Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1966. Entered service at: Laurel Bay, S.C. Born: 21 January 1940, Boston, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. McGinty’s platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for 3 days, came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his 32-man platoon during the 4-hour battle, 2d Lt. McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In 1 bitter assault, 2 of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon. With complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding 20 men wounded and the medical corpsman killed, he quickly reloaded ammunition magazines and weapons for the wounded men and directed their fire upon the enemy. Although he was painfully wounded as he moved to care for the disabled men, he continued to shout encouragement to his troops and to direct their fire so effectively that the attacking hordes were beaten off. When the enemy tried to out-flank his position, he killed 5 of them at point-blank range with his pistol. When they again seemed on the verge of overrunning the small force, he skillfully adjusted artillery and air strikes within 50 yards of his position. This destructive firepower routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. 2d Lt. McGinty’s personal heroism, indomitable leadership, selfless devotion to duty, and bold fighting spirit inspired his men to resist the repeated attacks by a fanatical enemy, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
Earlier today I posted on Twitter and Facebook a series of questions that I wished had been asked of the latest Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. The questions were inspired by a comment I heard from a radio talk show host when John Roberts was nominated – the Democrats wanted to sink him, but they spent 14 minutes and 30 seconds of their allotted time prepping their question in the form of a comment, leaving him with a whopping 30 seconds to shoot himself in the foot.
Obviously, the Republicans want to sink Sotomayor, and with good reason. She is not a friend of the Constitution, and anyone who thinks otherwise is not paying attention to what she says.
But back to the question of how? A politician doesn’t realize just how stupid they look pontificating in front of the camera because they do not see themselves objectively. They don’t see the eyepiece of the camera, only its lens, so they don’t recognize their stupid statements when they come out of their mouth (or at least, not as fast as the rest of us). So if a senator wanted to sink a nominee, how would they do it? Well, simple: let the nominee speak. In order to do this, they need to shut their pie holes and let the abundance of the nominee’s heart come out.
In that vein, here are several short questions that I wish had been asked of Judge Sotomayor, but probably never will be – at least, not while the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans lack a spine. One commenter on Facebook today said she saw some spine, but I remain unconvinced.
- Does the Bill of Rights identify or grant rights?
- Is the enumeration of rights under the Bill of Rights exhaustive?
- Does the 2nd Amendment identify an individual right, a collective one, both, neither, or something else?
- If an amendment was required to grant Congress the authority to regulate alcohol, why was an amendment not required to grant Congress the authority to regulate other drugs?
- What rights fall under the 9th Amendment?
- What powers fall under the 10th Amendment?
- Can a right be claimed under the 9th Amendment that requires the unwilling sacrifice of someone else?
- Can a power be claimed under the 10th Amendment by a state that requires the sacrifice of a power of the people without their consent?
- Can a right be denied under the 9th Amendment if exercising it does not require anything of a second party?
- Under the 10th Amendment, can a power be denied of the people or the states if it is not explicitly granted to Congress?
- Can both Congress and the State or Congress and the People exercise the same power at the same time?
- If they cannot, how is controlling authority determined?
- If they can, which party is determined to have superior jurisdiction?
- Why, in your opinion, was Amendment 14 Section 2 never enforced during the civil rights struggle of the 20th Century?
- Did Amendment 14 Section 3 deny Robert E. Lee of his liberty without due process of law, or deny him the equal protection of the law?
- Does the authority of the IRS to demand paycheck witholdings for tax purposes infringe a right to property under the 5th and 9th Amendment, even if a portion of such withholdings is returned at the end of the tax year?
- Does the tax filing required by the IRS violate a citizen’s right against self-incrimination? Put another way, is a tax filing admissible as evidence in light of the right against self-incrimination?
- Do the rights of the people enumerated and unenumerated in the Constitution apply to non-citizens, that is, people not born in the United States or their territories and not naturalized under the naturalization laws?
- Suppose the 22nd Amendment had been ratified by Conventions instead of Legislatures, as specified in its Section 2. What would have been the effect?
- (she answers ‘no effect’) Then what is the purpose of the clause in Article V that reads “as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress”?
- (she answers ‘it would have been inoperative’) Then does Congress has the authority to ignore a state’s Constitutional Convention?
- Who has the authority to determine the qualifications for attending a Constitutional Convention as a delegate?
- What authority does Congress exercise when they issue Treasury Notes? May states issue such notes?
- What distinguishes a state’s debt note from a bill of credit?
- Does Congress have the authority to pass a law that results in the closing of foreign exchange markets, even if the law does not specify that they shall be closed?
These questions are not designed to allow for much equivocation, or they are posed so as to make equivocation appear in a negative light, displaying the nominee’s lack of qualification. If such simple questions cannot be answered simply, then the nominee is not really qualified.
Granted, a nominee would refuse to answer most of these on professional grounds, not wanting to put themselves in a box during a future case yet to come before the court. However, statements made before a Senate committee are not binding on future or existing cases; a judge worthy of placement on the Supreme Court would be able to put aside their own feelings and opinions and judge according to the law – which is why we put them there anyway. Besides, the testimony of a judge or justice is not law, it is opinion. Opinion, the last I checked, was not welcomed by conservatives on the bench.
We need such questions in order to fill the bench with qualified justices.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” – John Adams to his wife Abigail, July 3rd, 1776.
A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independant station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.
We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles & organising it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness. prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & transient causes: and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. but when a long train of abuses & usurpations, begun at a distinguished period, & pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to subject them to arbitrary power it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government & to provide new guards for their future security. such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; & such is now the necessity which constrains them to expunge their former systems of government. the history of his present majesty, is a history of unremitting injuries and usurpations, among which no one fact stands single or solitary to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, all of which have in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. to prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.
he has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:
he has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate & pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has neglected utterly to attend to them.
he has refused to pass other laws for the accomodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation, a right inestimable to them, & formidable to tyrants alone:
he has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly & continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people:
he has refused for a long space of time to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, & convulsions within:
he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither; & raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands:
he has suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these colonies, refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers:
he has made our judges dependant on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and amount of their salaries:
he has erected a multitude of new offices by a self-assumed power, & sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people & eat out their substance:
he has kept among us in times of peace standing armies & ships of war:
he has affected to render the military, independant of & superior to the civil power:
he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknoleged by our laws; giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;
for protecting them by a mock-trial from punishment for any murders they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
for imposing taxes on us without our consent;
for depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury;
for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:
for taking away our charters, & altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
for suspending our own legislatures & declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:
he has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, & declaring us out of his allegiance & protection:
he has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns & destroyed the lives of our people:
he is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation:
he has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence:
he has incited treasonable insurrections in our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property:
he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
in every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered by repeated injury. a prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free. future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man, adventured within the short compass of 12 years only, on so many acts of tyranny without a mask, over a people fostered & fixed in principles of liberty.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. we have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend a jurisdiction over these our states. we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration & settlement here, no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension: that these were effected at the expence of our own blood & treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted one common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league & amity with them: but that submission to their parliament was no part of our constitution, nor ever in idea, if history may be credited: and we appealed to their native justice & magnanimity, as well as to the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which were likely to interrupt our correspondence & connection. they too have been deaf to the voice of justice & of consanguinity, & when occasions have been given them, by the regular course of their laws, of removing from their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have by their free election re-established them in power. at this very time too they are permitting their chief magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our common blood, but Scotch & foreign mercenaries to invade & deluge us in blood. these facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us to renounce for ever these unfeeling brethren. we must endeavor to forget our former love for them, and to hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends. we might have been a free & a great people together; but a communication of grandeur & of freedom it seems is below their dignity. be it so, since they will have it: the road to glory & happiness is open to us too; we will climb it in a separate state, and acquiesce in the necessity which pronounces our everlasting Adieu!
We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled do, in the name & by authority of the good people of these states, reject and renounce all allegiance & subjection to the kings of Great Britain & all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve & break off all political connection which may have heretofore subsisted between us & the people or parliament of Great Britain; and finally we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independant states, and that as free & independant states they shall hereafter have power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, & to do all other acts and things which independant states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred honour.