• There's a fine line between the American dream and the American nightmare.

    Don Henley

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Disabilities of witnesses under the Common Law

There are parties in this movement who make assertions about the common law and its supposed merits and superiority to current law. It appears that common law proponents believe that the common law is either natural law or Biblical law, when the reality is far different and that it is neither “natural” nor entirely Biblical, but really the customs of the English people developed over hundreds of years during the late Dark Ages and Renaissance for a largely feudal, agricultural society. While Christianity is a part of it, common law is for the most part unrelated to Christianity. After all, the monarchy was part and parcel of the common law. 

Personally, I think parties to litigation should be able to testify in their own cases. However, at common law this was prohibited.  See Olive v. Adams, 50 Ala. 373 (1874). Further, Georgia had this rule as late as the early 1960s for criminal cases. If you want to read a case that discusses this common law rule of evidence that parties could not testify in their own criminal cases, please read Ferguson v. Georgia, 365 U.S. 570, 573-582, 81 S.Ct. 756 (1961), which is posted here.

Which is better: prohibiting parties from testifying in their own cases or allowing them to do so?

the Crown and Vatican

There are too many fake and false arguments that float around this movement, and several relate to our alleged association with England, and another contends that “the Vatican owns everything.” History reveals that these arguments are utterly false.

Some contend that an agreement between King John of England and the Pope in 1213 conveyed to the Pope legal control of England and complete ownership of the whole country. While there was such an agreement, it did not last very long. Blackstone recounts that the Vatican’s desire to own lots of English land and control large parts of that country resulted in the revolt of the monarchy and nobles. As a result of the actions of the Vatican, an offense named praemunire was enacted to combat the perceived evils of the Vatican, and Blackstone discusses this crime at length.

In Blackstone’s Commentaries, there is a chapter titled Offenses against God and Religion, posted here.

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Birth certificate argument

For a number of years, there have been floating around various arguments about birth certificates. About 5 years ago, I encountered this argument and watched for courts to address this baseless, numbskull argument. I attach one such case where a party raised this issue and the court addressed it.

The only value of birth certificates is to prove that we are citizens. They have no commercial value, such certificates are not sold as securities, and there certainly is no market where these financially valueless pieces of paper are sold.

I have concluded that those who promote this argument are either scammers or govt agents wishing to mislead people and get them into trouble.

FCC leadership refuses to let public see new internet regulation

There is a lot of attention being paid to the FCC rules that are currently being proposed regarding control of the Internet, and it is noted that such rules are not available to the public.  The Administrative Procedures Act requires all agency rules to be published in the Federal Register 30 days before they become effective.  There are lots of cases where agencies did not publish them 30 days in advance of their effective date and the courts held such rules not to be effective.

One such case is Natural Resources Defense Council v. Abraham, 355 F.3d 179, 206 (2nd Cir. 2004), which dealt with the effective date of certain regs, many being published, then altered, and the dates changed.  That court of appeals held, "Therefore, because the February 2 delay was promulgated without complying with the APA's notice-and-comment requirements, and because the final rule failed to meet any of the exceptions to those requirements, it was an invalid rule." This case may be read here.

Since these FCC rules have obviously not been published in the Federal Register, they cannot have any force and will be invalid.

Brief comments about the Common Law

Today, much of our current criminal law is derived from the common law, at least in relation to its broad features. Substantive and procedural criminal law under the common law was different from that practiced in continental Europe, where investigation and criminal law enforcement was conducted mostly in private (with use of the "rack"), having private trials and private punishments. Common law criminal procedure was different, with public trials and public imposition of punishment.

But, today's criminal procedures and punishments differ in many respects from that under the common law. Currently, a criminal defendant can appear in a modern American court and refuse to enter a plea to criminal charges, which results in the court entering a plea of not guilty. But at the common law, matters were different, the purpose being to force a plea. If a defendant refused to enter a plea under common law procedures, he was carried back to prison where he was forced onto the ground, and heavy metal objects were placed on his body in a process named "pressing". This was done in an effort to force a plea, but many unfortunate defendants were "pressed to death."

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