Britain got to be great, by focusing on property rights and the right to inherit. Wealth is the ultimate incentive of capitalism, to not only provide for yourself in the here and now, but to provide for your offspring and their families as well. Socialism disdains wealth, and the destruction of family has been its long term goal, a goal that is within their grasp. As I explain in  Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce,  as well as my 2015 book, America Solved: A New Family for the 21st Century, federal policy has been, for the past half century, to punish virtuous behavior and to reward bad behavior. Levin explains why. It’s all about control of the all powerful State that we must worship as a deity. Even billionaires, who built their fortunes on capitalism, now disavow it, because they fear the wrath of the so called Progressives, just as Republicans are terrified of the Main Stream Media. Destruction is just a step away, and the Progressives are watching, waiting, and ready to pounce on any indiscretion.

There is much more to learn from Mark Levin and Rediscovering Americanism. But these three lessons stand out for me personally. Every right minded, or as Aristotle said, right-reason minded, American needs to not only read this book, but to study it, and to preach its gospel to anyone who will listen. It is our duty as Americans to save our nation from the tyranny that is already inside our gates.

Alan W. Cohen retired after practicing family law for more than 25 years in St. Louis, Missouri.

Previous Blogs:

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Celebrate America’s Birthday With A True Civics Lesson From Mark Levin

By Alan W. Cohen

I begin with an admission. I went to fine schools, including our nation’s first and best journalism school and a top 20 law school. I learned history in high school when high schools actually taught history. I practiced law for more than 25 years, and considered my self fluent in Constitutional Law. Yet, the sheer volume of what I did not know about our nation’s founding is frightening.

Last week, radio host Mark Levin spoke about his time in law school, and how they taught him nothing of the Declaration of Independence, nothing about the true nature of liberty. That was me two years ago, before I began to write for a living, and forced myself to read and study and truly understand the brilliance of our Founding Fathers. A few weeks ago, I heard my former Mizzou fraternity brother, Glenn Klein, on his internet/Wisconsin area radio program query as to the nature of the Right to Privacy. I dutifully called into explain that those rights a vast majority come from the Constitution, are actually Natural Rights, described in the Declaration as unalienable, meaning they cannot be transferred or surrendered. The silence on the other end of the phone was deafening. It was like I was speaking Japanese.

I would think that less than 1 percent of the population of this nation know that fact. We speak of Constitutional rights. We argue over what is and what is not in the Bill of Rights. What does it matter? The Bill of Rights is a negative document, something Levin calls negative rights, meaning it is an insurance policy against the federal government intruding on what the Founders knew to be Natural Law, part of what John Locke called The Social Compact. In essence, those rights are there when we are born. No document grants them. The Declaration adopts them, but they preexist both it and the Constitution.

This weekend I have trudged through Levin’s new book, Rediscovering Americanism,  and, trust me, it is no easy read. But Levin confirms for me the one think I discovered about the birth of the United States of America. They rejected any type of state control in favor of individual liberty. While it is true that, especially for those of African descent, that they never reached their ideals, most of what they believed in proved successful, as opposed to Autocracy, Theocracy and Socialism, all that has failed miserably. I shudder at the ignorance of anti-Trump protesters who call Conservatives Nazis, short for National Socialists, for it is these socialists and communists like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro that preached state control over the individual, and annihilated any person, and there were tens of millions of them, that refused to adhere, or were simply considered inferior by their birth.

Levin writes about Woodrow Wilson and other early American Socialists that openly rejected the rights of the individual, who openly trounced the Declaration of Independence as a mere historical document valuable only for how things were in 1776. Socialists like Herbert Croly executed their planned takeover of America without hesitation, and just as Hitler laid out his plan for world domination in a book, so did they. They call themselves Progressives, but are anything but because they want to take us back to a time before liberty, before the Magna Carta, when people were forced to bow to those with Divine Right. In 1917, Vladimir Lenin called his tiny wing of the Socialist Party the Bolsheviks, meaning the majority, claiming, as his fellow socialists did, and as Bernie Sanders still does, pretend they speak for a majority, when they spoke only for a tiny fraction. That trick has worked for Lenin and it has been working for Sanders. But that is the way Socialists work. They lie.

That is because Socialism is a lie. It is an impossibility because it is Utopian, and directly against human nature. Humans are perfectly imperfect, but Socialism predisposes perfection in its elitists who would dictate what is just and what is virtuous. It is said that Vladimir Lenin and his revolutionary brother Leon Trotsky waited by their radios after the October Revolution of 1917, expecting to hear of a worldwide worker’s revolt against those governments that had sacrificed millions of their young men in a useless and stupid war that only proved the ineptitude of their leaders. That revolution never came. The Soviet Union, once considered the darling of the far left, fell thirty years ago. Many of its leaders were still waiting, as Lenin and Trotsky did, for a socialist revolution in America. Little did they know how much they succeeded.

Thanks to Croly and his compatriots, socialist teachings took over our nation’s universities and high schools, even our elementary schools, and Civics, the true understanding of our Founding, has long disappeared from educational requirements as an anachronism, just as Wilson had preached. Bernie Sanders is among those that demand that every American have free college, not because he wants Americans to understand their history, but because he wants to continue what Wilson and Croly started, the creation of generations of Hitler Youth, those that would reject personal liberty in favor of the all mighty State. The past three generations have been so indoctrinated, and seem to have little argument with the idea of state control, that is as long as the state leaves them alone. They have little consideration for the rights of others, especially those that are not in complete agreement with their agenda.

Levin is right when he says that most Republicans are no better. That is why they have refused to eliminate the biggest and most treacherous socialist takeover, Obamacare, and return to an era that preceded the 1960s, when health care was a purely private matter.

Education is the key to counteracting the evils of socialism. The Tea Party movement was just the beginning of that counterrevolution. Levin is an excellent teacher, and I urge all of those reading this blog to listen to his radio program, to read his books, and to educate yourselves of the war that lays ahead. We are at a crossroads, and there are but two paths for which there can be no compromise. There is capitalism, and there is socialism. There is freedom and there is tyranny.

As we celebrate our 241st birthday this week, we must educate our children of the miracle of our founding, rejoice in our Natural Law and unalienable rights, for, if we do not, we are soon to lose them forever.

Alan W. Cohen is a retired attorney, blogger and author. His new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce, a rejection of socialist takeover of the family, is available on Amazon, as is his 2015 book, America Solved: A New Family for the 21st Century.

Recent blogs:

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Why Anti-Sharia Protests Are Misguided

By Alan W. Cohen

History dictates that anti-Sharia protests are both wrongheaded and unconstitutional.

In 1862, Congress passed its first attempt to destroy a religion that competed with the Christian majority. The Anti-Bigamy laws pushed the followers of the Mormon faith outside the boundaries of the states and into a God forsaken land surrounding an undrinkable lake. A decade later, federal prosecutors were hot on the trail of those individuals that continued to live in Mormonism despite federal edicts. In 1879, the case came before the Supreme Court as an unfortunate man by the name of Reynolds was found guilty for the act of practicing his faith as guaranteed under the First Amendment. Unfortunately for Mr.Reynolds, however, the White Christian majority of the Supreme Court did not agree, finding that polygamy was immoral and had no place in Western Civilization. Almost two decades later, Utah was permitted to enter into the Union only on the condition that it ban polygamy.

Fast forward to 2013. Thanks to the work of George Washington University law school professor Jonathan Turley, the State of Utah files with the federal court an affidavit promising to end prosecution of polygamy. That’s right. Despite the furious, but fruitless, prosecutions, polygamy survived, and at the turn of the 21st century became a popular fare in television shows Big Love and Sister Wives. And, what would happen if polygamists demanded the right to license polygamous marriages? Given the Supreme Court’s latest decision on same-sex marriage, as I explain in my new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce, the federal courts would have no choice but to find that the state has no authority under the Constitution to license marriage, much less dictate the private conduct of those engaged in purely private behavior when it comes to the family. In fact, as I argue in Private Vows, the federal court would have to find that the legal basis for regulating marriage and divorce is a violation of religious liberty because the Supreme Court in 1888 adopted a bastardized interpretation of the Anglican Church’s canons regarding marriage and divorce and made it part of American law, and it did so to promote the same racist and bigoted agenda as the Ku Klux Klan.

But I digress. Why did polygamy survive? As the Supreme Court noted in a late 19th Century decision, prosecuting it required cooperating witnesses, and that would require that those actively practicing polygamy would have to testify. It proved to be an impossible burden. As long as they do no harm to others, or commit no other crime, people who wish to be free to practice their faith will do so even in the face of an intrusive and powerful federal government. The same can be said for those that want to live under Sharia Law. True believers are not going to come forward to testify against violators.

So, what’s the answer to those that fear the voices of those that would oppose the religious liberty of others, and wish to, as the Supreme Court did in the late 19th Century, impose a specific set of beliefs on the rest of the nation? Should we exclude Muslims from entering the country the way that President Trump is supposed to have done with his travel ban? Clearly, we could not even if we wanted to do so. Rather, we must turn to the reason our forefathers came to America in the first place: Freedom. Only by promoting the liberties of others can we truly be free. Only by respecting the beliefs of others can we truly be the nation that our Founders espoused. For those that say that Sharia Law professes hate speech, the answer is more speech, not prohibition. Will those that advocate for Sharia Law ever understand? Of course not. But the same freedom that permits them to worship will be their greatest obstacle to the world domination they desire.

Alan W. Cohen is a retired attorney, blogger and author. 

Recent past blogs:

Islamist Victory in Antisemitic Public Relations Battle Spells Doom for Freedom, Completes Conquest of Europe

Memo to Elite Media from Mid-America: We Don’t Care! So, Shut Up Already!

Trump Travel Ban Highlights Political Conflicts Inside American Judicial System

Three Important Lessons I Learned from Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett

Easter Message: Why Religion is Vital to Maintaining Our Liberty

Susan Rice and Unmasking: Where is the Democrats’ Moral Compass?

Shocker: Sanctuary Cities Now Claiming Federal Funding is an Entitlement

Syria Bombing: Why History Trumps Libertarian Beliefs

 

Trump Travel Ban Highlights Political Conflicts Inside American Judicial System

By Alan W. Cohen

During oral argument today, May 8, 2017, before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, one judge asked the ACLU attorney a basic question that pretty much goes like this: If Hillary Clinton had won and issued the identical order, would that order be constitutional. His answer was telling. Yes, of course it would. But this one is not because of comments made by Donald Trump during the election.

Huh? In my 25 years of law practice, and the multitude of oral arguments at the appellate level, this was a first. Judges are to interpret statutes as written, and, only if there is an ambiguity, do they go further to seek the intention of the legislature. Here was a law in place in the 1950s, used many times by many Presidents, including the second most liberal in history, Jimmy Carter, to ban certain foreigners from entering the country. That is the plain language of the statute. It gives the President not discretion, but absolute authority, to exclude entry from the United States he deems is a threat to national security. Period. There is nothing new here.

Yet, it’s not surprising that the judiciary does what it wants to do on an almost daily basis, each knowing that the legislature is pretty much powerless to stop them from interpreting laws however they wish because a higher court, not the elected officials who drafted the law, had the final say. That is our history. In our Mother Country, law was judge created, and opinions of judges were used as precedent, and ironically, permitted a final appeal in the House of Lords. In France, law was always statutory, and the judges were to follow that strict construction of the written language. America began as a judge driven law and gradually morphed into a statute driven law, all while giving to the judiciary the final say on how that law was to be interpreted.

While there are countless examples, nothing better explains it then the treatment of the Fourteenth Amendment. As Mr. Justice Hugo Black once wrote, Congress explicitly passed the Amendment to nullify an 1833 Supreme Court decision excluding state and local government from constitutional scrutiny as it pertained to fundamental rights. Under that ruling, states were free to establish religions, and violate the fundamental freedoms that had agreed to in their compact, those God-given rights to pursue happiness stated in the Declaration of Independence. But when the matter came before that same Supreme Court just a few years after the passage of the post-Civil War Amendments, the Court decided that no, it didn’t, that, despite its clear language stating otherwise, it was just and anti-slavery amendment. As a result of this judicial overreach, our nation endured almost a century of court authorized religious intolerance and racial bigotry, not to mention gender bias.

So when we complain about activist judges seeing everything through a prism of political party, why should we be surprised? That is how the ACLU could argue that if a Democrat issued the same order it would be valid, but since it’s a Republican, it’s not. That is why the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will almost assuredly strike down the ban, not for any legal reason, but because it was issued by a Republican. Based on today’s oral argument, despite that glaring admission from the ACLU attorney, this case can go either way. We just have to determine the political leanings of its court members. The law be damned.

Alan W. Cohen is a retired attorney, blogger and author. His new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce is available at Amazon.

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New Copy of the Declaration of Independence Brings Out the Crazies

By Alan W. Cohen

There is no doubt that certain people in high places want to cast doubt on anything that is America, particularly our founding. But this latest pronouncement coming from two Harvard professors is over the top nuts.

You may have heard on the news that someone in Great Britain discovered a parchment document purported to be an original copy, meaning a true hand written copy of the Declaration of Independence. Assuming that it is a true document, and no one has explained how it could be a true document, what is different from the original? Are there passages different? No. Does the document contain different words? No. Did different people sign the document? No.

So what is the big deal? It turns out that the order of signatures are different. So what? We all know how the Declaration came to be. Continental Congress met and each colony voted. The Declaration went through the mill until all thirteen colonies voted to consent. So, now two Harvard professors are claiming that there is some special meaning to the order of the signatures. In the original, the signers were organized by their newly founded states. In this new copy, they are randomly signed. Before getting into the weeds of what that difference might signify, lets imagine that this document is authentic. How would it have come about? After signing the original, the Continental Congress needed to spread the word, and that required copies. Since no copy machines were then available, scribes copied the document by hand, and then asked the signers to redo their respective John Hancocks. Therefore, there was no purpose behind the order of signatures for the copies. The scribes probably had to chase down the signors, who just signed somewhere on the page.

But two Harvard professors have declared some hidden meaning behind this difference, that it must mean that federalism is a fiction. Alas, the Founders signed as one nation, not as a collection of states. And,  your point is? Doesn’t the Constitution begin We the People of the United States? Of course, it is from the people. The Declaration itself is about alienable rights and the pursuit of happiness, not of the states, but of the people who live in those states. Those same people divvied up authority between the federal and state governments, reserving those inalienable rights for themselves.  That is what we call federalism.

I am beginning to wonder what they are smoking at Harvard.

Alan W. Cohen is an author and blogger, retired from the practice of law after 25 years. His new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce is available on Amazon.

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Three Important Lessons I Learned from Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett

By Alan W. Cohen

The one thing I learned while I was in college was that scholars are pretty much set in their ways, and are rarely open to new ideas, especially if those new ideas challenge their entire way of thinking. At 57, I was pretty set in my ways. I had attended a top journalism and law school, had practiced in my field for more than 25 years, writing and teaching seminars. I thought I knew it all, or at least had a firm grasp. I had just published my book, America Solved, my attempt to reverse the destructive federal  child support policies of the past fifty years.

That was almost a year ago. I had been a converted Democrat, and time had transformed me into a Libertarian, with Reason Magazine as my bible. That is where I learned about Randy Barnett and his new book, Our Republican Constitution, and it was in that book that I learned the three important lessons that would lead me to my book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce.

Lesson One: When in law school, I was taught that the source of fundamental rights was the Constitution. It made sense. We have First Amendment rights to free speech, etc. Yet, as are most Americans, I didn’t quite understand the source of those rights not specifically mentioned, especially the Right to Privacy. Practicing in family law, I relied on two of those rights not enumerated, the Right to Parent and the Right to Marry. I accepted those rights because the Supreme Court recognized them as fundamental, although I held on to the view of Mr. Justice Goldberg that those rights exist in the Ninth Amendment. Randy Barnett taught me, however, that the source of these rights lay not in the Constitution, but what was written in the Declaration of Independence. The People have inalienable rights. They transfer some authority to state government, where their elected servants administer their appointed duties for the public good. The People also transfer some to the federal government, i.e., the Constitution, to protect them from foreign intrusion. But since those rights are inalienable, the People lack the ability to transfer, or give up those rights, and thus any act of state or federal legislatures that violate those fundamental rights is void at is inception. Suddenly, it all made sense. The Bill of Rights does not confer rights. It defends them. Congress shall make no law …

Lesson Two:  Elections are based on majority rule, and it has been drilled into us that the view of that majority that should prevail.  We are constantly bombarded from the left and the right, each claiming that their view is correct because they represent the majority. What I learned from Randy Barnett, however, is it that the Constitution is not We the People as the majority, but We the People as a collection of  individuals. As an amateur historian, I recall the folly of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, based on a theory that one group of people could vote to enslave another.  The same question applies to those majority who would restrict the Right to Marry. In 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court made a finding that marriage in America began as a purely private affair, and then evolved. My book,  Private Vows, answers the question of how that happened. But I could not have accomplished that goal without this lesson that I learned from Randy Barnett. Since We the People is a collection of individuals endowed with inalienable rights, and since one of those rights is the Right to Marry, the People could not transfer to their elected representatives the authority to restrict that right. Therefore, state regulation of marriage and divorce is unconstitutional, as are federal laws that impact the Right to Parent.

Lesson Three: Whether it be the current state action to void the Trump Travel Ban or during the Civil Rights Era, where George Wallace and his fellow segregationists so argued, the idea of State’s Rights always intrigued me. Yet, Randy Barnett taught me that State’s Rights is a fiction. States don’t have rights. The Tenth Amendment recognizes that the people did not give complete authority to the federal government. Elected state officials have authority, and that authority is limited to what is specifically conferred. For Private Vows,  Barnett made me fully appreciate that the Tenth Amendment is not a source of authority for what the Supreme Court as recently as 2013 declared, that domestic relations was traditionally left to the states to regulate. Barnett taught me that tradition is not a Constitutional argument. We have to look to our Founding Documents.  Rather, the Declaration of Independence instructs us that the People have the inalienable right to marry, to parent, and to the Pursuit of Happiness. States do not have the authority to regulate marriage and divorce because the Constitution gives the the People’s elected servants no such authority, and any act to interfere in purely private acts is void at its inception.

Thank you Randy Barnett for teaching this old dog a new trick, and I will be forever grateful. You have given me a greater appreciation of the wisdom of our Founders than I thought possible. My personal goal is to share what I learned from you, and to broadcast it for the better of the people of the United States of America.

Alan W. Cohen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and the Washington University (St. Louis) School of Law. Now a full-time author and blogger, he practiced Family Law in the St. Louis area for more than 25 years. His books are available on Amazon.

Easter Message: Why Religion is Vital to Maintaining Our Liberty

By Alan W. Cohen

As American Christians near the Easter holiday, it is important to recognize the vital role of religion preserving our liberty. No, I am not talking about our Judeo-Christian heritage. I am talking about all religions.

Our sixth president, and last founding father, John Quincy Adams, once said that religion is nothing more than ethics, and ethics is how we choose to live our lives. Belief in a higher being means recognizing that there is something greater than ourselves, that we are not the center of the universe, a concept that seems lost in many in the younger generation. Religion provides us with the mirror that we truly require to look beyond our own immediate needs, to see our own behaviors, and how it might affect others. I for one am not a religious person, but I live my life by a a credo born of my Jewish faith. I believe that I live righteously, and do what is best for my family, my community and my country. I live everyday thinking how I might accomplish that goal, and my writings, especially my books America Solved, and my February 2017 publication of Private Vows, are my personal evidence of that enterprise. And it is the goal of this blog to better America by seeing it return to the liberty that we lost in the battle over slavery in America as I explained in my introductory post.

Religion teaches us that we must join together for the common good, but it is our personal behavior, our minute by minute interactions with others that is penultimate for freedom to operate. We must have empathy for the rights of others, rights guaranteed to us in the Declaration of Independence. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be nice if those leftist bots that protest the free speech of others on college campuses would grasp that concept? Perhaps, they need to go to church to learn about respect because they certainly hadn’t yet learned it, especially respect for those elders who choose to share their life experiences to better the younger generation.

And so, for my Christian brothers and sisters, enjoy your Easter holiday, and consider how you are working to preserve and protect the rights of others to do practice their faith in the freest nation in the history of the world.

Alan W. Cohen graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia Journalism School and the Washington University (St. Louis) School of Law. He has retired after practicing family law in the St. Louis area for more than 25 years.

Can Millennials Save Marriage in America? Studies Say Yes.

By Alan W. Cohen

In my 25 years as a family law attorney, I witnessed an increasing parade of lost souls seeking happiness, never realizing, as Aristotle tells us, that happiness takes a lifetime to achieve. The Declaration of Independence guarantees the right to pursue happiness. It does not guarantee it.  As I explain in my book, America Solved, published in 2015, marriage is a learned skill, cultivated over generations, a skill that has been lost to the false promises of government that made them believe that it was the solution that all their ills, and that they would find solace in a compassionate court system that would bring them comfort and joy.

As I explain in my new book,  Private Vows , the court system was never intended to fix anything. It was intended to deter people, mostly men, from failing to meet their legal obligations, knowing that society was well suited to deter women from doing so. It is, and has been for almost two generations, ill-fitted and ill-suited for the times, becoming divorce factories, churning out sausage that, as H.L. Mencken said of legislation, no one of weak stomach should see be made. Family courts have become, as one lawyer-advertiser accurately describes, little fiefdoms, with judges, under the guise of judicial discretion, applying laws arbitrarily and punishing people capriciously, not to achieve some greater public policy of right and wrong, but to fit their personal whims, much to the distress of those litigants that find themselves in the cross hairs.

In a recent article from P.J.Media, provides some hope. It turns out that millennials are fed up with the status of the family unit as it has become today, and yearn for the stability of the past, the Leave it to Beaver world of stay-at-home moms and worker dads. While they agree that women should have a choice to enter the workforce, millennials crave the world where their children come home to a loving parent, not wailing away in some day care.  As I explain in America Solved, young men and women today are completely confused as to what they were supposed to do. Mind you, the post-war generation is a singular time in history. At our founding we were an agrarian society, where husbands and wives worked side by side, and their children were charged with helping out in any way they could. In the Gilded Age, women took on roles in sweat shops alongside their children to supplement the family income.  They knew that for their marriage to work, they must be all in.

As I explain in Private Vows, the Founders never intended for government to have a role in family matters. As the Supreme Court said in 2015, marriage began in America as a purely private affair, and then morphed into what we have today. The Founders intended for people to have the freedom to make their own life decisions without government interference that is both unconstitutional and unconscionable. Thus, those millennials that seek to restore the sanctity of what they see as traditional marriage, they must seek the wisdom of the Founders, and join to rid themselves of the tyranny of government interference in their inalienable right to the Pursuit of Happiness.

As I explain in America Solved,  government does not solve the problem; government is the problem. As I explain in Private Vows, everything the courts have said for the past 150 years about marital duties and rights is a blatant misinterpretation of what we call the common law. Nothing in the Constitution gives the state, and especially the federal government, the authority to force their views upon us when it comes to the family. Marriage under English law was a contract, and contracts are about voluntary action, and that is what our Founders prescribed.

Alan W. Cohen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and the Washington University (St. Louis) School of Law. His books are available on Amazon.