The consent of the governed?
Not always needed, wrote Daniel Kelly, Gov. Walker's newest appointee to the Supreme Court.
God's laws trumped everybody else's.
"There is a law pre-existing governments that does not depend on any man's volitional action or decision," Kelly wrote, channeling John Quincy Adams, in the 1991 inaugural issue of the Regent University Law Review. "This law has a determinate content, separating right from wrong, and defining justice, and most importantly...this law is binding upon man-it does not require his agreement or consent." (Emphasis added.)
Kelly, the founding editor of the the law review, was a little vague about what all was included in the "determinate content," citing only the most obvious crime.
"Both God and nature stand in witness that murder is wrong," he wrote.
But ordinary mortals can make some choices, Kelly argued.
"Neither Scripture nor nature, however, directly addresses whether import tariffs should be imposed, what the personal income tax rate ought to be, or how appeals should be prosecuted in the federal court system. In matters such as these, we are left to our discretion and mutual agreement," he wrote.
Regent University was formerly was known as Christian Broadcasting Network University, was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, and was considered a mediocrity under both names.
Here is a bit more of Kelly's introductory piece to the first issue of the law review.
The overarching mission of the Regent University Law Review is the same as that of Regent University, that is, to bring glory to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit...
We believe that God's law has something to say about every area of law. To the inevitable objection that the law of nature and nature's God could not possibly have anticipated such topics as corporate taxation, antitrust suits, or the constitutional incorporation doctrine, I answer: Every legal question must rest on some foundational premise, and that premise must stand the test of measurement against the law of nature and nature's God. Jesus illustrated the importance of foundations with relation to our faith...
Kelly wrote about the unchanging nature of scientific laws and compared it the laws of society. He cited that great thinker, Calvin Coolidge who observed that "[m]en do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness."
In another section of his essay, Kelly wrote,
The law revealed in Scripture, with which the law of nature is in all points consistent, both having the same Author, is our ultimate recourse for truth....We are, and must be, subject to the principles contained in Scripture. Just as we do not choose to submit to the general theory of relativity, so is consent unnecessary with regard to the general principles of Scripture, though when considered carefully, reason will show that it is only logical that we are subject to them.
And he concludes by quoting James 1:22:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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