Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A New Symbol

This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together and move on.  A flag is a symbol of our past, our present and our future.  For those reasons, we need a new symbol.

-- Mississippi Republican Governor Tate Reeves at a ceremony at which he signed a measure removing the current state flag, the last in the nation to bear the battle emblem of the Confederacy, 30 June 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020

Like Cases Alike

Stare decisis instructs us to treat like cases alike.  The result in this case is controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a nearly identical Texas law.  The Louisiana law burdens women seeking previability abortions to the same extent as the Texas law, according to factual findings that are not clearly erroneous.  For that reason, I concur in the judgment of the Court that the Louisiana law is unconstitutional.

-- Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, concurring in a 5-4 judgement against strict abortion limitations in Louisana, 29 June 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020

Good And Evil

The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

-- Socrates (c. 470 BC - 399 BC), classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, as quoted in Diogenes Laertius' Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Socrates II: xxxi. Original Greek: ἓν μόνον ἀγαθὸν εἶναι, τὴν ἐπιστήμην, καὶ ἓν μόνον κακόν, τὴν ἀμαθίαν

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Stable Timelines

One reason why time travel is never invented could be that the only stable timelines are those that remain after increasingly recursive time travel terminates all timelines in which it is eventually invented.

-- Jens Wiechers, posting on Twitter as @jwiechers, 22 June 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

When Health Is Absent

When health is absent wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.

-- Herophilus, medical practitioner in Alexandria, 3rd Century BCE

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

More Than Once

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

-- Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, DStJ, PC, FRS, HonFRSC (née Roberts; 1925 - 2013), British stateswoman who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, attributed

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Reasoned Explanation

We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. "The wisdom" of those decisions "is none of our concern." Chenery II, 332 U. S., at 207.  We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.  Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.  That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.  The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.

It is so ordered.

-- Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the 5-4 majority in a ruling that upholds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, 18 June 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

General Order No. 3

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.  This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.  The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.  They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

-- General Order No. 3, issued in Galveston, TX by U.S. Major General Gordon Granger, the inspiration for Juneteenth, US National Archives via NPR, 19 June 1865

Thursday, June 18, 2020

We Have Decided

[W]ith considerable thought and broad consultation, we have decided that we will resume on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 semester in a manner modified to address the ongoing pandemic concerns.  This semester will consist of a blend of in-person and remote instruction. Along with a successful transition of our region of Illinois into Phase IV of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, resuming on-campus instruction is predicated upon our ability to provide adequate COVID-19 testing for our entire community of faculty, staff and students, coupled with a comprehensive plan that looks after the vulnerable and aims at mitigating and containing any outbreaks.  The COVID-19 SHIELD Team is advancing this plan, and they will be providing specific information about the plan in the weeks ahead.

-- Robert J. Jones, Chancellor, and Andreas C. Cangellaris, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Illinois, in an email announcing plans to resume on-campus instruction this fall, 18 June 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Allow The King To Err

Those who knowingly allow the King to err deserve the same punishment as traitors.

-- Alfonso X (1221 - 1284), Spanish monarch who ruled as the King of Galicia, Castile and León from 1252 until his death, quoted in Diccionario ilustrado de frases célebres y citas literarias (1952), by Vicente Vega

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Useful Hints

Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.

-- Alfonso X (1221 - 1284), Spanish monarch who ruled as the King of Galicia, Castile and León from 1252 until his death, after studying Ptolemy's treatise on astronomy; reported in Thomas Carlyle, History of Frederick the Great, book ii. chap. vii

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Answer Is Clear

Sometimes small gestures can have unexpected consequences.  Major initiatives practically guarantee them.  In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender.  The answer is clear.  An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.  Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.

-- Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the 6-3 majority in Bostock v Clayton County, affirming civil rights protections for gay and transgender employees, 15 June 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

Without Fear Or Favor

The Department of Justice has a solemn responsibility to prosecute this case -- like every other case -- without fear or favor and, to quote the Department's motto, solely "on behalf of justice."  It has abdicated that responsibility through a gross abuse of prosecutorial power, attempting to provide special treatment to a favored friend and political ally of the President of the United States.  It has treated the case like no other, and in doing so has undermined the public's confidence in the rule of law.  I respectfully suggest that the best response to Flynn's perjury is not to respond in kind.  Ordering a defendant to show cause why he should not be held in contempt based on a perjurious effort to withdraw a guilty plea is not what judges typically do.  To help restore confidence in the integrity of the judicial process, the Court should return regularity to that process.  And the Court can best do that by denying the government's Rule 48(a) motion to dismiss, adjudicating any pending motions, proceeding to sentencing, and factoring the defendant's contemptuous conduct into the appropriate punishment.

-- John Gleeson, in his amicus curiae brief to the US District Court in DC, in US v Michael T. Flynn, 10 June 2020

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Everyone Is In

For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics.  Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.

-- Saul Bellow (1915 - 2005), Canadian-born American writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature in 1976 and National Medal of Arts winner in 1988, To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account (1976), p. 38

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.

-- Isaac D'Israeli (1766 - 1848), British writer, scholar and man of letters, father of the British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, Curiosities of Literature (1791-1834)

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Hidden Treasure

It sounds like a plot lifted straight from Hollywood.  A decade ago, a New Mexico art collector named Forrest Fenn buried treasure in the Rocky Mountains and self-published a book challenging people to find it.  According to Fenn, the chest -- filled with gold, gems and artifacts -- is worth around $2 million.  Over the weekend, he said, someone found it.

"I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot," Fenn wrote on his website.  He created the treasure hunt after recovering from kidney cancer.

At least two people died trying to find the treasure, and Fenn still refused to retrieve the chest.  "If someone drowns in the swimming pool we shouldn’t drain the pool," he said in 2017.  "We should teach people to swim."

-- Tidbit from the New York Times, 9 June 2020

Monday, June 08, 2020

That Mercy

Teach me to feel another's woe,
To right the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

-- Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744), English poet, The Universal Prayer, Stanza 10 (1738)

Friday, June 05, 2020


A curious point to ponder.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from below 24,000 to above 24,000 in every year of the Trump presidency.  That mark was first crossed on 30 November 2017, and was most recently crossed on 27 April 2020.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

A New Path

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens -- much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people -- does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.

We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.

Only by adopting a new path -- which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals -- will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

-- James Mattis, retired United States Marine Corps general, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, in a statement, "In Union there is Strength", Times-Standard, 3 June 2020

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


I've always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement.

The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.  We are not in one of those situations now.  I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.

-- US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement regarding civil unrest, 3 June 2020

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Peace Rooted In Justice

Many doubt the justice of our country, and with good reason.  Black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions.  We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means.  Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress.  But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice.  The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system.  And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.

This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort.  We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience.  We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion.  There is a better way -- the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice.  I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.

-- Statement by President George W. Bush, 2 June 2020

Monday, June 01, 2020

Not A Leader

It's so clear what needs to be done.  We need a president to come out and say simply that "black lives matter."  Just say those three words.  But he won't and he can't . He can't because it's more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity.  But it's more than just Trump.  The system has to change.  I'll do whatever I can do to help, because that's what leaders do.  But he can't do anything to put us on a positive path, because he's not a leader.

-- San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, in an interview with The Nation, 1 June 2020