Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Question of National Identity


Another question for you...

I was listening to a Peter David Shore speech about the '75 referendum [on membership in the European Economic Community]. It was a student union speech, maybe the Oxford Student Union--I don't know.

In it he said: "And a constant attrition of our morale, and a constant attempt to tell us that what we have and what we have [inherited] is not only our own achievement but what generations of Englishmen have helped us to achieve ... is not worth a damn."

In the Hola Massacre Speech [from 1959], J. Enoch Powell said: "All Government, all influence of man upon man, rests upon opinion. What we can do in Africa, where we still govern and where we no longer govern, depends upon the opinion which is entertained of the way in which this country acts and the way in which Englishmen act."

Both speeches phrased the issue in terms of Englishmen. Do people (not non-citizen immigrants, but UK subjects) from the other parts of the UK feel slighted by such language? And if not, why not? Why didn't the speakers use "British" rather than "English"?



Henry is a friend in Northern Ireland. 

I am not British, but when I listen to both these speeches, I am moved to tears.  

Seth Barrett Tillman, A Question of National Identity, New Reform Club (Sept. 27, 2017, 1:54 PM), <> 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tillman Responds to the Legal Historians Amicus Brief in CREW v. Trump Emoluments Case

In an amicus brief (supporting Defendant President Trump) submitted to this Court (Southern District of New York), my counsel included the following footnote:

See Report on the Salaries, Fees, and Emoluments of Persons Holding Civil Office Under the United States (Feb. 26, 1793), in 14 The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (“PAH”), 157, 157–59 (1969), The editors of PAH marked this document “DS,” meaning “document signed,” which indicates that this document was the original signed by Hamilton. The original Hamilton-signed document, on which the PAH reproduction is based, remains in the vaults of the National Archives & Records Administration (Record Group #46). An excerpt of the original Hamilton signed document is available at Amicus notes that an entirely different document (but bearing a similar name) can be found in American State Papers (“ASP”). See List Of Civil Officers Of The United States, Except Judges, With Their Emoluments, For The Year Ending October 1, 1792, in 1 American State Papers/Miscellaneous 57 (1834). The document in ASP was not signed by Hamilton. The undated ASP document was drafted by an unknown Senate functionary. Unlike Hamilton’s manuscript, the record in ASP includes the President and Vice President. Both documents are probative of the legal meaning of Office . . . under the United States as used in the Senate order. But the two documents are not equally probative.

I stand entirely behind the above footnote: behind every sentence, every phrase, every word, and every syllable. I have made no mistake, intentional or inadvertent. I retract nothing, and I do not intend to retract anything.

Recently, my amicus brief and scholarship has been criticized by the Legal Historians Brief, other academics, some litigators, and by the press. Here I respond. This document is my declaration submitted as an exhibit to a motion responding to the Legal Historians Brief.

Complete Motion with Supporting Declarations:

Seth Barrett Tillman, The Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Tillman Responds to the Legal Historians Amicus Brief in CREW v. Trump (Sept. 14, 2017),

The Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Tillman Responds to the Legal Historians Amicus Brief in CREW v. Trump, New Reform Club (Sept. 19, 2017), 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Why the "Godless Constitution" Thesis Tells Only Half the Story

It's true that God appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.  Religion was left to the states.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The U.S., the U.K., and Suez

E-mail September 3, 2017, from Tillman to Friend in Northern Ireland, U.K.


My wife and I are having a debate. I am asking you to settle it. Do you think there are still Tories and other loyalists in the U.K. who remain bitter against the U.S. in regard to Suez?

Don't hold back.



E-mail September 3, 2017, from Friend to Tillman in the Republic of Ireland. 

[That] was in my Father's generation but it has largely dissipated. I would rarely hear it mentioned now and that includes my time in [a leadership role in a U.K. political party] with mainland Unionists and loyalists.  

I often hear discontent at how the U.S. calls the shots militarily and manage our foreign policy at present. We often appear to tag along and do as dictated to by Uncle Sam and there may well be a residual hangover from Suez in that, but Suez is rarely specifically mentioned.


Seth Barrett Tillman, The U.S., the U.K., and Suez, New Reform Club (Sept. 4, 2017),

Friday, September 01, 2017

Press Release from a Member of the Irish National Legislature (i.e., a TD in the Oireachtas)

Press Release
“Despite a new Court of Appeal the judicial backlog is not being reduced,” Mattie McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, to address ongoing concerns around the inability of the Court of Appeal to address its persistently high backlog of civil and criminal cases. Deputy McGrath was speaking after an analysis of the Court Service’s Annual Report for 2016 by Seth Barrett Tillman, Lecturer in Law at Maynooth University Department of Law, found that without significant reform the Court of Appeal will be incapable of reducing its judicial backlog:
“This analysis by Seth Barrett Tillman is a forensic deconstruction of the spin that is being pedalled regarding the impact the ‘new’ Court of Appeal is allegedly having on addressing the current backlog of cases.
At the time the idea of the new Court was being sold to the Irish people, it was touted as a kind of panacea for the massive delays that were afflicting our judicial system.
Some of us tried to highlight the fact that all this would do, in the absence of more fundamental reform, was to create the illusion of progress.
That position has now been vindicated.
Seth Barrett Tillman has shown that in the course of the Court of Appeal’s second complete calendar year, with millions spent, the number of pending cases started at 1,814, and by the end of the year the number of pending cases increased to 1,821. In other words, there was no net reduction in the number of cases in  the  backlog.
In point of fact he has also highlighted that there was a 19% decrease in the number of cases disposed of between 2015 and 2016.
All of these issues raise profound challenges for the operation of this Court and public value for money.
They must be addressed and scrutinised without the kind of delays that may arising from an undue sense of deference toward judges.
If they are not getting through the backlog then questions need to be asked about why that is happening year after year even with additional Court facilities at their disposal.
The reasonable conclusion is that more fundamental reform is needed instead of creating another Court with the exact same procedural blocks as has happened in this case,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Notes for Editors:
Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘The Court of Appeal Backlog’ (2017) 35(15) Irish Law Times 206–08 (2017) <>. This 2017 article continues and extends the arguments which I developed in my prior publications: see, e.g., Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘Has the Irish Court of Appeal Solved the Judicial Backlog? Can it?’ (2016) 34(14) Irish Law Times 210–12 <>; see also, e.g., Seth Barrett Tillman, Opinion Editorial, ‘Court of Appeal just a new version of Supreme Court—only more costly’ The Irish Times (July 28, 2014, 1:30 AM), at 7 <>; Seth Barrett Tillman, Opinion Editorial, ‘Time to Open Courts and Let Justice Be Seen’ The Irish Independent, August 22, 2012, 17:00 pm, at A14 <>. 

Le gach dea ghuí,

Le gach dea ghuí,


Mattie McGrath TD
Tipperary Constituency 


Seth Barrett Tillman adding: The language in bold is from the TD, and it was not in my Irish Law Times article. That said, I entirely agree with his sentiment. 

Seth Barrett Tillman, Press Release from a Member of the Irish National Legislature, New Reform Club (Sept. 1, 2017, 4:23 AM),

McGrath's website: