Monday, September 18, 2006

Celebrate Constitution Day with Delaware Law Office, as We Turn Five

It was five years ago, on September 10, 2001, that the Delaware Law Office blog started with a post about a practice in Family Court of Delaware of returning documents that were deficient in some manner, in a way which could be harmful to a case in that Court. The post asked for a reform of the system, and a careful solution that would make sure that people got their day in Court, regardless of a failure to do the paperwork correctly. A snippet from the post:

Currently there is a form utilized by non-judicial court personnel, as a cover, for their return of these documents to the filing attorney or pro-se individual. Frequently there is no specified Court Rule or statute cited, that the filing party is accused of violating. Frequently no reason is given except that the Clerk deems it so. In these cases the filing party usually already has clocked in his filing and relied upon that filing date with respect to the fulfillment of his or her legal responsibilities for the case. It may not be for a week or more later that the original filing is removed by the clerk, and sent back to the filer.

This removal of a filing from the Court's file, and thereby possibly changing the sequence of the filing of documents, can have dramatic legal consequences to the status of a case. And these actions are being taken by persons without any legal training? It is true that advising a party of a potential deficiency is a valuable tool in identifying and correcting errors before those errors travel through the lengthy path of litigation. But are we not substituting one set of errors for another, rather than resolving them when we have untrained individuals passing sentence upon legal filings that have been prepared, reviewed and signed by a member of the bar, and when these same untrained individuals unilaterally and without oversight take such action as to remove a filing from the Court?

We started with a bright promise there, only to experience an event the next day that transformed our nation in a number of ways, when the World Trade Centers came under attack. We didn't post that next day, or for many days after that. But we did resume posting, and the blog has covered a number of topics about Delaware, Delaware legal cases, federal law, privacy, security, and many other topics. We've made lots of friends around the country, and around the world through the blog, and would like to thank everyone who has read a few posts here, commented on something written, linked to the blog, visited the law office itself, and written on their own sites about something found here.

Posting has been light at the blog recently, and we hope to revitalize our efforts to keep informed of the legal issues around us on a local, state, national, and international level, ans share information about those here. We also will continue to share some of the personal issues that we face on a regular basis. Blogging has enabled us to reach out and share with others, and given us the opportunity to listen to those who want to discuss topics we've written about, and others. Thanks profusely for everyone who has been involved in the growth and development of this blog.

We also want to celebrate Constitution Day, which fell on a Saturday this year. Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell will lead the nation?s school children in reciting the Preamble to the Constitution at 2 p.m. EST. A belief in the ideas expressed within the Constitution is what gives us the ability to post our thoughts and opinions in this blog.

Delaware is often referred to as the "First State." The National Archives page on the Ratification of the Constitution shows why, with Delaware being the first state to ratify the Constitution. The page has a link to the document signed by representatives of Delaware, which ratified the Constitution.

Some other links involving Constitution Day:

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

The First State Celebrates Constitution Day 2006
A statement by Governor Ruth Anne Minner

Delaware and the Bill of Rights
A page about the US Constitution from the University of Delaware Library

An Enduring Constitutional Democracy
The Rev. Canon Lloyd S. Casson on the Constitution and Constitutional Rights

Here's the conclusion from Rev. Casson's essay, which I think needs to be heeded:

At 2:00 P.M. on September 18, when General Powell leads the Preamble, I will thankfully remember his and my ancestors, and the many good citizens of this Democracy whose long suffering struggles, sacrifices and actions have removed much of what was wrong with the original document. I will pray from the bottom of my heart that my continued prayers and struggle to help achieve liberty, peace and justice for all here and abroad will, with God giving me strength, bear fruit and contribute to the legacy of an enduring, flourishing constitutional democracy. I pray that you will join me.

The Constitution is only a piece of paper. It's our belief, and our struggles together that make the ideas found within the constitution come to life. The Constitution doesn't guarantee us rights - rather it gives us the right to fight for, and protect those rights.

Thank you for sharing with us this Constitution Day, and the fifth anniversary of the Delaware Law Office Blog.

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