response to Levinson, Green & Horwitz on the "Year of Our L."
sbarretttillman at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 30 16:30:14 PDT 2010
Two points. Dual dating (Year of Our L.; and Years of Indep. of the U.S.) is still used by the Executive Office of the President when dating presidential proclamations. I expect that when proposed constitutional amendments are emitted from time to time by Congress to the states for ratification that the joint resolutions continue to follow the dating convention started with the twelve proposed amendments in the Bill of Rights -- which used dual dating. I expect that dual dating continues in many official government (federal and state) documents -- such as presidential commissions of Article III judges. You might want to ask J. Ginsburg as to what her commission says.
As to the strongest evidence in the text of the Constitution that it was intended for what Justice Douglas called a "religious people," I would rank the Sundays Excepted Clause well ahead of the dating convention used in the Attestation Clause. But that is just my idiosyncratic view. And Jaynie Randall's article on the Sundays Excepted Clause does take a view contrary to my own.
Paul & Chris --
Thank you so much for citing my recent response to Professor Geoffrey Stone. Much to my dismay I have discovered that some fairly intelligent people (I am not referring to anyone on this listserv) did not quite grasp what I wrote in that article. I never took the position that the Constitution's use of the "Year of Our L" was evidence of the Christian Nation hypothesis or even had any inherent religious meaning. I eschew any claim that I have the background to answer any such question. I only took the much more limited position that Professor Stone was not fully forthcoming with the reader when he wrote that the Constitution's text nowhere references God or religious concepts beyond the confines of the Religious Test Clause. Geof Stone's view is easily falsified by the plain text -- which is precisely what I did in my article. Beyond that I also criticized Stone's use of certain historical materials: both his choice of secondary sources and his
interpretation of certain primary documents. For example, he reports that circa 1789 there was a book burning at Harvard. As I try to show there is no evidence for that at all.
The point I tried to develop sub silentio was that some people who are too involved in the Church-State wars should step back, breathe deep, and really consider if they have a good grasp of the primary facts or of even enough facts to fairly identify reasonable secondary sources. That is a harsh message, but it applies to all those people who believed Stone's claim as to a book burning at Harvard circa 1789. My message was entirely unrelated to whether or not the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation -- whatever that ambiguous concept means.
Should anyone be interested Stone's article appears at .... Geoffrey R. Stone, The World of the Framers: A Christian Nation?, 56
UCLA L. Rev. 1 (2008), http://uclalawreview.org/?p=219.
My response appears at ... Seth Barrett Tillman, Blushing Our Way Past Historical Fact And
Fiction: A Response to Professor Geoffrey R. Stone's Melville B. Nimmer
Memorial Lecture and Essay, 114 Penn St.
L. Rev. 391 (2009), available
As always ... citations are welcomed.
Seth Barrett TillmanAdjunct Professor Rutgers Law School (Newark)http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=345891http://works.bepress.com/seth_barrett_tillman/RECENT RESPONSES TO MY PUBLICATIONS:Jeremy D. Bailey, Response, The Traditional View of Hamilton's Federalist No. 77 and an Unexpected Challenge, 33 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 169 (2010), http://tinyurl.com/yz8sldo, responding to http://tinyurl.com/yffqfzn.Randall Balmer, Response to Geoffrey R. Stone and Seth Barrett Tillman, Essay, 2010 Cardozo Law Review de novo (forthcoming circa May 2010).
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