Are Government Historians Rewriting Supreme Court History?

On January 27, 2017, I posted the following on Facebook:

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted: ‘If there is a move to deport immigrants, I say then start with me.’ I would like to note two problems with his comment and make one comment of my own: First, he’s not an immigrant. He and his father were born in the USA, and second, it’s about ‘illegal’ immigrants. Comment: Even so, we would love to see you go.”

In doing some Googling, I learned that he had said something similar in November 2016. Here’s what I posted on FB before I learned that he was standing behind the pulpit of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem:

“Saw this photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Does anyone know what the building is in the background? It looks like a numerical representation of the First Table of the Law, the Ten Commandments. If it is, it makes one wonder how he can support abortion on demand when the Ten Commandments are looking over his shoulder [that includes the commandment prohibiting murder].

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

The First Table of the Law and the Second Table of the Law make up part of the wall behind the pulpit of the church.

Ten Commandments_abyssinian-baptist-church

Now comes the point of this article. Someone made the following comment after reading my FB post:

“When we toured the Supreme Court this past May, the guide said the numbers [of the frieze The Majesty of Law] were for the . . . bill of rights. I was shocked. They are slowly but surely erasing our heritage.”

Yes, if you take a tour of the Supreme Court the guides will tell you that the image below sitting between the two men, that looks similar to the Two Tables of the Law that are behind the pulpit at Abyssinian Baptist Church, represents the first ten original amendments to the Bill of Rights:

Majesty of Law_Ten Commandments
Majesty of Law and Power of Government

Here’s how the above frieze (which is part of a larger frieze) is described:

The East Wall Frieze is located directly above the Bench. At the center are two male figures: on the left is the Majesty of Law with a book of law at his side; to the right is the Power of Government who holds the fasces, an ancient Roman symbol of authority. According to a letter from Weinman to Gilbert describing the design for this frieze, the pylon carved with the Roman numerals I to X between the two central figures symbolizes the first ten amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights. Behind the central group, an American eagle spreads its wings.”

The thing of it is, a 1975 visitor’s guide that is posted on the National Park Service website says something different:

“Directly above the Bench are two central figures, depicting Majesty of the Law and Power of Government. Between them is a tableau of the Ten Commandments. The group at the far left represents Safeguard of the Rights of the People, and Genii of Wisdom and Statecraft. At the far right is the Defense of Human Rights.”

Reading further, you will find the following:

“(Correction–Please note that since the time this report was published in 1986 more recent scholarship (http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/east&westwalls.pdf) reveals that the above paragraph should be amended to read: ‘At the center are two male figures: on the left is the Majesty of Law with a book of law at his side; to the right is the Power of Government who holds the fasces, an ancient Roman symbol of authority. According to a letter from Weinman to Gilbert describing the design for this frieze, the pylon carved with the Roman numerals I to X between the two central figures symbolizes the first ten amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights.’)

In Weinman’s original notes, he states that the pylon represents the Ten Commandments:

The pylon with the ten Roman numerals might be linking the Ten Commandments and the Ten Amendments. David Bjelajac writes that the pylon “carved with Roman numerals for the ‘Bill of Rights[s]’ of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, suggests kinship with Jehovah’s Ten Commandments.”1

There’s a great deal of historical revisionism going on that the tour guides and the general public are not aware of. For more information on the historical shenanigans taking place, see Bob Unruh’s article “Ten Commandments ‘cover-up’ revealed at Supreme Court” and Dr. Catherine Millard’s “The Ten Commandments above the Bench – Inner Courtroom of the U.S. Supreme Court.”


  1. David Bjelajac, “Masonic Fraternalism and Muhammad Among the Lawgivers in Adolph A. Weinman’s Sculpture Frieze for the United States Supreme Court (1931-1935),” The Image of the Prophet between Ideal and Ideology: A Scholarly Investigation, eds. Christiane J. Gruber, Avinoam Shalem (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter Gmbh, 2014), 380. He cites Adolph Weinman, Undated Transcript Notes on Symbolism of Supreme Court Frieze, Weinman Papers, Series 8: Project Files, U.S. Supreme Court Frieze, Notes, undated (Reel 5890, from 959), Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. 

Tags

Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

Please leave your comments below