2:45 – GET DAVE AND MARCIE TO TELL PEOPLE TO SIT DOWN
3:00: Samantha Becker and Steven Augustus would like to thank you all for being here with them today, and for supporting them through everything that it has taken to make this day a reality. Thanks everyone from coming from such distances and everyone who helped decorate this home and themselves for this special day. It’s a pleasure to have you here to celebrate with them in their home.
We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of these two people, Samantha & Steve, who stand before you, their beloved friends, family and neighbors in trust and love, with hope and wishes.
They ask us all to be present with them and to rejoice in their companionship and their love.
A formality but also a foundation. A legality but also a labor of love. A partnership but also a pair-bonding. Even for two people who have shared their lives as long and as deeply as Steve and Samantha have, marriage is in some ways the next step and in many ways the natural extention of their lives together, lives already shared with Davin, Theo, and Abby, the journey they have already been on.
On this day of your marriage, you stand within the charmed circle of your great love and the greater circle of those who love you.
Reading 1 - Buffy from Corinthians
Reading 2 – Kari from Shakespeare
Samantha to Steve – repeat after me
I Samantha take thee Steve to be my husband, my lover, my madman, my poet, my bear. For better or for worse for richer or poorer in sickness and in health in disagreement and harmony for all the days of my life.
Steve to Samantha – repeat after me
I Steve take you Samantha to be my spouse in our civil marriage to have and to hold from this day on for better, for worse for richer, for poorer to love and to cherish forever or all the days of my life.
Will you Samantha have Steve to be united as one in your civil marriage?
Will you Steve have Samantha to be united as one in your civil marriage?
Steve will you now place the ring on Samantha’s finger and repeat after me please? I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I choose you.
Samantha will you now place the ring on Steve’s finger and repeat after me please? I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I choose you.
By the authority vested in me by the voters of Randolph & the state of Vermont, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now celebrate with your first kiss as husband and wife. Congratulations.
Please join Frank/Lee, Marcy/Keith, Dwight/Arlene and Danny/Kari and Anne in the receiving line.
Thank you all for coming…. We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of these two people, Rich & Rachel, who stand before you in love, in trust, in joy and in hope. They ask us to be present with them and to rejoice in their companionship and their love.
Love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. It serves as a source of common energy, as a form in which you find the strength to live your lives with courage. It’s the original perpetual motion machine once you set it going. Its energy sustains families, communities and ultimately the world. It’s a great thing you’ve got here. From this day onward, you will come closer together than ever before; you will carry on loving one another in sickness and health, for better and for worse, when you’re close and when you’re far away.
Your love also gives you the strength to stand apart, to seek out your unique destinies, to make your special contributions to the world. It is a thing which is always part of us… and more than us. On this day of your marriage, you stand within the charmed circle of your great love and the greater circle of those who love you.
The JP job has a lot more to do with voting than marrying. That is, if you don’t want to, you don’t really have to marry anyone, but part of the gig is checking voter registrations, being present at the polls, delivering ballots to people who can’t be at the polls, and counting write-in votes.
I’ve been digging through the pile of paperwork I got at the Board of Civil Authority meeting (a board I was not on when I went, but I am on now) and it’s mostly straightforward stuff. I’m surprised, as always, just how much of this stuff really is codified and written down. Only sort of related, I found this book on Open Library that talks about how soldiers voted when they were off fighting the Civil War. Sort of interesting if you’re nerdy about this sort of thing. If you, too, are interested check out Voting in the Field, a forgotten chapter of the Civil War.
Since it is now February I am now a Justice of the Peace. Feels mostly the same so far. I’ve amended the header text on this blog. I can now marry anyone who wants to be married in the State of Vermont. From the Board of Civil Authority meeting last night it appears that the majority of my time will be spent counting write-in ballots after Town Meeting next month.
“Welcome aboard! Bring armor.”—The Town Clerk’s response to me when I dropped off my paperwork and asked if there was anything else I needed to know before the Board of Civil Authority meeting tomorrow.
I’m going to dial it back a little bit in 2013. The daily posts have been great fun but the pickings are slim until I actually start my post in February (and maybe even after that). Feel free to send on suggested links/images to me, my first name at the gmail machine.
So San Diego was a place before it was a place in the United States. Most people know this What I did not know was how the governmental system worked in places that were sort of becoming part of the US and sort of part of another country. A peek into the digital archives of the University of Southern California finds this neat letter (original written in Spanish but with a translation written in English afterwards) where the JP of San Diego in 1836 writes to the folks in Los Angeles to ask why they’re incommunicado. Based on this Wikipedia page, I believe the translation of the JPs name is wrong and the letter is actually from Santiago Argüello the last full-time Commandant of the area and the second Justice of the Peace (Juez de Paz).
One of the historical jobs Justices of the Peace would sometimes do in the course of their duties was to issue certificates of freedom. These were papers that black people would have to carry on them in many states to ensure that they would not be harassed as runaway slaves. Since this was pre-photography in many cases, there would be descriptions of the people carrying the papers to make sure that they were not using someone else’s certificate of freedom. Here is some more description of the process.
So some days people send me things for this blog and other times I just do some idle Googling while things are slow at MetaFilter. So I look for things like the phrase “Justice of the peace” juxtaposed with words like crazy, funny, weird, interesting, etc.
I’m not even sure what I was looking for the other day when I found this Wikipedia page about Conservators of the Peace. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, this is a similar office to JPs but with a few miscellaneous other bits to it. I had never heard of this before and was surprised. After doing some more digging—check the citations at the end of the Wikipedia articles, folks!—it seems that the article is based almost entirely on one guy’s “research" (pdf, but it’s basically the same as the Wikipedia article) a guy whose job just happens to be running training classes for Virginia CPsand who this guy has a sort of checkered past with the whole CP thing but appears to be an attorney who defends gun cases. Huh. Here’s more on the odd Virginia Conservator of the Peace designation which the Washington Post calls “archaic.”
So, even though the research document is legit and has real citations and all the rest, the fact that there’s a Wikipedia article which basically cribs from it is not at all cool from a Wikipedia standpoint. And I was partway in to going down the path to formally objecting to all of this when I realized that I’d started out doing something else and that I would rather be doing that something else, but I’m leaving a note here for later about it. Neat, huh?
In Queensland Australia there are two main types of Justices of the Peace. The one kind is called Justice of the Peace (Qualified) which sort of calls into question what the other kind is called…. which is C.decs (commissioner of declarations). The second type are just for getting your document signatures witnessed. The other sort have a small amount of training, or qualifications. when you buy your JP merch, you have to tell them what sort of JP you are. More details about this from the JP FAQ.
[T]hat is what this season is meant to remind us of.
Forgiveness is not a behavior, but an expansion of awareness beyond the duality of guilt and blame, right and wrong. It is not an excuse for inaction during times of crisis or wrongdoing, but a request for compassion and tolerance to guide one’s response. It is the ability to embrace a more expanded consciousness in which the context of a situation is seen as being part of a larger whole, all of which are seated within a love and intelligence beyond our comprehension.
Blogging by members of the judiciary is not prohibited. However, officer holders who blog (or who post comments on other people’s blogs) must not identify themselves as members of the judiciary. They must also avoid expressing opinions which, were it to become known that they hold judicial office, could damage public confidence in their own impartiality or in the judiciary in general.
The above guidance also applies to blogs which purport to be anonymous. This is because it is impossible for somebody who blogs anonymously to guarantee that his or her identity cannot be discovered.
Which calls into question the future of the anonymous Magistrates blog which I mentioned earlier and while still seems to be chugging along just fine (and discussed this matter here in three parts 1, 2, 3). This has less than nothing to do with me or this blog but I found it interesting. Via my favorite new amusing judicial blog, Legal Cheek.
The old-fashioned Justice of the Peace, who hung out a shingle and married people and performed minor judicial duties, no longer exists in Maine.
However, reality is even more complicated. Thanks to what they call “a constitutional problem” the office formerly called Complaint Justice is now the office called Justice of the Peace and that person must be an actual lawyer. I was curious what this was about and have been browsing the Maine Notary Guide (Maine is one of only three US states that allow Notaries to marry people) but am no closer to understanding this.
Your Petitioner further States that he hastily arose from his bed, and enquired into the cause of her intrusion upon his repose; When he was informed that a Justice of the Peace who was in company in a fit of intoxication had joined them together as man and wife, and at a time when your Petitioner was utterly insensible of the whole transaction—Upon thisinformation he precepetately retire, with pungent feelings of grief; and Alas! when too late protested against the proceedings of that fatal night.
This fortuitous occurrence has proved as destructive to the repose of your Petitioner; and has excited as much consternation among his friends; as was experienced by the Trojans, upon the introduction of the Grecian Horse into Troy.
When I worked at the library, one of the things that brought people in was access to family history. The census is a public record but many people didn’t know how to access it or interact with it. Marriage records are public too, but most of the time are not “surfaced” the way the census information is. The New Orleans city archives has indexed their marriage licenses between the years 1846 and 1880 and made them available online. Just names, you have to send in $2 to get an actual copy, but it’s a great way to peek into NOLA history and a marvelous archive to have online.
“We are used to hearing the words “by the power vested in me by the State of California (or increasingly, the Universal Life Church) but it’s quite another thing, and thrilling indeed, to hear a member of the Supreme Court utter the words “by the authority vested in me by the constitution and laws of the United States,” knowing she is one of only eight other people in the world who can do so.”—A nice story about a wedding where Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the officiant.
Justice of the Peace Michael Little told a crowd in Wichita Falls, Texas today that part of his job is declaring people dead where they die and not where they might have been the victim of foul play. The attention of University Kiwanis Club of Wichita Falls members was riveted as Judge Little told them the story of a man who was shot to death in another county but who did not die until he was admitted into a Wichita Falls hospital.
But I’ve been reading a bit about wedding officiants. Apparently, and this should not surprise me, there are sites where you can find them and some of them like Wedding Wire allow people to rate their experiences. Show up five minutes before the wedding starts, or try to foist your values on someone or call a woman by her soon-to-be-husband’s last name and it will be on the internet forever.
I peeked at how some of the people in my area are advertising themselves. I found out that there used to be a VermontJP.com website (now defunct) and read a nice outline on Kathryn Blume’s website about whether to go with a Justice of the Peace or what she is, a Universal Life Church minister. Her page is called JP or Me? and it’s worth reading.
For people who are interested in what a JP might deal with on a day to day basis, this is a blog that has been running for over six years. Once a single-author blog and now written by a team. This is in the UK where the JPs get to oversee some criminal court matters. Here is their What Do We Actually Do Then? post from 2009.
Wyoming gave women the right to vote in 1869. At this time many women were appointed to various political positions including Esther Hobart Morris who was the first female JP in the United States. Vermont followed with women’s suffrage soon afterwards in 1880. Here is a story about an early JP, possibly Morris, who was appointed to a position in a mining town in Wyoming.
[Suffrage], however, was finally approved, and the writer of this article, exercising at that time the appointing power, proceeded to select incumbents for county offices from among the newly-enfranchised citizens. Among others, a lady was appointed to the office of Justice of the Peace in a thickly-settled mining locality, which theretofore had not been noted for strict adhesion to legal tenets. She at once familiarized herself with the principles of common law and with the Territorial statutes, and for nearly a year performed her official duties with signal ability and success. Her court sessions were characterized by a degree of gravity and decorum rarely exhibited in the judicature of border precincts. Shortly after her appointment and qualification, an ineffectual attempt was made by certain unbelieving attorneys to demonstrate womans unfitness for judicial position; and to this end the following case was submitted, with the belief that she would erroneously proceed to its adjudication.
Her predecessor had performed some official act subsequent to her entrance upon judicial duty, and for this alleged misfeasance he was cited to appear be- fore the court of his successor. Counsel presented exhaustive pleas, at the conclusion of which Her Honor decided, that the point in issue was a question as to whether her predecessor at the time alleged had a right to perform any official act; that such an issue could only be settled by some superior tribunal; that hers was not such a tribunal; therefore she had no jurisdiction and would dismiss the case.
Her decisions in civil causes were sometimes appealed from by the parties deeming themselves aggrieved; but in nearly every instance they were confirmed by the appellate court. During her administration a decided improvement in the tone of public morals was noticeable, and the laws had never been so ably administered in that vicinity. If any errors of judgment crept in, they were on the side of justice rather than mercy, especially when the opposite sex appeared as defendants or alleged criminals.
The inhabitants of new mining countries are prone to administer justice in accordance with their own notions of right, regardless of legal forms preferring the ancient trial by battle rather than the interposition of pleas, petitions, and demurrers. This unfortunate public sentiment was happily neutralized through her influence, and it may be safely asserted that the pioneer female Justice was in all respects successful.
While I don’t intend for this to become a “Wacky laws of olden tymes” blog, reading old JP manuals is often an exercise in looking at the things that used to be against the rules, and extrapolating about what that meant society back then would have been like. So, no surprise that Connecticut was hardass about messing about on the Sabbath, but looking at this list of crimes from a magistrates manual from London in 1816, I do get a little amused.
I am home with leftovers and making a concerted effort to Buy Nothing today. However if you are out and about in the malls of Morayfield, Queensland AUS, you can pop by and get a justice of the peace to sign and witness stuff. Have not seen this sort of thing available in the US but have not been looking too hard.