Is it courage the Supreme Court lacks, or is it full knowledge and understanding of “Natural Law”? Natural Law has not been taught in law schools since the early 1900’s when my own grandfather attended and graduated from Yale Law School in 1915.
Professor John W. Brabner-Smith, founder of the International School of Law in Washington, DC (now the George Mason University School of Law) graduated from Yale Law School a few years after my grandfather, and was teaching his own students in the late 1960’s and 1970’s about Natural Law.
Our forefathers were familiar with Natural Law and our nation’s Declaration of Independence is based upon it.
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”(opening words of the Declaration of Independence)
Professor Brabner-Smith explained in his writings that it was by appealing to Natural Law that our forefathers were able to justify our separation from Great Britain and assume a position among the great powers of the earth.
“This Declaration based legal existence upon “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” in order for the now united colonies to take a place “among the powers of the earth.” This was the foundation of all international states…”(The Recovery of Natural Law” subsection The Foundation of Nation-States)
This same Natural Law guarantees, just as set forth in the Declaration of Independence (the charter of our nation), the unalienable right to life of every preborn child from conception.
“we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are CREATED equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”Declaration of Independence
Unalienable rights cannot be alienated (taken away by any king, court or legislature). An unalienable right cannot be protected by one American state legislature and taken away by another state legislature. Indeed, Professor Brabner-Smith shows that the denial of unalienable rights by the states was originally unthinkable:
“This [natural] law was accepted by the legislature of each of the states AS THEIR BASIC LAW, as well as that of the United States.”(Rediscovery of Natural Law, section on Complementarity by John W. Brabner-Smith)
The conservative majority of the court voted to overturn Roe, but left preborn children to the mercy of state legislatures. They failed to contemplate the full impact of Natural Law upon themselves as a court, or comprehending it, chose to ignore it.
Giving the judges the ‘benefit of the doubt’, let’s assume that while they had undoubtedly heard the term ‘Natural Law’, they were not used to working with it and therefore did not recognize the instances where the Natural Law was implicit in the Constitution (an outline of how a just government should function) nor did they look back to the Declaration of Independence (the charter which made explicit the Natural Law upon which a just government is based).
Professor Brabner-Smith said it:
“The purpose of a Constitution is to provide the best form of government to support applicable Natural Law and the unalienable rights of each individual….”(Essay on Natural Law, page 2)
Professor Brabner-Smith’s wisdom is instructive to us at this time in our history. The 1973 Roe ruling showed that the U.S. Supreme Court had forgotten the purpose of the Constitution. The 2022 Dobb ruling throwing the issue back to the states shows that the Court has also forgotten that from the beginning “This [natural] law was accepted by the legislature of each of the states as their basic law.” (Rediscovery of Natural Law, section on Complementarity by John W. Brabner-Smith)
In composing these recent letters to you, I have been consulting Professor Brabner-Smith’s wisdom and teachings on Natural Law as he was the recognized expert on it in recent times.
Natural Law needs to be taught in the Law Schools again and should be taken up in the Christian Law Schools immediately. In the meantime, our job is to educate our Supreme Court judges by educating the nation on the full impact of Natural Law:
The Law that never changes.
The Law that is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Law that undergirds and holds aloft the unalienable
Right to Life of preborn children from conception created
in the Holy Image of God
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
R. Martin Palmer
P.S. Those of you wishing to receive an electronic copy of Professor Brabner-Smith’s essays on Natural Law may request it at no charge by emailing Deborah Steenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org