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BIRDS

Categorized by genus/species, placed chronologically by common name

    American Coot

    American Crow

    American Flamingo*

    American Goldfinch

    American Kestrel

    American Robin

    American Tree Sparrow

    American White Pelican

    Bald Eagle

    Baltimore Oriole

    Barn Swallow

    Barnacle Goose*

    Belted Kingfisher

    Black-and-White Warbler

    Black-Capped Chickadee

    Black-Headed Gull*

    Black Vulture*

    Blue Jay

    Blue Tit*

    Blue-Winged Teal

    Bobwhite

    Broad-Winged Hawk

    Brown Creeper

    Brown-Headed Cowbird

    Brown Thrasher

    Bufflehead

    Canada Goose

    Canvasback

    Cape May Warbler*

    Carolina Chickadee*

    Carolina Wren

    Cedar Waxwing

    Chipping Sparrow

    Common Gallinule

    Common Goldeneye

    Common Grackle

    Common Gull*

    Common Merganser

    Common Moorhen*

    Common Pochard*

    Common Redpoll

    Cooper's Hawk

    Dark-Eyed Junco

    Dicksissel

    Double-Crested Cormorant

    Downy Woodpecker

    Eastern Bluebird

    Eastern Goldfinch - See American Goldfinch

    Eastern Kingbird

    Eastern Meadowlark

    Eastern Phoebe

    Eastern Towhee

    Eastern Wood Pewee

    Eurasian Blackbird*

    Eurasian Collared Dove

    Eurasian Coot*

    Eurasian Jackdaw*

    Eurasian Magpie*

    Eurasian Tree Sparrow*

    European Serin*

    European Starling

    Fox Sparrow

    Golden-Crowned Kinglet

    Gray Catbird

    Graylag Goose

    Great Black-backed Gull*

    Great Blue Heron

    Great Cormorant*

    Great Egret

    Great Grey Shrike

    Great Spotted Woodpecker*

    Great Tit*

    Greater Flamingo*

    Greater White-Fronted Goose*

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Harlequin Duck

    Hermit Thrush

    Herring Gull

    Hooded Crow*

    Horned Lark

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    House Wren

    Indigo Bunting

    Killdeer

    Laughing Gull*

    Lesser Black-backed Gull*

    Lesser Scaup

    Lincoln's Sparrow

    Magnolia Warbler

    Mallard (Domestic)

    Mallard (Wild)

    Mourning Dove

    Mute Swan*

    Neotropic Cormorant*

    Northern Cardinal

    Northern Flicker

    Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

    Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shrike - See Great Grey Shrike

    Orange-Crowned Warbler

    Palm Warbler

    Red-Bellied Woodpecker

    Red-Breasted Nuthatch

    Red-Headed Woodpecker

    Red-Legged Thrush*

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    Red-Winged Blackbird

    Ring-Billed Gull

    Ring-Necked Duck

    Rock Pigeon

    Rook*

    Ross's Goose*

    Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

    Ruddy Turnstone*

    Scarlet Tanager

    Smooth-Billed Ani*

    Solitary Sandpiper

    Song Sparrow

    Spotted Sandpiper

    Swamp Sparrow

    Syrian Woodpecker*

    Tricolored Heron*

    Tufted Duck*

    Tufted Titmouse

    Tundra Swan*

    Turkey Vulture

    White-Breasted Nuthatch

    White-Cheeked Pintail*

    White-Crowned Pigeon*

    White-Crowned Sparrow

    White-Eyed Vireo

    White-Throated Sparrow

    White-Winged Dove

    Wild Turkey

    Wilson's Warbler

    Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

    Yellow-Legged Gull

    Yellow-Rumped Warbler


MAMMALS

    American Beaver

    Common Raccoon

    Eastern Chipmunk

    Eastern Cottontail

    Eastern Fox Squirrel

    Eastern Gray Squirrel

    Groundhog - See Woodchuck

    Ground Squirrel - See Eastern Chipmunk

    Red Fox

    Striped Skunk

    Virginia Opossum

    White-Tailed Deer

    Woodchuck


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

One of the most high profile individuals critical of the idea of a “Living Constitution” is US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He regularly dismisses the idea of a “living Constitution.”

“That’s the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that. The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things.”

My take on this is simple: If the document is a “living” thing and is to be interpreted by prevailing societal opinion, then what is being protected? If the Constitution can be interpreted differently from age to age (or administration to administratipon) depending on prevailing “conventional wisdom” and opinion, then what is actually being guaranteed to us? If the Supreme Court can “add”, “find” or “reinterpret” things in the Constitution as they deem necessary in order to conform to current notions of Constitutional jurisprudence, then what is ever safe? The answer, of course, is nothing. What may be protected today could be removed tomorrow if society and the Justices feel the times demand it. Proponents of the “Living Constitution” don’t see this as a problem because they use the “living constitution” idea to “expand” the reach of the Constitution, not restrict it. Proponents naturally feel that their ideas are for the common good, or further a worthy public policy, and, therefore, there is no harm in the “new” jurisprudence since it is ultimately for the best. The problem with this approach is that it is too self-focused, dependent upon the narrow perspective of the day, and is no different than government without a constitution: whatever is in the public good as determined by the current powers-that-be is codified.

Simple hypotheticals illustrate the case: Today, if police pulled over every minority driving by and searched his person and vehicle for drugs, without even a hint of probable cause, the search would be considered “unreasonable” and in violation of the 4th Amendment guarantee against “unreasonable” searches and seizures. If that rule is made in stone, then we never have to worry about permissible police stops based on nothing more than skin color. However, what if 50 years from now 80% of the people felt that police should be able to pull over minorities and search their cars and persons for drugs without probable cause? Maybe the concerns of the day seemingly justify it. On a not so theoretical level, Supreme Court Justices sympathetic to this view would be able to find room in the Constitution to uphold it. Something along the lines of: “Today’s new drugs and technology make it impossible for police officers to combat illegal drug use without invasive efforts. We believe the states’ interests in corralling drug dealing and drug use outweigh the inconvenience of being stopped while participating in an activity that is not guaranteed, but merely granted as a privilege: driving. Therefore, the search is not unreasonable.” This simple case is illustrative of the fact that if the Constitution is allowed to be interpreted as a living, breathing, changing document, then the only guarantee we have to our liberty is that Americans will always be rational, tolerant, and reasonable, and thus, societal opinion will never devolve into a state where today’s abhorred practices would be acceptable tomorrow.

Unfortunately, a look at history shows this assumption to be false. During World Wars 1 and 2, the 1st Amendment was severely restricted and communists and socialists were thrown in jail for merely handing out leftist literature or being members of leftist organizations. The court relied on prevailing societal winds that overexagerated the “imminent threat” of communists in America. The country was in a panic, communist subversion was a fear for an overwhelming majority of Americans, and free speech was easily restricted far below pre-war levels (and far below what we would recognize today) by Supreme Court Justices sympathetic to the feelings of the population who knew there would be no outcry for jailing communists and socialists. Japanese-Americans were also rounded up and placed in camps, in clear violation of the 4th Amendment, based on suspicions that they would aid the enemy. The country was at war, so it seemed to make sense to people living in the narrow-perspective, irrational fear of the day.

It’s not hard to imagine similar events in the future, for there is always a cause-du-jour to excite groups of people: war, poverty, drugs, crime, etc. It’s hard to believe major portions of the Patriot Act were not permitted using this very rationale. If there is another terrorist attack, can we expect our freedoms to be infringed even further? If the Constitution is “living,” then the answer is, “Yes.” If the Constitution has a fixed meaning, then the answer is, “No.”

Linked with Objective Justice in “Scalia and Stevens.”

Stop the ACLU has put up an article: “When One of My Favorite Justices Speaks – Everyone Needs to Listen.”

Related posts:

  1. Why Scrapping the Exclusionary Rule is Not Necessarily a Bad Idea
  2. Reason: Why Exactly is Snorting Coke Worse Than Drinking Booze?
  3. Book Review: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul
  4. Can You Be Pro-Life and Still Be a Libertarian?
  5. Raising the Retirement Age

Posted by: Moe in: Law,Libertarianism at 7:42 pm

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For the most part, free speech rules. But I do reserve the right to delete offensive comments.

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INSECTS, ARACHNIDS, MYRIAPODS & GASTROPODS

Categorized by family, placed chronologically by common name

    Ants (Formicidae)

    Assassin Bugs (Reduviidae)

    Bee Flies (Bombyliidae)

    Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)

    Brown Lacewings (Hemerobiidae)

    Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

    Bumble Bees, etc. (Apidae)

    Carrion Beetles (Silphidae)

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    Centipedes, House (Scutigeridae)

    Cicadas (Cicadidae)

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    Crane Flies (Tipulidae)

    Emeralds (Corduliidae)

    Ermine Moths (Yponomeutidae)

    Fireflies (Lampyridae)

    Flower Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Funnel-Web Spiders (Agelenidae)

    Honey Bees - See Bumble Bees, etc.

    Hornets - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Hover Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Ichneumon Wasps (Ichneumonidae)

    Jumping Spiders (Salticidae)

    Katydids (Tettigoniidae)

    Ladybird Beetles (Coccinellidae)

    Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)

    Leaffooted Bugs (Coreidae)

    Leafhoppers (Cicadellidae)

    Lightning Bugs - See Fireflies

    Longhorned Beetles (Cerambycidae)

    Mantid Flies (Mantispidae)

    Mantids (Mantidae)

    Minettia Flies (Minettia)

    Narrow-Winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae)

    New York Weevils (Ithyceridae)

    Orb-Weavers (Araneidae)

    Paper Wasps - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Picture-Winged Flies (Ulidiidae)

    Plant Bugs (Miridae)

    Robber Flies (Asilidae)

    Scarab Beetles (Scarabaeidae)

    Scentless Plant Bugs (Rhopalidae)

    Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae)

    Signal Flies (Platystomatidae)

    Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)

    Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)

    Sphinx Moths (Sphingidae)

    Spittlebugs (Cercopidae)

    Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae)

    Swallowtails (Papilionidae)

    Sweat Bees (Halictidae)

    Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae)

    Tiger Moths (Arctiidae)

    Tiphiid Wasps (Tiphiidae)

    Yellowjackets, etc. (Vespidae)

    PLANTS

      Brown-Eyed Susan

      Buttonbush

      Clematis

      Crown Vetch

      Dandelion

      Day Lily

      Field Marigold

      Larkspur

      Mountain Blue

      Palm Tree*

      Purple Coneflower

      Rose

      Sedum

      Spider Lily - See Spiderwort

      Spiderwort

      Stinkhorn

      Sweet Alyssum

      Tulip

      Whorled Tickseed

      Wild Pansy

      Yarrow


    REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS

      American Toad

      Common Garter Snake

      Eastern Box Turtle*

      Green Frog

      Long-Tailed Salamander*

      Northern Fence Lizard*

      Painted Turtle


    FISH

      Giant Sea Star*

      Nassau Grouper*

      Puffer Fish*

      Scrawled Filefish*

      Sergeant Major*

      Spanish Hogfish*

      Spotted Grouper*

      Stoplight Parrotfish*

      Yellowhead Wrasse*

      Yellowtail Snapper*


    CRUSTACEANS

      Crayfish


    OTHER

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