Sometimes I think history has a wicked sense of humor. The latest example of history-as-harlequin may be seen by observing the rhetorical, jurisprudential, and logical contortions of people attempting to defend President Trump’s executive orders (EOs) on immigration before, in this latest case, the 4th Circuit. Most of the people defending Trump’s EOs – EO 13769 and its siblings – are employing the language, tactics, and presuppositions of original meaning, a common approach of conservative / “strict constructionist” jurists and constitutional scholars. To them: the key question of how to interpret any given text of the Constitution or statutory law is to adhere to the original meaning of the law’s authors as expressed in the original language of the law itself. In order for the la
I cannot vouch for the source, but Mark Twain is reputed to have once remarked “History doesn’t repeat, but it sometimes rhymes”. For reasons of both personal history and temperament, I have always found it difficult to be optimistic. But in the wake – an apt word, if ever there was one! – of the recent presidential election, I find it flatly impossible, and even trying to be such would grate on my sensibilities as an exercise in dishonesty. The most I can do at this point is to offer some perspective. But even this, modest as it is, may turn out to be considerably less than comforting and encouraging. For the precedent I am going to cite, the most relevant template, will be the final death throes of the Weimar Republic and the rise of fascism in Germany, as embodied in Adolf Hitler.
Would a couple of you please carry Uncle Sigmund’s luggage? (I’d do it myself, but this damn sciatica has laid me low for over three years now. OK … good … thanks … ) And, Uncle, please be careful of that first step down from the train. Remember, you’re not as young as you used to be. We have a lot to talk about, now that you’ve returned. On the way to your hotel, we can discuss some topics I’m sure you’ll be very interested in, specifically Donald Trump, Brexit, and the fabled sexual peccadilloes of conservative American televangelists. I have a feeling the world is finally catching up with you. What’s that you say, Uncle? All three phenomena are actually the same, like the heads of Hydra all belonging to a single monster? Fascinating. I guess this is a case of great minds thinking