Tag Archives: Brown v Board of Education


The Greek People today voted against Central Government and Central Economic Planning by a factor of roughly 2-to-1 (in many hard-hit urban areas 3-to-1). Greece has perhaps turned the tide of the expanding power of the European Community, and we should follow suit here. The Greek people know that a central government based in Brussels, exactly on the opposite Northwest Corner of Europe from Greece in the far Southeast, cannot possibly be expected to act in the interests of a minority people with comparatively little wealth and political “pull” compared with France, Germany, or even Italy.

The people of the South derived their concept of Democracy, much of their philosophy, and their iconic style of architecture from the Ancient Greek Civilization of Demosthenes, Aristotle, Plato, and Saint Paul the Apostle, not to mention their battle flag from Saint Andrew Protokletos, the First Called Apostle, who died, crucified on an X-shaped cross, in Patras on the Northwest Peloponnesos.

Every Southern Constitutional Democrat from Thomas Jefferson through Andrew Jackson to Jefferson Davis through John W. Davis (a West-Virginia Born lawyer, successor to Samuel Tilden in New York Law and predecessor to Robert Byrd who as Democratic Presidential nominee carried the 11 Southern States in the election of 1924, ending his career heroically defending the honor and integrity of the South in Brown v. Board of Education thirty years later) up to Sam Ervin, Price Daniel, Walter F. George, and Strom Thurmond was acutely aware of the Greek Heritage of Southern Democratic-Republican traditions.

The people and politicians of the South should follow the developments in Greece closely—and take note that the only major party which unequivocally advocated a “no” vote was the Golden Dawn…. the most traditionally conservative of all of Greece’s political movements…

May the Fourth be with You (and with thy Spirit)…. May 3rd was Day of the Holy Cross (in the Old BCP anyhow); Warnings from History about the Coming Dark Age: May 3 is also Polish Constitution of 1791 Day, and the 60th Anniversary of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company Petition for Certiorari

Yes, May the Fourth is international Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with You”—but watch out for the “Revenge of the Fifth”), and yesterday, all over Western Christendom, is or at least used to be called “the Day of the Holy Cross” (this construction of the Calendar is sometimes said to be a “Gallican” custom, involving the mixture of Celtic rites of Beltane [May Day] with Christianity, in the time of Saint Gregory of Tours and other such French sources predating the time of Charlamagne*, but even as a 20th century Anglican/Episcopalian, I grew up thinking that Constantine’s Mother the Empress Helen**  went to Jerusalem and found the “true Cross” fragments on May 3, and when I started traveling to and living in Mexico I found that the Mexicans [in “Veracruz” and elsewhere] still celebrate the 3rd, notwithstanding anything Pope John XXIII did the year I was born [1960], and the Maya of Yucatán—see my birthday greetings for Pedro Un Cen on May 1—still celebrate May 3 as the day that the Chaacs (the Ancient Maya Raingods) return to the land from the East to start the beginning of the rainy season, but Last things first:

POLISH CONSTITUTION OF 1791 Day: A Warning for our Time

Most Americans have heard of American Revolutionary War hero General  Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko (at least by the shorter version of his name: Tadeusz Kosciuszko).  He came to the United States to assist in the War of Independence for no reason other than he thought it was the right thing to do.  He was a volunteer Patriot in Founding a country 1/3 of the way around the world from his homeland.  

I have the feeling that Kosciuszko lived to feel even more defeated than John W. Davis….(see my adjoining post on the 60th Anniversary of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Petition for Writ of Certiorari) possibly more like Jefferson Davis must have felt…..  

Kosciuszko lived long enough after the American Revolution to see first the French Revolution, then the final partition of his own homeland by three of the major powers OPPOSED to the French Revolution, the restoration of the core of his homeland (briefly) between 1807 and 1815, and then the final re-annexation of Poland by Russia after the Congress of Vienna in 1815—a situation which would endure for another 104 years….

After helping launch the American nation, with a career comparable and in some ways parallel to the actions of the Marquis de Lafayette in France, Kosciuszko went back to his native Poland where he tried to rebuild and save his own nation, and modernize its constitution in light of what he had learned and seen in America. I have previously, on this blog, mentioned the wonderful Polish Professor Wiktor Osiatynski under whom I was privileged to study at the University of Chicago 1990-1991 and my fascination with the Polish nation and constitutional history has never ceased since then.  Poland is a Phoenix-like nation having been consumed by fire into ashes and portioned by its neighbors Germany and Russia at least twice (and Austria once).  The metaphoric image of the mythical Phoenix arising from its flames parallels takes on added and appropriate meaning given Poland’s association with the City and University of Chicago, not least since Chicago is the largest Polish-speaking urban area anywhere outside of Poland and the City itself has at least once or twice in history arisen from the flames (after the Great Fire of 1871, but arguably again after the riots of 1968 also…).  

On May 3, Poland celebrated the 221st anniversary of the Constitution of 1791, the last Constitution before the two final (18th century) partitions of Poland 1793-1795.   The Twentieth Century Partition of Poland, between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia was in a thousand ways much worse, more brutal, more destructive, but also much shorter in duration.  The 18th Century Partitions of Poland were reversed by the Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte in 1807 as he vainly tried to restrict and limit the power of Prussia.  The Von Ribbentrop-Molotov (aka “Stalin-Hitler”) Pact of 1941 was reversed a mere four years later, but not before Poland had not only been savaged by Nazi occupation but by the Stalinist reprisal which, in terms of meaningful reality, involved much vaster forced migrations than any that history had ever seen, and comparable only to the forced internal migrations (poorly documented though they are) which took place in Maoist China during the “Cultural Revolution”.  

Now you might ask, why should an American care about learning the details of Polish Constitutional History?  As Professor Wiktor Osiatynski made us all aware in the two courses he taught that year at the University of Chicago, Poland’s constitutional history was a major source of its downfall.  Prior to meeting and studying with Wiktor, my primary familiarity with recent modern Poland had been a vague knowledge of the partitions of the late 18th century, the fact that Napoleon I had created the Duchy of Warsaw, and that Chopin and many other 19th century artists had gained fame for the culture of Poland and quietly advocated the restoration of Polish Sovereignty and Nationality.

Of course, I had also been very generally aware from a lifetime obsession with historical cartography, I was aware that Poland had once been the largest nation in Europe—a fact, again, which probably very few Americans must know.***  Yes, the combination of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland once not merely “dominated” but in effect “was” all of Eastern Europe—controlling during most of the 15th-early 18th Centuries all of the territory from the Baltic to the Black Seas, dwarfing “barbarous” Russian during most of that time, although Russia started climbing out of an inferior position in the 16th century, though it did not achieve “world nation” status until the 18th under Peter and Catherine the Great.  

But indeed, the Constitutional History of Poland and Lithuania together is very interesting, and historically relevant for Americans, especially in this day and age.  Lithuania, so it was forced to ally more closely with Poland, uniting with its western neighbor as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Two Nations) in the Union of Lublin of 1569. According to the Union many of the territories formerly controlled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were transferred to the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, while the gradual process of Polonization slowly drew Lithuania itself under Polish domination. The Grand Duchy retained many rights in the federation (including a separate government, treasury and army) until the May 3 Constitution of Poland was passed in 1791. 

I submit to you, “my fellow Americans” that we today are much like Poland—because of the abrogation of our traditional Federal Union into a centralized dictatorship, we are weak and face extinction, division, and perhaps even partition between, say, China, Mexico, and a resurgent Europe.  

* Pope Adrian I between 784 and 791 sent Charlemagne, at the King of the Franks’ personal request, a copy of what was considered to be the Sacramentary of Saint Gregory, which certainly represented the Western Roman “Early Dark Ages” use of the end of the eighth century.  This book, far from complete, was edited and supplemented by the addition of a large amount of matter derived from the Gallican books and from the Roman book known as the Gelasian Sacramentary, which had been gradually supplanting the Gallican. The editor may well have been Charlemagne’s principal liturgical advisor, the  Englishman Alcuin. Copies were distributed throughout Charlemagne’s empire, and this “composite liturgy”, as Duchesne says, “from its source in the Imperial chapel spread throughout all the churches of the Frankish Empire and at length, finding its way to Rome gradually supplanted there the ancient use”. More than half a century later, when Charles the Bald wished to see what the ancient Gallican Rite had been like, it was necessary to import Hispanic priests to celebrate it in his presence, because the Gallican rite took root firmly in Toledo, Viscaya, Aragon, Catalunia, and elsewhere in the land of the Christian Visigoths of Hispania before the arrival of the Moors (and survived there ever after, even during the Caliphate of Cordoba—which resilience explains why May 3 remains the Day of the Holy Cross everywhere in Latin America).

The Luxeuil Lectionary, the Gothicum and Gallicum Missals, and the Gallican adaptations of the Hieronymian Martyrology are the chief authorities on this point, and to these may be added some information to be gathered from the regulations of the Councils of Agde (506), Orléans (541),Tours (567), and Mâcon (581), and from the “Historia Francorum” of St. Gregory of Tours, as to the Gallican practice in the sixth century.

** Constantine’s Mother the Empress Helen did a lot of traveling and established a lot of Churches.  Named after Helen of Troy, Empress Helen kept the name alive and popular among the Christians, and it was the Empress Helen, I am told, after whom were named both my Louisiana-born grandmother who raised me with love and my Greek-born wife who razed me with something else.

***For my lifelong obsession with maps, I have mostly my mother to blame, because she bought me so many Atlases–Shepard’s Historical Atlas, Oxford Historical Atlas, just for starters–when I was very small and for some reason decorated my boyhood room with a collection historical individually framed maps of almost every county in England, Wales, & Scotland—this led to my grandparents, somewhat later, always putting me in charge of studying the maps when we traveled and making reports on local geography as we did—Baedeker was almost like a family friend, and sometimes AAA and National Geographic.

Chinese Teenager Sells Kidney For iPhone (an essay on rights to Life, Liberty, Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness)

I personally know at least one American who did this—sold his kidney, that is, albeit, as an adult; I consider that particular individual mostly normal, only slightly deranged, and in some ways quite exceptional, as I have written elsewhere.  The questions raised by the sale of kidneys regarding ownership and use of one’s own body, and the relationship to such things as abortion, child-labor laws, euthanasia, prostitution, stem-cell research, slavery, and the 13th Amendment, are very interesting: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  If I-Phones, I-Pods, and I-Pads bring or confer either “true” Happiness or that nearly indistinguishable phenomenon known as “the illusion of Happiness,” are individuals, including minors, permitted to exchange body parts for “wealth?”  In what can only be called a case at the heart of the “substantive due process” debate in American Civil Rights/World Human Rights law, I ask this question and try to address it as follows:


A Chinese teenager has sold his kidney to buy an iPad and iPhone.

:: Commentary on this video is in Mandarin

Xiao Zheng, from the country’s south-eastern Anhui province, is believed to have met a broker on the internet who said he could help him sell his kidney for £1,825 (Yuan 20,000).

He is said to have left a message for the middleman saying: “I want to buy an iPad 2.”

Zheng then travelled to Chenzhou in central Hunan province, where he had his right kidney removed in a hospital.

His mother told reporters she was devastated by the news.

She said: “When my son came home he had a laptop computer and an Apple phone.

“Where did all that money come from? Only when he could bear it no longer did he tell us.

“He said, Mum, I sold my kidney.

“When I heard it I felt like the sky was crashing down on our family.”

The boy’s mother alerted police after she found out but they were unable to locate the broker as his phone was switched off.

The hospital was not authorised to perform organ transplants, and claimed they had no idea about the surgery because the department had been contracted to a businessman from a neighbouring province, reports said.


CEL NOTES:  Does anyone else think that this is among the most interesting and challenging news items recently?  A poor Chinese boy exercised his free will and made an interesting business deal which resulted in a slightly diminished life expectancy to him.  How does the (forbidden) sale of body parts among the living relate or compare to the (much encouraged) willing of body parts for premature death (encouraged on state drivers’ licenses all over the United States, for example)?  How does the sale of body parts relate to prostitution?  To abortion?  To the use of aborted fetus tissue in stem-cell research?  How do all of these things relate to Slavery and the Thirteenth Amendment?

An old political riddle in the mother country runs like this: (1) We all agree that the Power of Parliament is absolute, correct?  (2) We all agree that Parliament can delegate some of its power by statute, correct?  (3) Historically speaking, Parliament derived its power on the one hand from the King and on the other hand from the people, correct? (4)  So now that we know that the Power of Parliament is Absolute, that Parliament can delegate some of its power by statute, and that Parliament historically derived its power from the King on the one hand and the people on the other, can Parliament now by statute give away or delegate all its power, to the King, for example?  Or to a “President”?  Or to the “European Parliament?” would be a more likely modern problem.

Likewise the individual human being: we posit that he is free (albeit that teenage “minors” such as the Chinese teenager in this story are supposedly under their parents and/or the State’s special protection in loco parentis or parens patriae).  We posit that every individual can give away some significant portion of their freedom by contract (i.e. a contract of employment, or of marriage, or of service in the military, or in the clergy, etc.).  We would doubtless concede that models can and do often lose weight as part of their employment, or have plastic surgery or “implants” or collagen shots or “whatever” to enhance their careers and “marketability.”  We would recognize that, whether as a matter of conscious choice or not, athletes, sports stars, and manual laborers and body builders can and do alter their bodies gain wait and build muscle mass as part of their employment, either by healthy eating or vitamins, or training programs.   So we clearly recognize that “freedom of choice” includes control over one’s own body.

“Freedom of Choice….Control over one’s own body”—can we be far from the discussion of abortion?  The Latin legal doctrine ius in re aliena now comes to mind: “right in the affairs [or property] of another.”  Is an individual’s body an aspect of his or her life, liberty, or property?  When does another person have rights in your life, liberty, or property?  A father clearly has interest in a wanted child: he is the father, and has every right to protect his child, even from a (post-natally) abusive mother (although—based on personal experience—“good luck!” if the abuse is anything less than actual murder).   But some seem to think that either the father or society at large has certain rights to decide when a child is “wanted” or “unwanted” prenatally.   The monstrosity of internal contradictions and inconsistent, incoherent doctrine which is U.S. Federal abortion law, starting with Roe v. Wade is just a nightmare if you’re trying to make sense out of why a two-to-three month old unwanted fetus has either less or more “rights” than a six-seven month old unwanted fetus.  No Supreme Court decision in the history of the United States, except possibly Scott v. Sanford or Brown v. Board of Education were ever more clearly judicial usurpations of power to fill the gap where the “overtly” political branches had either abdicated or abrogated their own power.

The debate over abortion and what to do with “fetal tissue” has become more intense and aggravated by the apparent extreme utility of fetal tissue and body parts in stem-cell research, but the conundrum that “from death proceeds life” is as ancient and iconic as “the Tree of Jesse” that grows from either the loin of the dead ancestor of the House of David or, as a blood dripping Cross, from the hill called “Golgotha” (Calvary: the Hill of the Skull).

So how can we deal with Xiao Zheng’s sacrifice of his long-term marginal well-being for his perception of his own salvation?   AND YES, Yes, there are blasphemers who, before its release even, referred to the I-Phone as “the Jesus Phone”—right above the now seemingly ubiquitous adds for “Travel Girls” the on-line Urban Dictionary has these entries: “The iPhone, one of the most hyped products ever and occasionally called the “Jesus phone” like it was the Second Coming” and “The iphone by apple. A phone that makes you feel like Jesus. In fact Jesus probably has one himself.”    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jesus%20Phone

Abortion is of course one directly analogous “freedom” to mutilate and maim body parts (whether we like it or not, that’s what it is) which decreases “life expectancy” at the margins… at the very least, and yet through stem-cell research it could lead to longer life and greater health, cures for Alzheimers among those who are unambiguously still alive—there being so much debate in the abortion arena about “when life begins.”

Abortion, relating to human sexuality, raises the questions of prostitution and white slavery more easily than the sale of a kidney.  Most states permit minors, at least under certain circumstances, to get abortions without parental consent.  So why should minors not sell their kidneys?  Or even their eyes?  (Fantine’s repeated sale of her beautiful good healthy teeth was one of the stories in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables  (the grim 19th century novel, not the Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical) which has, frankly, given me nightmares my whole life—that along with stories of people being buried alive in ordinary cemeteries are about on the same level).

To what degree can we say that, without the reproductive overtones of abortion and prostitution, the sale of a kidney is more like “ordinary employment”—like the work of models, body builders, athletes, sports stars, or even manual laborers—who make physical sacrifices and adjustments in their bodies for purposes of making a living?

So if we were to permit Xiao Zheng to sell his kidney and thus reduce his life-expectancy, let us then ask whether he can sell his entire body and life?  Under the 13th Amendment, he cannot literally sell himself into slavery—involuntary servitude for life—but could he contract for a lifetime job?  Now, obviously, some people (rarely these days, but a few, like the Queen of England for instance, and some Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court) keep the same job from appointment or accession until death—but I suppose we assume that this is completely voluntary because abdication or resignation are permitted.   Could one sign a contract for life employment without possibility of quitting?  It has been established by precedent that no Court would ever “specifically” enforce such a contract, by compelling performance, at least not in the U.S. after and in light of the 13th Amendment.

But how about the choice for euthanasia or suicide then?  That is analogous to Parliament giving away all its power, and it is most disfavored.  But we allow abortion—in fact, our courts for going on 40 years have vigorously protected it as a fundamental right.  Minors can have abortions.  So should minors be allowed to make money by selling body parts?  Minors can be body builders, models, and athletes, even sports stars, and engage in body-altering manual labor.  Some people die as a result of diets, or excessive labor, or voluntary body-alteration.  Can society intervene to prevent one kind of behavior but not the other?