Open Letter


Marshall defined Supreme Court’s role


Dear editor,

When Don Carlson wrote his second letter to the editor, he made a false and egregious misquote from my first letter. He claims I said John Marshall created the Supreme Court. I never said any such thing.

I said Marshall determined the role of the high Court, not the Court itself. When the founding fathers, (of which one of my maternal ancestors was one) created the three branches of government, they assigned the role of Congress and the role of the president.

They did not assign a role to the high court, however. That was left to the 3rd Chief Justice John Marshall in his Marbury v Madison decision.

My ancestor John Dickinson had signed the Declaration of Independence and had gone on to serve as a delegate in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. They debated through the summer, primarily on the Legislative branch.

Madison’s Virginia plan was eventually opposed by the New jersey Plan. There was such acrimony that some delegates went home. After most of the time had been used up on the two houses there was scant time devoted to the presidency. Even less time was spent on the high court because everyone just wanted to get home to their families. The Supreme Court was created but it had no distinct role like the others.

In his second letter Mr. Carlson spent almost the entire letter giving dates and explaining events. The things he wrote of were not in dispute therefore meaningless. My grandchildren and great grandchildren could recite all of it from memory.

I studied political science and government while a university student in 1957. Later I was an invited guest on talk radio to share my knowledge. I wrote a perfect final exam in the my first law course. My research in some areas of history brought me positive and accepted peer review from a tenured professor at Oxford England. I don’t need validation from Don Carlson, and according to his first letter, the paper he uses would be best left on the tree.

His opinion on the pledge of allegiance is also wrong. Of the many kinds of oaths, an oath of fidelity has legal standing and a violation could get someone removed from office or even jailed. The oath of allegiance has no legal standing. Composed many years after our constitution, the composer was simply in error when using the word republic. It is voluntary and not compulsory. It means to ‘abide by’. A promise that is just rhetorical.


Allan Ladd