One Citizen’s Use of the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD (1970-1996)

George Anastaplo

. . . George Anastaplo, whom I have known for almost forty years, would be the classic American individualist–except he deeply respects manners, locality, and community. His extremism may lie in his devotion to the virtue of moderation. . . . Anastaplo is, of course, best known for the First Amendment Supreme Court case of In re Anastaplo, which he argued himself as a recent University of Chicago Law School graduate. . . . Though the freedom of speech of the First Amendment has been his focus, his scholarship ranges from constitutional law to political philosophy, from Hinduism to Shakespeare and Plato, from praises of political dissent to criticism of Allan Bloom. . . . He is a voracious devourer of information and an inquisitive student of public affairs. When I invited him to speak at the Air Force Academy (as a teen, he was a Second World War Air Corps navigator), he insisted on driving down from Denver and stopping at Columbine, where the shootings had taken place just weeks before, and observing the memorials. . . . Though he would fairly be labeled a “Straussian,” his politics are to the left of that august and diverse group. Whether or not one agrees with his political conclusions, his philosophic speculation is invaluable for serious reflection on matters of our time and all time. Still writing at age 87–now completing another book on Abraham Lincoln, for which his friend and sparring partner Harry Jaffa will provide a foreword–he is one of the great teachers of things American through both his thoughts and his deeds.

–Ken Masugi, Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy (“George Anastaplo, Guardian of Liberty,”


My most intense recourse to the Congressional Record was between 1967 and 1974, the decade that a cabal of Colonels “governed” Greece. Much of what I said in that connection was in the hope that the United States Government would conduct itself much more prudently with respect to Greece than it was obviously inclined to do. Nine different Members of Congress posted a score of things of mine relating to “the situation” in Greece, things which drew on my contacts with many troubled Greeks, including the exiled King of that Country and a prominent Conservative politician who was the obvious choice for replacing the dangerously incompetent Colonels. Those Colonels-related statements have been collected as “One American’s Suggestions about Greek-American Relations (1967-1974) as found in the Congressional Record” and posted here on in June 2013.

I had, before the Colonels took over in Greece in April 1967, seen several things of mine posted in the Congressional Record (beginning with an article on the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial, posted on March 24 1970). I may have been encouraged to do as much with that venue as I have done because two of my University of Chicago Law School classmates (Class of 1951), Abner J. Mikva and Patsy T. Mink, were Members of Congress. Also, later, Paul M. Simon, whom I had known from Southern Illinois (where I had grown up, after having been born in St. Louis), became a Senator. Altogether, two dozen Members of Congress posted things of mine in the Congressional Record between 1969 and 1996.

I continued to use the Congressional Record after the Colonels’ regime collapsed. Various non-Greece topics were explored in those things posted in the Record after 1974 (just as some had been explored in things posted before 1967). An indication of the career which led to my interest in the subjects offered by me for these postings may be seen in Congressman Henry J. Hyde’s posting of December 15, 1979.

My last Congressional Record posting was evidently in August 1996. Was this cessation partly due to the departure from Congress of the Members I knew best? (It has been decades since I have even seen current issues of the Congressional Record.) Critical to the shift evident here were other developments: my preparation of a number of articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica’s annual Great Ideas Today volume (which included materials collected in my 2002 book, But Not Philosophy: Seven Introduc­tions to Non-Western Thought), my preparation of several book-length law) review articles, my running commentary (to more than four hundred pages in law journals) on the responses by us to the September Eleventh atrocities, responses that have not respected a Sense of Proportion, my publication of more than a dozen books since 1996, and the development of a– ten-volume series of  Reflections on constitutional subjects (with essays characterized by me as “constitutional sonnets”).

It can be wondered, of course, whether any of my Congressional Record postings ever made any difference (aside from having influenced the Colonels’ regime to declare me persona non grata). Nor does one hear from those who might read one’s letters to newspaper editors–but there, at least, the editorial staff may have the benefit of one’s efforts. Perhaps Members of Congress, or at least members of their staffs, have the benefit of whatever one has presumed to offer as advice to one’s fellow-citizens.

In any event, these Record-posted pieces did encourage me to try to think more carefully about the subjects I presumed to address (wherever they might first appear). And, no doubt, such thinking has been drawn on in the articles and books I have been able to publish. It can also be instructive to notice how the posting Members of Congress spoke from time to time of what one has ventured to say. (I notice in passing that the three Members who posted my reservations about the prospective impeachment of President Nixon were all Republicans.)

Are there overall lessons to be learned from the efforts of one citizen across decades? Consider, for example. what I presumed to say in praising various people as in Items 3, 12, 13 and 14. The concluding lines of the last piece posted (on Gambling) are suggestive here:

A report from Deadwood, South Dakota sums up the suicidal course we have followed in our delusions [about the growth of gambling among us]. A woman who has supported the effort to legalize casinos in 1989 is now appalled upon seeing that the casinos “have all but wiped out [her] town’s retailers”:  Strolling past storefront casinos that have replaced everything from the state social services office to the insurance broker and department store, [she] commented, “I’m homesick all the time and I never left home. We were completely unrealistic.”

Perhaps the most troublesome feature of all this may be that we have drifted into a much-changed way of life without serious study or deliberate choice, a way of life which makes much of a determined self-indulgence.


 1. Abner J. Mikva of Illinois, “Observations on Chicago 7 Trial”

116 Congressional Record 9197-9198 (March 24, 1970)

1. George Anastaplo, “The Trial: Disgraceful Masquerade”

2. Vance Hartke of Indiana, “French Separatism in Canada”

116 Congressional Record  44776-44798 (January 2, 1971)

2. George Anastaplo, “Canada and the Dilemmas of Decent Men”

3. John W. Byrne of Wisconsin, “Miss, Mertha Fulkerson”

117 Congressional Record 46880-46882 (December 14, 1971)

(See, also, 117 Congressional Record 44209 [December 2, 1971].)

3. George Anastaplo, “Mertha Fulkerson: Guardian of the Clearing”

4. Vance Hartke of Indiana, “The Public, the Press, and the Pentagon Papers”

118 Congressional Record 24990-25000 (July 24, 1972)

4. George Anastaplo, “Preliminary Reflections on the Pentagon Papers”

5. Michael Harrington of Massachusetts, “Vietnam, Insubordination, and Self-Government”

118 Congressional Record 34343-34344 (October 6, 1972) –

5. George Anastaplo, “Vietnam, Insubordination, and Self-Government”

6. Jerome R. Waldie of California, “Vietnam, Insubordination, and Self-Government”

118 Congressional Record 34755-34756 (October 10, 1972)

6. George Anastaplo, “Vietnam, Insubordination, and Self-Government”

7. Howard Robison of New York, “Amnesty–and Vindictiveness”

119 Congressional Record 13918-13921 (May 2, 1973)

7. George Anastaplo, “An Amnesty on Discussions of Amnesty?”

8. Sidney R. Yates of Illinois, “The Case for Supporting Israel”

119 Congressional Record 35984-35986 (November.5,.1973)

8. George Anastaplo, “The Case for Suppporting Israel”

9   Harold R. Collier of Illinois, “Impeachment: Playing with Fire?”

119 Congressional Record 38757-38758 (November 29, 1973)

9. George Anastaplo, “Impeachment:      Playing with Fire?”

10. Edward J. Derwinski of Illinois, “Impeachment: Playing with Fire?”

119 Congressional Record 39073-39074 (December 1, 1973)

10. George Anastaplo, “Impeachment: Playing with Fire?”

11. Samuel H. Young, “Impeachment”

119 Congressional Record 43413-43414 (December 22, 1973)

11. George Anastaplo, “Impeachment Is Playing with Fire”

12. Harold V. Froehlich of Wisconsin, “Emma loft”

120 Congressional Record  33677 (October 2, 1974)

12. George Anastaplo, “Emma Toft: Queen of the Peninsula”

13. Patsy T. Mink of Hawaii, “Tribute to Dr. Malcolm Sharp”

121 Congressional Record  40241-40243 (December 12, 1975)

13. George Anastaplo, “Malcolm P. Sharp and the Spirit of ’76”

14. Charles H. Percy of Illinois, “Tribute to Shayne Sensibar”

122 Congressional Record 30702-30703 (September 16, 1976)

14. George Anastaplo, Excerpt from a Dedication

15. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, “George Anastaplo Is Honored”

125 Congressional Record 36365-36366 (December 15, 1979)

15.George Anastaplo, “One’s Character Is One’s Fate?”

16. Paul M. Simon of Illinois, “Tragedy of War”

138 Congressional Record 24764 (September 14, 1992)

16. George Anastaplo, A letter to the Editor, The Southern Illinoisan

17. Patsy T. Mink of Hawaii, “To Amend’ Means ‘To Improve”

141 Congressional Record 9958-9959 (March 30, 1995)

17. George Anastaplo, “‘To Amend’ Means ‘To Improve'”

18. Andrew Jacobs, Jr. of Indiana, “The Flag Desecration Amendment”

141 Congressional Record 28405-28407 (October 18, 1995)

18. George Anastaplo, “On the Sacred and the Profane: The Flag Desecration Amendment”

19. Paul M. Simon of Illinois, “Flag-Desecration Amendment Could Make Matters Far Worse”

141 Congressional Record 31468 (November 3, 1995)

19. George Anastaplo, “Flag-Desecration Amendment Could Make Matters Far Worse”

20. Paul M. Simon of Illinois, “Private Gambling and Public Morality”

142 Congressional Record 21026-21028 (August 1, 1996)

20. George Anastaplo, “‘Private’ Gambling and Public Morality”


To view the materials from the Congressional Record, click here. Excerpts are numbered according to the citation list in Part B.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s