There is a new twist to Rep. Sorg’s proposal that prior to the state accepting any federal grant, there should be a finding of a reference to the Federalist Papers giving constitutional authority for that grant.
Reps. Kingsbury, Twombly and L. Vita have sponsored a bill that would require a direct quote from the Magna Carta in any bill or resolution addressing individual rights or liverites which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived. Here is a link to the bill:
The Magna Carta?
Have these representatives read the Magna Carta? Yes, in 1215, it was a landmark document establishing rights and liberties – the rights and liberties of a 13th centruy feudal society, which are a far cry from the rights and freedoms of our democracy.
No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she prefers to live without a husband; provided always that she gives security not to marry without our consent, if she holds of us, or without the consent of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds of another.
No village or individual shall be compelled to make bridges at river banks, except those who from of old were legally bound to do so.
Excellent, I won’t be forced to volunteer for the public works department.
No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other than her husband.
Between 1215 and the time of our American Revolution and the subsequent adoption of our Constitution, the concept of individual rights and liberties had expanded to free speech, assembly, religion. There are hints of some rights, such as due process:
If any one shall have been disseized by us, or removed, without a legal sentence of his peers, from his lands, castles, liberties or lawful right, we shall straightway restore them to him.
However, it does not contain the full roster of rights and liberties in our Constitution. So, why the Magna Carta? Why not the Code of Hammurabi? I mean, the Magna Carta is great, but the Code is much older, and you can’t beat the Code for a real turn of a phrase:
When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.
That opening pretty much covers it all: bring about the rule of righteousness, destroy the wicked and evil doers, the strong should not harm the weak. There you go.
Bill O’Brien would like this one:
If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.
Some of it is a little harsh:
If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.
But it does go along with the desire of some in the majority to expand the death penalty.
[In all seriousness, I will now go weep for my beloved state of New Hampshire.]
Code of Hammurabi: