"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Birth Dates of William Shakespeare and Anthony Munday, Henry V, St George's Day, St Crispin

By tradition, William Shakespeare's date of birth is set at April 23, 1564, in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, three days prior to his baptism on April 26, 1564, As written at the Wikipedia:
"[William Shakespeare's] actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day [the Saint's day of passage]."
Parish registers were required by law in England starting in the year 1538. A second notice to that same regulatory effect was issued twenty years later in the year 1558, but no universal compliance with the recordation requirement took place in England in the 16th century.

Hence, as stated at English Parish Registers, Queen Elizabeth I decreed in 1597:
"... that all existing records should be copied into "fair parchment books, at least from the beginning of this reign".
The baptismal record for Shakespeare we have is thus not the original one.

Shakespeare's day of birth and death are both set traditionally at April 23. April 23 is St. George's Day, a Christian martyr and the patron saint of England. As written at the Wikipedia at Saint George's Day:
"In his play Henry V, William Shakespeare famously invokes the Saint at Harfleur prior to the battle of Agincourt ([October 25 OS] 1415): "Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"
The entire speech by King Henry V is known as the St Crispin's Day Speech.

As previously noted, the likely author of the above-mentioned play, Henry V, was surely Christopher Marlowe:
The Famous Victories of Henry V mentioned above was almost certainly written by Christopher Marlowe in his younger days, containing what are argued to be characters taken from Marlowe's early childhood life. As written by Cynthia Morgan:
"What is most interesting about The Famous Victories is that two of the characters were named John Cobler .. and Lawrence Costermonger [Marlowe's father was a shoemaker, i.e. a "cobbler", while Marlowe himself was nicknamed "The Cobbler"] .. One of John Marlowe's good friends and neighbor was Laurence APPLEgate, a Canterbury tailor. When we look at the meaning of "Costermonger", an obvious pun and not a true surname, we find a close identification for Laurence APPLEgate because the word "costermonger" was used for a street seller of APPLES." [emphasis and capitalization added]
We will return to that quotation in just a moment....

How would an uneducated William Shakespeare of Stratford ever have known about such distant things in France in such detail?

But an educated Anthony Munday (viz. Christopher Marlowe) who in fact traveled in France, might easily have obtained knowledge of them, by various means. And then we run into something curious in terms of the dates....

The birth date of Anthony Munday has been a puzzlement because his memorial gave him a life of 80 years, which would have given him a birth date in the year 1553, whereas his baptism (or birth) is said to have occurred on October 13, 1560 in St Gregory by Paul's, London. That date is prior to Gregorian calendar reform -- we thus assume that October 13 is given as an OS date -- so that the New-Style Gregorian calendar birth date is very close to the date of October 25, Saint Crispin's Day, the same date as the battle of Agincourt -- which today still is dated by the old-style Julian-based date rather than by the now correct Gregorian calendar date of November 3.

As we can read at the Wikipedia about Crispin and Crispinian:
"Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers."
Marlowe's nickname was "cobbler" and his father was a shoemaker. Furthermore, Marlowe hailed from Canterbury and, as noted in the above-cited article at the Wikipedia:
"An alternative account gives [Crispin and Crispinian] to be sons of a noble Romano-Briton family who lived in Canterbury...." [emphasis added]
That connection to Canterbury is once again a possibly coincidental but perhaps intended connective thread to Christopher Marlowe as the author of those lines. If Anthony Monday was merely an alias figure for Marlowe, was the Crispin Crispian birthdate intentionally selected for the Canterbury connection?

And here are the lines in Henry V that particularly give pause for thought about the "ghost" of Marlowe at work in that literary work:

"Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
"

The military parts of St Crispin's Day Speech in Henry V are clearly "military", but one can not escape the feeling that the author is here talking about himself.

Richard Paul Roe, a Lawyer, Writes The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels

Who did it? is a classic question of the Criminal Law, with the answer dependent on the facts and circumstances of a given case.

"Evidence" is a special course of instruction in law. No other academic disciplines teach "Evidence" as a skill or process of fact-finding -- something which might explain some of the faulty theories that abound in the sciences, also in the humanities, and that may include the history of literature.

Who did it? applies to the plays of Shakespeare. Who really wrote them?

Richard Paul Roe (2011), a lawyer, was fascinated by what he called "The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy", and authored a book titled The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels, in which he shows quite clearly that whoever wrote "Shakespeare" had to have had an intimate, yes, even deep personal knowledge of the places, customs and details described in the plays of Shakespeare, especially Italy.

William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon was never known to have set foot outside of England. We love Stratford by the way (our photo below) and had one of the greatest evenings ever there at The One Elm in September, 2005. We are also Shakespeare fans -- but the question remains, just who wrote his plays?

William Shakespeare Birthplace Stratford Upon Avon
William Shakespeare Birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon, England, United Kingdom
In our previous posting, we have suggested that the life of the person known as
Anthony Munday, as transmitted via Philip Henslowe, would fit that location requirement as regards a deep, personal knowledge of Italy, and the same holds true for the "low countries", including in a broader view, Denmark and "Hamlet".

Professor Celeste Turner Wright of California Davis on Anthony Mundy (Munday)

The article reproduced below was scanned some years ago from a copy of the University of California Bulletin (as found originally at Google Books, but since removed) using ABBYY Fine Reader 11 Professsional Edition and was then corrected and edited by hand. The intention here is to appropriately recognize and cite the pioneer scholarly work of Professor Celeste Turner Wright on Anthony Mundy viz. Anthony Munday. We publish the article below as "fair use" in the service of literary scholarship and attach the actual scans below it -- the images of which can be clicked to obtain the larger, original image scan.

The source for the scanned and edited text below was originally at this link but has apparently been removed.

The University of California 1868
BERKELEY DAVIS lRVINE L0S ANGELES RIVERSIDE SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISC0 SANTA BARBARA SANTA CRUZ

[The original has here the University of California Emblem]


University Bulletin
A WEEKLY BULLETIN FOR THE STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Volume II, Number 17 - December 3, 1962

Faculty Research Lectures
Davis Colleagues Honor Celeste Wright for Authoritative Work on Elizabethan Period

The following report of the Faculty Research Lecture Committee was accepted by acclamation by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, Northern Section, on Oct. 16:

Mindful of the broadening scope of scholarly activities on the Davis campus, your last several committees on the Faculty Research Lectureship have found the task of choosing a lecturer increasingly difficult; potential candidates are appearing in many fields other than the sciences. This year the committee, in considering several well- qualified candidates, has gone to the Department of English and places before you the recommendation that Professor Celeste Turner Wright be the Faculty Research Lecturer for 1962-63.

Whenever English or literature is mentioned at Davis, Professor Celeste Wright's name immediately comes in mind. This distinctive association is based on literary accomplishments which have established her as an authority on the Elizabethan period and as a talented poet. In addition she has rendered loyal and distinguished administrative service as a department chairman — from 1928 to 1952 in the Division of Languages and Literature (College of Agriculture), and from 1952 to 1955 in the Department of English, Dramatic Art, and Speech (College of Letters and Science). In 1955 she asked to be relieved of administrative duties in order to devote herself to teaching and writing. activities which she felt would be neglected if she continued as chairman of the rapidly growing department. The effect of this decision is manifest in the many scholarly products of her pen in recent years.

Celeste Wright, nee Celeste Turner, Canadian born of New England parentage, received the A.B. in English (1925) with highest honors from the University of California at Los Angeles [UCLA], and the M.A. (1926) and Ph.D. (1928), also in English, from the University at Berkeley. In August 1928, at the age of twenty-two, she then became Instructor in English and Assistant Editor in the Agricultural Experiment Station at Davis; and since 1948 she has been a Professor of English (now in the College of Letters and Science).

Professor Wright's literary career began with a book, Anthony Mundy: An Elizabethan Man of Letters, published in 1928. Her continuing interest in this dramatist (who knew and influenced many writers of his time) is shown by the titles of five research papers between 1959 and 1962: "Young Anthony Mundy Again," "Mundy, Spenser, and E.K.," "Mundy and Chettle in Grub Street," "Mundy and the Bodenham Miscellanies," " 'Lazarus Pyott' and Other Inventions of Mundy." [emphasis added] Many other articles, however, have helped to establish her as an authority on Elizabethan literature, especially the drama: "Some Conventions Regarding the Usurer in Elizabethan Literature," "The Usurer's Sin," "The Amazons," "The Female Worthies," "Something More about Eve," and "The Queen’s Husband: Some Renaissance Views." Her zeal for writing has not diminished: last year she published four research papers and seven poems.

Other segments of Professor Wright's research have dealt with early twentieth-century literature. For example, she has several articles on the short-story writer Katherine Mansfield — " 'The Fly,' " "Darkness as a Symbol," "Genesis of a Short Story," "The 'Secret Smile,' " "The Boat Image," and "The Father Image." She is now writing on the poetry of Elinor Wylie.

Professor Wright is active in several scholarly organizations: the Renaissance Society of America, the Renaissance Society of Northern California, the Modern Language Association of America, the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast, and the Philological Association of Central California.

Since 1941 Professor Wright has had eighty-seven poems published in various journals — for example, the Yale Review, Poetry (Chicago), Harper's and Queen's Quarterly (Canada). Several of these lyrics have been reprinted in anthologies, and two have been analyzed in college textbooks. In 1961 she received the Anna Berliner Levy Memorial Award for a poem, "Satellite," in a statewide contest sponsored by the Ina Coolbirth Society. She has been appointed to serve on a jury of three for the national Shelley Memorial Poetry Award for 1962.

In making this recommendation, the first to a member of the humanities group at Davis, the committee is particularly gratified that it goes to the first doctor of philosophy who ever taught in the humanities here, a colleague whose long and distinguished association with the Davis campus symbolizes its transition to a major campus of the University of California.

E. M. Mrak
H. S. Cameron
S. F. Bailey
C. M. Rick
G. L. Stebbins

Scans of the original Bulletin previously online at Google Books










Shakespeare as Marlowe as Anthony Munday Under Patron Edward De Vere Earl of Oxford Later Published as William Shakespeare, Player with the Lord Chamberlain's Men

Can one derive a theory about the author of the works of the famed "Bard" William Shakespeare that consolidates many of the issues about disputed Shakespearean authorship and meshes Marlovian and Oxfordian theory,
i.e. a solution that "merges" the arguments of those who think that Christopher Marlowe wrote Shakespeare and those who think that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare?

We have derived a theory that might possibly mesh many pieces of the available evidence into one picture, though of course, raising new issues.

We think that one could argue that the literary works that are assigned to the great "bard" William Shakespeare were actually written by the physical person of Christopher Marlowe.  

Marlowe's death could have been faked, as many have previously argued, to save his talented life from being extinguished for his youthful heretical views, but he then would have had to be "removed" from the scene and must have had an alias PRIOR to the publication of the works of William Shakespeare. That is the key issue. A resurrected Marlowe must have had one (or more) new -- discoverable -- alias names.

He could arguably have been sent into exile in Italy in the service of the Queen and nobility, who supported him, viz. who wanted to exploit his talents to their advantage. In Italy he would have acquired first-hand experience about that country, knowledge so well demonstrated in Shakespearean plays. The same applies to the "low countries" and knowledge of Denmark for "Hamlet".

Upon his return to England, he could have lived incognito under the patronage of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, under various aliases, in our theory, chiefly Anthony Munday. There are problems with dates of birth here for Marlowe and Munday, but Munday's year of birth is unknown and much chronological data about Marlowe is suspect. Theoretically, both could be merged and be correlated with the birth of Shakespeare.

Anthony Munday could in our opinion be an alias derived to one-half from Maundy Thursday, arguably the date to be ascribed to the birth viz. baptism of William Shakespeare, but likely also the date of birth viz. baptism of Munday. A chance confluence of birthdays? We do not think so.

The other half of the alias could be derived from St. Anthony of Padua, the Patron Saint of Lost and Stolen Articles, not unfittingly chosen, if it were an alias for a "lost, exiled" soul in Italy. Recall that Marlowe was a brilliant, consummate intellectual, who loved such word plays.

Shakespeare's first play, The Taming of the Shrew, in fact takes place in Padua, Italy at a time estimated as 1589 or the early 1590's, when Marlowe is alleged to have passed away under hard-to-believe circumstances, and its plot is significant when we consider our theory about the relationship of Marlowe as writer and De Vere as patron, quoting the Wikipedia:
"The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592. The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself." [emphasis added]
That mischievous nobleman could have been drawn on the figure of Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, as Marlowe's benefactor, and the "sly" Christopher Sly could have been modeled on the resurrected Christopher Marlowe.

The British Library writes about the origin of The Taming of the Shrew:
"The Taming of the Shrew has been dated as early as 1589, which would make it not only Shakespeare’s first comedy but also his first play. The available evidence supports a very early date for the play’s creation, and 1590-1591 is often suggested. The Taming of the Shrew must be dated in relation to the anonymous play The Taming of A Shrew, entered on the Stationers’ Register in 1594 and printed the same year.

The 1594 edition of The Taming of A Shrew is now generally thought of as a 'bad' quarto of Shakespeare’s play. It appears to be a memorial reconstruction by actors of The Taming of the Shrew, with assistance from an unknown writer, and was probably written in 1592. Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew quotes from Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, for which the earliest recorded performance is in 1592, although Kyd’s play was probably written between 1587 and 1590." [emphasis added]
As for the "resurrection" of Marlowe as Munday, it may be significant as a matter of the preponderance of the circumstantial evidence, that Munday, when he was briefly an actor on stage, played the part of the "ghost" in Hamlet. It is quite possible that it WAS literally his own "role" that he was playing.

When later in London after his sojourn in Italy, Munday published some materials under the strange alias of Lazarus Pyot, a perhaps telling choice of alias name, surely based on the Biblical Lazarus, i.e. Lazarus of Bethany, who in the Gospel of John finds himself being raised from the dead by Jesus.

All of the above would fit a theory that Munday was Marlowe, resurrected and incognito.

It is furthermore likely that Munday then published other written works not only under his main alias, but also under various other aliases. He may have done so in order not to have his materials seen as being under one authorship, thereby avoiding literary suspicion about his true identity.

Indeed, the first appearance of the name "William Shakespeare" as an author suggests exactly that conclusion, as we discussed in the previous posting, as the play Sir John Oldcastle was originally published in the year 1599 under authorship attributed in a diary by Philip Henslowe to Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway and Robert Wilson. Of course, true collaboration can also not be excluded, if it can be proven that these were real people.

The exact same play then surfaces in a "first edition" in the subsequent year 1600 and is suddenly and strangely attributed on the title page to a certain "William Shakespeare" (STC 18796). This is "the Bard's" first officially published appearance on the English literary scene by name, for a play published one year earlier and attributed to FOUR authors, none named Shakespeare.

Had Anthony Munday and his patron Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, decided to put the authorship of Munday's plays (and collaborators, if there were such, which is possible) as performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, under the name William Shakespeare?

Shakespeare was a well-liked Lord Chamberlain's Men member and stage player from Stratford upon Avon, who likely had left Stratford to avoid criminal charges for stealing, and who in London at one time was the lodger of a man named Christopher Mountjoy. See Charles Nicholl, The Lodger Shakespeare at the New York Times, a name that appears, however, only coincidentally similar to Christopher Marlowe's first name and Munday's last name.... but one must check all options in order not to overlook something.

It was, after all, Anthony Munday who ultimately in 1605 became the honored "pageant writer" of the City of London, an honor which would have been fitting for "the real Bard".

It was Munday who once stated that he ALSO worked on dramatic plays as an aside, in his spare time....

As written at the Wikipedia about Anthony Munday (we have added one link here, to English Romayne Lyfe (1582), but omitted Wikipedia's own links, so please go to the Wikipedia to see those):
"Anthony Munday (or Monday)(1560? – 10 August 1633) was an English playwright and miscellaneous writer. He was ... the son of Christopher Munday, a stationer, and Jane Munday. The chief interest in Munday for the modern reader lies in his work as one of the chief predecessors [sic, perhaps not a "predecessor" but he personally] of Shakespeare in English dramatic composition, as well as his writings on Robin Hood....

By 1578 he was in Rome. In the opening lines of his English Romayne Lyfe (1582) he states that he went abroad solely in order to see strange countries and to learn foreign languages; but he may have been a spy sent to report on the Jesuit English College in Rome or a journalist intent on making literary capital out of the designs of the English Catholics then living in France and Italy. He writes that he and his companion, Thomas Nowell, were robbed of all their possessions on the road from Boulogne to Amiens, where they were helped by an English priest who entrusted them with letters to be delivered in Reims. These they handed over to the English ambassador in Paris. Under a false name, as the son of a well-known English Catholic, Munday gained recommendations which secured his reception at the English College in Rome. He was treated with special kindness by the rector, Dr Morris, for the sake of his supposed father. He gives a detailed account of the routine of the place, of the dispute between the English and Welsh students, of the carnival at Rome, and finally of the martyrdom of Richard Atkins....

His political services against the Catholics were rewarded in 1584 by the post of messenger to her Majesty's chamber, and from this time he seems to have given up acting. In 1598-1599, when he travelled with the Earl of Pembroke's men in the Low Countries, it was in the capacity of playwright to rewrite old plays [which many of Shakespeare's plays are, i.e. "rewrites"]. He devoted 'himself to writing for the booksellers and the theatres, compiling religious works, translating Amadis de Gaule and other French romances, and putting words to popular airs. [emphasis added]

He was the chief pageant-writer for the City [of London] from 1605. These works included London's Love to Prince Henry (1610), his publication describing the city's pageant on the Thames for the investiture of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales in May 1610. One of the more gorgeous Lord Mayor's shows was that of 1616, which was devised by Munday....

At what date he acquired the title of "poet to the city" is not known.... [so why that title to Munday and not to Shakespeare, lest they be one and the same?]

Munday was a very prolific author in verse and prose, original and translated, and may be counted among the predecessors [sic, it was likely he himself, not a predecessor] of Shakespeare in dramatic composition. One of his earliest works was The Mirror of Mutability, from 1579: he dedicated it to his long-time patron Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and perhaps then belonged to the Earl's company of players, to which he had again attached himself on his return from Italy. Munday's Banquet of Dainty Conceits was printed in 1588.

Nearly all the existing information respecting Anthony Munday's dramatic works is derived from Philip Henslowe's papers. At what period he began to write for the stage cannot be ascertained: the earliest date in these manuscripts connected with his name is December 1597; but he may have been a member of the Earl of Oxford's theatrical company before he went to Rome prior to 1578. In the old catalogues, and in Gerard Langbaine's Momus Triumphans, 1688, a piece called Fidele and Fortunatus is mentioned, and such a play was entered at Stationers' Hall on 12 November 1584. There is little doubt that this is the same production, two copies of which have been discovered, with the running title of Two Italian Gentlemen, that being the second title to Fidele and Fortunatus in the Register. Both copies are without title-pages; but to one of them is prefixed a dedication signed A.M., and we may with tolerable certainty conclude that Anthony Munday was the author or translator of it, and that it was printed about the date of its entry on the Stationers' Books.

Munday wrote two plays on the life of Robin Hood, The Downfall and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington. first mentioned in the records in 1597-8 and published in 1601."
After all, a writer with Shakespeare's talent would not just have written dramas and comedies, and Munday's literary exploits would fit the bill of expectations that one would have for a man with the writing gifts of "the Bard", who, in our view, can ONLY have been Christopher Marlowe himself, living as a "ghost" in a Lazarus-type resurrected incognito identity.



The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy: What About Sir John Oldcastle?

The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy:
What About Sir John Oldcastle?

The Elizabethan play Sir John Oldcastle was attributed to William Shakespeare starting about 1600.

However, for the previous year, 1599, we find in the records that the play was attributed to Anthony Munday and others. The diary of the dominant play production entrepreneur Philip Henslowe according to the Lost Plays Database provided that:
"In October 1599 [prior to Shakespeare attribution],the Admiral's Men purchased a part one of a play on the life of Sir John Oldcastle from Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Robert Wilson, and Richard Hathway...." [emphasis added]
Martin Frost writes:
"Sir John Oldcastle was originally published in 1600, attributed on the title page to "William Shakespeare" (STC 18796). In 1619, a second edition also attributed it to Shakespeare. In fact, the diary of Philip Henslowe records that it was written by Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway and Robert Wilson." [emphasis added]
John S. Farmer of The Tudor Facsimile Texts wrote about Sir John Oldcastle:
"Two editions of this play were issued in 1600; one impression [B.M. Press-mark, C.34, I. 1] ascribed it to Shakespeare, the other [C. 34, I. 2] did not.... [emphasis added]

Henslowe's "Diary" seems incontestably to negative the ascription to Shakespeare."
The Wikipedia writes about the play Sir John Oldcastle that:
"... Sir John Oldcastle was an actual person ... hanged and burned for heresy and treason in 1417 — thus earning himself a place in the seminal text of the Protestant Reformation in Tudor England, John Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

Oldcastle was also a minor character in the early Elizabethan history play The Famous Victories of Henry V (c. 1586?), which is generally thought to have been one of Shakespeare's sources for his plays on Henry IV and Henry V." [emphasis added]
The Famous Victories of Henry V mentioned above was almost certainly written by Christopher Marlowe in his younger days, containing what are argued to be characters taken from Marlowe's early childhood life. As written by Cynthia Morgan:
"What is most interesting about The Famous Victories is that two of the characters were named John Cobler .. and Lawrence Costermonger [Marlowe's father was a shoemaker, i.e. a "cobbler", while Marlowe himself was nicknamed "The Cobbler"] .. One of John Marlowe's good friends and neighbor was Laurence APPLEgate, a Canterbury tailor. When we look at the meaning of "Costermonger", an obvious pun and not a true surname, we find a close identification for Laurence APPLEgate because the word "costermonger" was used for a street seller of APPLES." [emphasis and capitalization added]

The Christopher Marlowe William Shakespeare Authorship Controversy and the New Oxford Collaborative Co-Authorship for Henry VI Based on New Evidence

As one can see further down on this page, our most popular posting EVER is:

Legal Graphologists : A Query to You : What About the Christopher Marlowe - William Shakespeare - Controversy and The Signatures of These Two Authors? Are They By the Same Hand?

There are new developments of importance relating to this question.

As headlined in a story by Jay Bennett at Popular Mechanics,
Oxford to Co-Credit Christopher Marlowe on Multiple Shakespeare Plays.

Bennett is reporting on a story by Dalya Alberge from The Guardian titled Christopher Marlowe credited as one of Shakespeare's co-writers

Take a look at those links concerning the discussion of the new evidence unearthed regarding the Christopher Marlowe William Shakespeare authorship controversy.

Richard Posner Biography Takes on the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Federal Judiciary in the USA

Judge Richard Posner is the most cited jurist of our era, so that a now published Oxford University Press biography of Posner by William Domnarski is of course of great interest to the legal community -- especially as it concentrates quite a bit on the Federal judiciary of the United States, which in recent years, mostly because of the applied anti-judicial antics of political organs, has ceased to be the bright model for other nations that it used to be.

Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal whets our reading appetite through her headline that Posner says Supreme Court is 'awful,' top two justices are OK but not great".

Weiss writes that:

"Posner said “probably only a couple of the justices,” namely Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, “are qualified."

Heady stuff.

We ourselves are very critical of the judges in the Federal Judiciary, especially those who represent political, economic, social or technological "extremes" or "causes". Judges should not be extremists. Judges should be impartial.

Our major criticism is not that Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court lack "qualification". They are all certainly qualified to be judges per se.

Rather, we have difficulty accepting judges who represent fixed partisan, legal, economic or political MINDSETS -- which they exercise while judging.

We think that any judge who rises this high in the judiciary must don a cloak of impartiality and also constantly wear a cap of demonstrable decision-making wisdom (made visible to all, if possible, by the results of the decisions made), thus leaving behind the petty banalities of political partisanship and one-sided dogmatic belief in theoretical dogmas such as originalism or similar.

The job of judges in the country as a whole is to decide cases -- according to the law, not according to the law of yesterday, not according to the law that may come in the future, not according to the lowly political demands of ephemeral demagogues in Congress, but according to present law in force.

Judges can not be "figureheads" for legal dogmas or causes. A judge abandons his robe as an "advocate" when he takes a seat on the bench of a federal court. Rightly seen, he or she no longer represents any particular view or any particular cause or vested interest.

Politics, personal -- almost always -- biased preferences, theoretical legal inclinations, and similar "weaknesses" should not be part of the desired or applauded qualification spectrum. What is needed is a U.S. Constitution with a human face. Judges are the "embodiment" of the codes of law on the books.

The best judges always have a deep UNDERSTANDING of law and society, as well as a sincere appreciation of and inner consent to the essential and important role of serious jurisprudence within the body politic of the nation.

Sometimes the judges on the present U.S. Supreme Court demonstrate a lack of that comprehensive understanding, but on the whole, we think they are sincere in their work. If only they could get rid of their biased mindsets....

More often than is done, each judge should ask: WHAT IS MY JOB?
and on the U.S. Supreme Court that should extend to asking:
WHAT IS MY CONSTITUTIONAL JOB?

We think in any case that the present U.S. Supreme Court is most certainly better qualified man-to-man and lady-to-lady than the present membership of a divisive, seemingly do-nothing Congress that is not doing its job properly.

In the last analysis, however, it is the JOB of the VOTING CITIZENS to cast off their selfish voting practices, to stop voting for political candidates who only tell them what they want to hear, and to throw out of office the legislative pretenders who currently are blocking normal processes that have worked for the nation for centuries. Such people are doing far more harm to the country and its citizens than any purported evils that such Congresspersons are trying to battle or any purported good that they are allegedly trying to achieve.

People who are destroying the basic workings of the system... are destroying the system, are harming the nation in the eyes of the world, and are weakening the strength of democracy. Their perhaps supportable motivations are ... irrelevant. The ends do not justify the means. Wise men do not destroy the processes of an established judicial system for ephemeral and what often prove to be short-term political reasons.