Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stephen J. Murphy, III, An Exemplar of the Federal Judiciary

Last week I had the privilege to attend the investiture of Stephen J. Murphy, III. After years of waiting, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the US Senate to the federal court of the Eastern District of Michigan. Stephen has been my friend for several years. More importantly, he has been a superb community leader, as an assistant US Attorney, corporate counsel for General Motors, and most recently as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

He will bring to the Court the temperment, professionalism, and scholarly approach that this important position demands. He will ensure that the law is interpreted as written, and applied fairly.

A tribute to his qualifications is that his nomination was supported by Michigan's two Democrat US Senators. At his investiture, he had a bi-partisan slate of esteemed speakers, including Senator Carl Levin (D), Governor Jennifer Granholm (D), Congressman Mike Rogers (R), and former Attorney General for the United States Peter Keisler (R).

Stephen, make us proud!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Citizenship Test - Step in the Right Direction?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration this service recently began using a new test for applicants for American citizenship. The virtue of the old test was that it tested objective verifiable facts, such as the number of stripes on the flag or what the stars represent. The old test, however, required nothing more than a cursory understanding of American history and civics to pass.
The new test, on the other hand, has less objective answers, but probes more deeply into our American experiments. For example, when an applicant is asked “What does the Constitution do?”, correct answers include “sets up the government,” “defines the government,” and “protects the basic rights of Americans.”

That our new citizens will have a firm grasp of founding First Principles and history is still doubtful, but from what I can tell, at least this is a step in the right direction.
As with all new programs implemented by the federal government, whether this one will actually meets its goal will only be determined over time. Often our newest citizens are our most informed and patriotic. Let us hope that the new test bolsters this as well.
For more the importance of our understanding our First Principles and history, visit