. . . checks and balances! No, wait, with the three branches of government! No, wait, with theory of governance! No, wait, with English history! . . .
Oh, no, wait, this is the Illustrated Guide to Law. We’re going to start with Janey. Janey is a nice old lady, has twelve grandkids, drives a harley, etc. She’s also a major celebrity for her hit single “@#$% you, youngsters, I ain’t knitting @#$%!” You know the drill. Today, somebody threw a rubber chicken over the fence at a children’s birthday party (one the the clowns tripped on a stray present wrapper). The rubber chicken landed in the road, unobserved, in front of Janey’s speeding motorcycle. Janey did not survive the accident.
Now, usually this would be simply tragic, but because of Janey’s celebrity status, this is a national disaster (or so the media would have us believe). Now Jim the Congressman wants to drum up some extra public support by calling for stricter controls on rubber chickens. He also wants the new law to retroactively punish the clown and to double penalties for the use of said chickens in the presence of Janey’s surviving relatives (they’re probably traumatized, right?) We’ll see shortly how much of this he’ll be able to manage, but before he can even bring that law to congress, we need to introduce another important player. That’s right, it’s time to bring in:
The LOBBYIST ($) . . .
Hey! Who leaked the script?
I think I know how this works:
For all practical purposes, what matters is not what the Constitution says, but rather what the Supreme Court says it says, and they can find some excuse to say it says (or doesn’t say) pretty much whatever they want it to say (or not say, as the case may be).
Not just what SCOTUS says it is, but also various district and appellate courts as precedent.
I get so tired of the politicians who thump their CATO pocket constitutions. Thump this one instead:
The Annotated Constitution (HTML: https://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/ PDF: https://www.congress.gov/constitution-annotated/)
It’s literally like the Bible – there’s the text, and then there are the rabbinical interpretations that actually make up the Law. You gotta have them both.
Unless you grew up in the protestant church, where the priestly interpretations of the scriptures are looked upon with nothing but disdain and contempt.
The Catholic church doesn’t have that rabbinical tradition, either. They have some basic doctrines that might foreclose certain interpretations, but for the most part leave it open. (Also, many people don’t realize that Catholic doctrine says you shouldn’t take the Bible literally, and instead the point a story is trying to make is what’s important.)
So if you are a gentile, then the constitution is nothing like the bible.
Weeeell. . . it might be more accurate to say that there’s not a -current- “rabbinical tradition” in mainstream Christian understandings of the bible. Much of the New Testament is sorta’ canon commentators on Jesus’s teachings, then there’s various creeds, etc. The Catholic Church throws in a few rare instances of the invocation of papal infallibility and it sorta’ tapers out from there. After that, though, any number of conclusions about doctrinal points that are held as canon within a given faith community (which may be amendments or revisions or the outright overturning of earlier points of doctrine held by earlier groups) can act for members of that community the way later court rulings act for portions of the constitution, narrowing possible interpretations or declaring specific ones official.
I suppose that the deviations on doctrine between various denominations could be considered analogous to deviations between interpretations of the constitution that crop up among the jurisdictions of the different appeals courts. However, an appeals court cannot flat out overturn a supreme court decision the way that a separate denomination can flat out deny papal infallibility. All the different denominations of Christianity are really more like separate countries with separate legal systems than they are one unified legal system that are all subject to review by one court of final appeal.
See, this right here is why we really need a thumbs-up button.
I absolutely want to see Janey now in the comic. Please Nate make this happen and her Harley riding single.
Is there a way to script the site so that when you add several new pages at once, the front page redirects to the first new page, instead of showing the very most recent page? Or maybe there could just be a link to the beginning of the current chapter/section.
The save my place button saves the page you clicked it on. If you use iMacros on Firefox you can set a bookmark that goes to whatever place that links to.
There’s probably a techie way to set the loadbutton function to play on arriving at the site, the issue would be not setting it to run every time you visited a comic. Possibly having a blank page that just runs that script so you can bookmark your saved page would be the way to go.
This is not quite what you asked for, but note that you can get to the start of any chapter via the “Contents” page, and there are also buttons to save and load your current reading position.
*sings* We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union…
Establish Justice–ensure domestic tranquility…
Provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare…
Funny how that last bit often gets left out when people thump it like it’s a bible…
and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…
[Trivia Time! The priest who married my wife and me (Jay Sidebotham) was one of the animators for Schoolhouse Rock!]
…do ordain and establish this Constitution…
This Constitution… for the United States of… America!
(oops. wish we could edit comments)
And so you decided to do your part to continue his earlier work.
It is much appreciated.
If I win the lottery, I promise I’ll make an animated series. (How awesome would that be!) Whatever gets the info out there, right?
Who needs lottery? We have Kickstarter. :P
The rainbow motif has me thinking “Obergefell”…
Man, I have such mixed feelings about Obergefell.
Myself as well. A classic case of the right result obtained by a seriously flawed process.
Honestly, Obergefell is when I stopped caring about the process, and came to realize, as the Romans eventually did, the necessity of absolute monarchy. It’s not that it was the most important decision, but just how little anyone seemed to care, how hostile to the idea of caring, with even Penn, who’d said similar things about Roe v. Wade, shouting his unmitigated joy. My eyes opened then to the fact that we just about all prefer absolute monarchy to “modern” government, we just don’t want to call it by that name (how about “commandership”?) because of how we’ve been raised. It’s not really a good thing, or a bad thing, just a true thing; it’s not a matter of right or wrong, only a matter of time.
Stalin. Hitler. Mao. Kim.
You realise there’s a quite significant odd one out there?
Who? And why?
Hitler came to power democratically and used the democratic process to pass laws that effectively turned the country into a dictatorship. Given Robert’s point (I presume) was that there are disadvantages to a monarchy as opposed to a democracy because an evil person can quite easily come into power, this fact rather undermines that point. Please correct me if I misunderstood.
Doesn’t the fact that most countries are not absolute monarchies prove that we don’t prefer it? If everyone really prefers absolute monarchy, then why did constitutional democracies and constitutional monarchies ever emerge at all let alone become the norm?
It just means a voting majority doesn’t prefer it. :)
I just binged on your webcomic and I’m frankly glad that I did so. I learned more then a bit and while I hope that this will never come up for me. I think that what you are showing to all who are willing to read up on this comic is a great service to the general public how exactly your rights protect them and to show how their rights should be used in a practical setting. I’ll definitely try to show others this.
For that I wish to thank you and wish you happiness. :)
Thank you very much! I’m glad you got something out of it. There’s more to come soon!
I would like to echo J.M.R’s comments. A brilliant series indeed. I can’t wait to see how they managed to throw out the 4th and 5th amendments when it comes to property seizure.
One thing I have noticed is that the artwork has become much more sophisticated in later series. Talented as it is, unfortunately it doesn’t aid my comprehension of the subject (and it takes longer for the next installment to come out) because its detail becomes a source of distraction. I found the section on “Entrapment” much easier to follow because the artwork was much simpler and less distracting.
Nevertheless, keep up the good work. I await your next installment with baited breath.
Like the proverbial cat who ate the cheese and sat outside the mousehole?
LOL No. I’m not waiting to pounce on Nathan.