“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48 (KJV)
Anyone who has read any of my “Skeptic’s” columns, especially those published after the last disastrous presidential election, will know that one of my favorite targets is a group I refer to variously as “boutique progressives” or “liberal purists”, the latter term borrowed from Bill Maher, who has the same grievance against progressives. What (Bill and) I mean by that are liberals, left-wingers, progressives who insist that a political candidate, in order to be worthy of our support, absolutely must conform to every principle, every jot and tittle, of progressive ideology, without exception. They must, in other words, be ideologically perfect, i.e., the kind of perfection demanded of Chri
I invite my fellow progressives / leftists to please feel free to vote me off the Island for saying the following, but ... in the interest of fairness, it should be said that acting AG Matthew Whitaker is right in a certain sense about Marbury v. Madison. To be sure, Matthew Whitaker is indeed a crackpot, and his own utterances, both written and spoken, amply justify that description. But let's be fair to broken clocks: even they are right twice a day. (The full text of Marbury can be found here; a very literate, enlightening, and even-handed summary, here.) The Constitution’s Article III is rather ambiguous, not about the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, but about how “hard-coded” that original jurisdiction is in the Constitution. There are two questions at issue.
In October of 2017, I published what I intended as a more detailed examination of all three of the main clauses of the First Amendment: the "establishment" clause, the "free exercise" clause, and the "abridgement" clause (encompassing freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. Life got in the way, however, and only the first part of the column, on the "establishment" clause, ever appeared. Since then, however, and largely as a result of the continuing assault of the Trump Administration and other parts of the American fascist community on First Amendment liberties, I have returned to the subject of the First Amendment, and have written the other two parts -- "free exercise" and "abridgement" -- that I neglected back in October of last year. In the interest of continuity, I am re-publ