Friday, March 15, 2013

Beware the Ides of March

Res Publica
Beware the Ides of March
by David Trumbull -- March 15, 2013

Beware indeed! As we all know, Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House on the Ides of March of 44 B.C.  

Of the number and names of all the assassins we cannot be certain. Plutarch, and other ancient writers record the following: 

Publius Servilius Casca. "Vile Casca" who made the first cut.  

Caius Cassius Longinus. That Cassius of the "lean and hungry look" who recruited Brutus to the conspiracy.  

Marcus Junius Brutus. A descendant of that ancient Brutus who drove out the last of the Roman kings about 465 years earlier. Brutus was as a son to Caesar; his was "the most unkindest cut of them all." Brutus and Cassius both fell at their own hands after the battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. According to some ancient account each did himself in with the very dagger he used to slay Caesar.  

Decimus Junius Brutus also called Albinus, he was a distant relative of the other Brutus.  

Caius Trebonius. As was true of many of the conspirators, he had been a beneficiary of the kindnesses of Caesar. It was Trebonius and Decimus Brutus who detained Marc Antony in conversation so that Caesar was without his principal bodyguard when he entered the senate house.  

Lucius Tillius Cimber, called Metellus Cimber in the Shakespeare play, he was the one who gave the signal to commence the slaughter.  

Cinna. We must be careful not to confuse the conspirator Cinna with Caesar's loyal friend the poet Cinna. The angry mob in Rome that Ides of March made that very confusion and, meeting Cinna the poet in the street, tore to pieces the wrong man.  

Within a very few years Marc Antony and Octavian Caesar, the adopted son of Julius Caesar tracked down and killed the assassins.  

The conspirators thought to restore the Republic. However, they lacked any cohesive plan for governing; mismanaged events in the days immediately following the assassination; and ended up plunging Rome into a disastrous civil war. Peace, but not the Republic, was finally restored when, in 31 B.C., following the defeat of Antony at the battle of Actium, Caesar Octavian emerged as sole leader --the Emperor Augustus.

The founders of our Republic knew well the story of the Roman Republic's failure, with resulting Imperial Rule. They left us a system of popular government with regular elections. Our Republic has endured, under our Constitution, for about two and a quarter centuries. The Roman Republic endured nearly five centuries. It's up to us ordinary American voters to determine whether we can match that record.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rendering unto Caesar and unto God.

Res Publica
Rendering unto Caesar and unto God.
by David Trumbull -- March 8, 2013

The United States Commission on Civil Rights has announced that it will hold a briefing, in Washington, Friday, March 22nd, to examine recent legal developments concerning the intersection of non-discrimination principles with those of civil liberties.

Two topics will serve as starting points for a discussion involving religious liberties and non-discrimination rules and their broader implications for civil liberties: the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case and student group non-discrimination policies, including the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez case. Also at issue are religious liberty claims under First Amendment provisions other than the Religion Clauses.

There will be two panels at the briefing. The first panel will be composed of scholars involved in the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC or Christian Legal Society v. Martinez litigation: Kimberlee Colby, Senior Counsel at the Christian Legal Society, Ayesha Khan, Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Daniel Mach, Director, American Civil Liberties Union Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief and Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, Becket Fund.

The second panel will consist of experts who will discuss the broader conflict between anti-discrimination norms and civil liberties. Experts scheduled to appear on the second panel include Alan Brownstein, Professor, University of California at Davis Law School, Marc DeGirolami, Associate Professor, St. John's University School of Law, Leslie Griffin, Professor, University of Nevada Las Vegas Law School, Marci Hamilton, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Michael Helfand, Associate Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law, and Edward Whelan, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center.

If you are concerned about current domestic threats to religious liberty, including the Obama Administration's attack on Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities, this is your opportunity to comment. Public comments are being accepted until April 21st. Lawyers and professors of law may dominate the Washington briefing later this month, but the public comment period is open to anyone who is distressed that our First Amendment Right to Free Exercise of Religion is being attacked by the very federal officials who took oaths to defend the Constitution.

Comments may be submitted to, or send written correspondence to:
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
1331 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 1150
Washington, DC 20425

"We need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God -- generously, zealously, holding nothing back. To the extent we let God transform us into his own image, we will – by the example of our lives – fulfill our duty as citizens of the United States, but much more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ." --Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.