Sunday, November 9, 2014

History Repeats Itself

Of course the ancestor whose has had the greatest determinative impact on the course of action I took in the Fall of 2014, whether by nature or nurture, was my great, great, grandfather, Montgomery Blair after whom I was named.  His life was too large to fully recount here, but a brief survey would include that he: (i) was the son of Francis Preston Blair and graduated from West Point in 1835, (ii) studied law in St. Louis, and became a U.S. attorney for the state of Missouri, mayor of St. Louis, and judge of the Court of Common Pleas, (iii) moved to Washington in 1852, established his family in the Blair House and joined Lincoln's Cabinet as U.S. postmaster general in 1861, (iv) was described as the most learned man in Lincoln's Cabinet, provided counsel to Lincoln and reformed the Post Office by standardizing rates and establishing the international delivery of mail service and (v) had his home in Silver Spring, Maryland burned to the ground by Jubal Early's raiders.  With a moderate view toward reconstruction, Montgomery Blair so agitated "radical" Republicans that Lincoln eventually asked him to resign.  That antagonism eventually cost Montgomery Blair his chance to become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The event in his life which is most relevant for me was his most famous client, Dred Scott, a slave whose master had moved with him to Missouri, then free territory. Scott tried to sue in federal court to establish his Missouri citizenship and freedom. Writing for the Supreme Court majority, Justice Taney ruled that a slave's status did not change with the territory he lived in. Taney also held that a slave was property; as chattel, thus Scott had no “standing” in federal court.  The Dred Scott case became the subject of noisy public debate and contributed to the divisions that helped lead to Abraham Lincoln’s election and the Civil War.

In 1865, Montgomery Blair explained his decision to represent Dred Scott gratis in a letter stating that he: “perceived that the cause involved important issues, which might possible be engulfed in the great political controversy then just emerging in relation to the power of Congress . . . every lawyer feels bound to give his services when asked in such a case arising in the community to which he belongs . . “

The three points relevant to my thesis here are these: I too have litigated the “standing” issue repeatedly to the Supreme Court and lost.  Hence I have demonstrated that we – like Dred Scott – are modern day slaves without any right to claim the enunciated protection of the law as we lack "standing" to do so.  Second, like Montgomery Blair, as a highly trained and experienced lawyer, I too have felt the obligation to “give my services” gratis to the important issues of Barack Hussein Obama’s constitutional legitimacy to be President and the consequential legal decisions that have established they we the People no longer have the legal “standing” to challenge the federal status quo's exercise of power upon questionable legal authority.   And last, like Montgomery Blair, I too have figuratively had my house burned down and lost the opportunities the trajectory of my legal career promised as a result.

I would not have had it any other way.

Source: William Ernest Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics, pp: 386 (2 vols., 1933)


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