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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 4:35 pm 
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We see a contestant floe of rhetoric emanating from the mouths of many great people these days, and one can not likely discuss the IRAQ situation without the Rule of Law having been discussed. Perhaps we feel inadequate when mentioning this premise, lest we might appear to be ignorant.

In the first place, there is no such thing as a single “Rule of Law” as it applies to running of governments. But we all know that you have to be an effective republic.

We probably don’t think of this very much because we were all raised under this concept.

We all know that having an effective set of rules and codes based upon the separation of church and state is essential, as is the checks and balances present when you have separation of Judicial, Executive Branches.

I have every faith that the plan for Iraq has already created some fine minds to educate the Iraqi people.

We are using British Commandos, US Marines & Army to police the country and to maintain the peace.

Each are inculcated with their training of the “Rule of Law”

You can’t take the sharp edge of the swords of these men who have the rule, when attacked, counter attack doing as little collateral damage as possible under the circumstance

On the other hand, Police properly trained, believe their Mission is to quell the uprising doing their best to do this without excessive force..

You can see how the need for Rules of Law are necessary but differ greatly in their mission depending on which rules of law are being discussed.

We have some great thinkers out there in these forums; can we get your input?

Alan K

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:14 pm 
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Alan

I was thinking of starting a topic here, but didn't want to do so if the forum was inactive. So... I thought I'd dip into this thread first - particularly since it strikes a chord with me. Understand though that I'm an engineer and researcher by profession, and deal with the law only to the extent that it allows me to conduct business and my life.

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Police properly trained, believe their Mission is to quell the uprising doing their best to do this without excessive force..

You can see how the need for Rules of Law are necessary but differ greatly in their mission depending on which rules of law are being discussed.

Indeed!

Take Iraq. At first we found it "amusing" and "telling" that commoners were looting the palaces and destroying symbols of Baath party authority. This was exactly the kind of "free-loving-people" response we hoped would happen, as it allegedly validates one of our reasons for being there - freeing the people from a despicable despot. But... the looting continued to the point where people were raiding hospitals and stealing vital equipment needed to serve the population. Clearly this isn't the kind of "revolution" we hoped for. That's the same brand of ugliness we see when protesters burn down a neighborhood or fans of a winning team trash a city. That's not a Robin Hood scenario; it's lawlessness by any definition of the term.

On the other hand... Let's take the common practice of driving fast. A recent AAA poll shows that over 70% of drivers admit to driving faster than the posted speed limit in the most recent month. What's up with that? And what do you say when the law of the U.S. dictates we drive no faster than 70 mph, whereas drivers on the Autobahn regularly, legally, and safely drive 155 mph? Actually at one time (early 1970s), the legal speed limit in the U.S. was as high as 75 mph, and U.S. interstates allegedly are designed for "safe" (by U.S. definition) tavel up to 90 mph. Add to that the fact that radar detectors are legal in many states. And where it is illegal to use them, it's still legal to buy them. Why would I purchase a radar detector other than to exceed the posted speed limit? I could just as easily put a governor on my car to keep it from exceeding 70 mph. And...we can purchase some cars that go 130 mph, 155 mph, and even faster in some exotics. Forget the extremes here; the average soccer mom - on occasion - ignores the posted speed limit. Safe driving courses teach us it's safer to travel at the speed of the flow of traffic - even if that's faster than the posted speed limit. (That was taught to me at a driving class I was forced to attend by VA DMV because I drove fast too many times. I kid you not.)

Many arguments supporting civil disobedience have used civil rights issues as an example. Rule-of-law purists argue we should work within the rules to change an unjust system. True... But the perfect society we seek to achieve will always be beyond the grasp of many minorities, and those with minority points of view. To the extent that individuals with a moral compass can ignore the law in a manner that minimizes harm to others, we can expect a degree of lawlessness with no regret.

There are libertarian-minded individuals that feel strongly about the degree to which government can dictate what we do. No matter what chaste posture the rule-of-law purists take, the degree to which we overregulate individuals' personal freedom may indeed contribute to scofflawry in general.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:14 pm 
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Allen And especially Norm (moderator)

I have placed my post in the thread "Exceeding the Speed Limit or Just Going With the Flow".......rather than disrupting the flow of this thread....Many thanks for being patient with me......

Be well...

ATH

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Last edited by Akil Todd Harvey on Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 5:25 pm 
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Alan:

As you said, the rule of law means different things to different people. In the United States, we have a legal/political culture that cherishes the U.S. Constitution. (And before the flames start, even people and groups that some of us believe are subverting the constitution, usually claim, and even believe, they are acting in furtherance of and with deference to the Constitution.) It is our cultural bias to espouse the principals of freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of association, separation of church and state, right to bear arms, etc. There is no such tradition in Iraq, or for that matter any country in the Middle East with the possible exception of Israel.

To many of the people living in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, the rule of law is the Koran. The notion of a separation of church and state is absurd to a person who believes that an Islaamic State is a moral, political, religious and cultural ideal.

Writing as a U.S. citizen, I believe we are blessed that at the time of our revolution, there was a collection of truly great men. I speak of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Franklin, Burr, and Hamilton and their contemporaries. (And even these great men, who founded the first modern democratic republic, sewed the seeds of the U.S. Civil War that almost destroyed this country in its childhood.) Who will be the founding fathers of Iraq? They won't be U.S. Generals or bureaucrats. It will be Iraqis who shape that nation's future "Rule of Law."

Sincerely,

Norm Abrahamson


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:21 pm 
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Norm, Alan, Bill, & Anyone else who might participate

Not disagreeing with you here, just wondering.......

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To many of the people living in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, the rule of law is the Koran. The notion of a separation of church and state is absurd to a person who believes that an Islamic State is a moral, political, religious and cultural ideal.


Wondering if our separation of church and state is as solid as everyone claims it is.......in who do we trust our money?......"In God we Trust" is printed on every US coin & bill. And wasn't that added in this century, not in the previous ones (I could easily be wrong on that one)>

Our president has been pushing to have greater funding of social services (previously administered by secular acting government workers) carried out by faith based institutions. Seems like a closing of the gap between church and state to me.

While there may be "official" separation of church n state in this country, it deos not appear to be supported by all. It seems to me that just like in Iraq (most likely not to the same extent), that to many of the people, they just assume have greater involvement of church in state proceedings.......

If you go into a courtroom and they ask you to swear on the bible that you are telling the truth, where would the supposed separation be?


When the latest politician is being inaugerated, which book do they have the person swear their allegiance with, the dictionary?


And who is fighting to keep the ten commmandments in schools, government buildings, public gathering places? Is it those secular leaning religionists or some bible thumping, throw religion down their throats whether they like it or not, kind of separation of church n state.......

There is a lot of wisdom in Bill's words.........IMHO, that applies to whether you are led by the Quran or the Bible.....Morality cannot be regulated (which is not to say that there should not be regulations, but that the regulations must also take into account the needs of minority populations).


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No matter what chaste posture the rule-of-law purists take, the degree to which we overregulate individuals' personal freedom may indeed contribute to scofflawry in general.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2003 6:36 pm 
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Swearing in as a witness in court, but don't want to swear on a bible? Tell the judge you are an athiest/Muslim/Hindu/Shinto etc, and no bible will be used. Worked for Marlon Brando. And there is no Constitutional requirement that the Prez swear on a Bible. It's tradition, and she's free to decline.

King George II wanting to "close the gap" between church and state? Opposed by many. Not all think likew him in this regard.

Time and time again, displays of religion on public property have been ruled illegal by judges and the courts. Our Republic at work.

Does Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and other nations have a Constitution that says, "but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust"? The US Constitution does.

Gene


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2003 1:48 pm 
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The founding fathers were Christians, and their moral beliefs as well as their traditions come from that culture. In many respects the United States is a Christian country, however, there is no state religion. State and federal officials are not by virtue of their position religious leaders. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion, and in fact this country has been a haven for people of scores of faiths to practice their religion. Most religions have lobbying groups that use money and influence to attempt to sway lawmakers. That would not be necessary or possible if there was a state religion.

Sincerely,
Norm Abrahamson


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 Post subject: Stack of Holy Qurans
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:55 pm 
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If I am in a court of law, Am I allowed to swear my oath to tell the truth on the Holy Quran (rather than the Holy Bible and no offense to those who prefer the Holy Bible)?

"Freedom of Religion", I thought was somewhere guarenteed in our trusted documents, (to the extent that it does not infringe on others).....

Peace & Well Wishes,

ATH

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 1:45 pm 
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Akil:

The answer to your question is yes. You can swear an oath on a bible, koran, or you can choose to promise to tell the truth with no reference to God. I've been involved in several trials in Massachusetts and I have never seen any type of holy book. The Court Officer asks the witness to raise his or her right hand and says something like: "Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" The witness then answers in the affirmative. On a few occasions I have seen witnesses request that the oath be given without reference to God.

Sincerely,
Norm Abrahamson


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 Post subject: The Rule of Law
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 6:55 pm 
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I am very pleased to see posting in this forum, especially with the gentlemen who revived the topic that I started so long ago.

At that time I was quite concerned about the status of any efforts on the part of our government, and the slow appearance of the more educated Iraqui leadership.

I do not think that in that time period we have accomplished that much in the area of founding a government or ruling party.

Even though IMHO, the UN is any better than the WW 1
League of Nations, they are the representative, of world power and conscience and could do much to end strife and promote the making of rules of law sufficient for iraq to eventually rule itself.

Norm, Bill, Akil, Gene, I thank you for your thoughts and contributions to the forum, and now that I have made progress in my recovery from illness, hope to contribute more often.

There is more to the subject matter in this forum, than reporting of criminal cases and self defense issues, although I welcome contributions.

George Washington was ready to quit after his first term because his friends and advisors would rather have made him a king, because they did not believe in their hearts, that a republic could survive.

Early research into the Salem, Massachusetts withcraft era in the late 1600's revealed that there was a vast prejudice of the Society of Friends (Quakers), that they took title to church property as trustees, but did not reveal that they were Trustees of their religious society.

It became a lot better for the Quakers after the withcraft era, and they could feel free to identify that they were Trustees of their church.

Early deeds recorded in that time period began with the salutation, "To All Christian People".

This was changed to "Know all men by these presence".

World history has proved that theocratic states evolve into dictatorships ( a subject matter for a different thread), and even at this very day, CNN reported that a US District Court ruled that a stone tablet with the Ten Commandments installed at a Court House be removed.

My belief is that each individual can, if necessary, live with religious laws (e.g. Catholic Canons, The Torah, etc.}

Please feel free to post in this forum in any manner related to the law or government.

Alan K

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 2:38 am 
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Hi Alan,

Remember that Freedom of Religion is a relatively modern, and still precarious achievement. Before the US Constitution, Jews and Catholics were prohibited from holding public office in Massachusetts being a case in point. Even before that, Maryland was the only colony to allow the free excercise of religion (hence its nickname: The Free State). Imagine trying to get away with that today....

Three main issues jump out in my mind:

  1. The First Amendment to the Consitution says, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

    There is no national church (like in England), and there never will be. Forcing a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Shinto to live and abide by JudeoChristian law in their daily lives, like prohibiting the eating of meat on Friday, or doing any work on Saturday sounds a lot to me like "establishing" a religious code on non-beleivers. People are, of course, free to not eat meat on Fridays, abstain from prok or shelfish and to not do work on their respective holy days if they wish, But they have no right, to force me to abide by those same precepts. Period.
  2. Article 6, Clause 3 of the US Constitution says, in part, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States".

    Did you know that the British Constitutional law prohibits Catholics or those married to Catholics from being King?

    And what of the perpetrations of power by those in control of theocracies?
  3. Nowhere in the US Constitution does it say "There is a God".

Gene


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 Post subject: Rule of Law
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 3:20 pm 
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Gene

I agree with what you said, but there is a vast difference in religions in what God is.

The Judeo Christian beliefs portray god as anthropormophic and that he created us in his own image Many native Americans believe in the great spirit. Still others believe that God is in all things and the universe. Of course there are agnostics or non-believers; our constitution recognized that we cannot be free if we don’t have the freedom to chose.

A theocrat would argue that rules of law must be sanctioned by their interpretation and not any secular body or government. Even now theocratic heads lobby state and federal authority on concepts of religious morality such as cloning or rights of homosexuals.

If given the chance to rule, history has shown that powerful theocrats fall into the old concept of Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

Religion and politics are not to be discussed in public forums unless one is willing to be misunderstood.

My philosophy is that we should all be willing to worship or not to, without government intervention. Of course the constitution does attempt to accomplish this, but even our courts and congress persons have their prejudice or are subject to the influence of public thoughts, pressure, part loyalty or polls.

One thing that I can think of I believe is the result of custom and usage, and in Massachusetts, has probably originated from the Puritan era.

In many Massachusetts court rooms, when the judge enters, everyone stands as the Court Officer (Bailiff in some states) and intones, quote: Hear yee, Hear yee, Hear yee, all persons having business before (court name), draw near, give your attendance and yee shall be heard.
God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (end of quote). Everyone then sits down.

I have never heard or read an objection to this and believe that it is harmless and quaint recognition of the heritage of court ceremony.

Some of this type of discussion is probably more readily discussed in Panther’s, Tough Issues, since it is provocative and involves issues other than secular rules or law.

Alan K

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:00 pm 
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I like this one.

Talk about respecting the rule of law. Here we have not just any jurist, but the Chief Justice of the State's supreme court failing to recognize the separation between Church n State. I find it particularly interesting how those Americans espousing religious views have very very different notions of what this supposed separation between church n state really means. Cuz it doesnt mean the same thing to Atheists.

From the LA times (probably the AP wire)......

Quote:
The chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court said Thursday that he would defy a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument that sits in the rotunda of the state Judicial Building in Montgomery.

He argued that the U.S. courts had no authority "to tell the state of Alabama that we cannot acknowledge God as the source of our justice system." The state's Constitution, he noted, invoked "the favor and guidance of Almighty God."

The decision not to obey sets the stage for a longer legal battle over the 4-foot-tall monument that he had erected in the rotunda one night two years ago. Moore plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

His defiance in the face of prior court orders has made him a hero in the eyes of many evangelical Christians, who have flocked to the site to pray and show their support for the statement of religious faith.

Critics view the monument as an inappropriate — and unlawful — use of public facilities for religious purposes. Moore's latest statement brought sharp criticism from the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit asking that the granite monument be removed.

"It's a sad day when a judicial officer says that he's not going to comply with a court order. It's pretty bizarre," said Richard Cohen, general counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is involved in the lawsuit.

Cohen said that shortly after Moore's comments, the legal group filed a complaint with the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission — the body overseeing judges' conduct — charging that by defying a court ruling, Moore was in violation of basic judicial ethics.

Thompson imposed the deadline for removal Aug. 5 after Moore lost an appeal to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. It was Thompson who ruled in November that the monument violated the Constitution because it amounted to a year-round religious display meant to promote Moore's religion.

Thompson also indicated that he would impose fines on the state of up to $5,000 a day if the monument is not taken down. Thompson underscored that point by serving the other members of the state's Supreme Court and top state officials with the removal order.

One of those officials, Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor, said Thursday that he planned to use his authority to make the state comply with the injunction.

"Although I believe the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of our legal heritage and they can be displayed constitutionally as they are in the U.S. Supreme Court building, I will not violate or assist any person in the violation of this injunction," Pryor said in a prepared statement. He added: "In this controversy, I will strive to uphold the rule of law."


Alan, Sorry to hear you were/are not feeling well. I hope that changes for the better......

I really appreciate your open approach on these "Tough Issues".

Peace & Blessings Be upon those Who do Good deeds and in whose hearts is love for their fellow woman and man......

ATH

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:06 pm 
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This Quote needed its own Post,

I have editied it where necessary to maintain the idea apparent within it. If I have done so in error, please let me know......

Quote:
Even though IMHO, the UN isn't any better than the WWI
League of Nations, they are the representative, of world power and conscience and could do much to end strife and promote the making of rules of law sufficient for iraq to eventually rule itself.


My concern here extends well beyond Iraq, to the whole world. We have been discussing the rule of law and its importance.

My simple question is, if we dont respect and support the United Nations, what are we doing to international rule of law?
We are all agreed that having such a thing as a rule of law that everyone can accept and look up to is essential to a safe world order.

And yet, what are we doing as a nation, to support or not support that international rule of law?

Let us suppose for a moment that the UN is a horrible organization that is loaded with useless cronies (not my opinion, but some seem to think that way-not naming names or pointing anyone out, but their is a pretty big anti-UN bias being promulgated by some in this country). I hear none of the UN bashers promoting any alternative world body of leadership that would replace the existing world government.

Personally, I dont think the UN is doing all that bad of job. I think it is a bit too heavily leaning in the favor of the WWI victors, but that is arguable.

Most importantly and most in line with the previous discussions of this thread is what would happen to the international rule of law if the UN were eliminated, ignored, or peripheralized?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:46 pm 
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Judge Moore is a religious crackpot wo thinks nothing of foisting his beliefs on others. He further perpetuates the image of the deep South as backwards Bible-thumping cretins. Exhibit A as to why we shouldn't elect judges.

Gene


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