Friday, April 07, 2006

The law in the air

More confusion from one of Spotty’s favorite avatars of social Darwinist hunter-gatherism. Spot refers, of course, to Captain Fishsticks. Sticks is still smarting from the defeat of private and religious school vouchers in a Minnesota House committee. For a salve to his wounds, Sticks puts up a post that reprints a tract by David W. Kirkpatrick, Senior Education Fellow at the US Freedom Foundation. And a powerful belch it is.

The center piece of Kirkpatrick’s treatise is Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, decided June 1, 1925; June 1st is now Education Freedom Day according to Kirkpatrick! The quote from the opinion that the vouchers crowd loves is the following, sort of quoted by Kirkpatrick:
The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

Stirring. Really stirring. Spotty can see Sticks reading this with shining eyes. Maybe it’s just eyestrain.

Boys and girls, the use of that quotation by the vouchers crowd is an example of what Spotty calls “the law in the air.” That is, taking some pronouncement in a opinion, entirely divorced from the facts upon which the case is decided, and offering it as proof that the law is something entirely different. It’s kind of like picking Bible verses that support you.

In this case, what was challenged was an Oregon plan that required that children attend public school Suit was brought by a religious school and a military academy. In an opinion by Justice McReynolds – one of the genuine dimwits to serve on the Court, by the way – struck the law down. Kirkpatrick tells us that the holding has never been challenged. Yawn.

The case means nothing – zero, zip, zilch, nada – if the issue is public support for private educational institutions. Want to send your kids to an inferior private or religious school? Fine, just don’t expect to suckle at the public teat to do it.

By the way, boys and girls, the case was decided on the largely discredited grounds of so-called substantive due process. This was sort of government playing Captain May I? with the Court. Some of the vice-like minds on the Court, including the aforementioned Justice McReynolds, believed that the 14th amendment gave the Court the power to void legislation when that legislation seemed like a bad idea to the Court.

Comparatively speaking, today’s “judicial activists” are just pretenders.

Tags: has an oral fixation on

No comments: