Culture Vultures

Russell Turpin
Wed, 15 May 2002 20:06:32 +0000

John Hall:
>Finally, the Constitution as written including the Bill of Rights was 
>structured to allow New England
>to retain a large strain of religious elements in
>public life.  It also allowed other States not to
>do so.

It also allowed some states to maintain slavery,
while other states were free. States were allowed
great latitude in defining the civil rights of their
citizens, determining who could vote, who could be
held in bondage, who could marry, etc.

>Current jurisprudence on the issue is radically at odds with what anyone 
>who wrote or consented to various Amendments meant or provided for.

Things change. There was a bloody Civil War, followed
by the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments,
whose purpose was to abolish slavery and enhance the
rights of individuals against state prerogative. Alas,
there was a counter-reaction, culminating in Jim Crow
laws, lynchings, and disenfranchisement. This counter-
reaction was corrected by a subsequent civil rights
movement, which thankfully was not as bloody as the
Civil War.

You write as if this change in jurisprudence happened
spontaneously from the bench, rather than stemming
from a war, the ratification of several constitutional
amendments, a sweeping social movement, and passage of
related legislation.

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