Recent events in Arizona and elsewhere have been the basis for the mainstream media and some elected officials having a field day trying to blame the Tea Party advocates of engaging in everything from uncivil discourse to causing deranged persons to kill people and various other transgressions. Their arguments have often been laden with name calling and speculation. In that context, the reader is invited to imagine the following scene.
The court room became silent as the jury shuffled into the jury room for deliberation regarding the guilt or innocence of the Tea Party. The judge retreated to his chambers where he might contemplate the trial in peace while awaiting news from the bailiff that the jury was ready with the verdict. Though vaguely annoyed with the Tea Party rabble, he remembered with satisfaction the charge he gave to the jury in context of the eloquent presentation given by the prosecution. He fought off the temptation to be too quick to assume what the jury would decide, but was confident that the jury would get it right. As he sat there in silence with the sunlight retreating from the windows that evening, he began to get a bit sleepy. The natural light shining through the windows began to grow dim as he made himself more comfortable in his large easy chair.
The Judge of the Living Constitution thought about the events of the day. He thought about the eloquence of the prosecutor who calmly and bravely stood his ground. Knowing that proof of innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt is required by the Living Constitution on Crimes of Hate and Suggestion (as opposed to proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on all types of crimes as required by the antiquated Written Constitution), he was amused by the defendant lawyer’s struggle to prove the innocence of the unrepentant Tea Party. He remembered the opening words by the prosecutor: The Media and certain Congressional Representatives and Senators, as submitted by the prosecution in this court room, have accused the Tea Party of: (a) engaging in uncivil discourse; (b) causing deranged persons to kill people; (c) improper signs; and, (d) various other Crimes of Hate and Suggestion. Your Honor, I as the prosecutor submit to you that these charges are true.
In great anguish, the Defense cried out, but where is the proof of the truth of these allegations? In the face of such opposition, the prosecutor calmly and bravely produced that proof in the following manner: Your Honor these Tea Partiers are Racists, Nazis and Fascists; and, they make improper signs. Though few of them being schooled in the art of Law such as you and I are, they nonetheless make the pretense that they understand what the Constitution is about and they say that it is about We the People!
The shoulders of the judge shook with emotion as he contemplated those awful words. To think that such unschooled people are capable of understanding the Constitution as it is living, is ludicrous. Though it must be admitted: that some of them are avid readers of American History, even including such things as the Federalist Papers; that some of them are widely read in World History from ancient times to the present; that a precious few are even Students of Law, Attorneys at Law and Medical Doctors; that many of them are schooled in certain general and specific disciplines in fields such as mathematics, science, engineering, business management, accounting, sales and marketing, finance, economics, construction and a host of other founts of knowledge; it is nonetheless outlandish to think that such people, many of whom actually work as craftsmen, technicians, mechanics, storekeepers, farmers and laborers, could possibly understand the content and intent of the Constitution as it is living!
The Judge of the Living Constitution remembered the response of the Tea Party when asked to return a plea. We plead innocent of all charges except the following: We plead guilty to believing in the principles of limited government as envisioned by our Founders; we plead guilty to believing in a sound fiscal policy that ensures the integrity of the money used to conduct commerce among ourselves as well as our foreign trading partners; we plead guilty to believing in the Rule of Law and the Constitution as it is written, which allows for amendment when people of principle develop a strong consensus in the moral and just rightness of the proposed change; and we plead guilty to the existence of a number of improper signs.
The Judge of the Living Constitution had been intrigued by this last plea and asked to again review the evidence in his chambers. The prosecutor produced a record of Tea Party gatherings, peaceful in nature, attended by people from all walks of life including grandmothers and small children, all across the land in scores of States, in possibly four score and seven cities, and in Washington, D.C., with hundreds of signs in some of those gatherings. The prosecutor then came up with almost twenty improper signs. As he looked at those offensive signs, one score in number, he saw misspelled words. The Judge of the Living Constitution contemplated the improper signs and knew the Jury of Progressive Peers would not deal lightly with such transgressions. He thought of how protesting the ever increasing growth of an all powerful government is so like the Nazis and Fascists that they are; and, he noticed that the number of black attendees, though many were present and some of them given to fiery speeches, was somewhat below the national average thus proving the racist nature of this group.
The bailiff knocked on the door of the chambers. Failing to get an answer he knocked more loudly until the judge awakened and answered the door. The judge rubbed his eyes trying to adjust to the light streaming in from the doorway. He told the bailiff to close the door and wait five minutes while he gathered his thoughts.
The chamber, being now filled with fluorescent light and with his eyes and consciousness now fully engaged the judge contemplated the awful dream he had just had. He knew that he had gone to sleep with a bit of prejudice in his thinking and that it had provided fodder for his dream. His shoulders shook with emotion just as they had done in his dream, but this time it was in contemplating his own words in the charge he had given to the jury. What am I doing he cried to himself! To what am I being a party? I did not write the Constitution. Others wrote the Constitution, and still others ratified it. I have taken a solemn oath to interpret it not to change it. I am not a Judge of the Living Constitution but a Judge of the Written Constitution! I have taken a solemn oath to We the People and to this Republic.
The bailiff again knocked on the door ever so lightly but this time the judge immediately answered. The bailiff told him that the jury had returned to the courtroom. The judge then entered the courtroom and asked the jury if they had reached a verdict. The foreman of the jury said, yes Your Honor we have reached a unanimous verdict. She then said in a sober but light hearted manner that the verdict is Not Guilty. The judge felt immediate relief because he now knew that his own inappropriate words in the charge to the jury had not caused a travesty of justice. Following adjournment, the judge left the courtroom feeling the peace of an easy conscience.