Liberty...An American Heritage
The Bible is the Foundation of
the Nations Law
In October, Mississippi Supreme Court
Justice James W. Smith, Jr. was invited to share some thoughts in a
business law class at Delta State University (DSU) utilizing his skills
as a former community college teacher. Since Smith was already going
to be in town for a speech at the Cleveland Rotary Club noon meeting,
Dr. Clint Wood, a DSU professor of business law, invited him to his
Justice Smith presented many points of
historical interest including the following:
*Eighty-seven of the founding fathers of
this nation took classes under Dr. John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian
minister who was later elected President of what would become Princeton
*One of the classes these early American
leaders took under Witherspoon focused on the principles of Hebrew government.
*"These men were absolutely governed
by a code of conduct," said Smith.
*"There have been 30,000 laws written
to enforce the Ten Commandments. A just society is built on Biblical
principles, but it cant even post the Ten Commandments,"
said Smith as he made another point.
Smith was firm when he stated that "America
was founded by Christians," on the First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. He went on to say that "freedom of religion does
not mean freedom from religion. There is no such thing as a trickle-down
effect. You cant remove God from the government. Freedom and justice
needs faith as its preamble." He continued, "Thank God that
He gave us a free mind an independent mind."
Also, when it comes to interpreting the
Constitution, "Im an originist in interpreting the Constitution.
Justices [Anthony] Scalia, [Clarence] Thomas and [William] Rhenquist
are originists when it comes to the Constitution. You interpret the
law. You dont make the law. We shouldnt allow our personal
view to invade our legal views," the judge said to the class.
Smith pointed out that on U.S. Supreme
Court rulings about prayer in the schools and other church and state
issues from the founding of the nation until 1947, the court did not
define the separation issue as the court does today.
However, a 1947 court ruling by the Supreme
Court changed it. He said, "The Constitution didnt change.
The laws didnt change. What changed? The judges views changed.
One judges view and four other judges views changed [the]
law. Thats what happened."
(David Lush, "Laws roots often
from Bible: Justice Smith, The Bolivar Commercial, October 6, 2000)
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