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Monday, July 01, 2019

THE CONSTITUTIONAL CALENDAR & WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

It's that time of year when Judge Hirsch's Constitutional Calendar takes on special significance. If you can't find something historically constitutional to write about during the first week of July, then it's time to hang it up and try something else. 

But before we embark on what will certainly be an enlightened journey into those heady times when a new nation was born, there are some other, non-constitutional, but nonetheless important events in history that occurred on July 1. 

Let's start with the marriage of Dwight D Eisenhower to Maime in 1916. So much history was yet to be made by both of them. Ike would go, mostly on the impressions he made on General George Marshall, from being a mid-level pentagon desk jockey in 1941, to-in less than three years,  leader of the mightiest army for freedom the world has ever seen. Eisenhower jumped over many generals with more experience and battle experience, including MacArthur, whom Ike had worked for in the Philippines from 1930-1939. MacArthur called Eisenhower the best staff officer in the army. 

July 1 is also the first day in the battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the civil war. If you want to read a wonderful piece of historical fiction, then we recommend "Killer Angels" which is a wonderful work on the battle. 

Less remembered, but no less important, July 1 marks the start of the battle of the Somme in France in 1916 (yes, the day Ike tied the knot).  This was the first major battle of WWI. It involved over three million men, and over one million men were wounded or killed. The battle lasted until November, 1916, and had no clear victor. 

And now, after some ado, but no further ado, the Constitutional Calendar for June 28, 1776, by Judge M. Hirsch:



On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence was submitted to the Continental Congress, which considered it in committee-of-the-whole format.  What followed was remarkable.  By our contemporary standards, what followed was almost unimaginable.  

The members of the Congress found Jefferson to be a bit wordy and florid in his writing.  (You'll find this next to impossible to believe, but my judicial opinions have from time to time been subjected to the same baseless and unfounded criticisms.  Then again, if wordy and florid were good enough for Jefferson, they're good enough for me.)  The final version was substantially shorter than the one Jefferson submitted.  But that isn't what was remarkable, almost unimaginable.

They deleted all of Jefferson's very energetic condemnation of the transatlantic slave trade.  But that isn't what was remarkable, almost unimaginable.

No, what was remarkable, and by contemporary standards all but unimaginable, is that they completed their work in four days.  The Declaration of Independence was in final form by July 2.

And just as remarkably, they had the good sense to leave entirely untouched the following 55 words:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."  

And with those inspiring words ringing in our ears, our collective hearts and souls, we bid you for this holiday week, a red, white and blue adieu. 

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