• We do the Bridge-Walks on Saturday mornings assuming no rain or other commitments. We meet at 7:45 a.m. and begin walking to the Golden Gate Bridge at 8:00 a.m. It's okay to arrive late; you'll just have to catch up or meet us after the turn at Fort Point. 7:45 a.m. SFYC-Marina parking lot to GGB & return, assuming a decent weather forecast. This is a walk TO, not over, the bridge, and back.

  • Description: Unless otherwise noted, all walks proceed as follows: we begin at the parking lot shown as Yacht Road on Mapquest adjacent to the north end of the Marina Green next to the St. Francis Yacht Club. We meet at 7:45 a.m. and at 8:00 a.m. ambling towards the Golden Gate Bridge, which is about a mile-and-a-quarter away. If you're late, it's easy to catch up. The round trip takes about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. There are comfort stations at each end. Snacks and a bookstore are at the Warming Hut near the Bridge. Plenty of birds and boats to see along the way. Bring a friend or child, a camera or binoculars. Dress for wind and weather. Drizzles don't bother, rainstorms will cancel. We talk about something, nothing, birds, plants, boats, whatever, and if it relates to Con-Law, so much the better, but that's not required. We enjoy ourselves, basically, by getting fresh air and taking a more or less brisk walk, depending on what stops we make to smell the flowers or view a bird.


  • Choose a work that you love and you won't have to work another day. Confucius
  • A sound mind in a sound body under a sound Constitution, that's our motto. rs
  • The key to nearly everything is a competent investigation, which means one conducted with integrity, an attempt to see where you might be wrong. RS w/ thanks to RPF
  • The key to creating an illusory world is a biased selection of facts according to a preconceived notion. - Thomas Sowell
  • The past isn't dead, it's all around you... rs
  • The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. -- Wm. Faulkner
  • If Constitutional Law doesn't get your dander up, you're not getting it. -- R. Sheridan
  • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, but remember, you are the easiest person to fool. -- Richard P. Feynman
  • No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. -- U.S. Constitution, Amends 5, 14
  • No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned,...or in any other way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. - Magna Carta
  • The only thing new under the sun is the history you don't know. -- Harry S Truman
  • Study the past if you would divine the future. -- Confucius






« RLUIPA 12/03/04 | Main | RELIGION KILLS! »

December 04, 2004



Hmmm...reminds me of the one about how do you greet a lawyer with an IQ of 50. "Good morning, Your Honor."

I wondered where that came from.

Harmless Preacher Killen is under indictment by the State of Mississippi for participating in the murder of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman forty years ago, for helping blacks register and vote. He may not have been quite so harmless in his younger days when things were different in Mississippi.

Anything to avoid savagery, is my motto...

Ron Grayson

I believe that without constants there is no focus and without that we are scattered and savage..Even if you do not believe in "God" then I am sure that you believe in humanity..It is obvious to me (I hold that truth to be self evident)that we do not change,only our machines do..The rules can not constantly change to fit the players..I myself, know Edgar Ray Killen..He is as harmelss as any of these other "preachers" here in Mississippi..The ladies like them and many of them are also musicians (like me)..Edgar Killen is 1/2 Native American..Those KIllens are about 1/4 Appache and 1/4 Choctaw..Mississippi is multi-racial..We get along,no thanks to the News Media..I have never been taught to hate anyone..There is a local joke that tells it like it is.."What do you call a Mississippi Black man with an 8th Grade Education"..Answer "Reverend"..That also holds true for some of us pale faces ..


Well, you've certainly put your finger on the problem, O'Neill, although you haven't exactly solved it.

The claim that the "majority rules" doesn't quite eliminate the problem.

One of the reasons we have certain restrictions in the Constitution is to PREVENT the majority ruling. Majorities sometimes go nuts. The list is long:

Slavery was okay with the majority here for a LONG time;

Jim Crow;


Internments of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor;

Hitler, Germany

Think of more examples of your own.

One big reason for the Bill of Rights is to protect minority viewpoints and groups of people from the depredations of the majority. This is hugely antii-democratic. The majority most decidedly does not rule when it comes to specific questions. Perhaps, in some theoretical sense the majority has consented, by not repealing the Bill of Rights, to suffering not to have its way on particular issues such as free speech (think flag burning) or liberty (as in abortion and gay rights).

Nope, O'Neill, you don't settle this debate by tossing in a nice label such as "majority rules" or "national security." That's a bit of an old game. Sometimes the majority rules, and sometimes national security wins, but not always. In the Pentagon Papers case the NYT and WaPost were allowed by the SC to expose government lies despite claims that national security would be compromised by doing so.

These questions are a lot harder to answer, and to wrestle with, when they are current and undecided than after we see the decision in a previous case.


Because we can never see very far into the future. Make that rarely. Some of us seem to be better at it than others. Some cannot do it at all. I'm not suggesting that I'm great at it, but I'm also not blind to the future either.

What about the SC justices? Are they any good at it? Some are, I suppose, because they are forced day in and day out, with the aid of every brief writer (amicus and otherwise), newspaper columnist, editorial writer, letter-to-the-editor writer, historian, political pundit, Hollywood and other movie writer, director, artist, novelist, comic, satirist, musician, intellectual, you-name-it, to observe the clamor and the warnings before deciding. The justices are open to a lot of input, formal and informal. Plus they are in a position of being forced to decide in terms of what is good for the long-term health of the country, not short or parochial. They're on a high perch and, with luck, should be far-seeing.

It's as good as we've been able to devise.

We restrict ourselves to free ourselves from our own passions. Ulysses tying himself to the mast of his ship in sailing past the Island of the Sirens (with wax in his men's ears) to survive the fatal call that arouses his passions. We survive passion's call by restricting our freedom of action. Yet we have this mechanism that allows the bindings to be loosened a bit from time to time when we think we can handle it, not before. See Griswold, Roe, and Lawrence.


Originalist or Evolutionist?

The alternative of having limitations on the tenure of Justices may backfire. Justices are hand selected by the President and there is a great likelyhood, as in the past, that they would be selected based on their reputation for conservatism or not. Also, the country may find itself stuck with Justices from similar schools of thought if say Republicans coincidentally are always the ones making the selection.

Alternatively, the constitution does allow for amendments, this process is somewhat prohibitive but it ensures that the majority have their say. Since the majority rules. Otherwise, just anyone with a loud enough voice and following could make ad hoc changes to the Foundation of the Nation.

There might not be a question at all of whether the outlook should be Originalist.

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