Why Colonel Sartoris?

Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.

Friday, June 27, 2008

District v. Heller

I wrote this in response to an asinine Washington Post article that I read. The Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC's absurd provision on handguns, and my homeboy Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion. The article that I read denigrated the way that the Justices went deciding the case, and I took great issue with that in the following response. It's probably over the top, but the article really angered me.

"Have y'all READ a Supreme Court opinion before? No one maintains that guns do not divide Americans' politically, or that they do not stand as a lightning rod of contention. The opinions, however, do not nearly measure up in vitriol to the opinion of US v. Virginia (1996), which Ginsburg authored. Go ahead and make fun of the Supreme Court for relying on the distinction between the "prefatory" clause and the "operative" clause. I mean, you're probably more learned, right? I mean, it's not like the primary author of the Constitution and the later author of the bulk of the Federalist Papers (which, by the way, were syndicated in FAR more papers than you will ever be) actually knew some sort of grammar right? Oh wait, he did. The Federalist Papers are replete with references to the classics. And by that, I don't mean Sting records, but instead the great tomes of the classical era that tried to make sense of democracy, like Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, and even Aeschylus' Oresteia. Madison's schooling in the classics and in English grammar (which is the CURRENCY of communication; our schools, both public and private, would do well to realize this) enabled him to leverage the intricacies of language as to specify exactly what he meant when he wrote the Constitution. In other words . . . the Founders were not dolts who misplaced a comma. Their expertise in law and literature demanded that they take care with the language with which the drew a blueprint of Americans' freedoms. The Supreme Court, and Antonin Scalia, definitely acts within his bounds by parsing language the way he does, and by anticipating objections of his opposition. THAT is the way that sound law is written. In District v. Heller, we received an articulate, cogent opinion that appealed both to grammatically obsessed intellectuals and to our gut instinct. Please, give them a break."

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