Supremacy Clause, Gene Kelly and Bumble

BumbleBefore I get to the Supremacy Clause and today’s topic – I am basically rebranding the blog.

I wrote several weeks ago that I wanted to figure out how to best use this and how to best serve our country going forward. One of those ways was to begin writing more often and with that posting less on Facebook. So here is my concept –

  1. My country – My favorite Supreme Court justice is Justice William O. Douglas. To say the least, people hated Douglas. And he deserved a lot of that hatred. But when I was an idealist college student, his radical ideas published in Supreme Court opinions gave me an idol. A portrait of him sits on our bookshelves in our living room today – right below most of the books he published in his life time. The book that becomes relevant today – An Almanac of Liberty – will be one of my guiding lights in the next four years. One portion of my daily writing will be to highlight and comment on the day’s entry. Of course, over the course of four years, this means, there will be repetition. That could be part of the fun.
  2. My daily briefing – this will be the top news stories that I read that day for you to peruse. I read a lot of news through my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Instead of posting anything there, I will use this and you can read it all here.
  3. My daily distraction –  I will report on what I have done outside of work. This may be book reviews, music thoughts, comic book chit chat, and whatever else I may feel like writing.
  4. One sentence story – As a recap of my day, I have read previous people talk about telling a story in one line from you day. I generally don’t leave my house when I work but hopefully, I will be able to have a story-a-day.

So here we go:

My Country – The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution

On January 20, 1941, the Supreme Court applied the Supremacy Clause to override a Pennsylvania law requiring the registration of aliens. The Supremacy Clause states,

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing [sic] in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Supremacy ClauseDouglas strained to tie this case to this date, but it seems like he just wanted to talk about it. But basically, the Court said that the Federal government had laws regarding registering aliens and Pennsylvania’s laws made this uniform federal law no longer uniform. And therefore it was unconstitutional.

But what is the purpose of the Supremacy Clause besides deciding when a state law becomes unenforceable due to a federal law? In Federalist 44, James Madison notes that previous attempts at a federal government were reduced to an impotent level if the state constitutions superseded the federal government. Additionally, Madison feared that if national laws or treaties of “great importance” interfered with the states, citizens would not know what laws to follow. He used an interesting analogy that the world would “have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the members.”

The Supremacy Clause also spurned one of the fundamental decisions of American jurisprudence: Marbury v. Madison. In this case, President Adams appointed Mr. Marbury to a government post but never sent the communication. Then Thomas Jefferson won the Presidency and the commission really had no weight. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to make the new Secretary of State, James Madison – he shows up a lot, to give him the post. Since he was a Federalist, Madison did not want to do that. Chief Justice John Marshall utilized the Supremacy Clause to show that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. And the body that determined what the Constitution means – the Supreme Court that Justice Douglas and Chief Justice Marshall sat.

Daily Briefing

It’s been a slow news day.

Daily Distraction

On Wednesday, I took Brian to see Singin’ in the Rain. He remarked that it was funnier than he thought it would be. Granted, the last movie musical I took him to was Carousel, which is about as funny as a kick to the face. We can all use a laugh and I still wish I could dance like Gene Kelly. If there could be a Supremacy Clause for actors/dancers, no one touches Gene Kelly.

One sentence story

Although the stitching held together for mere seconds, the amputation surgery of the stuffed Bumble was considered successful.

 

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