National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons

Presentations 2002


JULY 3, 2002

Remarks by: (note bookmarks)

Judge Becker, Chief Judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Donald W. Murphy, Deputy Director, National Park Service
Bonnie Grant, Deputy City Representative,  representing Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street
Rt. Hon Lord Goldsmith QC, Her Majesty's Attorney General.

Judge Becker, Chief Judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Good morning. My name is Edward Becker. In my day job across the street I am the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. I am here today as Co-Chair of the Magna Carta in Philadelphia Committee. The Magna Carta in Philadelphia Committee is Ed Becker and Steve Harmelin, my close friend of 35 years who is Chairman of Dilworth Paxson LLP, we formed this committee to bring Magna Carta to Philadelphia.  We brought it in 1987 for the Bicentennial of the Constitution because the Magna Carta is the direct precursor of the Constitution and we thought it is time to bring it back again, and ,with the help of some others who I will mention, the wonderful help of others, Magna Carta is here. You will see it after the ceremony. It is a 705-year-old document. It is in magnificent shape. It is very exciting and for reasons that I will explain I think it is perhaps the most important document in the Western ! Hemisphere. Now it is not the first Magna Carta. We all know the first Magna Carta was signed on the plain of Runnymede in 1215 when King John acceded to the demands of the barons and confirmed Magna Carta with his seal, and when he did that he was acknowledging that no man, even the King, is above the law.

The most famous statement in Magna Carta is that  ... No free man shall be taken, imprisoned, . . . or in any other way destroyed . . . except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.... I interject that the law of the land is what we know as due process of law that is translated to due process of law which is the centerpiece of the American Constitution.  Magna Carta goes on ...To no one will we deny or delay, right or justice. Due process is not the only provision of our Constitution that came out of Magna Carta: the protection against self incrimination; the right to speedy and public trial; the right to trial by jury; the prohibition against excessive bail; the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; all of these can be traced to Magna Carta.

I mentioned the Magna Carta of 1215. The document on exhibit is the last of the Magna Cartas -the latest and most complete Magna Carta. There were other Magna Cartas executed during the thirteenth century by King John, by his son, Henry III, and from Edward I. The document downstairs, the Edward I 1297 Magna Carta, is the one which was entered onto the statute rolls of England and by virtue of its entry onto the statue rolls it achieved enormous importance. That is not to say that Magna Charta was vivified in the actions by the English Kings over the next few centuries it certainly was not.

It was rediscovered in the 17th century by Lord Coke, Sir Edward Coke, who was a prominent figure in Elizabethan England of many titles. He was Queen Elizabeth's Attorney General, a predecessor of one of our principal speakers today, but Lord Coke in his Institutes of the Law of England wrote about Magna Carta and the colonists all studied Lord Coke. Indeed, as you will see as part of this exhibit, courtesy of  the Library Company of Pennsylvania, is William Penn's personal copy of Coke's Institutes of The law of England as well as Benjamin Franklins personal copy the Magna Carta that is also part of the exhibit. At all events the colonists studied Coke and they incorporated Magna Carta into their charters and ultimately it became a central part of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So in the city of brotherly love where our nation was founded, where the Continental Congresses took place, where the Declaration of In! dependence was read and promulgated, where the Constitution and Bill of Rights were signed, it is appropriate that we have this seminal document which is so important to our liberties in this, we think, the greatest nation in the world.

When this was here in 1987 it was seen by three hundred thousand people. We think that this year it will be seen by well over a million people and we hope that it will attract tourists in the Delaware Valley because it is just such a wonderful document.

Now I mention Steve Harmelin's role and mine but this could not have happened without very very important support from many others. First, the people who funded the exhibit. My disclaimer is that I am bound by the strictures of Article 3 and Steve Harmelin raised all of the money. I did the organization but I didn't ask anybody for a dime. Manny Stamatakis is supposed to be here but the Delaware River Port Authority is our lead funder and without the DRPA this would not have happened or without the Pennsylvania Convention Center, without H. F. Jerry Lenfest, without CIGNA, or without Dr. John Marks Templeton Jr. We are all very grateful for their support.

But, insofar as the exhibit itself, the folks at Independence National Historical Park have been so central to this effort. Doris Fannelli, Chief of Cultural Resources, Karie Diethorn Chief Curator, Chris Schillizzi, Chief of Interpretation, Dennis Reidenbach Acting Superintendent, and Martha Aikens, former Superintendent, were all of great help. From Independence Visitors Center, Bill Moore, behind me, is the President and CEO and Molly McEnteer is the director of marketing. They too played a key role.  From the Library Company of Pennsylvania John Van Horn is here as the Director. The Library Company was founded in 1733 by Benjamin Franklin and they've contributed vitally to this exhibit and Jim Green is the Assistant Librarian was also a very great help along with the Perot Foundation.

The history of the document itself is fascinating in terms of how it got here. There are seventeen Magna Cartas extant in the world and all of them are the United Kingdom with the only two outside the United Kingdom. One is in Australia and this one which was purchased at auction by Ross Perot a number of years ago and given to the National Archives; we have this courtesy of the National Archives. The only place that Magna Carta has been or will be exhibited in the United States other than the National Archives is here in Philadelphia and we will have it until next April. There will be a lot of opportunity to see it.

Dr Nathan Stolow, internationally renowned curator, who has taken such wonderful care of the document is here. We thank the Greater Philadelphia Tourist and Marketing Association, represented by Meryl Levitz and Welcome America by Kyle Lewis. As you go through the hallway you'll see 26 flags which line the hallway these represent and are the authentic flags of the baronial houses whose Lords signed the original Magna Carta in 1215. We also have a special guest, Lady Goldsmith, wife of our principal speaker who I will introduce after a bit, Sir Thomas Harris is her Majesty's Consul General in New York, and Marie Rust is the Regional Director of the National Park Service. I didn't see Oliver Franklin here but he has been a great help; he is Her Majesty's Honorary Counsel in Philadelphia.

We have here two men that we thought might like to be here and would enjoy this. Those from the Delaware Valley are familiar with Runnymede, New Jersey. Runnymede New Jersey was named for Runnymede, England where the first Magna Carta was signed. John Ribini is the Mayor of Runnymede New Jersey and William Leap is the Historian of Runnymede, New Jersey.

I also see a number of other distinguished guests. I see my colleagues Midge Rendell, Louis Pollak and Lowell Reed from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Lynn Abraham, and United States Attorney Pat Meehan. We have a bunch of important people here I cant recognize all of them, I could if I spotted them all, but I also want to thank the Woldingham School Girls Choir from Surrey, England. They are touring the United States and are joining us of the unveiling of this exhibit.

I want to introduce our first speaker Donald W. Murphy. Don Murphy is the Deputy Director of the National Park Service.  He was appointed Deputy Director of the National Park Service in September of 2001. He is the number two person in the Department and he will assist in managing 385 national parks covering approximately 84 million acres. Mr. Murphy has served as the Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation and as Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation in the City of Sacramento

Don Murphy is more than that; he is a Renaissance man. He has a degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California at San Diego, he has three years of study toward his Ph.D. in biochemistry and he is an accomplished and published poet. He began his career in parks and recreation as a state park ranger and has served as the district superintendent of a number of districts, in the Big Sur District, in the Chino Hills District and in the Plumas Eureka District in Plumas County. He has served as President of Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation and he has spoken nationwide on the subject of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He co-founded the Americans for our Heritage and Recreation, an organization dedicated a full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Donald W. Murphy, Deputy Director, National Park Service

It is really a pleasure to be here this morning and to be asked to say a few words. For me, this is all about the evolution of ideas and it is really fascinating to reflect on the fact that this document that was originally developed to protect the rights of a few barons on the plains of Runnymede many many many centuries ago has evolved to protect the rights of all citizens all over the world and to be a model for countries all over the world. I think sometimes we take for granted our rights to a speedy trial mentioned by the Judge earlier to justice before a jury of our peers and that no one, not even the President of our United States, is above the law but while we sometimes think of liberty as a concept of 1776 we clearly understand that it is many many years older and that many human beings, our fellow human beings struggled for the concept in the rights of humans and liberty long before we were born and that these fights for rights and for liberties actually ensued as a result of original ideas many of those ideas contained within the Magna Carta and in the  traditions of the English common law and these ideas themselves really ensue from the human mind as it evolved over the eons. Colonists, many of them right here in Philadelphia, also enjoy these rights under charters developed in the colonies. Right here in Pennsylvania as the Judge mentioned Penn imported several of Magna Cartas fundamental guaranties into the Constitution for Pennsylvania. One of the first books printed right here in Philadelphia was Frame of Government of Pennsylvania prefaced with the text of the Magna Carta. Printed at Penn's request the book clearly shows that he intended Magna Carta to form the basis for the colonists rights and liberties. A century later Benjamin Franklin also developed an interest in the document and probably the oldest printed version of Magna Carta in American belonged to Benjamin Franklin. The struggle keep the same rights as their fellow subjects in England showed as a colonists rallied against the Stamp Act believing that the act violated rights that Magna Carta guaranteed. They interpreted part of Magna Carta to mean that taxes should not be imposed without representation and the consent of the citizens. Gatherings to appeal this taxation without representation were the first if halting steps to an independent United States. The Great Charters influence did not stop there. As we developed our form of government in the Constitution and guaranteed our citizens certain liberties this heritage is most clearly apparent in the Bill of Rights Fifth Amendment guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the process of law and that the accused shall enjoy the right to speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. So over hundred times since then our Supreme Court has cited Magna Carta in its decisions clearly this document displayed here is relevant today. That's when King Edward reissued the charter as a sign of his intention to abide by its terms that in this document at Independence National Historical Park unites it with the Parks own collection of historic documents including early copies the Declaration of Independence and Constitution displayed in the West Wing of Independence Hall along with the silver inkstand used to sign those founding documents. This is the first time since the Constitution Bicentennial that Magna Carta has been in Philadelphia now visitors will have a unique opportunity to see these historic documents as Americans have flocked to their national parks since the tragedy of 911 they can take pride in seeing our common culture legacy as Americans here in the national park. Bringing this document to Philadelphia was not a solo effort and the National Park Service appreciates the efforts of the Magna Carta Foundation the work of Judge Becker we really appreciate your help Judge and Steve Harmelin for providing the spark that made this return! engagement possible I should also acknowledge our partners from the Independence Visitors Center Corporation and to the Delaware River Port Authority for their financial support for this exhibit. We are also indebted to the Library Company of Philadelphia for their loan of other important documents in this exhibit. Finally this could not have happened without the cooperation and vision of the Perot Foundation and the National Archives for allowing this exhibition to take up temporary residence here in Philadelphia and finally as you view this copy of the Magna Carta, and participate in this ceremony I ask you to use the power of your individual mind to reflect on the ideas contained within it for in the final analysis it is the power of the mind to create ideas that will provide protection for life's greatest evolutionary achievement to this point and by that I mean the human spirit.

Judge Becker

I also want to acknowledge with thanks the role of Lewis Ted Neilson, Chancellor of the Magna Charta Dames and Barons, and Matt Dupee, head of the Philadelphia Chapter of the English Speaking Union here in Philadelphia; both are here and both did wonderful work in helping put this together. I also note Albert Rosenblatt of the New York Court of Appeals and Jerome Shestack a prominent Philadelphia Lawyer and former President of the American Bar Association.

I would now like to introduce Bonnie Grant who is the Deputy City Representative appearing on behalf of Philadelphia 4th of July Festivities and Welcome American and our Mayor, John F. Street.
Bonnie Grant, Deputy City Representative

Good morning everyone. It is my honor to be here representing Mayor Street and he brings his greetings to all of the distinguished guests and thanks to Judge Becker and Steve hormone, Independence Visitors Center and all the hospitality organizations who are working hard on this Fourth of July to create a wonderful ten day festival known as Sunoco Welcome American.  Sunoco Welcome America was established in 1993 as an extension of the freedom festival to Celebrate Americans Birthday at America's Birthplace and I cannot endorse anything more fitting than having the Magna Carta Exhibit opening the day before we all gather at Independence Hall to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 which was to preserve those very rights. Tomorrow I will have the distinct honor of being your host for that. I hope you join us on the south side of Independence Hall as we award the Liberty Medal to Secretary Colin Powell. Then we have wonderful activities for the rest of the day. We have a wonderful Pennsylvania Memories Last A Lifetime parade at 6:00 followed by the Sunoco Sweet Sounds of Liberty Concert and Fireworks. We couldn't do this without our sponsor Sunoco and about a hundred and fifty other sponsors. And All the organizations that have worked to bring this Magna Carta to Philadelphia are so very important to the hospitality industry. On behalf of the Mayor and the one and one-half million citizens of Philadelphia and the many many thousands, hundreds of thousands in the region, I would like to thank Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Association, I think I saw Meryl Levitz here, the Center City District, the Independence Visitors Center, our coming National Constitution Center and there are many many more and all the departments in the City Philadelphia. So please enjoy the rest of the festival. We have festivities this year lasting until July 7th: On Friday we have an event in F! DR Park, called Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie, a true celebration of America;  on Saturday we have a new event called Try On The Arts which celebrates our neighborhood art organizations - they will all be gathering at City Hall Plaza with performing arts throughout the day followed by the Two Cities Two States Concert and Fireworks featuring the Baha Men and the Marvelettes; on Sunday we have a great gospel gathering at the Mann with many other events going on. We welcome you, we encourage you to attend and you couldn't be in a better place than Philadelphia to celebrate Americans birthday. Thank you.

Judge Becker

We now have our final speaker, the Right Honorable Lord Goldsmith QC, Her Majesty's Attorney General. I won't give you Lord Goldsmiths early history. I will, however, identify him as a Liverpudlian and the illuminati among you will recognize that that means he is from Liverpool. I can tell you, and maybe this will elevate him to still greater prominence, that he went to the same high school as John Lennon. He pursued a somewhat different career than John Lennon; he didn't need three other guys, he was pretty much on his own. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and the University of London. He embarked on an absolutely brilliant legal career. He became the Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales and he is now , as the Attorney General of the United Kingdom, the chief legal advisor to the Blair government and a key member of Tony Blair's cabinet. He is the Director of Public Prosecution which means that he is in charge of all public ! prosecution in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. He was the Prime Minister's personal representative to the Convention for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. We are delighted to have you here.

Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith, QC, Her Majesty's Attorney General

I start by thanking Judge Becker for that introduction and picking out my real claim to fame. I would also like to thank the Woldingham Girls Choir I think it is wonderful to have a such a beautifully singing choir from my country present here today.

It is, in fact, an enormous privilege and pleasure to be here for what is really a celebration of the great charter, Magna Carta. As Judge Becker has shown and as Mr. Don Murray has elaborated and as Bonnie Grant has also demonstrated the words of this most famous of charters have the greatest of influence on the birth of the American Constitution, that great beacon of light in the free world. But, for us in the United Kingdom, too, it is of course a great inspiration to which we turn time and time again. And, whenever men and women, free men and women, in the English-speaking world rise to boast  their freedom or to warn off those who would assail it is the name of Magna Carta which comes first to their tongues.

But why should  a document, a settlement of grievances between the king and his barons and his church over 700 years ago be of such import. I believe there are three particular reasons:

First -  because it shows that the power of the mightiest king may be limited and controlled by written draft, by written Constitution if you will;

Second - because it contains the most basic and most fundamental of our principles and they have been referred to already today;

But third, and for me as a lawyer, this is key because the Magna Carta extols above all the law, the power of law and the rule of law. Judge Becker has referred to two of its most famous articles Article 40, to no one will be sold to no one deny or delay right or justice, and to Article 39 which ends with the words that no punishment or dispossession will be except by the law of the land. Those three words, in the original Latin: "per legem terrae"   have been the most influential words in the history of the common-law. They mean due process of law they mean the rule of law they are very essence of our protection of social and political justice. So it is entirely fitting to celebrate this in Philadelphia, the city where the Magna Carta of a new continent as Thomas Jefferson called the Declaration of Independence, was written and published. And, that event which you celebrate tomorrow and which I am privileged to celebrate with you is also a celebration of our common heritage of the law because the American independence was an independence founded on the law. If I may quote the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court:  "The American Constitutional System was inspired by fundamental confidence in law as a liberating force....When we declared independence, he says, we conceived of our cause, we found our identity, we justified our rebellion in legal terms." And that law is a shared heritage between our two countries and at a time when we face the difficulties and the challenges of the world after September the 11th to share as a common bond is legal heritage is a very precious thing which is another indication how close our two countries stand together. Yesterday  Prime Minister Tony Blair said our two countries have never been closer so I am particularly proud to be a part of the celebrations tomorrow.

Let me conclude with a message that I will read from our Majesty the Queen to President Bush for Independence Day she says this I send my warmest greetings to you Mr. President on the celebration of your Independence Day and in  admiration for the courage of the people of the United States of America during these difficult times. Please convey my best wishes for their future good fortune and happiness signed Elizabeth Regina Elizabeth Queen.

I am deeply honored to share this important moment with you and privileged that we can together celebrate this most important part of our common heritage, Magna Carta. Thank you.

Judge Becker

We are shortly to move to the exhibit space downstairs to unveil the Magna Carta but before we do so we will close this portion of event with the Woldingham School Girls Choir presenting a special selection in honor of Lord Goldsmith our guests from England and in celebration of Americans birthday tomorrow, the fourth of July.

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