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Saturday, September 14, 2013

All Others Pay Cash

For John, BLUFThis is going nowhere.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Huffington Post we have an update on Dr Michael Newdow, Esq.  He just lost in US District Court, again, over his efforts to have "In God We Trust" removed by US Currency.  Surprisingly, The Huffington Post links to the Blog Patheos for part of the story.  It seems that some numismatists (collectors of forms of money) are pained by having the words "In God We Trust" on their collected treasures, their mint proof sets, their rare off-struck coins and long unused bills (since 1864 on coins and 1957 on paper money).

You may well wonder how long it would take to expunge "In God We Trust" from our currency.  Quite a while, it seems.  It is unlikely Congress would order (or the Court require) wholesale replacement of currency.  Such would be very expensive.  Here is a blurb on how quickly money wears out on average:

During the course of these transactions, money wears out, just as any paper product would.  The average life span of a $1 bill is less than 22 months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; $5 bills last about 16 months; $10 bills last about 18 months; and $20 bills last approximately two years. Lesser-used bills, such as $50 and $100 dollar bills, last much longer, because they don't circulate as much as the smaller denominations. Both $50 and $100 bills last several years before wearing out.  Coins last about 25 years.
So, even if Mr Newdow eventually wins in court, God will likely be with us in a big way for at least another decade or two, and in a small way for many more years.  Check the change in your pocket and see what the dates are on the coins and bills.

From the ruling by The Hon. HAROLD BAER, JR., District Judge,

The Supreme Court has repeatedly assumed the motto’s secular purpose and effect, and all circuit courts that have considered this issue—namely the Ninth, Fifth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuit—have found no constitutional violation in the motto’s inclusion on currency.  While Plaintiffs urge that this court should disregard Supreme Court dicta, the Second Circuit counsels otherwise.  See United States v. Bell, 524 F.2d 202, 206 (2d Cir. 1975) (Supreme Court dicta “must be given considerable weight and [cannot] be ignored in the resolution of the close question we have to decide.”); see also United States v. Colasuonno, 697 F.3d 164, 178-79 (2d Cir. 2012) (acknowledging that it is the “usual obligation to accord great deference to Supreme Court dicta” except in certain circumstances, such as when Congress has “removed or weakened the conceptual underpinnings” of a decision).
And yet Mr Newdow soldiers on.  I would assert that if you can't sell an idea like this to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals you are probably not going to be able to sell it at all.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

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