Sunday morning ramblin’s

By Fred Kelly Grant

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What is the “Fourth Estate”?  Traditionally it was the phrase used by the English to describe the Press as a Fourth Estate of Government: Crown, Clergy and Commoners in the Parliament and the Press in the galleries.  The phrase is popularly attributed to Sir Edmund Burke, famed Prime Minister of England.  In the book Heroes and Hero-Worship in History” Thomas Carlyle says this:  “Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament [Crown, clergy and Commoners)  but in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth estate more important far than them all.”  For much of my youth I heard references to the Press as the Fourth Estate.  And, with such names as John Chancelor, Edward R. Murrow, HV Kaltenborn, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, John Cameron Swayze,  Howard K. Smith, Walter Cronkite, Lawrence Spivak, Marvin Kalb, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert the title was earned.

But things have changed.  The news today is either doubted as “fake” (and the believers in the “fake” syndrome end up not knowing much of what is going on) or is used for polarization purposes.  So there’s the Fox crowd and the MSNBC crowds and never the twain shall meet.  We no longer refer to the press as the Fourth Estate.

But there is definitely a Fourth Estate existent in the United States Government today:  the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary are created as the three Constitutional Estates of government.  The Fourth is composed of the regulatory agencies which exercise more control of our lives right now than did the bureaucrats that served the Crown prior to the Revolution—the bureaucrats that ignited the fires of Revolution particularly in the trade focused northern and eastern seaboard states.  The regulators’ government is not created by the Constitution; it is an Estate of Government that created itself outside the parameters of the Constitution, believing that it has no limits.

Well, its time to do something about curbing it. (final notes of the night before retiring)owHHow

I sit here this Sunday morning, having spent most of Saturday night finishing off some letters that need to go out sooner than later, thinking back over the years of my 81 that I can remember.  It has been a long and winding road from Hartsville, South Carolina for a kid that was shy and self conscious, with few friends and a family that worked every day of the week.  My grandparents and mother were all in the retail grocery and café business and there were no regular Sundays 0ff where every one just enjoyed a family day together.  When in South Carolina we planned on a dinner at Aunt Genie’s or Aunt Leta
Belle’s, it had to be planned in advance for several weeks.  Those folks had no days off, they were farmers who had stock to feed and machinery to move on 7 days a week.

My life has always focused on the job.  The closest thing I ever had to a “regular” work week was at the radio stations where I worked six days a week and had Saturdays off.  I was in College during that time so Saturdays were study days except in  the summer time when I kicked back and really enjoyed the day off.

I haven’t had a regular day off each week since I started law school.  There is always something that needs finished or started.  Even now at 81 years of age.  And, now, when with good sense I would have already retired, I look toward the future and development  of an Institute that will perform two very critical tasks:  offer litigation training for implementation and enforcement of coordination, and offer pre paid lawyers to file lawsuits or take whatever action necessary to curb overzealous regulators.

Why undertake this now?  Why not let someone else take it up?  Because I am afraid no one would do it. So many lawyers shy from it either because they can’t make as much money solving problems as they can in administrative appeals, or because they don’t understand it, or because it is something new and outside the box where creativity helps you win.  Lawyers for the most part don’t like “outside the box.” I have such a compulsive feeling that the coordination process can be the force that curbs rampant regulators that I just can’t sit and wait and hope that someone  picks up the cause.

Many of you have urged me to groom successors, and this Institute would do that.  By offering in class study, on line study and workbook by mail as well as regional work shops, the process would be taught. By offering a law firm of its own, the Institute would furnish the firepower to make it happen.

I have long believed that the use of the coordination process by local governments is the only answer to the alphabet regulators of the Fourth Estate of government, which the regulators themselves  have created from holecloth.  There is no regulatory branch of government mentioned in the Constitution; so the only  check and balance on what the regulators do is the Supreme Court.  I do not like any government body that is free from tight, direct oversight.   That is what is missing with the Fourth Estate, and that is what is wrong with our government right now.   In the 1770s the regulators of the Crown agitated Americans to Revolution; will the regulators of 2017 agitate Americans to coordination?  Time will tell.  I will do what I can to set the stage.

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