Sunday, March 27, 2011

Give me your stuff, sayeth Uncle Sam

Our Supreme Court appears to have had far more power than it appears the founders thought it would. Alexander Hamilton, for one, wrote in Federalist no. 78:

“It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other two; and that all possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against their attacks. It equally proves, that though individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter; I mean so long as the judiciary remains truly distinct from both the legislature and the Executive. For I agree, that "there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers." And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments; that as all the effects of such a union must ensue from a dependence of the former on the latter, notwithstanding a nominal and apparent separation; that as, from the natural feebleness of the judiciary, it is in continual jeopardy of being overpowered, awed, or influenced by its co-ordinate branches; and that as nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office, this quality may therefore be justly regarded as an indispensable ingredient in its constitution, and, in a great measure, as the citadel of the public justice and the public security.” (footnotes omitted).”

Let me shrink that down for those of you who go pale at the sight of anything longer than a text message. The judiciary is the weakest of the three branches because it is powerless to attack the other two branches, can barely defend itself, and really can’t harm the people as long as it remains independent from the other branches. Because it is so weak, the judges need to be appointed for life, which is indispensible to keep their independence.

But in the next paragraph Hamilton states the very reason, unbeknownst to him, that the Supreme Court would later become so powerful in spite of its expected weakness:

“The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.”

Which means that since the Constitution make the power of the legislature limited – for example, it forbids making something already done illegal (no ex post facto laws) - the only way to keep it that way is for the independent court to declare any such law void – or unconstitutional.

Of course, it doesn’t actually say in the Constitution that the Supreme Court can do this, but in the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison, which was most brilliantly covered in this blog on 10/29/10, Hamilton’s protégé, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall made this part of his argument when he declared it the courts’ business to say what the law is and garnered to them the ability to declare the laws made by the other two branches unconstitutional.

Of course, like our congress and our executives, the Supreme Court can be pretty boneheaded and it makes me happy to point it out when they are. Here are five bad cases by the court (I’d do the traditional ten, but I’m so damn wordy) which have worn away your property rights. You might agree or not with the court. I don't.

1. Wickard v. Filburn (1942)

One of the issues that has been fought the longest in Supreme Court history is over the meaning of the interstate commerce clause, found in Article 1, section 8 of the constitution, which expressly gives congress the right to regulate interstate commerce. Often in cases, it is couple with the “necessary and proper” clause, which gives the congress the right to make laws which are not technically within their expressed power, but which are necessary and proper to carry them into execution (at an early point, “necessary” was interpreted to mean “convenient” - but I'm not going there). Over the course of two centuries, that commerce clause's meaning has been tremendously expanded, as the commerce clause was interpreted not just to mean congress should be the umpire and make the states play fair with each other, but to cover any activities which were in some way related to commerce taking place in more than one state or even locally if it might have an affect on interstate commerce, no matter how remotely. I don’t mean to argue out the merits of the two sides, as it has really been long decided. But, some cases do go just too. Wickard was an extraordinarily bad decision in my book.

During the depression, the federal government restricted the growing of wheat because it actually wanted to control the price of it (basic economics – supply and demand affect price). Roscoe Filburn – what a great name – was a farmer who grew a little extra wheat on his farm to use to feed his family and his livestock. He was limited by the federal government to growing wheat on about 11 acres, but used about 23. Since he wasn’t selling this wheat on the market, let alone the interstate market, he questioned how the federal government could tell him what to do with his own property.

At the time, in constitutional law, there were still some division between whether activities were local or non-local, and whether they had a direct or indirect effect on interstate commerce. Those activities which were local and had an indirect effect on interstate commerce were outside of the power of congress to control.

Although the idea had been brewing for a while, this case blew the doors off on restrictions of congress’s power under the commerce clause. The court ruled that it no longer mattered whether activity could be said to local or had an indirect effect on interstate commerce. “That an activity is of local character may help in a doubtful case to determine whether Congress intended to reach it.... But even if [someone’s] activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if [the activity] exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'”

Wow, so, even if congress is empowered only to regulate commerce that is interstate, it no longer matters if it is commerce or interstate – so long as it has a direct or indirect effect on interstate commerce. Yeah, they say "substantial" effect, but anything they decide is substantial is substantial.

When you consider the nature of the world, and how almost any activity can be made to relate to some other distant activity if one uses their imagination, it gives the government powers over the individual which are startling. Only in the 1990s were any brakes on this put at all, and those were not well made brakes. But, it is the line that has defined commerce clause litigation ever since.

In Filburn’s case, the food was for his family’s and animal’s consumption. The court reasoned that if he is feeding them, that means he is not buying the stuff on the market. And, though that might be a small amount, if you add it up with what everyone else might do, the activity would keep the government from regulating the price (in other words, preferring the command economy to the capitalist market economy).

Taking this case to its logical conclusion, the federal government could, in effect, tell you that you may not hunt, you may not fish, you may not eat the carrots in your garden plot. In effect, you buy what we want at the price we tell you that you must, or you starve. How far is this from the idea that the government is there to be the honest broker, and to make sure there is a level playing field? How far is it from what the Sheriff of Nottingham did in the tales about Robin Hood? Not very.

2. Daniel v. Paul

From time to time in this blog I believe I have mentioned my view of the use of the commerce clause to enforce anti-discrimination law, particularly the 1964 Civil Rights Act which forbids even private persons in interstate transportation or accommodation from discriminating based on color among other reasons. I believe the law, as applied to private citizens or companies, is unconstitutional, and the congress’s interstate commerce clause power does not extend so far as to force private citizens not to discriminate. On the other hand, I also feel that these were necessary laws and were among the best laws passed by congress in our history. It is a paradox, I know, but, I am not the first or will be the last to feel that way. Without going into it fully here, the reason is because of the nature of our initial constitution and culture, and the difficulties in race relations which have stemmed from it. But, that's for another day.

As to the 1964 act, probably the most famous case which came out this legislation was Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. (1964). There the court  found that congress did have such a power under the commerce clause. However, it must be noted that in that case not only was purposeful discrimination admitted by the defendant, but the motel also acknowledged that it was definitely acting in interstate commerce. So, I am skipping to a much less well known case which you will rarely ever see written about, but which was a much worse decision by the court.

That case is Daniel v. Paul (1969). In this case a husband and wife ran a private club in the middle of the woods connected to the world by little local country roads, which had a 25 cents membership, and where locals would go to swim, dance, eat and the like. Unlike the Heart of Atlanta Motel case, it was not near any interstate highways, and there was no admission of interstate commerce activity. In fact, it was found in the lower court that there was no proof that anyone ever went there from out of state.

The court, now several years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just didn’t care. They were going to find interstate commerce no matter how remote. Without any evidence, they just decided that it was foolish to think no one from out of state ever went there. They decided that somehow advertising in Little Rock Today and The Little Rock Air Force Journal (papers I’m sure y’all’ve read) were seeking interstate business, and they pointed out that since the incidental paddle boats, juke box and vinyl records must have been made out of state and at least some of the ingredients in their bread and soda too, that was good enough for them to find a connection of interstate commerce.

This, of course, makes a farce of the Act and the constitution. It means that no one can ever say that their business is purely local unless they neither have nor use any product in their establishment which was made out of state. And if there is such a business, if they use the telephones or have a television, I’m sure they would decide that was good enough too. Perhaps a wise man sitting on a mountain top in homespun cotton who does not advertise, have running water or a phone might qualify.

Even such a civil rights advocate as Hugo Black (please don’t point out he was momentarily in the Klan when he was young – yawn) thought this was just ridiculous and he dissented. First, he pointed out that every bit of evidence the court relied on was actually not in the record, not the food or juke box or records or boats. There was no proof at all about it. More, even if there were, this is just not good enough to find interstate commerce applies. He quoted Sen. Hubert Humphrey, a major supporter of the law, who stated in congress that it wasn’t meant to cover every business. The court did not care. Black wrote:

“It seems clear to me that neither the paddle boats nor the locally leased juke box is sufficient to justify a holding that the operation of Lake Nixon affects interstate commerce within the meaning of the Act. While it is the duty of courts to enforce this important Act, we are not called on to hold, nor should we hold, subject to that Act this country people's recreation center, lying in what may be, so far as we know, a little "sleepy hollow" between Arkansas hills miles away from any interstate highway. This would be stretching the Commerce Clause so as to give the Federal Government complete control over every little remote country place of recreation in every nook and cranny of every precinct and county in every one of the 50 States. This goes too far for me.”

It should be noted that Black, and also William O. Douglas, who concurred in the judgment, both thought the 14th amendment applied and would have made the law constitutional. I disagree there as well. There are better arguments on the side of the property owners there than on people who might want to use their property.

I don’t have to like or go to the Lake Nixon Club (and, incidentally, it looks like it is now a summer camp with an internet presence, but I have no idea who owns it, and I really doubt almost 50 years later they would still hold the same views) but if some people who live on a country road in Arkansas want to be prejudiced and keep blacks, gays, Jews atheists or far worse, bad dressers, off their property, that should be up to them, not me.

3. Flood v. Kuhn (1972)

This is one case in this series where I am not questioning the court’s use of the commerce clause, but its making an exception for one activity against all logic and reason. In doing so, it shows how subjective our supposedly objective court really is.

Curt Flood was a pretty good baseball player, maybe a great one. I will defer to commenters on that. At some point, inspired by the civil rights movement of the 1960s, he decided that Major League baseball’s reserve clause which enabled the first team to sign a player his keeper for his entire career, if it so desired, was akin to slavery. Flood wrote the following letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn:

"December 24, 1969

After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the several States.

It is my desire to play baseball in 1970, and I am capable of playing. I have received a contract offer from the Philadelphia club, but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decision. I, therefore, request that you make known to all Major League clubs my feelings in this matter, and advise them of my availability for the 1970 season."

The commish said no and Flood sued, taking the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. The argument was that the Sherman anti-trust law (based on the commerce clause) prevented baseball from this policy as it stifled competition. It actually was a matter that had been ruled on twice before by the court. In the first case, they decided that baseball was exempt from the federal anti-trust law because the business of baseball, wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (to show how little he knew of the game, he made baseball into two words), was a purely state activity. This was in 1922, and the court had yet to fully revolutionize the meaning of the interstate commerce clause. Thus, the federal government couldn’t make laws affecting state acts. It was a unanimous decision. That all changed dramatically in the following decades, as what was deemed interstate grew with the changing economy, and being local was no longer a bar to the commerce clause power. Yet,  still, in a 1952 case, the court stuck with its decision. This time two judges dissented, writing that times have changed and major league baseball was inarguably an interstate business. By, the 1970s, it was pretty clear that major league baseball was about as interstate a business as you can get, at least under the modern interpretation of the commerce law. This time three judges dissented, including William O. Douglas, who regretted his decision in favor of the baseball leagues in the previous decision twenty years before.

But, since the court ruled again for the leagues on the doctrine of stare decisis – that the matter was already decided in a previous case - why is it such a bad decision? Two main reasons. First, the Flood majority admitted that baseball was interstate commerce. They also admitted that they were basing their decision purely on stare decisis even though they had already decided in two other previous cases that boxing and football would not be exempted from the anti-trust law. It was a weak argument as well that if congress had meant to include baseball, it would have changed the law after the 1922 case. The second reason this decision was so bad is more style than substance. In his majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote a seven page love letter to baseball, even listing his favorite great players, many of whom I never heard of. Other justices and commentators felt this was not real dignified or judicial. What was he thinking? For these reasons, many think it a worse ruling than his Roe v. Wade opinion.

4. Kelo v. The City of New London (2005)

This one really made people angry. Even people who never listened to politics, didn’t really know what the Supreme Court was, were angry.

The City of New London decided to take some property from some homeowners. Government generally has that right under a doctrine known as eminent domain. However, the constitution states that if private property is taken for public use, there has to be reasonable compensation. This applied to the federal government. But, in what I believe was the earliest example of the high court deciding that some rights under the constitution were so important, they would be applied against the states, it was made to so apply in a railroad case in 1897, although as early as 1798 the court had indicated that this would be the case.

One of the questions arising out the “takings clause” is - what is public use? Sometimes that is an easy question. A public park, or a courthouse makes it easy. In Kelo though, the city wanted to take the properties and give it to a private corporation for a redevelopment plan. They wanted to bulldoze the old neighborhood, let Pfizer, the chemical giant, build a plant there, and put up new apartments for their employees. It was figured that this would increase the city's tax base. Pfizer, however, was given a few years  tax exemptions to induce them to come.

Why in the world would it be okay for a government to take one person’s private property and give it to another private entity – here a corporation? Some of the people involved had lived in their homes their entire lives. It just seems wrong, never mind the law.

So, why did five Supreme Court justices decide that it was okay? Like in most situations, there was precedent. In one case the court allowed the government to take property to eliminate a blighted neighborhood. In another case, Hawaii was actually allowed to redistribute the state’s land because almost three quarters of it was owned by just twenty two landowners. But, Kelo seemed like a great extension of this policy because the use would not really be public. The city just wanted to do it because they thought it might help and they claimed that if the purpose is public, even if private entitities benefitted, that was satisfactory.

The majority, including the usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, decided that “public purpose” was good enough to satisfy “public use” in the takings clause. It was a terrible decision in my book. As strange as the Hawaii case was, the government was remedying an absurd and intolerable situation, made possible by land ownership before Hawaii was even a state, near the beginning of its existence. In the other case, the feds were using their power to get rid of a blighted area where over 64 percent of the properties were beyond repair and another 18 percent or so at least needed major repairs. Neither situation is comparable to Kelo.

As a result of Kelo, almost all the states revised their own eminent domain rules. President Bush issued a presidential order (which any president could change) essentially ordering the federal government to avoid this situation.

And what about The City of New London? Did they increase their tax base? Of course not. The redeveloper could never raise the money after the area was bulldozed, and Pfizer, which moved in – they moved out before their tax exemption was up.

Total cost to New London – 78 million dollars.

8. Wilkie v. Robbins (2007)

This case barely got any attention compared to Kelo, but it is even worse in my mind. It is one of those decisions which makes you question the separation of powers as having any real meaning.

Like Kelo, it involves private property. But, in Kelo, at least the people whose property was taken got paid something. In Wilkie, the rancher got nothing. And, it wasn’t an eminent domain case. The federal government just pretty much wanted to steal it after they screwed up.

First, I have to explain what a Bivens case is. In Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that if there is an important constitutional right – in that case the 4th amendment rights to privacy – a person could sue the federal government even if there was no federal statute gave them that right expressly. And this seems only just – the constitution is the supreme law. If the federal government violates someone’s constitutional right then that person should have relief even if government doesn’t care to put one into law. However, it must be acknowledged that they haven't allowed it with every constitutional right.

Here’s what happened, as succinctly as I can put it. The government worked out a public easement with a Wyoming rancher, so that it could increase the public access to a national forest. So far, okay. But, the government forgot to file its easement, and the property was sold by the rancher to Frank Robbins, who was unaware of the easement. The government called on him and insisted he give them the same easement. He was willing to negotiate, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decided he should pay for their mistake (and it was not denied he was right under the law). In fact, the agent who called told him the federal government doesn't negotiate.

So, in the words of one BLM employee, they decided to “bury” him. As put by Robbins' lawyer, here’s how they did it. “The agents’ independently unlawful actions included intentionally trespassing on Robbin’s land, inciting a neighbor to ram a truck into Robbins while he was on horseback, breaking into his guest lodge, filing trumped-up felony charges against him without probably cause, and pressuring other government agents to impound [his] cattle without cause. . . cancel[ed] the right-of-way previously negotiated with [the prior owner] that was to have run with the land, filing doubtful administrative charges against [him] and selectively enforcing others, and they relying upon these charges to deny [him the recreational use and grazing permits essential to his cattle drive business, refusing to keep the main access route to Robbin’s property passable while fining Robbins for repairing the access road that the previous owner had been allowed to maintain, and interfering with his business by ‘videotap[ing] ranch guests during [a cattle] drive, even while the guests sought privacy to relieve themselves.’”

Sickening, right? One BLM employee even retired over the abuse and testified for Robbins. Sounds like a Steven Seagal movie, right?

The court ruled against Robbins suit for retaliation by the government for his insisting on his 5th amendment right to compensation for the taking (by the way, you can argue that Robbins could have taken one for the team and that he had received the benefit without the burden of the deal, but it was acknowledged that the law was in his favor and this was a “taking”).

Despite 35 years of Bivens claims at that point, the court decided that he could not use that process, even though he was undeniably harassed by government agents for the purpose of forcing him to give up a property right. Justice Souter, who wrote the majority opinion, stated as follows, which I believe sums up their reasoning:

“But unlike punishing someone for speaking out against the Government, trying to induce someone to grant an easement for public use is a perfectly legitimate purpose: as a landowner, the Government may have, and in this instance does have, a valid interest in getting access to neighboring lands.”

This is, of course, just double speak or mere rhetoric. They were punishing him for trying to exercise a constitutional right too. In Souter's first clause, he is speaking of what the government illegally does in punishing a person for exercising the write, but in his second clause, he switches to speaking of what the government’s legitimate purpose might be. But, in both instances the government might have legitimate purpose but unlawfully punish the person. If the government is trying to maintain public support for a war, which is legitimate, it still can’t deny you your speech rights (at least, pretty much not any more). If it needs to house soldiers, a legitimate purpose, it can’t choose your living room. If the government is trying to get a serial killer of the street, obviously a legitimate purpose, it can’t plant a bug in your living room without a warrant. Just the same, it is absurd to write that since urging someone to grant an easement is legitimate, the government can harass someone into doing so.

One of the reasons Bivens type relief was not given was because most of the harassments he suffered could be or were handled by some formal administrative remedy or case. In fact, the government even charged Robbins with a felony, and he had a trial at which the jury took only 30 minutes to acquit him, and after which one of the jurors stated that they had been shocked by the behavior of the government.

Justice Souter even admitted that “[a]gency appeals, lawsuits, and criminal defense take money, and endless battling depletes the spirit along with the purse.” Worse, he essentially acknowledged that constitutional rights were violated, and that Robbins would have relief for some of the acts – but not the cumulative pattern of harassment. What? If it is illegal for the police to turn your power off once a day to get you to confess to a crime, – is it not illegal to do it every day and bankrupt you by making complaints and going to court.

While it is admitted that the court has not allowed Bivens relief for every type of federal violation of constitutional rights, where there is proof that a concerted effort is made to violate a person’s rights by the federal government “by a thousand cuts,” of course a right to Bivens relief should stand. At this point, now that Robbins is decided, why should any federal agency not act like the BLM did in this case? If it wants your property, it will just wear you down and out, and even if you can prove it, there is nothing you can do about it. Bad decision. 


  1. Hamilton's protege, Marshall??? Hamilton disliked Marshall intensely as a Virginian. He was enraged at Adams for failing to appoint Patterson Chief Justice when Jay declined another go-round. The only thing Hamilton liked about Marshall was that he disliked Jefferson.

  2. No, sir. Hamilton and Marshall were not only friends, but they were both Washington (a Virginian, by the way) proteges and served him during the war. Both were federalists, although of different wings. Legally speaking, Marshall was definatively Hamilton's protege. Joseph Story quotes Marshall as saying that he was a school boy by Hamilton's side and some other strange metaphor about a flower in the sun I don't quite get. The basic con law we have today from Marshall was Hamiltonian, particularly over the supremacy of the federal government, the elasticity of the necessary and proper clause and the constitutionality of the first bank. They were also correspondents. Marshall supported Hamilton during the bank crisis and during the Jay Treaty, and, at Hamilton's suggestion, remained neutral between Burr and Jefferson, as Marshall was very big in Va. Their relationship is such that Samuel Konefsky wrote a book about the two of them (you can't get it except at a library). However, you are right that they both despised Jefferson, Marshall maybe even more than Hamilton - but he knew him better, and to really know Jefferson, is to . . . .

  3. I disagree. Perhaps it's the word protege. True they held similar opinions on many things, got on well for a bit,and worked for Washington, but Marshall was John Adam's right hand man and once Hamilton turned on Adams he had little use for Marshall. Again, he was furious that Marshall was named chief justice over Patterson, a staunch Federalist rather than an "Adams Federalist". Protege means someone under one's training or protection. Hardly the case with Marshall and Hamilton.

  4. Wiseguy, eh. I take your reply and raise you this. You can argue about the word, but I meant it as in one who expressly learned from another in a field, not in the sense of an apprentice, and it seems to me it fits with them. But, in order to foil you, I went to the sum of all knowledge in the world - Google, and popped in their names and the world protege. At least one respected (but very controversial) historian, Tom DiLorenzo, being interviewed, stated as follows:

    "Chief Justice John Marshall was a protégé of Hamilton's, and essentially plagiarized large sections of Hamilton's writings in some of his judicial opinions in order to expand this evil form of constitutional destruction, expand the dictatorial powers of the executive branch, and grow the central government far beyond what the Constitution called for. That's why one of the chapters of 'Hamilton's Curse' is entitled 'Hamilton's Disciple: How John Marshall Subverted the Constitution.'"

    I am sure others have used it the same way. As for Hamilton, I do not believe he ever disliked Marshall, who really took over the Federalist party after Adams was out of office (and Hamilton had sidelined himself). All the Federalists thought Paterson should get the job - even Marshall suggested it to Adams. Not only that, But Paterson had said he didn't want it and would not accept (I have a letter in my library - 1/25/1801)in which he so states and describes Marshall as a genius).

    You will have to show me some evidence that Hamilton had no use for Marshall at any time. Always willing to learn. In the meantime I am going to the judges (myself, Tom DiLorenzo and Paterson's ghost).

    Thanks for the debate.

  5. Anonymous6:12 AM

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts

  6. My source is "The Great Decision" by Sloan and McKean. Sloan being a former supreme court clerk. So there. Different sources with different opinions,and like most of history, we're left trying to figure out who to believe.

  7. Don't make me read the whole damn thing. If they write that Hamilton had no use for Marshall or despised him at any point, give me a quote and tell me a page number. I would be surprised if they would say that though as it would be the opposite of everything I have ever read and that's not a little when it comes to these boys.

    Although, I do have an inordinate interest in the Marbury case and I might just read it on my weekly visit to the library. A reviewer on Amazon points out a lot of little mistakes, but if they are right in the main, that doesn't matter so much.


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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .