#17 Spring 1996
REPORTS ON TAFOL CASES
l ESSAY CONTEST UPDATE
l TAFOL PRESIDENT TO SPEAK ON ZONING
l RECENT CONTRIBUTORS
l TAFOL BRIEFS ASSIGNED IN COLLEGE
l KANSAS CITY NEWSPAPER PUBLISHES
FEATURE ARTICLE ON TAFOL's
l PROJECT LEADERS SOUGHT
l SECOND RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE
INCLUDES COURSE BY TAFOL BOARD
1996 Page 1
PROGRESS REPORTS ON TAFOL
First, the bad news. On January 2, 1996, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided Immediato
v. Rye Neck School District. The Rye Neck Board of Education had
instituted a requirement that no student could graduate without
completing a community service program. Plaintiffs attacked
this requirement as a violation of the students' right against
involuntary servitude under the Thirteenth Amendment and their
right to due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment.
They also claimed a violation of parents' right to raise their
children as they see fit.
The Association for Objective Law filed an amicus curiae brief,
written by Board member Thomas A. Bowden, pointing out the
moral implications of the program. The brief identified the
issue as altruism versus egoism. After defining those terms,
the brief pointed out how the school board was forcing its
concept of morality on the students and parents:
Obviously, an individual's choice of altruism or egoism as
a guiding principle is
complex, delicate, and personal. The
nuances cannot be addressed, much less
resolved, in a legal
brief. Yet we are here because the Rye Neck School District
Board of Education has arrogated to itself the authority, in
constitutional guarantees, to decide this issue
for its students. The Board has,
in effect, established a morality
test for graduating from high
school. To receive
a diploma, a student must, for
at least 40 hours, practice the altruist code of morality.
Egoistic students must set aside their own code of values and
submit to the Board's
prescription of what is orthodox in this
matter of morality.
arguments were ignored. The court rejected the Thirteenth
argument based on a long series of Supreme Court
cases that had emasculated the provision. The court's handling
of the due process claim illustrates the deterioration of the
concept of rights in the past sixty years. In 1923, the Supreme
Court found unconstitutional a state law forbidding the teaching
of foreign languages to students below the eighth grade. Two
years later, a requirement that parents send their children
aged 8-16 to public schools only was determined to violate
fundamental rights. And in 1972, the Court found that mandatory
school attendance beyond the eighth grade violated the right
of the Amish to freedom of religion. This last decision was
distinguished in the Immediato case as follows: "Finding
for the plaintiffs, the [Supreme] Court was careful to focus
upon the religious nature of their claims, observing in contrast
that '[a] way of life, however virtuous and admirable, may
not be interposed as a barrier to reasonable state regulation
of education if it is based on purely secular considerations." In
other words, rational objections are unacceptable, but mystical
beliefs win the day.
The Immediato case is similar to Steirer
v. Bethlehem Area School District, in which TAFOL
also filed an amicus curiae brief. Another mandatory community
service case is pending
in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the prospects for
its success appear bleak.
* * *
1996 Page 2
awaiting decisions in two cases in which TAFOL President
Michael J. Mazzone is fighting against immoral laws.
The Texas Supreme Court is considering
whether to impose mandatory pro bono service on all lawyers in that state
(Gomez v. State Bar of Texas), and the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit has before it the question whether a State may seize interest
earned on clients' money being held in lawyers' escrow accounts
such money to "public interest" groups. These cases have been described
in previous issues of this Bulletin.
ESSAY CONTEST UPDATE
Second Annual Essay Contest is underway. Essays have been
received and are being graded. Prize
winners will be announced in the next Bulletin. The
first prize essay will also be published in the next Bulletin.
TAFOL PRESIDENT TO SPEAK ON ZONING
TAFOL President Michael J. Mazzone will address the issue
of zoning on April 19, 1996, at 7:00 p.m. at the Mission Avenue
Elementary School, [data omitted] in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The speech will cover the moral and practical problems of zoning
and the rational alternative to zoning: deed restrictions adopted
and agreed upon by all of the owners of the affected property.
For more information, call [data omitted].
We would like to thank the following people for their recent
contributions to TAFOL. Contributions like these provide the
funding for all of TAFOL's activities.
TAFOL BRIEFS ASSIGNED IN COLLEGE COURSE
has given permission for its amicus curiae briefs on the
topic of mandatory
community service for students to be
used as course materials at Rutgers University. Professor Ronald
T. Hyman, who is Professor of Education Law in the Department
of Educational Theory, Policy and Administration at Rutgers'
New Brunswick campus, requested the briefs for use in his courses
on education law. His purpose in requesting the briefs was
to "help me explore the constitutional issues . . . with
current and prospective teachers and administrators." The
briefs being supplied to Professor Hyman were previously filed
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits,
with the aid of contributions from TAFOL supporters.
KANSAS CITY NEWSPAPER PUBLISHES FEATURE ARTICLE ON TAFOL's
v. Conger, TAFOL's Treasurer, was the subject of an in-depth
feature article in the March 1-7, 1996
edition of the Kansas City Business Journal. The article's
headline was: "The Contrarian: His Objectivist philosophy
questions the regs he interprets," and the first sentence
read: "As an Ayn Rand devotee, Mike Conger believes
the free market should be supreme---in commerce and in social
interaction." The rest of the article dealt in depth with
Michael's professional development, while never losing sight
of the integrating role played by
1996 Page 3
in his professional life (his practice focuses on helping
employers deal with the complicated rules governing
pension plans) and his private life. The article's author,
Brian Kaberline, resisted the temptation that leads many
journalists to take potshots at Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
was objective, displaying respect for Michael's convictions
and for Ayn Rand's influence on him. "Conger was a liberal
through his college days," the article states. "But
in 1981 a friend recommended Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. He
read other books by Rand and, as he put it, began to think
about what made this country great. Rand's Objectivist philosophy---which
stresses the objective existence of reality, reason and the
principle that the highest moral purpose in life is pursuit
of rational self-interest struck a chord with him."
PROJECT LEADERS SOUGHT
Over the years, TAFOL has received numerous offers from contributors
to volunteer their time. TAFOL has made use of these volunteers
on an informal and sporadic basis. Unfortunately, most of these
offers are never followed up. The reason is that projects such
as the submission of an amicus curiae brief require a project
leader. Such a leader must be an attorney who can devote the
many hours (usually under strict time pressure) necessary to
complete the project. Before preparation of an amicus brief
can even be begun, someone must identify the litigation and
get in touch with the lawyers for both sides to obtain permission
to file. The issues must be researched, and the brief drafted,
edited, and then submitted for approval to TAFOL's Board of
Directors before filing. While TAFOL reimburses the out-of-pocket
costs of this enterprise, the leader's time must be donated.
This is a heavy burden that few have been willing to shoulder.
But such project leaders are a key to TAFOL's success.
If you believe that you would like to take on an amicus project,
please contact Stephen Plafker, Robert S. Getman, Thomas A.
Bowden, or Michael J. Mazzone well before the
case goes up on appeal. Advance planning is essential.
Without more project leaders, the project helpers whose assistance
could be so valuable will continue to go unused.
SECOND RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE INCLUDES COURSE BY TAFOL BOARD
A. Bowden, a member of TAFOL's Board of Directors, will deliver
of lectures at this summer's Second Renaissance
Conference. The course, called "Concretizing the Principles
of Objective Law," will enhance understanding of the abstract
principles of legal objectivity by grounding them in the facts
of unusual and memorable court cases. The conference, which
also features a variety of lectures in philosophy, economics,
education, history, literature, and music, will be held from
June 29 to July 14, 1996, at the McLean Hilton Hotel at Tysons
Corner in McLean, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C.).
Brochures and information are available from SR Conferences
[data omitted - See Link to The Ayn Rand Institute]. One-week
and two-week plans are available. (Thomas Bowden's course will
be offered during both weeks).
Copyright © 1996
The Association for Objective Law. All rights reserved. The
Association for Objective Law is a Missouri
non-profit corporation whose purpose is to advance Objectivism,
the philosophy of Ayn Rand, as the basis of a proper legal