Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"A mere shadow of freedom" -- yep, that's what we got here

Some days I pause a moment to read the quotation from Justice Jackson that I've posted above my desk:
To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
-- West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, June 14, 1943.

... And y'know, the word still hasn't gotten out to everyone:
BE IT REMEMBERED, this date, the Court having ordered all present in the courtroom to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegience, and having found that Danny Lampley, Attorney at Law, failed and refused to do so, finds said Danny Lampley to be in criminal contempt of court ... and is hereby ordered to be incarcerated in the Lee County Jail.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, that Danny Lampley shall purge himself of said criminal contempt by complying with the order of this Court by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court.
NMC witnessed this. The guy was sprung after 5 hours, apparently sans pledge.

I've heard numerous reports lately of berserk chancellors waving the criminal-contempt wand like Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Are the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Commission on Judicial Performance going to do anything about this? Let me check my Magic 8-Ball:

... Here's where you can find a complaint form for the Commission on Judicial Performance.

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