Tag Archives: United States Supreme Court

Separation of Church and State …


United States

John Locke, English political philosopher argued for individual conscience, free from state control

The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of EnglishJohn Locke.[1] philosopher According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.[21]Thomas Jefferson stated: “Bacon, Locke and Newton..I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the physical and moral sciences”[22][23] Indeed such was Locke’s influence,

The concept was implicit in the flight of Roger Williams from religious oppression in Massachusetts to found what became Rhode Island on the principle of state neutrality in matters of faith.[24][25]

Reflecting a concept often credited in its original form to the English political philosopher John Locke,[1] the phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a “wall of separation” between church and state.[2]United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. This led to increased popular and political discussion of the concept. The phrase was quoted by the

The concept has since been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society. A similar principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Norway have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishment, religious liberty, and religious pluralism.

source: wiki

Homelessness in Seattle ~ a repost a reminder


 

OutsideIN: 1,000 Safe by 2015

It’s now 2015 and while the homeless among vets might have been on the decline the cities renewal project has probably pushed a lot more into the label or category of being homeless

By Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project
Seattle, Washington

  • Petitioning Dow Constantine

“Nobody should have to go through what I went through on the streets. When the shelters fill up and people are left outside, they become vulnerable. We all need to act together to end homelessness because we are all connected.” – Susan Russell, Real Change Vendor

Fact: The 2014 One Night Homeless Count found 3,123 people sleeping outside in King County after the shelters were filled.  This was a 14% increase in the unsheltered count from the previous year. 

Fact: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Homeless Education counts at least 6,188 homeless students in King County, a more than 18% increase from 2011-2012.

Fact: According to the City of Seattle’s “Role of Shelter” report, more than 600 non-disabled single adults have languished in emergency shelter for six months or longer.

This is unacceptable. Strategic investments in the following areas will create the new housing and shelter capacity we need to get more people inside now:

Fund Additional Shelter: The more than 3,000 women, men and children that are living outside in King County on any given night deserve an emergency response. Invest immediately in additional shelter to bring at least 500 more people inside before January 2015.

Support Community Partnerships: Provide funding to expand partnerships between faith communities, civic groups and service providers to get more people off the street and ensure that no child or family sleeps outside.

Meet Immediate Basic Needs: Create a flexible discretionary fund for caseworkers to reunite families with bus tickets, get cars out of impound, or take other actions that quickly and inexpensively get people off the street.

Support Creative Housing Options: Provide financial incentives and support to private landlords and homeowners to match people experiencing homelessness with community members who have space to share.

We hereby call upon the Governing Board of the Committee to End Homelessness and our elected representatives in Seattle and King County to allocate the resources required to make 1,000 more unsheltered homeless people safe by 2015.

Dred Scott and Roger B. Taney – The human factor in history


Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

On March 6, 1857, in the case of Dred Scott v. John Sanford, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that African Americans were not and could not be citizens. Taney wrote that the Founders’ words in the Declaration of Independence, “all men were created equal,” were never intended to apply to blacks. Blacks could not vote, travel, or even fall in love and marry of their own free will — rights granted, according to the Declaration, by God to all. It was the culmination of ten years of court battles — Dred Scott’s fight to live and be recognized as a free man.

The High Court’s decision went even further, declaring laws that restricted slavery in new states or sought to keep a balance between free and slave states, such as the Missouri Compromise, were unconstitutional. In essence, Black Americans, regardless of where they lived, were believed to be nothing more than commodities.

The Taney court was dominated by pro-slavery judges from the South. Of the nine, seven judges had been appointed by pro-slavery Presidents — five, in fact, came from slave-holding families. The decision was viewed by many as a victory for the Southern “Slavocracy,” and a symbol of the power the South had over the highest court.

The dramatic ripple effect of Dred Scott — a ruling historians widely agree was one of the worst racially-based decisions ever handed down by the United States Supreme Court — reached across the states and territories. It sent shivers through the North and the free African-American community. Technically, no black was free of re-enslavement.

Free Blacks, many of whom had been in Northern states for years, once again lived in fear of being hunted down and taken back to the South in servitude. Southern slave laws allowed marshals to travel north in search of escaped slaves. The ruling was such a concern to Free Blacks, that many seriously considered leaving the United States for Canada or Liberia.

The decision played a role in propelling Abraham Lincoln — an outspoken anti-slavery voice — into the White House. The slavery issue had already created a turbulent, volatile atmosphere throughout the nation. Dred Scott, like kerosene tossed onto a simmering fire, played a significant role in igniting the Civil War. The North became ready to combat what it viewed as the South’s disproportionate influence in government.

The court case lives in infamy today, but few people know much about the actual people involved. I suspect Scott and Taney never imagined they would play such powerful roles in our great American story.

Taney was from Maryland, a slave state, but had long before emancipated his slaves and reportedly paid pensions to his older slaves, as well. As a young lawyer he called slavery a “blot on our national character.” What turned Taney into a pro-slavery advocate is not clear, but by 1857, Taney had hardened, going as far as to declare the abolitionist movement “northern aggression.”

It is reported that Dred Scott was originally named “Sam” but took the name of an older brother when that brother died at a young age. Scott was born into slavery in Virginia around 1800 (birth dates for slaves were often unrecorded), and made his way westward with his master, Peter Blow. By 1830, Scott was living in St. Louis, still a slave to Blow. He was sold to Army doctor John Emerson in 1831 and accompanied him to his various postings — including stations in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory (what is now Minnesota).

In 1836, Scott married Harriett Robinson. Reports vary on whether she was a slave of Emerson’s prior to the marriage or Emerson purchased her from another military officer after she and Scott had fallen in love. The series of events underscored the painful and difficult lives slaves led. Love, like everything else, was subject to the vagaries of their owners’ dispositions.

Emerson died in 1843, leaving the Scott family to his wife, Irene. Three years later, Scott tried to buy his freedom, but to no avail. Scott’s only recourse was to file suit against Mrs. Emerson. He did so on April 6, 1846, and the case went to a Missouri court the following year. He would lose this case, but win on appeal in 1850. Emerson won her appeal in 1852, and shortly afterward gave the Scotts to her son, John Sanford, a legal resident of New York. Because two states were now involved, Scott’s appeal was filed in federal court in 1854 under the case name of Dred Scott v. John Sanford, the name that came before Taney in 1857.

History is filled with dramatic and strange twists of irony and fate. Those factors can be found throughout Scott’s battle for freedom. Peter Blow’s sons, childhood friends of Scott’s, paid his legal fees. Irene Emerson had remarried in 1850. Her new husband, Massachusetts Congressman Calvin Chaffee, was anti-slavery. Following Taney’s ruling, the now-Mrs. Calvin Chaffee, took possession of Dred, Harriett and their two daughters and either sold or simply returned the family to the Blows. In turn, the Blows freed the Scotts in May, 1857.

Dred Scott, a man whose name is so deeply-rooted in our history, so linked to the war that would end slavery, would die just five months later of tuberculosis. However, he died a free man.

All the best,

John Legend and Gillian Laub Team Up for an HBO Documentary -Black History


Thanks to Gillian and John for documenting this story

The first African American is appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 ~~ In memory of


U.S. circuit judges Robert Katzmann, Damon Kei...
U.S. circuit judges Robert Katzmann, Damon Keith, and Sonia Sotomayor at a 2004 exhibit on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Board of Education. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution… read more »

Born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland, Thurgood Marshall studied law at Howard University. As counsel to the NAACP, he utilized the judiciary to champion equality for African Americans.

In 1954, he won the Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools.

Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967, and served for 24 years.

He died in Maryland on January 24, 1993.

Quotes

“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”

– Thurgood Marshall
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“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”

– Thurgood Marshall
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“Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.”

– Thurgood Marshall
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“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

– Thurgood Marshall
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“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”

– Thurgood Marshall
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Early Life

Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Marshall, the grandson of a slave, worked as a steward at an exclusive club. His mother, Norma, was a kindergarten teacher. One of William Marshall’s favorite pastimes was to listen to cases at the local courthouse before returning home to rehash the lawyers’ arguments with his sons. Thurgood Marshall later recalled, “Now you want to know how I got involved in law? I don’t know. The nearest I can get is that my dad, my brother, and I had the most violent arguments you ever heard about anything. I guess we argued five out of seven nights at the dinner table.”

Marshall attended Baltimore’s Colored High and Training School (later renamed Frederick Douglass High School), where he was an above-average student and put his finely honed skills of argument to use as a star member of the debate team. The teenaged Marshall was also something of a mischievous troublemaker. His greatest high school accomplishment, memorizing the entire United States Constitution, was actually a teacher’s punishment for misbehaving in class.

After graduating from high school in 1926, Marshall attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. There, he joined a remarkably distinguished student body that included Kwame Nkrumah, the future president of Ghana; Langston Hughes, the great poet; and Cab Calloway, the famous jazz singer.

After graduating from Lincoln with honors in 1930, Marshall applied to the University of Maryland Law School. Despite being overqualified academically, Marshall was rejected because of his race. This firsthand experience with discrimination in education made a lasting impression on Marshall and helped determine the future course of his career. Instead of Maryland, Marshall attended law school in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, another historically black school. The dean of Howard Law School at the time was the pioneering civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall quickly fell under the tutelage of Houston, a notorious disciplinarian and extraordinarily demanding professor. Marshall recalled of Houston, “He would not be satisfied until he went to a dance on the campus and found all of his students sitting around the wall reading law books instead of partying.” Marshall graduated magna cum laude from Howard in 1933.

Murray v. Pearson

After graduating from law school, Marshall briefly attempted to establish his own practice in Baltimore, but without experience he failed to land any significant cases.