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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): Credentialed, Not Educated

Despite his law degree, an MSNBC appearance revealed him ignorant of two elements of the Constitution.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

May 11, 2013 - 12:00 am
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Additionally, Senator Murphy, juris doctor, could review the works of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. From his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833):

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

Even the relatively rare nineteenth state Supreme Court decisions that upheld laws regulating knives or the carrying of weapons were careful to acknowledge the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms. Aymette v. State (Tenn. 1840) acknowledged that the right, derived from the English Bill of Rights (1689), was so that the people, “being armed, they may as a body rise up to defend their just rights, and compel their rulers to respect the laws.”

The same decision, by the way, held that only military weapons were protected — and this is next to the most restrictive gun-rights decision of the entire nineteenth century.

A more expansive view of the right comes from the Texas Supreme Court in Cockrum v. State (Tex. 1859), which held that both the Second Amendment and the Texas Constitution’s arms provision had at least one aspect in common:

The object of the first clause cited, has reference to the perpetuation of free government, and is based on the idea, that the people cannot be effectually oppressed and enslaved, who are not first disarmed.

These are not isolated examples; my book For the Defense of Themselves and the State has hundreds more.

Perhaps the insurrectionary model of the Second Amendment is out of date today, but I don’t think so. If anything, the twentieth century — the century of multiple genocides, often by the governments of the victims — is a stronger argument for a population able to fight back than it was in 1789. To pretend, as Senator Murphy does, that the insurrectionary model of the Second Amendment is crazy or ahistorical? That is crazy and ahistorical.

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Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012). He is raising capital for a feature film about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858.

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Top Rated Comments   
He is not ignorant. He knows damned well what the 2nd Amendment is for. He just doesn't like it. When he lies like this, it doesn't mean he is ignorant. It means he is evil. Lies are to evil, like smoke is to fire.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (11)
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Unfortunately, for much of the citizenry, the shame of showing ignorance is vistigal. The low information voters are not ashamed of being so, but wear it as a badge of belonging, and there are learned but ambitious men such as the Senator who play to their passion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There seems to be so much self serving interpretations of the constitution and the processes of differing opinions that finally arrived at the constiotution we know today. Much of what attaches to the second amendment and the amenedment itself is really being abused today by the pro activists of militias and gun control. It should be noted that early on, in todays debates. there was much dicussions about gun ownership being granted under the milita clause and then that issue got dropped rather fast. Two things most aren't well informed about is why the framers did not 'define' militas. "In 1792, Congress enacted the first (and until 1903, the last) national Militia Act. While this Act required all white males of military age to possess a rifle or musket--or, if enrolled in cavalry or artillery units, pistols and a sword-- " Ongoing since 1903 the whole matters of Sates militias vs. a National militia has been well settled and is not what many people choose to believe.

There was broad disagreement on the matters militias and of keeping and bearing arms. But for Madison simply seeking some compromise to achieve radification, HE included all the parties 'basic' language for militias and right to bear arms neither defining militas or guns beyond the above citiation.

What the Supreme Court relies upon for its toughest decision making, is the balance between the federalists and and the anti-federalists positions. The anti-fedralist won on the point of a national militia and the federalists won on right to bear arms. The militias performance and outcomes were mostly despised and especially by Washington along with a rather long historical record. "Within two decades of the ratification of the Constitution, American political leaders had abandoned the original concept of the militia. In the words of one historian, "The ideological assumptions of revolutionary republicanism would no longer play an important role in the debate over the republic's military requirements." Push come to shove, there is NO constitutional protection against gun rights beyond right to bear arms for protection.

Quotes -- Military Law Review - 1992 The Militia And The Constitution: A Legal History
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At one time a college degree meant one was educated in the classical sense, meaning one had a broadly based education. Today a degree, especially an advanced or specialty degree (like a law degree), simply means one is a narrowly trained specialist and the higher the degree the more narrow the focus. So, just having a degree doesn't make them either broadly knowledgeable, wise or even smart, it just means they are well trained and good at taking tests.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I also agree with Marc Malone. I give Murphy the benefit of the doubt that he couldn't possibly be that ignorant of the Constitution and American history.

He is obviously campaigning for the next election cycle he must face, and betting that more voters than not, in Connecticut, think that giving up Constitutional rights and living in an authoritarian state, will ensure their personal safety. Murphy doesn't care about the Constitution or history; he cares about getting re-elected, or being elected to another office.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is an excellent article, but I agree with Marc Malone this is not ignorance on display, but malice aforethought. He wants to accrue power, and mow down anything that might get in the way. Call it by it's right name, evil. Those who would have us defenseless are not acting in our best interest but their own.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Really great column, thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bad law requires bad lawyers; bad lawyers require bad law schools. We have all of that in spades. (Princeton Law Scool comes to mind here.)

The policies of Progressivism, in turn, require overthrow of The Law, as in the Constitution. Although we got a sniff of it with Teddy, when Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes came along, the long slide of the rule of The Law was begun, with interpretation seizing primacy over textual rules. And now, once an illegal law is passed by Congress, or an illegal decision is made by a court, legal principle of precedence endows it with the weight of permancy and perceived legitimacy.

Example: Obamacare wasn't even passed; it was only "deemed" to have passed by the Congress. It's an illegal law that passes 18% of the economy into the central gubmint's socialist hands, so it's important to Progressives. The key players in this transaction were the media and the Supreme Court.

So the assault on The Law by Murphy is penny ante in comparison. But it was an important assault: he wasn't laughed out of the room, and every little Progressive aggression adds to a much larger sum effort to bring to bear the weight of the illegal law onto the People for political purposes, as in present day policy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Princeton Law School? Please name any lawyer who went to Princeton Law School, good or bad. There were only seven grads between 1847 and 1852.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does Senator Murphy consider those states and local governments who have chosen to ignore Federal Immigration Law laughable? Or does he believe those governments that have established "Sanctuary Cities" for illegal immigrants are merely expressing their rights as sovereign states/cities to ignore federal laws that "violate" the U.S. Constitution?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is a surprise?

What about the socalled republican members of Congress and Senate, the legislature, law-making body of the nation? Or Judiciary? Oaths to uphold and defend? THE FUNDAMENTALl Document of title for these United States of We The People? The Bill of Rights of that fundamental, constitution, contains in English plain enough for any literate, or legally trained person, not only Amendment X but the one immediately preceding, Amendment IX. Not important?

Obama the present Chief Executive as reputed constitutional scholar who campaigned in "all 57 States" of these United States, certainly knows ONE Constitutional, ie lawful, qualification for public office as POTUS as SPECIFICALLY different from those for Congressman, Senator, and Judiciary. Why else Sealing from public, i.e. citizens' review, of documents as first act on taking the chair of Chief Executive?

Article II and that pesky "No person except a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN, OR a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be elligible to the Office of President"(emphasis added)
Obama also compares himself, when not as the Saviour of the Nation, to Abraham Lncoln.

Hasn't all this "for the good of the People" developed a cold civil war pitting citizen against citizen in all number of ways. To the general detriment of cohesiveness and national identity as American with a capital A? AND the continuiing growth of Central/Federal government. How many times by fiat, ie. Executive Order?

"We must all hang together or assuredly we SHALL ALL hang separately".

There is a group of people now dismissed de haut en bas from media pundits called Low Information Voters.

As damaging as they are to the Fundamental Character of this Constitutional Republic of the United States, how much more damaging are these same persons in Congress, Senate, Judiciary And Executive of the nation?

Keep your eyes open. You/We ain't seen nothing yet in their intention to "fundamentally transform" the nation of We The People, this hitherto Constitutional Republic of the United States.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He is not ignorant. He knows damned well what the 2nd Amendment is for. He just doesn't like it. When he lies like this, it doesn't mean he is ignorant. It means he is evil. Lies are to evil, like smoke is to fire.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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