Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Activist Supreme Court...

Well, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor made history on friday by becoming the first woman in history to resign from the supreme court.
Now the battle over her replacement can begin. I can hardly wait.
The pundits that I have heard have all been talking about how moderate she was, and now (if the president is smart) he will try to replace her with another moderate, so as to not upset the delicate balance of the court.
The die-hard conservatives want him to appoint a die-hard conservative. The Libs want him to appoint a revolutionary liberal.
I don't want him to appoint any of these. I would be happy if he would just appoint someone who can READ. It would even be okay with me if his appointee had never even been to law school, Just as long as they can pass a reading comprehension test.
The job of the supreme court is to look over the cases which are presented to them, read the constitution, and then decide how the constitution applies to that case. Their job is not to right the wrongs of society, not to over-rule unjust laws enacted by the legislature, or to FIX ANYTHING. It is simply to read what is already written in our constitution (Nowhere else), and decide how it applies on a case by case basis.
This requires complete objectivity, which is extremely difficult for human beings to achieve. This is why news is biased one way or the other, no matter what source you get it from. Any time anyone relates a story to you, whether it is about world events, or what they had for lunch, that person relates the details which are important to THEM. You, in turn, will retain the details which are important to YOU, and pass those details on to the next person you talk with about it. It's almost unavoidable.
When supreme court justices hear cases, they must try really hard not to inject their particular political leanings into the debate, but when they fail to resist that urge, they cross the line between judge and legislator. They cease being judges and become rulers, a situation which the founding fathers tried very hard to protect us from. When this happens, the power in America is taken out of the hands of the people, and placed into the hands of a very few lawyers, who then rule by, for lack of a better term, Emperial Decree.
Our current supreme court seems to me lately to have lost the ability to understand exactly what the constitution says.
For example, how did the phrase "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" come to mean that private property can be transfered from one private citizen to another private citizen, whether they want to sell it or not? How is "just compensation" to be calculated in this situation? Are we going to figure out how long the current owner would have kept the property, and then pay him the value of the property at that point in time? Are we going to determine what improvements or development the current owner would eventually have made, had he been allowed to keep his property, and then pay him according to the value of it then?
No. What we are going to do is confiscate whatever piece of property seems juiciest to what ever local politician sees it, and transfer it to whoever will promise to pay the most property tax on it. This is wrong, and as long as this recent ruling is allowed to stand, no one's home or investment property is safe from seizure, not even if you happen to be a supreme court justice.
(See http://www.freestarmedia.com/hotellostliberty2.html )
Another example..." Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free expression thereof." Does that say anything about a seperation of church and state?
To me, that says that the congress cannot make a law which forces me to become a Bhudist, or a Muslim,Or to force YOU to become a Christian, but it also means that no one can make me pretend to be an Athiest either. ( and now, here come the wise and enlightened Athiests, to equate my belief in God with a belief in Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny...Whatever. The truth about this is that personally, I have just as much evidence in the existence of God as I have in the existence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I've never seen either one, however, I know they both exist.) This phrase also says to me that no one can make a law which restricts me from posting the Ten Commandments anywhere I think they should be.( as long as I don't violate any anti-littering laws or anything like that.)
Does that mean that if the local City Council in the town where I live decided to post a plaque displaying the Ten Pillars of Islam on the courthouse lawn, that I would have to like it? No, but if I opposed it, I would be on the wrong side of the issue, constitutionally.
The Freedom of Religion clause of the First Ammendment does not give anyone the right to be insulated from any mention of God. It just gives you the right to accept, or reject whatever beliefs make sense to you personally. And before you start up about taxpayer money being used for monuments on public land, remember that Christians pay taxes too, and about 77 percent of Americans believe in God, in one form or another. The Ten Commandments issue is one that would go in favor of Christians every time if it was put to a public vote. Like it or not.
Enough on that.
What I am getting at is, I don't want a Conservative to take Justice O'Connor's place. I don't want a Liberal either, nor do I want a moderate. What I would like to see is for her to be replaced with 192 justices from all stripes, so that no longer will the nation be subject to the rule of a body so small, that a single justice's opinion can sway the laws of the entire government. I would also like for there to be an even number of justices, so that we have the occasional tie.
The way I see it, The supreme court justices individually have way too much power, and as long as this is the case, We The People are going to always come out on the short end of the stick.

27 comments:

Mark said...

Welcome back, Tug, and thanks for the compliment over at my place.
But Tug, the best essay I ever wrote in my life is mt July 2nd post and you didn't comment on it!

tugboatcapn said...

It's good to be back, Mark.
Thanks to a loaner computer (Mine's in the hospital) I can at last post something new and escape from comment - page hell.
Come to think of it, you didn't really comment on my post either... I'm kinda curious about your thoughts on the 200 member supreme court idea. Let me know...

Toad734 said...

The freedom of religion is for the people not the Government. You do have the right to post the 10 commandments any where you like on your property and very few people, with the exception of some neighbors would object to it.
No where does the Constitution mention "Separation of Church and State", but it also never mentions the word gun or guns, does that mean since it's not there that we will just allow you to literally pull up your sleeves and bare your arms for protection, but make guns illegal? Your logic would suggest this very principle.

I would like to point out that the Supreme Court does have to do more than just read what’s on a piece of paper written for the most part, over 200 years ago? Issues such as guns, 5th amendment, and 1st amendment can be interpreted in several ways, sometimes, ways in which you wouldn't understand. They have to put some frame of reference to when these documents were written and their possible implications, and then translate that into today’s modern society. They do this by examining past court cases and decisions on the same subject. Obviously "Just Compensation" is something that must be interpreted, or even something that you just have to flip a coin on, after all what was just 200 years ago (20 pieces of silver and a mule) would not be just today. And if you think interpreting that is hard what about "Cruel and Unusual Punishment", what’s cruel and unusual to one person may be completely reasonable to another; many think the death penalty is cruel, some think prison is cruel some think shooting them after the trial is completely rational too, so the Supreme Court with all their years of studying and practicing law have to try to define those terms that were not previously defined. Do I agree with their eminent domain ruling? Of course not, although I can see how you could interpret it either way, but then that’s to say what is just compensation?


And while we are on the subject of "Activist Judges" I would like to say that sometimes I think people confuse liberal with educated and fail to see the difference between their beliefs and the actual law.

As for Judges becoming "rulers" and "legislatures", again sometimes they are the only thing keeping a Democracy, or the majority from bulldozing over the minority. With the current situation of half of the nation being hypnotized by Jesus Bush, the Republicans (conservatives) controlling the house and the senate, who else can stand in the way of them, doing anything they want? What if it were reversed and the liberals controlled everything and decided that they were going to take away everyone’s guns and only allow knives, who do you think would be the last line of defense if the majority of the people agreed, and the house, senate and White House were under the spell of Hillary Clinton? Exactly right, the Supreme Court. And then the liberals would accuse them of being activist judges going against what the democracy (majority) wanted.

The Constitution also never mentions the word God, Bible, Protestant, Christian, Christianity, or Jesus, thus trying to justify that this nation was founded on Christianity is ridiculous. Since everyone has the right to be their own religion without fear of influence from other religions, then how does putting Christian dogma in court of law, supported by the federal government and my agnostic tax dollars, make any sense?

Freedom of religion, just like freedom of speech and the other amendments such as the 21st,(try buying beer in Indiana on Sunday) are not absolute. This means there is a limit to your freedom of religion and that freedom is confined to your house and your church, not everybody else’s house, other peoples churches, other peoples bedrooms, other peoples government or places where other people gather or other people pay for.

Mark said...

200 judges? well, seems to me that the 9 we have are divided enough. Can you imagine the time and problems it would take to get 200 very opinionated judges to agree on lunch, much less the fine points of a law? I'd be happy if the ones we have would just interpret the law, rather than make new ones, independent of the legislative branch of government. Judges are notoriously arrogant anyway. 200 of them would be a cluster you-know-what.

tugboatcapn said...

Toad, it doesn't matter where the Ten commandments are posted, you have the right to not read them.
You are fooling yourself if you believe that the founding fathers did not base this country on Christianity. They did. It doesn't matter whether they mentioned the words "God", or "Jesus", or "Bible" in their documents, They believed in these things, and to try to make the point that they didn't is lunacy.
"The right to bare arms" meant then and means now the right to carry a gun. Everyone knows this. If you get anything else from this phrase, you are working too hard.
If Queen Hillary were in charge and decided to collect everyone's guns, it wouldn't be any more idiotic than the recent Emminent Domain ruling.They are BOTH unconstitutional.
It doesn't matter where the basic princials of the Ten Commandments came from in the first place,(yes, I read your blog, you know, the long, boring post...)The founding Fathers of the United States read them from THE BIBLE. They never intended for God to be excluded from government(No matter how bad YOU want them to have wanted that), They only intended that the Government never set up a state religion (not even Agnosticism...) And force everyone to worship the same way.
Your point doesn't make sense when you read the other documents written by the men who wrote the Constitution and the other founding documents of our nation.
I don't get you, Toad. You seem to be a reasonably intelligent and educated person...Why do you go out of your way to miss the point?

alaletos said...

I honestly don't know much about politics and judges, not that I don't understand it. I just don't know that much "info" (I rarely watch the news) However. My friend and I where having a discusion about the lead singer of his favorite band "The Misfits" (I know your thinkin where is he going with this? trust me) Who is being mocked,and ridiculed for not only doing the "un-punk" thing by voting for Bush, but joining the army. (They deemed him a little to old and said he had some health issues and therefore he recieved an honarable discharge)

Any way to the point. My friend showed me an interview with Michael Graves, In which he said "we need a God fearing man in the White house"

My friend and M.G. dissagree in this alone. I do not.

God is exactly what we need more of in this countrt. Think about it for a sec. Before they took prayer and discipline out of school the major problems where running down the hall and chewing gum, Now we have school shootings and gang rape.... this list could go on for days.

Seperating God from the decisions we make as a country is a very scary idea, Man lusts for power, domination.. and without guidance these perversions would go unchecked!! The ten comandments are the greatest example of God and government working together.

Yet just because we don't want to hurt anyones feelings we take them away . We need to be offended,told hey thats not right. Very few people have the testicular fortitude to do these things anymore!!

p.s. thanx for stickin up for me on the other post(goldphish) that rich bachelor guy has posted twice after me. Im currently finishing a new post. I think it right up his ally,

also I go in next week to finish my CD. Ill send you one as soon as its finished!

Toad734 said...

So that stands to reason that you have the right to not look at the 5 pillars of Islam if I were to have them put up in your courthouse correct?
And it also means your children have the right to not participate in the prayers and bowing to Mecca 3 times during the school day as well right if that were to become allowed right?
The founding father, a lot of who were Deists, wrote many things that are not law. Ill bet we can find all kinds of letters written to their wives but that doesn't make them law, what's law is what is written in the constitution.
And if you want to talk about letters of the founding fathers take a look at these quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

“Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” Thomas Jefferson 1802

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

So how can you justify interpreting the 1st amendment with regards to the freedom of religion liberally but interpret the 2nd amendment conservatively?
And if the 2nd amendment term "arms" always meant guns, does that mean only single shot muskets that fired one inaccurate round per minute are allowed but the 2nd amendment, since that is what a gun was back then, or does it include rocket launchers, tanks, cruise missiles, AK-47s and other military weapons that can kill 100s of people in seconds?
And if the 2nd and 1st amendments are absolute why isn't the 21st amendment? Why can’t I buy beer on Sundays? How are dry counties constitutional since the Constitution overrides state laws? And if the part of the 1st amendment regarding religion is absolute why can't I yell fire in a crowded theater?


"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Ratified by the senate and 2nd president John Adams in 1797.

According to Article 6 of the US Constitution:
Clause 2: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. "

Mark said...

Toad, you blew your own argument when you quoted: "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

You'd better re read that. He is saying that someday the Bible and the precepts of Christianity will be regarded as myths and we hope that they aren't, And that the ones that relegate these precepts to the status of myths will return to the belief in the Bible.

Toad734 said...

I see what you are saying, but that isn't what is being said. Even if it were, I didn't blow any argument out of anywhere. Even if Thomas Jefferson believed in God, his other letters still say that religion has no business in our government, and especially only one religion, Christianity.
The artificial scaffolding is religion.

As tugboat said, there were plenty of our founding fathers who were christians, and some of those may have wanted the US to be a Christian nation, however, as the Constitution shows, they did not get their way.

What is your response to the rest of my post?

Toad734 said...

Maybe this helps to put the above mentioned quote into a better frame of reference:

The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

tugboatcapn said...

Toad, I will give you this... You certainly do your homework.
However, you are still trying to use a few random, out of context quotes to revise history.
Try reading the Declaration of Independence. There can be no more basic Founding Document for our Nation, and God is mentioned repeatedly in it.
I still don't understand how a plaque or a statue of the Ten Commandments assaults your freedom of religion. If the Ten Commandments were in the Communist Manifesto instead of the Bible, would you still be so opposed to ever seeing them?
Even if they had not come from the Bible, they still are a pretty good guide for living a peaceful and happy life. The world would be a better place if everyone adhered to them.(Are you going to try to argue with me on that point?)Besides that,Your own last post (you know, the long, boring one??) made the point that the Ten Commandments came from everywhere BUT the Bible, didn't it? Or did I go out of MY way to miss the point?
Wait a minute, I thought my post was about the Supreme Court...How did I let you drag me off on this tangient about the Ten Commandments?

tugboatcapn said...

By the way, Toad, I love your little picture with Rush on the Oxycontin Ad...
Maybe next week you can change it to a Ted Kennedy ad for Alcoholics Anonymous, or maybe Slick Willie for Altoids. Just a thought...

Toad734 said...

But being an alcoholic isn't illegal and Ted doesn't go on the radio everyday talking about moral values.

tugboatcapn said...

That's because Teddy boy has no idea what moral values are.
Rush has never killed anyone because of his drug addiction, and has never been charged with any crime, and in case you missed it, HIS personal Constitutional right to privacy is under assault. You should be sticking up for him yourself.
What's the difference in doctor shopping for drugs to relieve back pain, and Smoking Marijuana for the relief of cancer pain? You will argue for one and slam people for the other.
Seems to me you either should be for illegal drug use or against it...

Toad734 said...

Communism isn't religion so it wouldn't be unconstitutional, but it would still be unnecessary, as is hanging up 10 commandments in any place other than a church and possibly a museum. And you have yet to tell me you would be fine with kids in public schools stopping 3 times a day to pray to Mecca or having the 5 pillars of Islam hanging in your courthouse. That wouldn't endorse a religion right, since you don’t have to look at them?

Again, I don't see you lounging and doing no work, nor going go Church on Saturdays, so you obviously don't follow the 10 commandments either.

Exodus 31:15: Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Again those laws all existed thousands of years before Christianity. I realize the historical legal context of the 10 commandments but also see that they are pretty insignificant compared with other documents, especially since most of the principles in the 10 commandments were borrowed from Hammurabis Code of Laws.
Only 3 of the 10 Commandments have laws similar to any of the laws in our law books today.

tugboatcapn said...

I don' know that I buy the premise that communism isn't religion, but whatever.
If it was a publicly funded museum, you would still be screaming about it.
I wouldn't like it if my kids were made to pray to Mecca, but the truth is that children are already being taught about Islam in the schools. The only religion the left seems to have a problem with is Christianity, and that isn't right either.
You don't know what I do on Saturday, or whether or not I observe the sabbath, whatever day I believe that to be. Don't presume to know whether I follow the Ten Commandments.
If you really realize the historical legal context of the Ten Commandments then why are we having this discussion?
The basic principals of the Constitution were borrowed from the Federalist Papers. Does that make the Constitution any less signifigant?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

but it would still be unnecessary, as is hanging up 10 commandments in any place other than a church and possibly a museum. And you have yet to tell me you would be fine with kids in public schools stopping 3 times a day to pray to Mecca or having the 5 pillars of Islam hanging in your courthouse.

The difference is, this nation WAS founded by Christian people. I am not religious. Yet I have no problem with the 10 Commandments. It's not harming me. It shouldn't harm you. In themselves, they are good tenets to live by, regardless of your faith. "Thou shalt not steal". How is that threatening to you?

The reason why having the five pillars of Islam wouldn't seem as ok, to me, is because Islam hasn't been planted in this country to make a significant contribution to the building of America. Over time, that can change, and parts of the Islamic faith might be integrated into American culture. But right now, we have 200 years of Judeo-Christian traditions that is being eradicated by the intolerance of the Left for our American heritage and identity which ARE deeply rooted with Christianity. It's insane that schools are afraid to put up Christmas trees, lest they offend someone. Fer Chrissakes, get a grip! My family is not Christian, and we never felt threatened or left out; we put up a tree every year, exchanged gifts, respected and appreciated the beauty of the religious aspects, and enjoyed it as our national holiday.

My bottomline understanding is that the Constitution is not about "freedom from religion"....it is "freedom of religion". In this nation, you are free to practice your religion in peace and the government doesn't endorse any one particular church.



Again those laws all existed thousands of years before Christianity. I realize the historical legal context of the 10 commandments but also see that they are pretty insignificant compared with other documents, especially since most of the principles in the 10 commandments were borrowed from Hammurabis Code of Laws.
Only 3 of the 10 Commandments have laws similar to any of the laws in our law books today.



Pointing out the historical roots of the 10 Commandments...doesn't that make the case even stronger, that non-Christians can respect the historical and cultural significance of the 10 Commandments, and not look upon them strictly as an endorsement of religion?

What's next? Uprooting all those crosses out of Arlington Cemetary, because a minority of people might feel offended and unwelcomed by the sight? Please...groups like the ACLU need to practice some tolerance and understanding.

Our Founding Fathers built this country upon principles and traditions established by Christianity. They escaped religious persecution. Now the Left are the ones doing the persecuting. To find offense in "In God We Trust" stamped upon our coins is just plain making a mountain out of a molehill. It harms NO ONE.

Toad734 said...

Let’s ask the author of the Bill of Rights what he thinks about religion and what the 1st amendment meant:

“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity; the less they are mixed together.” James Madison

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.” James Madison

Or

"The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty.” Thomas Paine


RE: Tug
IF 10 commandments are displayed in a historical context, along with other historical laws then I have no problem with it public or private, but when it serves as a reminder to anyone who enters that Christianity is the only acceptable religion and that they will be judged based on Christians principles and whether or not they themselves are Christians that’s when I have a problem with it, especially if I am paying for it.

RE: There was a man from Nantucket

Of course I don't want to uproot crosses at cemeteries, as I don't want to uproot Star of David’s in cemeteries either. Those symbolize a personal belief that the person buried there carried; A PERSONAL BELIEF!

Look, I win anyways, The Supreme Court just said if it's only the 10 Commandments then it's unconstitutional; if it's the 10 Commandments in a legal or historical setting with other legal or religious documents then its fine. The Supreme Court has years of legal experience and have studied the Constitution more carefully than anyone on the planet, if you disagree with me, you disagree with them. Just because you disagree with someone doesn't make them an "activist judge". An activist judge would be the guy in Alabama who sneaked in during the middle of the night (because he knew it was illegal) and installed the 10 Commandments on public property and refused to take them down; that is an activist judge!

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

Mr Mark do I see a typo?....you write

But Tug, the best essay I ever wrote in my life is (mt) SHOULD BE MY (ut o a typo....) July 2nd post and you didn't comment on it!

Bubby was a lil' disappointed you pointed out to Tug a few Blogs ago, about Bear/bare see we all make mistakes, and feelings get hurt when they are pointed out, lets face it this is a friendly place to voice opinions not a SPELLING BEE.

Dose Bubby make sence?

Toad734 said...

The dictionary does define bare as exposing so although it's not what is written in the Contitution, and not typically used in that context, I can say "bare" arms and it still makes sense.

Oh and Tugger:

If you are saying that in order to not get offended, I don't have to read the 10 Commandments that hang on courthouse walls, does that mean we can hang pictures up of two guys blowing each other and that it won't offend you if you just don't look at it?

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

Toad why would you have a picture of two men doing that to each other? OY OY OY the truth is we do have places for such pictures dear young one its called an Art Museum, and although its been years since Bubby lived in New York they had art like that long before you were born. I believe the general consensus for hanging the the BIG 10 in public places is to show that as diverse a Nation that we are, we still hold the same values*****so you can be Jewish/Muslem/Christian/Buddist/ or a tree hugger, we do believe in having a Universal Kindness towards each other, and a deep sence of good VS bad.

rich bachelor said...

Wait a minute, what did I supposedly do to the guy calling himself Just Like Him (a sin in the old church, by the way: hubris)? I've been accused of all sorts of weird things since I started talking to yer little sewing circle here, and most of them were inaccurate.

tugboatcapn said...

I don't know...
I think he mistook you for your brother who ragged on him about his spelling. You two do look a lot alike...

tugboatcapn said...

Well said, Bubby. Thank you.

Toad734 said...

RE: Yid

Who holds the same values? Not me, not most people I know, who is this we?

And what you said is exactly my point; since when did our court houses become museums? Just as paintings two guys 69ing each other in a court house makes no sense to you, the 10 Commandments makes no sense to me, even though neither of us would have to look at either.

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

So Toad you steal?...Lie?....use foul ugly language?...Hit on married ladies? These are all part of the 10 Commandments. I do believe that if you follow even ONE of these you and your "friends" are a part of the greater good. What seperates us from the Bin Ladens of the world are these Commandments.
Yid****** LOL

rich bachelor said...

Hmm. Carrier did that? I'm the one that's a two time state spelling champ (really). I know it's hard, though. I don't really edit these things,I just send 'em out.
About the commandments: well yeah, there's nothing there to argue about in and of themselves. I'm with Toad though that their presence in courthouses is, above all else, unnecessary. I mean, they've been doing a dandy job keeping us from stealing each others' wives and killing each other lo these 2000 years and everything, but let's see if we can go it alone for a minute. Whaddya say?