Exception$ to the Rule

James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 -June 28, 1836) was an American statesman and political theorist, the fourth President of the United States (1809-1817). He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the US Bill of Rights. | Photo: John Vanderlyn | James Madison, President, Constitution, Bill Of Rights,

Would it kill bandiers of the Constitution to read it?

The distinguished law professor Lawrence Tribe of Harvard, in commenting upon the theory of the 'Citizens United' case has made the perhaps most salient of points of law which may not have been sufficiently driven home to that decision's 'beneficiaries' (?): "..that the First Amendment protects 'speech' & 'listeners', not particular speakers."

So, then, agonizing by the best minds of an age of both reason and its revolt against reason's absence, sweltering in Philadelphia and, now, their over-fed sinecure-appointed for life satrap successors in judicial power have chosen to engage in the worst sort of casuistry (yes, a precise term describing juridical legerdemain), that species of deceptive overly subtle by half rationcination that is so labored as to subconsciously (perhaps even consciously) thrust its practitioner's tangled tongues firmly into their abundant cheeks (female benchers, excepted). In terms of Gray's anatomy, 'cheek' is used here liberally, given the dual locus of the heads housing those tongues, ahem.

These cluelessly ironic male 'justices' have, therefore, prompted resort to remedies anticipated as eventually to be needed by otherwise wise male drafters of this now twisted Constitution of ours. Let's turn, then, to Mr. Madison and his own handiwork of June 8, 1789:

"The people shall not de deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments...and the freedom of the press shall be inviolable." [Archival records of the Constitutional Convention, via Cornell Law School].

So, what's the point of this awkwardly worded quote? Writing, even for epic sages, is rewriting, and the Senate eventually changed his words, further changes being made in conference by the two houses giving us what we now see as somehow divinely bequeathed as if Mosaic tablature. Not even close.

"Madison warned against the dangers inherent 'from discussing and proposing abstract propositions of which the judgment may not be convinced, I venture to say.." [1 Annals of Congress, Aug. 15, 1789, p. 738].

Back, now, to Professor Tribe's scholarly observation--these male bench warmers are all about the over-feeding of your ears, and not so much about the volume and quality of that 'feed'.

That's fine, I suppose if we're auditing the Bard's musical foodstuffs of love, but what if it's the mostly toxic stuff greedily broadcast over those licensed public airwaves within which seven scary words may not pass your cochlea. Is there anything more potentially damaging of offensive to the body politic than unlimited paid 'free' speech?!


Remember Jimmy Madison's cautionary phrase? "...abstract propositions of which the judgment may not be convinced, I venture to say..."

What remains, then, to do toward 'excepting' us--that quaint 'we the people' thing enobled further by Mr. Lincoln of the Preamble. Sure, the Constitution may be amended, a very long slog, and shot given the miniature Congresses found in each state (Nebraska was wise enough to tolerate but one house).

But, there's another way, been there all along. The Exceptions Clause, Article III, Sec. 2.

It provides simply that Congress--those guys YOU choose, even despite the Noah's flood of special interest money ready to drown you outside that voting booth--may deprive or strip away jurisdiction over certain cases from the courts. Recall that '...people are the masters of the Congress & the courts..." Lincoln utterance.

Enter you, into that booth, November 2014. You, with the overstuffed toxified ears, may elect those strippers (hey, we've had actors galore, right, why not their 'friends') who may strip these errant courts of knaves of their ability to 'hear' (fitting, right?) cases allegedly treating 'free speech' in an election context, inasmuch as the subject matter is elections and their methodologies, explicitly reserved to the Congress in Article II.

Read, Vote, Strip, repeat (yes, repeat, as in talk to your friends, they don't want to listen..to those campaign (as in camp, pain) ads.

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:28 PM EST | More details


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