Senator Sam Ervin Defender of The US Constitution

Advice "Let books be your friends, for, by so doing, you can summon to your fireside in seasons of loneliness the choice spirits of all the ages. Observe mankind through the eyes of charity, for, by so doing, you will discover anew the oft forgotten fact that earth is peopled with many gallant souls. Study nature and walks at times in solitude beneath the starry heavens, for, by so doing, you will absorb the great lesson that God is infinite and that your life is just a little beat within the heart of time. Cling to the ancient landmarks of truth, but be ever ready to test the soundness of a new idea. Accept whatever your mind finds to be true, and whatever your conscience determines to be right, and whatever your heart declares to be noble, even though your act in so doing may drive a hoary prejudice from its throne. And, above all things, meditate often upon the words and deeds of Him who died on Calvary for, by so doing, 'ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" Sam Ervin Source: Bill of Rights, John Mitchell & John Ehrlichman "I don't think either one of them would have recognized the Bill of Rights if they met it on the street in broad daylight under a cloudless sky." Sam Ervin Church and State A school prayer amendment would confer upon public school boards a power the First Amendment now denies to Congress and the states, that is, the power to establish religion. Sam Ervin Preserving the Constitution (1984), quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom What James Madison and the other men of his generation had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment was that there should be no official relationship of any character between government and any church or many churches, and no levying of taxes for the support of any church, or many churches, or all churches, or any institution conducted by any of them. Sam Ervin address, U.S. Senate (April 23, 1973), quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom For too long the issue of government aid to church related organizations has been a divisive force in our society and in the Congress. It has erected communication barriers among our religions and fostered intolerance. Sam Ervin, Quotations from Chairman Sam: The Wit and Wisdom of Senator Sam Ervin (1973) If religious freedom is to endure in America, the responsibility for teaching religion to public school children must be left to the homes and churches of our land, where this responsibility rightfully belongs. It must not be assumed by the government through the agency of the public school system. Sam Ervin, Preserving the Constitution (1984) quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom "I believe in a wall between church and state so high that no one can climb over it." Sam Ervin "When religion controls government, political liberty dies; and when government controls religion, religious liberty perishes." Sam Ervin "Every American has the constitutional right not to be taxed or have his tax money expended for the establishment of religion." Sam Ervin "Government is contemptuous of true religion when it confiscates the taxes of Caesar to finance the things of God." Sam Ervin Churches should look to their members and their friends only for the financing of their undertakings, and no church should engage in any undertaking, no matter how laudable it may be, that its members and friends are unable or unwilling to finance." Sam J. Ervin, Jr. Constitution The President is a servant of the Constitution and not it's master. There is nothing explicit or implicit in that instrument which exempts him from a duty the law imposes on all competent human beings in our land. Sam Ervin Source:The Whole Truth The Constitution did not confer upon the President the arbitary power to suspend any of its provisions. On the contrary it gave him no powers except those expressly stated and those necessarily implied from them. The Constitution was written that way to restrain the President from tyranny. Sam Ervin Source:The Whole Truth Court's Error "... judicial verbicide is calculated to convert the Constitution into a worthless scrap of paper and to replace our government of laws with a judicial oligarchy." -- Senator Sam Ervin (1896-1985) United States Senator NC-D (1954-1974) Criminal Activities "There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes or makes it the official duty of a president to have anything to do with criminal activities." Sam Ervin Divine Right "Divine right went out with the American Revolution and doesn't belong to the White House aides. What meat do they eat that makes them grow so great?" Sam Ervin Executive Privilege "The President seems to extend executive privilege way out past the atmosphere. What he says is executive privilege is nothing but executive poppycock." Sam Ervin "I'm not going to let anybody come down at night like Nicodemus and whisper something in my ear that no one else can hear. That is not executive privilege; it is poppycock." Sam Ervin Ford's Pardon of Nixon President Ford did infinite injury to the indispensable principle of good government embodied in the phrase "Equal justice under the law". Sam Ervin Source:The Whole Truth Judicial Activist "A judicial activist is a judge who interprets the Constitution to mean what it would have said if he, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it." -- Senator Sam Erving Just and Unjust "The rain it raineth on the just And also on the unjust fella; But chiefly on the just, because The unjust steals the just's umbrella." Sam Ervin Leader "A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under." Sam Ervin Sam Ervin Nothing I've always been worried about people who are willing to work for nothing. Sometimes that's all you get from them, nothing. Sam Ervin Source: Polygraph "Polygraph tests are 20th-century witchcraft." Sam Ervin President Nixon "He had the most pronounced, aggravated notion about the powers of the presidency. He envisioned the President as being something of an absolute monarch." Sam Ervin Senate Select Committee on Watergate "I'll have you understand I am running this court, and the law hasn't got a damn thing to do with it!" Sam Ervin Right To Vote "If the many allegations made to this date are true, then the burglars who broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate were in effect breaking into the home of every citizen of the United States. And if these allegations prove to be true, what they were seeking to steal was not the jewels, money or other precious property of American citizens, but something much more valuable - their most precious heritage: the right to vote in a free election." Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina They Did It Too Murder and theft have been committed since the earliest history of mankind, but that fact has not made murder meritorious or larcency legal. Sam Ervin Source:The Whole Truth Thought "The world of the mind is an illimitable land whose boundaries are as vast as the universe itself....and thought is calling us at all times to the undiscovered countries lying beyond the next visible range of mountains." Sam Ervin Source: Watergate "I used to think that the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy, but I do remember that there were some redeeming features in the Civil War in that there was some spirit of sacrifice and heroism displayed on both sides. I see no redeeming features in Watergate." Sam Ervin Winning and Loseing When I win, I crow softly, if at all; and when I lose, I weep gently, if at all. I do not consider President Nixon's change of mind a surrender to me. I consider it a victory for the constitutional government in America. Sam Ervin Source:The Whole Truth Reagan Former Senator Sam Ervin, who directed the Senate Watergate investigation, died at the age of 88 on April 23. He was regarded as the foremost constitutional expert in Congress. Shortly before his death, he penned the following letter to President Reagan: "Dear Mr. President: The Constitution is the wisest instrument of government the earth has ever known. If America is to endure as a free Republic as ordained by it, Presidents, Supreme Court justices and other public officers must do what they have sworn to do, that is, support it. "Despite my admiration for you, I am constrained by my duty to our country to assert that what you say and advocate, in respect for religion, shows that you do not understand the religious clauses of the First Amendment, and how obedience to them is essential to the preservation of religious freedom they are designed to secure to all Americans of all faiths. "You urge Congress to give Federal tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools to be taught the creeds of their churches. Your action in this respect violates the First Amendment, which forbids government to use the taxes of Caesar to finance the things of God. "You named an ambassador to the Vatican, an act in violation of the establishment clause, which in the words of its drafter, James Madison, forbids government to establish an official relationship with any religion. "You urge adoption of a constitutional amendment to authorize prayer in the public schools. The adoption of such an amendment would drastically alter the First Amendment, which commands the government be strictly neutral in respect to religion and leaves the task of teaching religion to children to the homes and churches of our land. "The government must keep its hands off religion if our people are to enjoy religious freedom, our most precious freedom." 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