Culture Vultures

John Hall
Wed, 15 May 2002 16:06:10 -0700

> Russell Turpin
> 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.

Yes, slavery existed.  And it was explicitly prohibited by amendment,
and there wasn't anyone who could plausibly argue that the civil war
amendments did not in fact prohibit slavery.  Your mention of slavery is
accurate and not relevant.

> >Current jurisprudence on the issue is radically at odds with what
> >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.

The jurisprudence I am talking about was a spontaneous invention of the
bench, unconnected with the text or intention of those who wrote and
ratified the civil war amendments.

Interpreting the first amendment to prohibit the display of the 10
commandments has nothing to do with slavery, Jim Crow, lynching,
disenfranchisement, the civil rights movement, or the civil war.

I can respect an argument that the 10 commandments shouldn't be
displayed on public property.

I have no respect for the position that this is a position actually
based upon the Constitution as amended, it isn't.  People who believe in
this could have proposed such an amendment.  They didn't, largely
because it never would have been ratified.