". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Justice Stevens Wishes to Amend the Constitution + Constitutional History

John Paul Stevens sat on the Supreme Court bench 975 - 2010.  At age 94, he's published a new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.

He was an English major.  After WWII, in which he served in the Navy as a code breaker, he went to law school.  He could go to law school because the G.I. Bill paid for it (if he'd been an African American, however, there would have been no G.I. Bill for him).

What he's proposing for the Constitutional changes is discussed in the New York Review of Books, which is available to read online here:
Gun control, campaign finance, capital punishment, political gerrymandering, anti-commandeering, and sovereign immunity—it’s a heterogeneous list. But there is a unifying theme, which is the importance of democratic self-government. With respect to gun control, campaign finance, anti-commandeering, and sovereign immunity, Stevens would free the political process from the control of the courts. In the case of political gerrymandering, he would go in the other direction, because he would impose a constitutional barrier where one does not now exist. But the reason for the barrier is to improve the functioning of American democracy. It is only in the case of the death penalty that Stevens would create a new, rights-based safeguard, designed to protect an individual right, not to promote self-government as such.
As far as can be told from an article in the NY Review of Books, his ideas have merit.  But then, he believes that Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare, because Shakespeare was written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

Justice Stevens winds up to throw out the first pitch before the start of the Chicago Cubs game with the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2005 at Wrigley Field in Chicago
Evidently he's also a Cubs fan.

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