by Mike Pyatt
Last week the 4th Circuit Court ignored the D.C. Heller Case, that went to the Supreme Court, upholding our Second Amendment right, and upheld Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault style weapons.” The majority naively claimed that since the semi-automatic AR-15 looked like the M16, military fully automatic rifle used in wartime, they were “dangerous and unusual,” therefore, they don’t meet the threshold of Second Amendment protection in a 10 to 4 ruling. Citizens shouldn’t have access, they ruled. It’s clear that the majority don’t understand how an AR-15 works.This ruling will undoubtedly go to the Supreme Court. Pray Neil Gorsuch dons his robe soon.If the current eight justices split, it goes back to the of the 4th Circuit ruling.Elections have consequences. Imagine if Hillary Clinton was elected President. We’d have no Gorsuch. No chance to restrain the high court.
Liberty minded conservatives grimace when a case is heard by these rogue judges-especially the 9th Circuit, that over-ruled President Trump’s Executive order halting temporary immigration. Is there any doubt why conservatives label them as the “circus courts?” They rule like circus barkers.The 4th Circuit dissenting judges agreed that the majority “have gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.” Many constitutional scholars concur the 4th Circuit decision flies in the face of the Heller case.
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in a 1970 case, referred to the “natural law due process notion by which the Court frees itself from the limits of a written Constitution.” This flawed concept of natural law, as used by the Supreme Court, would play a major role three years hence, in the Court’s disastrous decision that unborn children do not have a right to live. For centuries the concept of natural law played a prominent role in the formulations of both law and governments. Due to the concept being grounded in Judeo-Christian moorings, acknowledging God created the world, God’s laws are basic to our Constitution.
Men and women speak in words, but also speak in the language of history. Their words must be heard in the context of meaning of their time and place. Relativistic ideology has a moving reference point. Then a word can mean what the speaker wants it to mean. Generations of jurists foisted this meaning on the law. That’s a major reason we have runaway courts in our nation.
It was the language of American colonial history that was written and inscribed into the Founding documents. In Congress and the American Tradition, 1959, John Burnham noted that the colonists in shaping the American system made reference “not only to Locke, Montesquieu, but Aristotle, Cicero, and Plutarch, Hobbes, Milton, Hooker, Bolinbroke, Blackstone, Burke, Shaftesbury and a score of collateral branches.” It was their common Christian base that provided a foundation from which they sifted through the myriad of ideas without being dominated by them. The concept of natural law is essentially Greek in origin. In his The Story of Law, 1962, Rene Wormser credits Aristotle with promulgating, in the modern sense, the theory of natural law, which he stated, “continues to have enormous influence upon the law and legal process.”
It was an ancient Hellenic idea that the universe was ordered and orderly system governed by a type of cosmic law. Plato spoke of a creation, Aristotle more ambiguously of a “prime mover.” In one way or another, pre-Christian Greek philosophy postulated a kind of monotheism and an orderly universe, with laws that could be discerned by human reason. Fascinatingly, there’s a similarity in Scripture between the insight of natural man into the laws of God and the Bible itself. Paul speaks of the pagan Roman as, “knowing the judgment of God,” in Romans 1:32. Simultaneously, because man is fallen, his reason and judgment are clouded, in Romans 1:18, he writes, “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The concept of natural law should inform us that such elements as the sanctity of human life, but because it is subject to Fallen reason, it frequently’s subjected to man’s lower nature. Our contemporary view can see both the value and the danger of natural law. Aristotle mistakenly believed that some are born to be slaves, others free. He concluded there were inferior and superior races. Reminiscent of the Nazi theories of race, and fodder for segregationist.
Absent a basis for absolutes, only the revealed law of God can curb natural law and prevent it from degenerating into something ugly. In a society that rejects the Bible as its reference point, law eventually must be the product of the arbitrary, capricious will of man. Random chance became the lord of the universe. C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man, wrote, “Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.”
Predictably, U.S. Courts have descended into a “focus group agency.” Reacting to the whims of many. Pressure from few elitist. Activism usurps the wisdom of the Constitution.The courts ignore centuries of natural and common law.The Constitution is a covenant between the people, through the states, and the federal government. Federal courts must be tamed.
It didn’t begin last week. In1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney spoke for the majority ruling that blacks had no standing as a person in the Dred Scott decision. Justice Holmes, in1881, laid the groundwork for undermining law-claiming experience was preeminent. In 1978, Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe endorsed the philosophy of evolving natural justice, concluding the Constitution was deliberately incomplete. What the framers viewed as settled limits to man’s autonomy, is now a blank check for arbitrary innovation-constitutional mischief.
James Madison warned in Federalist Papers 51, “If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls would be necessary.” He understood all levels of government had to be limited due to man’s Fallen nature, inclined to abusive power. Will we get a four year reprieve? Constitutional victory shelf life is brief? What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org