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Supreme Court Justices

1970
Friends since their childhoods in St. Paul, Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun are reunited on the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice Burger presides over a turbulent era of Constitutional issues, including Blackmun’s landmark 1973 opinion in Roe v. Wade, which establishes a woman’s right to abortion.*

Minnesotan Chief Justice Warren E. Burger took the oath as the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court June 23rd of 1969. Approximately a year later Justice Harry Blackmun would join him on the U.S. Supreme Court. Over time, they would drift apart in their interpretation of the law much like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; both men clearly loved the law, but differed in its interpretation. **

Burger, personally, was considered a conservative and a Constitutional constructionist or originalist, meaning he interpreted our laws according to the original intent of our framers. (See his influence on cases such as Miliken v. Bradley.) So, what was his influence as Chief Justice? Two pillars of his tenure were a strengthened separation of powers in our government, and limiting the exclusionary rule, which throws out illegally-obtained evidence from court. ***

Conversely, Blackmun tended towards pragmatism and stare decisis (following rules and precedents based on previous decisions) in his interpretations of our laws. Harry met Warren in kindergarten at Van Buren School on Dayton’s Bluff, St. Paul, MN and remained friends with Burger for most of his life. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1934, his private practice kept him in the metro area until 1950, and in Rochester Minnesota as legal counsel to Mayo Clinic until 1959.

Federal appointments guided the following decades of his life. His first appointment to the Eighth district Court of Appeals in St. Louis by President Eisenhower. His performance there caught the attention of President Richard Nixon, who tapped him to become a Supreme Court justice on June 9th, 1970. Blackmun’s commitment to the principles of pragmatism and precedent were severely tested in his privilege of writing the opinion on the landmark abortion case of Roe v. Wade. ****

Let’s go to the primary sources of their opinions written at the time of the January 22, 1973 decision. Shall we compare and contrast how these two old friends, though looking at the elephant from different angles and through different lenses, came to support each other in this decision? These quoted opinions, it is the author’s hope, will show a window into the logic, mind, and heart of these old friends as well as the dissenting opinion of Justice Rehnquist.

MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.

“ To summarize and to repeat:

  1. A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a life-saving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    (a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.
    (b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
    (c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life [410 U.S. 113, 165]   may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
  2. The State may define the term “physician,” as it has been employed in the preceding paragraphs of this Part XI of this opinion, to mean only a physician currently licensed by the State, and may proscribe any abortion by a person who is not a physician as so defined.
    In Doe v. Bolton, post, p. 179, procedural requirements contained in one of the modern abortion statutes are considered. That opinion and this one, of course, are to be read together. 67  
    This holding, we feel, is consistent with the relative weights of the respective interests involved, with the lessons and examples of medical and legal history, with the lenity of the common law, and with the demands of the profound problems of the present day. The decision leaves the State free to place increasing restrictions on abortion as the period of pregnancy lengthens, so long as those restrictions are tailored to the recognized state interests. The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important [410 U.S. 113, 166]   state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention. Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician. If an individual practitioner abuses the privilege of exercising proper medical judgment, the usual remedies, judicial and intra-professional, are available.

XII
Our conclusion that Art. 1196 is unconstitutional means, of course, that the Texas abortion statutes, as a unit, must fall. The exception of Art. 1196 cannot be struck down separately, for then the State would be left with a statute proscribing all abortion procedures no matter how medically urgent the case.
Although the District Court granted appellant Roe declaratory relief, it stopped short of issuing an injunction against enforcement of the Texas statutes. The Court has recognized that different considerations enter into a federal court’s decision as to declaratory relief, on the one hand, and injunctive relief, on the other. Zwickler v. Koota, 389 U.S. 241, 252 -255 (1967); Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479 (1965). We are not dealing with a statute that, on its face, appears to abridge free expression, an area of particular concern under Dombrowski and refined in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S., at 50 .
We find it unnecessary to decide whether the District Court erred in withholding injunctive relief, for we assume the Texas prosecutorial authorities will give full credence to this decision that the present criminal abortion statutes of that State are unconstitutional.
The judgment of the District Court as to intervenor Hallford is reversed, and Dr. Hallford’s complaint in intervention is dismissed. In all other respects, the judgment [410 U.S. 113, 167]   of the District Court is affirmed. Costs are allowed to the appellee. (The party against whom an appeal is filed.)

It is so ordered.”

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, concurring*
“I agree that, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the abortion statutes of Georgia and Texas impermissibly limit the performance of abortions necessary to protect the health of pregnant women, using [410 U.S. 208] the term health in its broadest medical context. See United States v. Vuitch, 402 U.S. 62, 71-72 (1971). I am somewhat troubled that the Court has taken notice of various scientific and medical data in reaching its conclusion; however, I do not believe that the Court has exceeded the scope of judicial notice accepted in other contexts.
In oral argument, counsel for the State of Texas informed the Court that early abortion procedures were routinely permitted in certain exceptional cases, such as nonconsensual pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. In the face of a rigid and narrow statute, such as that of Texas, no one in these circumstances should be placed in a posture of dependence on a prosecutorial policy or prosecutorial discretion. Of course, States must have broad power, within the limits indicated in the opinions, to regulate the subject of abortions, but where the consequences of state intervention are so severe, uncertainty must be avoided as much as possible. For my part, I would be inclined to allow a State to require the certification of two physicians to support an abortion, but the Court holds otherwise. I do not believe that such a procedure is unduly burdensome, as are the complex steps of the Georgia statute, which require as many as six doctors and the use of a hospital certified by the JCAH.
I do not read the Court’s holdings today as having the sweeping consequences attributed to them by the dissenting Justices; the dissenting views discount the reality that the vast majority of physicians observe the standards of their profession, and act only on the basis of carefully deliberated medical judgments relating to life and health. Plainly, the Court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortions on demand.” [410 U.S. 209]

MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, dissenting.
“The Court’s opinion brings to the decision of this troubling question both extensive historical fact and a wealth of legal scholarship. While the opinion thus commands my respect, I find myself nonetheless in fundamental disagreement with those parts of it that invalidate the Texas statute in question, and therefore dissent.

I
The Court’s opinion decides that a State may impose virtually no restriction on the performance of abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy. Our previous decisions indicate that a necessary predicate for such an opinion is a plaintiff who was in her first trimester of pregnancy at some time during the pendency of her law-suit. While a party may vindicate his own constitutional rights, he may not seek vindication for the rights of others. Moose Lodge v. Irvis, 407 U.S. 163 (1972); Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972). The Court’s statement of facts in this case makes clear, however, that the record in no way indicates the presence of such a plaintiff. We know only that plaintiff Roe at the time of filing her complaint was a pregnant woman; for aught that appears in this record, she may have been in her last trimester of pregnancy as of the date the complaint was filed.
Nothing in the Court’s opinion indicates that Texas might not constitutionally apply its proscription of abortion as written to a woman in that stage of pregnancy. Nonetheless, the Court uses her complaint against the Texas statute as a fulcrum for deciding that States may [410 U.S. 113, 172]   impose virtually no restrictions on medical abortions performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. In deciding such a hypothetical lawsuit, the Court departs from the longstanding admonition that it should never “formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.” Liverpool, New York & Philadelphia S. S. Co. v. Commissioners of Emigration, 113 U.S. 33, 39 (1885). See also Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 345 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring).

II
Even if there were a plaintiff in this case capable of litigating the issue which the Court decides, I would reach a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Court. I have difficulty in concluding, as the Court does, that the right of “privacy” is involved in this case. Texas, by the statute here challenged, bars the performance of a medical abortion by a licensed physician on a plaintiff such as Roe. A transaction resulting in an operation such as this is not “private” in the ordinary usage of that word. Nor is the “privacy” that the Court finds here even a distant relative of the freedom from searches and seizures protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which the Court has referred to as embodying a right to privacy. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).
If the Court means by the term “privacy” no more than that the claim of a person to be free from unwanted state regulation of consensual transactions may be a form of “liberty” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, there is no doubt that similar claims have been upheld in our earlier decisions on the basis of that liberty. I agree with the statement of MR. JUSTICE STEWART in his concurring opinion that the “liberty,” against deprivation of which without due process the Fourteenth [410 U.S. 113, 173]   Amendment protects, embraces more than the rights found in the Bill of Rights. But that liberty is not guaranteed absolutely against deprivation, only against deprivation without due process of law. The test traditionally applied in the area of social and economic legislation is whether or not a law such as that challenged has a rational relation to a valid state objective. Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 491 (1955). The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment undoubtedly does place a limit, albeit a broad one, on legislative power to enact laws such as this. If the Texas statute were to prohibit an abortion even where the mother’s life is in jeopardy, I have little doubt that such a statute would lack a rational relation to a valid state objective under the test stated in Williamson, supra. But the Court’s sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under that standard, and the conscious weighing of competing factors that the Court’s opinion apparently substitutes for the established test is far more appropriate to a legislative judgment than to a judicial one.
The Court eschews the history of the Fourteenth Amendment in its reliance on the “compelling state interest” test. See Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164, 179 (1972) (dissenting opinion). But the Court adds a new wrinkle to this test by transposing it from the legal considerations associated with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to this case arising under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Unless I misapprehend the consequences of this transplanting of the “compelling state interest test,” the Court’s opinion will accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of leaving this area of the law more confused than it found it. [410 U.S. 113, 174]  
While the Court’s opinion quotes from the dissent of Mr. Justice Holmes in Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 74 (1905), the result it reaches is more closely attuned to the majority opinion of Mr. Justice Peckham in that case. As in Lochner and similar cases applying substantive due process standards to economic and social welfare legislation, the adoption of the compelling state interest standard will inevitably require this Court to examine the legislative policies and pass on the wisdom of these policies in the very process of deciding whether a particular state interest put forward may or may not be “compelling.” The decision here to break pregnancy into three distinct terms and to outline the permissible restrictions the State may impose in each one, for example, partakes more of judicial legislation than it does of a determination of the intent of the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The fact that a majority of the States reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those States, have had restrictions on abortions for at least a century is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental,” Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, 105 (1934). Even today, when society’s views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the “right” to an abortion is not so universally accepted as the appellant would have us believe.
To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment. As early as 1821, the first state law dealing directly with abortion was enacted by the Connecticut Legislature. Conn. Stat., Tit. 22, 14, 16. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth [410 U.S. 113, 175]   Amendment in 1868, there were at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures limiting abortion. 1 While many States have amended or updated [410 U.S. 113, 176]   their laws, 21 of the laws on the books in 1868 remain in effect today. 2 Indeed, the Texas statute struck down today was, as the majority notes, first enacted in 1857 [410 U.S. 113, 177]   and “has remained substantially unchanged to the present time.” Ante, at 119.
There apparently was no question concerning the validity of this provision or of any of the other state statutes when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the States the power to legislate with respect to this matter.

III
Even if one were to agree that the case that the Court decides were here, and that the enunciation of the substantive constitutional law in the Court’s opinion were proper, the actual disposition of the case by the Court is still difficult to justify. The Texas statute is struck down in toto, even though the Court apparently concedes that at later periods of pregnancy Texas might impose these selfsame statutory limitations on abortion. My understanding of past practice is that a statute found [410 U.S. 113, 178]   to be invalid as applied to a particular plaintiff, but not unconstitutional as a whole, is not simply “struck down” but is, instead, declared unconstitutional as applied to the fact situation before the Court. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886); Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576 (1969).
For all of the foregoing reasons, I respectfully dissent.”

[ Footnote 1 ] Jurisdictions having enacted abortion laws prior to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868:

  1. Alabama – Ala. Acts, c. 6, 2 (1840).
  2. Arizona – Howell Code, c. 10, 45 (1865).
  3. Arkansas – Ark. Rev. Stat., c. 44, div. III, Art. II, 6 (1838).
  4. California – Cal. Sess. Laws, c. 99, 45, p. 233 (1849-1850).
  5. Colorado (Terr.) – Colo. Gen. Laws of Terr. of Colo., 1st Sess., 42, pp. 296-297 (1861).
  6. Connecticut – Conn. Stat., Tit. 20, 14, 16 (1821). By 1868, this statute had been replaced by another abortion law. Conn. Pub. Acts, c. 71, 1, 2, p. 65 (1860).
  7. Florida – Fla. Acts 1st Sess., c. 1637, subc. 3, 10, 11, subc. 8, 9, 10, 11 (1868), as amended, now Fla. Stat. Ann. 782.09, 782.10, 797.01, 797.02, 782.16 (1965).
  8. Georgia – Ga. Pen. Code, 4th Div., 20 (1833).
  9. Kingdom of Hawaii – Hawaii Pen. Code, c. 12, 1, 2, 3 (1850).
  10. Idaho (Terr.) – Idaho (Terr.) Laws, Crimes and Punishments 33, 34, 42, pp. 441, 443 (1863).
  11. Illinois – Ill. Rev. Criminal Code 40, 41, 46, pp. 130, 131 (1827). By 1868, this statute had been replaced by a subsequent enactment. Ill. Pub. Laws 1, 2, 3, p. 89 (1867).
  12. Indiana – Ind. Rev. Stat. 1, 3, p. 224 (1838). By 1868 this statute had been superseded by a subsequent enactment. Ind. Laws, c. LXXXI, 2 (1859).
  13. Iowa (Terr.) – Iowa (Terr.) Stat., 1st Legis., 1st Sess., 18, p. 145 (1838). By 1868, this statute had been superseded by a subsequent enactment. Iowa (Terr.) Rev. Stat., c. 49, 10, 13 (1843).
  14. Kansas (Terr.) – Kan. (Terr.) Stat., c. 48, 9, 10, 39 (1855). By 1868, this statute had been superseded by a subsequent enactment. Kan. (Terr.) Laws, c. 28, 9, 10, 37 (1859).
  15. Louisiana – La. Rev. Stat., Crimes and Offenses 24, p. 138 (1856).
  16. Maine – Me. Rev. Stat., c. 160, 11, 12, 13, 14 (1840).
  17. Maryland – Md. Laws, c. 179, 2, p. 315 (1868).
  18. Massachusetts – Mass. Acts & Resolves, c. 27 (1845).
  19. Michigan – Mich. Rev. Stat., c. 153, 32, 33, 34, p. 662 (1846). [410 U.S. 113, 176]   20. Minnesota (Terr.) – Minn. (Terr.) Rev. Stat., c. 100, 10, 11, p. 493 (1851).
  20. Mississippi – Miss. Code, c. 64, 8, 9, p. 958 (1848).
  21. Missouri – Mo. Rev. Stat., Art. II, 9, 10, 36, pp. 168, 172 (1835).
  22. Montana (Terr.) – Mont. (Terr.) Laws, Criminal Practice Acts 41, p. 184 (1864).
  23. Nevada (Terr.) – Nev. (Terr.) Laws, c. 28, 42, p. 63 (1861).
  24. New Hampshire – N. H. Laws, c. 743, 1, p. 708 (1848).
  25. New Jersey – N. J. Laws, p. 266 (1849).
  26. New York – N. Y. Rev. Stat., pt. 4, c. 1, Tit. 2, 8, 9, pp. 12-13 (1828). By 1868, this statute had been superseded. N. Y. Laws, c. 260, 1-6, pp. 285-286 (1845); N. Y. Laws, c. 22, 1, p. 19 (1846).
  27. Ohio – Ohio Gen. Stat. 111 (1), 112 (2), p. 252 (1841).
  28. Oregon – Ore. Gen. Laws, Crim. Code, c. 43, 509, p. 528 (1845-1864).
  29. Pennsylvania – Pa. Laws No. 374, 87, 88, 89 (1860).
  30. Texas – Tex. Gen. Stat. Dig., c. VII, Arts. 531-536, p. 524 (Oldham & White 1859).
  31. Vermont – Vt. Acts No. 33, 1 (1846). By 1868, this statute had been amended. Vt. Acts No. 57, 1, 3 (1867).
  32. Virginia – Va. Acts, Tit. II, c. 3, 9, p. 96 (1848).
  33. Washington (Terr.) – Wash. (Terr.) Stats., c. II, 37, 38, p. 81 (1854).
  34. West Virginia – See Va. Acts., Tit. II, c. 3, 9, p. 96 (1848); W. Va. Const., Art. XI, par. 8 (1863).
  35. Wisconsin – Wis. Rev. Stat., c. 133, 10, 11 (1849). By 1868, this statute had been superseded. Wis. Rev. Stat., c. 164, 10, 11; c. 169, 58, 59 (1858).

Eternal Father we now bow to You as we review this chapter: in the history of our state, in the history of our nation, and in the personal history of these men. We sit patiently and listen to the Chief Justice of All; what wisdom will You bring for us? How does the Host of Heaven, (Hebrew tzeva hashamayim), mentioned 8889 times in Your Word view this event in the lives of our Judgers Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun? Will You speak and reason with Your ekklesia as You do with our elders in heaven?
“Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to march up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one suggested this, and another that. ” I Kings 22:19-20 Berean Study Bible
You have shown us this give and take conversation; will let us reflect on the decision of Roe vs. Wade with You today?

My first question is based on the premise that while the Law is of utmost importance in the Books of Moses, it is only fulfilled by the eternal chesed (right relationship G-d to man, and man to man) of the Messiah. As we practice the Law, we learn of our total depravity to perfectly follow it in letter and spirit. As You have forever shown us, Your only Son that is loved by our Good Father fulfills both the Spirit and the Letter of the law.

Indulge my extrapolations, Dear One? Instead of analyzing Roe v. Wade on the scale of law, medicine, or science, what if we placed it on the scale seemingly most used in heaven; that of right relationship?
Since the inception of this judgment, 63, 459,781 babies are no more. *
Each of these abortions includes the choice of the mother, most would also include the tacit agreement of the father, and conservatively the approval of at least one parent or trusted friend. It would seem that at least three human relationships are affected forever by each of these terminations: mother to child, father to child, and extended family to child. With out judgment as to why these choices were made, we see that 190,379,781 primary human relationships are neutralized.

But is that the actual sum of negated relationships, True One? Do not we also have to account for the inverse and reverse of these relationships: father to mother, father to family or friend, mother to father, and mother to family or friend? If we account for this relational cost, we see that 571, 138, 029 primary human relationships are forever changed or neutralized.

Yet this not does not accurately sum up the effect on our world because it doesn’t even dent the relationships unformed or under formed with the three roles, or for the sake of argument, the three relationships present within Your Deity. Wouldn’t we also have to account for these changes since January 22, 1973? While we don’t have visual evidence of these connections, perhaps we can perceive and feel the absence of these affiliations with our hearts: 571,138,029 less relationships with Our Father (Adonai), 571,138,029 less relationships with the Son (Messiah), and 571,138,029 disrupted relationships with the Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha’Kodesh)? Perhaps we now see a cost in terms of creature to Creator as 1,713,440,087 unfulfilled connections in primary covenantal relationships!

Lastly, we haven’t received the echo of approval back from G-d which cements our primary relationships, and helps us understand them. Lord, forgive these humble examples, but allow me to elaborate… again. If we never engage as a parent, how will we understand the agony of a parent that loses an only child? If we never engage as a child, from what father and mother will we learn the basic trust necessary for all committed relationships? If we never experience unconditional love, how do we pass that gift on to others and heal our world?

In Your mercy, hear our prayer: We took this law into our hearts and into our relationships. We terminated at least 1.7 billion chances to more humanize our nation! We chose “no” relationship to these siblings, parents, families and friends, and Eternal Family rather than “know” relationship! Will You forgive us this rejection and abandonment of these aborted lives? Will You annul our nullification of their potential relationships and connection to fathers, mothers, families, and friends? Will You forgive us our offenses against these unborn that are continuations of our own trauma? Lord, we wound others when we lose hope! G-d, we self-suicide when we believe we are alone with our pain! Master, we deny the Imago Dei (Image of God) of others when we can’t see Your reflection or are unaware of Your Beauty and Eternal Light within us! Will You have mercy?

Now we come in gratitude to reflect on the lives of Warren E. Burger and Harry A. Blackmun. We remember two friends who pursued their dreams and achieved such epic goals within their lifespan. We remember two men who loved the Constitution and the Law with whole being. (May we also be merciful to our “old friends” with whom we intellectually disagree.)

We thank You that, whether we agree with their interpretation of the Law or not, they routinely engaged such weighty decisions as Supreme Court Justices. We applaud their bravery to tackle such eternal challenges to justice. Will You bless their progeny, their property, and their legal influence by the authority of Jesus Christ where they participated with Your Eternal Standards of Justice? Will You cut off their progeny, property, and influence in so far as they have opposed your Eternal Standards of Justice by the Cross of Christ, the Blood of Christ, and the Resurrection of Christ?

As Your Adopted Son, I bring these questions and observations to You seeking Your Justice for this and future generations of Minnesota, the American Nation, and Your Ekklesia.

Will You honor the intent of Chief Justice Burger to “allow a State to require the certification of two physicians to support an abortion”?

Will You refine the intent of Justice Blackmun to redefine “the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician”? Father, though this case is heralded as a landmark for “women’s rights”, this quote seems too say that Blackmun believed more in “Doctor’s rights”. Further, he advocated and articulated that women retained a Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. While this implies a human right to privacy, was it the intent of the authors of the Constitution as it applies to human reproduction? Father, will You remove these unbeliefs and misbeliefs from the letter of the Law, and give Minnesotans as well as Americans an empathy and blessing for the rights of future generations?
Will You refine the decision of Roe v. Wade 1973 in Your Courts? If they are to be judged on the scale of “stare decisis”, then they surely seem to be found wanting!
Look at the primary source evidence of precedent brought by dissenting Justice Rehnquist. “By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth [410 U.S. 113, 175]   Amendment in 1868, there were at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures limiting abortion.” So, to make this clear, our Supreme Court decided against 79 years of established law before the 14th Amendment was invented in 1868. Then they found an additional precedent of a women’s and doctor’s right to privacy 105 years later in 1973? Dear Father, doesn’t it seem that the argument Justices Burger and Blackmun supported as “stare decisis” was and is at least 184 years too late in their era?

We appeal to heaven to bring consistency and justice to this alleged misapplication of judicial precedent! Will You judge these Justices according to Your Eternal principles? Though incredible men of learning, they fall short, perhaps, because they measure the law intellectually staying with the safe playgrounds of their minds. Yet, while You never negate our minds, You call us to the wisdom of law that has travelled through the brain, and has made it down deep into our heart. We obey the law not only because we “should” or solely out of “duty”. We obey the law because we love our neighbor and want to do right by him. We practice following the law, from the belly, because Our Good Judge has shown us that mercy triumphs over judgment in Minnesota.

P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** https://libguides.mnhs.org/burger
*** https://www.mnopedia.org/event/january-17-1907
**** Nelson, Paul. “Blackmun, Harry A. (1908–1999).” MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. http://www.mnopedia.org/person/blackmun-harry-1908-1999 (accessed January 17, 2022). https://www.mnopedia.org/person/blackmun-harry-1908-1999
United States Supreme Court ROE v. WADE(1973) No. 70-18 Argued: December 13, 1971 Decided: January 22, 1973 https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/410/113.html
* https://biblehub.com/1_kings/22-20.htm
* https://www.lifenews.com/2022/01/07/63459781-babies-have-been-killed-in-abortions-since-roe-v-wade-in-1973/

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20th Century, First Nations, History, Indian, Native Americans, Uncategorized

AIM (American Indian Movement) Founded

AIM Patrol patch. mnopedia.org

July 28, 1968
Two prisoners, Clyde Bellecourt and Eddie Benton-Banai, met in Stillwater State Penitentiary about 1962. These new friends formed the Indian Folklore Club to improve the stay for each other and their fellow Native inmates. After meeting Dennis Banks and Russell Means six years later, the trio form the heart of the American Indian Movement. This pan-Indian, anti-imperialist, and anti-racist organization sought to improve the civil rights of Native Americans in Minneapolis, Minnesota. *

Though it may be a bit shocking to the modern liberal Minneapolitan, many young Indians were introduced to the city only as recently as fifty years ago. Two fairly obscure laws passed about a dozen years before created their incentive to come to town. Public Law 959 a.k.a. the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 was intended to encourage their young tribal members to leave the reservations and assimilate into large cities. ** Public Law 280 proposed to move entire tribes that were farther down the path of assimilation from the umbrella of Federal Law and under the jurisdiction of State law. **

Much of AIM’s leadoff efforts were to assist the new urban members of their tribal branches with their legal questions.
These folks were often thought of as “transnationals” in that they were simultaneously members of First Nations (tribes) and American citizens. Quickly they began AIM Patrol,*** a citizen watch group to challenge police brutality against Natives. Further, they played a pivotal role in the creation of the Legal Rights Center of Minneapolis, a resource that provides free legal aid to the poor. ****

Actus, in Latin, is the root word for activist meaning ‘doing’, ‘a driving force’, or ‘an impulse’. Such a broad word is apropos for AIM and the energy of its charter members.
Look at the impact on the early 1970’s in the following timeline of its’ various actions and events.

November 1969 – Occupation of Alcatraz
This point of action by AIM greatly impacted U.S. government’s decision to abandon they policy of Termination and Relocation.

October 1972 – Trail of Broken Treaties
Cross country traveling protest birthed the “Twenty Point” portion paper which defined points of treaties protestors believed the U.S. government had failed to fulfill.
(A few examples.)
“Restore terminated rights of Native Nations.
Repeal state jurisdiction on Native Nations (Public Law 280).
Provide Federal protection for offenses against Indians.
Abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Create a new office of Federal Indian Relations.
Remedy breakdown in the constitutionally prescribed relationships between the United States and Native Nations.
Ensure immunity of Native Nations from state commerce regulation, taxes, and trade restrictions.
Protect Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity.Recognize the right of Indians to interpret treaties.” *

February 27, 1973 – Pine Ridge – Wounded Knee Incident
For 71 days, the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota was occupied by AIM while they battled U.S. officials.This site was chosen because it was significant to the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Two U.S. officials were seriously wounded, a civil rights activist disappeared, and two Native Americans died.

For most of our North Star citizens it came as a shock that things were so bad for Native Minnesotans that they would take up arms. Perhaps, no event in the 20th century did more to underscore the dysfunctional relationships and mistrust between our State and Federal governments and America’s First Nations. Further, our laws seem to not be the best vehicle to convey the complexities of the human heart and emotional intelligence. Hear, if you can, the words of one of AIM’s most potent members.
“Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act. Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain.” Russell Means


And so we turn from this moment in history to the face of the Eternal One. Dear Father, how we need You to come and stand between us; the Native American Minnesotan, and the Adopted Minnesotan. Can we sit in Your circle and wait on You together? We remember, right now, that we are all co-members of Your Creation, and that all who turn to You will be saved from our narcissism past, present, and future. Blessed are You, King of the Universe, who gives us the omnipotence and omnipresence of the Messiah!

We begin our prayer journey with gratitude for G-d ordained meetings. Only You could have known how Clyde Bellecourt and Eddie Benton – Banai would become friends and allies, (in prison no less), and cast a vision for the Indian Folklore Club. We thank You for their vision for a movement that would include all tribes protecting the future from imperialism through the present practice of human rights and civil rights. We thank You for the strong rope made when the cords of Dennis Banks and Russell Means were added to the founders. (Bind us together Lord! Colossians 3:14) Will You bless them, the land of Minnesota, and their ascendants by the authority of the Lord Jesus?

Lord, we acknowledge to You the incompleteness of our laws, and their flaccid lack of power to fulfill the aims of the law. Our laws, too often, force compliance of new outcomes rather than taking the painful, yet relationally honest path of persuasion! In this case, we remember to You Public Law 959 and Public Law 280. We see the positive outcomes that the legislators hoped for; a Native Population not isolated from the growth and opportunities of our society through remaining landlocked on their tribal grounds or reservations. Lawmakers, it appears, wanted young Indians to also see their version of the American dream; not remain shut-ins of their Res.

Lord, we need You to forgive the judgments of the proponents of Law 959 and Law 280 towards Native Minnesotans. Where they have judged our Native brothers and sisters, they have offended Your Image. Will You forgive us this sin so recognized by the American Indian Movement?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgements of those opponents of Laws 959 and 280? Where Native Minnesotans have judged our Adopted Minnesotan family, they too have offended Your Image. Will You forgive us this sin committed against detractors past and present?

We acknowledge the Spirit of Force and the Spirit of Compliance present in laws made far away from the communities they most effect. Though centuries after the fact, the force of such laws echo more of the ring of aristocracy than democracy. Could our Native neighbors felt the transference of centuries of the Canon Laws of the Vatican City, the Napoleonic Code, the Kings Bench, and Court of Chancery within our legal system? Free One, will You take this “force of law” up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You create the chesed within our legal system, both present and future, to emulate the trust and just and heartfelt compliance of Your Court in heaven? How much we need, invite, and desire the Justice of a Holy Father who is faithful and true in his judgments towards all creation! How we yearn for You to come and make us all one under Your good and right legal system!

As a finale, we consider what happens to a nation which has a worship dysfunction.
When Your Chosen Ones had seasons of disrupted worship, they split their anointed heritage into the tribes of Israel and Judah. Let’s see what Mr. Bellecourt observed as a bitter root cause necessitating AIM. “We were prohibited from practicing our spirituality. It was illegal to be in our country. The Movement changed all that.” —from Bellecourt’s 2016 memoir, “The Thunder Before the Storm”

In a similar vein, I would posit that many of the greatest failures of our Republic stem from a representative class that has morphed into a ruling class. When those making the law fail to acknowledge Adonai, they forget that they too are subjects under judgment. This lack of humility, in large part, is responsible for laws and mandates that have broken faith and relationship between government and the citizenry. Is this why Your Kingdom commands worship? Is this why the Great Ones and Elders of Heaven routinely remove their crowns and prostrate themselves in a state of total respect and awe of Your Justice?

No more “Wounded Knees” Lord unless they be in adoration! Let us be a people who bow together! Let us be a people of humility! Let us remember the cost of our tribe’s freedom today in gratitude! You took the rap for every nation so that we could reign in honesty and innocence!
“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”” Revelation 5:9,10

P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm or https://www.mnopedia.org/group/american-indian-movement-aim
** Matthiessen, Peter (1980). In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: The Viking Press. pp. 28–29.
*** Wilson, Brianna. AIM Patrol, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society. December 28, 2016. Internet. https://www.mnopedia.org/group/aim-patrol-minneapolis
**** Internet. https://www.legalrightscenter.org
http://www.aimovement.org (Much of the “Twenty Points” strategy is credited to activist Hank Adams.)
* https://aimovement.weebly.com/timeline.html
* https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/russell_means_582021
** Bellecourt, Clyde and Lurie, Jon. The Thunder Before the Storm. Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2016)

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