WND: Charles Darwin vs. the Constitution

Buffoon Award

We were already awake, but we were rudely interrupted by blaring sirens and lights flashing on the wall display of our Retard-o-tron™. The blinking letters on the wall said WorldNetDaily.

WorldNetDaily (WND) is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus that jolly logo displayed above this post.

As we feared, we were directed to a rant by Ellis Washington. The best example of his cosmic-level thinking can be found here, Scripture Trumps Darwin, when he informed us of “the syllogism that was a foundation of Western civilization”:

If A = B, then A + B = C

The typical Ellis article is a rapid romp through history, promiscuously dropping names and concepts that have no connection to each other or to the subject at hand — and often describing “trilogies” of evil people. The names comprising Ellis’ trilogies vary, but one of the three is usually Darwin. If Darwin isn’t in a trilogy, he’s always included in one of Ellis’ name-salads of evil people.

But there are no trilogies in today’s essay from Ellis. The title is Justice Clarence Thomas vs. Jeffrey Toobin. Like several of his recent articles, it’s about the US Supreme Court, and we’ve been ignoring them.

The only reason we’re posting about this one is that he somehow figured out a way to get Darwin involved. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

There are three things I hold as relative certainties in this uncertain, vexatious world of moral relativism: 1) God is in control of everything and every person in the universe and will one day settle all accounts, 2) the sun will rise tomorrow morning and 3) Justice Clarence Thomas will uphold his sacred oath he made 21 years ago “to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Nice beginning. We like Justice Thomas too, but how does Darwin fit into Ellis’ list of “relative certainties”? It involves Justice Thomas, as Ellis explains in the next paragraph:

This last entry drives progressives, socialists and liberal Democrats crazy because – since the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species…” (1859), which for 150 years has changed the existential paradigm of history and knowledge based on God and truth for humanism and will to power – secularists and positive law academics no longer view the Constitution as a document of negative and limited rights but a document of positive rights which constantly evolves to fit the needs of a relentlessly changing culture and society.

Yowie! Ellis blames Darwin for the “evolving” way liberal judges have been interpreting the Constitution! Here’s one more excerpt:

The only certainty in the law is its constant uncertainty held in check by an activist judicial oligarchy of five and the Latin precept: boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem (good justice is broad jurisdiction). The constitutional framers like Jefferson would have held the jurisprudence of Marbury v. Madison based on the above Latin aphorism as tantamount to treason.

Incredible! To begin with, Jefferson wasn’t one of the Framers of the Constitution. He was serving as ambassador to France at the time of the drafting convention. And then there’s Marbury v. Madison. Ellis says it’s “tantamount to treason.”

Ellis seems not to know that Marbury v. Madison was written in 1803, more than a half-century before Darwin published Origin of Species. There was discussion of judicial review at the constitutional convention, and it’s also mentioned in the Federalist Papers, but Marbury v. Madison is recognized as the official origin of the doctrine of judicial review — by which the Supreme Court can declare acts of Congress to be unconstitutional.

It’s true that Jefferson didn’t think the Constitution gave that power to the court. He was concerned that such a power might make the judiciary a despotic branch of government, and he seemed to prefer the clumsy solution of a constitutional amendment every time such an issue might arise. But he accepted the situation — it was his action as President that triggered the case because he wouldn’t deliver a commission to Marbury. Chief Justice Marshall said that although Jefferson was wrong and shouldn’t have done that, Congress had unconstitutionally given the court jurisdiction over such matters. The result was that Jefferson’s action wasn’t corrected. Anyway, that’s not what interests us here.

Hey — guess what? Obama agrees with Ellis! He too thinks the court has no authority to declare congressional laws unconstitutional. If Justice Thomas is one of those declaring that “Obama-care” is unconstitutional, what will Ellis think of that?

We won’t bother with the rest of Ellis’ essay. It’s a defense of Justice Thomas against one of his critics, and that’s nowhere near on point for our blog. The good stuff was right in the beginning. Everything is Darwin’s fault — even Marbury v. Madison.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “WND: Charles Darwin vs. the Constitution

  1. Ellis appears to think that “…view the Constitution as a document of negative and limited rights” is a good thing, and “…a document of positive rights which constantly evolves” is a bad thing – interesting insight into his thinking 🙂

    Regarding his comments on Darwin, and the Theory of Evolution, does he therefore blame disease on the Scientists who proposed “Germ Theory”? or falling down on Newton’s “Theory of Gravity”?

    What a curious fellow indeed….

  2. comradebillyboy

    Curmudgeon writes “Obama agrees with Ellis! He too thinks the court has no authority to declare congressional laws unconstitutional. If Justice Thomas is one of those declaring that “Obama-care” is unconstitutional, what will Ellis think of that?”

    Don’t let actual facts get in the way of your political posturing. Obama has not taken the position you ascribe to him. I know you dislike the president but wouldn’t it be better to point out his real faults as opposed to the make believe position which you ascribe to him?

  3. aturingtest

    “There are three things I hold as relative certainties in this uncertain, vexatious world of moral relativism: 1) God is in control of everything and every person in the universe and will one day settle all accounts, 2) the sun will rise tomorrow morning…”
    Setting aside that “relative certainties” sounds a little oxymoronic- wouldn’t his “certainty” #2 be controlled, and, potentially, cancelled by his #1?

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    Sorry, comrade, that’s what the President said.

    Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

    “Strong majority” of course meant 219 – 212 in the House and 60 – 39 in the Senate..

    But it’s ok, he took it back. Like all that stuff he said about the Patriot Act, closing Guantanamo Bay, the “Bush” tax cuts, irresponsible deficits–he took them all back. He renewed the Patriot Act and the “Bush” (now Obama) tax cuts, Guantanamo Bay is still open, and he’s calling any lowering of the rate of increase in government spending “social Darwinism”, and has not had one of his budgets passed in three years..

    SC’s characterization is not a straw man at all. I trust you will acknowledge that he is right and that you, and the President, were wrong.

  5. aturingtest

    Just on Guantanamo Bay- from Wikipedia (quick and dirty)-

    “On January 22, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama had signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year…On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90-6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp….U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates said during a testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee on February 17, 2011: “The prospects for closing Guantanamo as best I can tell are very, very low given very broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress.”

    So, I think “he took it back” (implying hypocrisy), is a little inaccurate, an oversimplified and out-of-context judgement- it appears it was a promise he was prevented from fulfilling, rather than being unwilling to live up to.

    The Bush (now Obama) tax cuts are much the same. He took a lot of flak from liberals for that action (or, more accurately, non-action), which, IIRC, was part of a compromise which also retained associated middle-class tax breaks. Purists on either side may not like it, but politics is more often about attaining the possible than insisting on the ideal.

    I will say, though, that I think, no matter how you parse President Obama’s statement about the Supreme Court, he’s wrong. I don’t think he’s saying “they have no authority” (as in “can’t”) so much as he’s just saying “they shouldn’t.” But it’s a meaningless distinction- in either case, it’s what courts at that level do. Of course, IANALNDIPOOTV.

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    A weak defense, att, and unworthy of you.

    As for the Supreme Court statement, there’s no point in trying to paraphrase it to mean something else when I’ve quoted the words for all to read themselves. He said that if the Supreme Court overturned his law, it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary”. Those things are false. He also said his law was passed by a “strong majority”–instead of a party-line vote in the Senate and a bare majority in the House with not one Republican vote in either house–which was also false, but not likely to irritate the Court.

    I’m sure he knew perfectly well that what he was saying was false and that he did not believe it. I’m sure it was red meat for his base, but you know what, it was a silly thing to say, it did not make the Court MORE likely to take his side. and it was false, and he knew it was false. A guy who was an adjunct lecturer on the Fourteenth Amendment certainly knew that.

    As for the other things I mentioned, it’s not like the President vetoed anything and Congress overrode it–if they had I would agree that he had done his best and been “prevented”, as you put it. However, he signed the bills into law, giving an active assent to them. He could have refused to sign them–as he did for the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010–and then they’d have become law anyway after ten days had expired but he would not have given assent, and I’d be more inclined to agree with you. Or he could have vetoed them and counted on Congress being too divided to override the vetoes.

    However, he made a deliberate choice to sign them. Truman used to have a sign on his desk that said “The buck stops here”. Out of political considerations, as you say, I don’t doubt, but nonetheless those are broken promises, and he made those choices.

    As for Guantanamo Bay, Congress is not the Commander-in-Chief. The executive branch has a lot of discretion in how it carries out laws enacted by Congress and how it deals with what Congress has appropriated finds for. The President can find time to grant waivers from his own health care legislation, and can fast track loans–after one day of review–to solar power companies that go bankrupt while delaying the Keystone pipeline “because further study is required”. That Guantanamo Bay is still open tells you a lot about what promises he considers actually worth keeping–as the saying goes actions speak louder than words.

  7. aturingtest

    Gabe: it seems we essentially agree on the Supreme Court statement, and I see nothing to be gained by attempts to parse his words, to make them either better or worse, from our respective positions. I do agree that it’s not what I would have expected from a Constitutional scholar.
    On the tax cuts, I only say that he gave in to the necessity for compromise, to work with Congress, rather than struggle against it, which would have benefitted nobody. I think only an idealogical purist would see it as more a “broken promise” than a political necessity- ironically, one purist because he didn’t get what he wanted; and the other, because he did, and it’s a handy stick to beat Obama with. Funny how the same action can look so different from different perspectives.
    On Guantanamo Bay- I’m at a loss to understand what the President’s alternatives were. Where is he going to send the prisoners, when the money to open another prison is not forthcoming? You say he had “discretion” enough to work around that- how, specifically? (This is a genuine question from puzzlement, looking for information, ok?) Even most liberals, the ones to whom the promise was made, understand why it was broken. If it’s not a problem for them, why should it be one for those who might agree with the action (or, here, non-action) itself, but see it as an opportunity to wave the “hypocrisy” stick?
    I think I once quoted Aaron Burr, through Gore Vidal’s novel Burr , as saying (roughly): “The law is whatever can be plausibly argued and successfully maintained.” I think that’s true, even more so, of politics. Whether my attempts here are weak, unworthy, or even, properly speaking, a “defense,” depends on your definition of “plausible” and “successful”; and neither of these terms, I think, is quantifiable enough here to do anything but say that we may just be talking right past each other. My wife, stepdaughter, and I are in the process of moving, so I don’t know that I’ll have an opportunity to get back here any time in the next few days. If I don’t, it’s not out of desire to avoid a conversation. I actually appreciate the conversations I can learn from, and that’s certainly most of them here. The civility is especially appreciated.