It should be obvious by now to anyone familiar with David Barton and his particular brand of right-wing pseudo-history that he is not going to stop repeating claims just because those claims happen to be demonstrably false.
The latest incident occurred when he appeared on “Table Talk” on Daystar TV last week where he, for the third time, falsely claimed that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote an opinion in which he stated that “we all know that all the provisions in the Bill of Rights, the due process clauses, came out of the Bible.”
As we have noted the last two times that we found Barton making this assertion, his claim is utterly and demonstrably false. What Breyer actually said in his 1999 concurrence in Lilly v. Virginia was that the right to face one’s accuser is mentioned in the Bible, as well as several other places (emphasis added):
The Court’s effort to tie the Clause so directly to the hearsay rule is of fairly recent vintage, compare Roberts, supra, with California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 155—156 (1970), while the Confrontation Clause itself has ancient origins that predate the hearsay rule, see Salinger v. United States, 272 U.S. 542, 548 (1926) (“The right of confrontation did not originate with the provision in the Sixth Amendment, but was a common-law right having recognized exceptions”). The right of an accused to meet his accusers face-to-face is mentioned in, among other things, the Bible, Shakespeare, and 16th and 17th century British statutes, cases, and treatises. See The Bible, Acts 25:16; W. Shakespeare, Richard II, act i, sc. 1; W. Shakespeare, Henry VIII, act ii, sc. 1; 30 C. Wright & K. Graham, Federal Practice and Procedure §6342, p. 227 (1997) (quoting statutes enacted under King Edward VI in 1552 and Queen Elizabeth I in 1558); cf. Case of Thomas Tong, Kelyng J. 17, 18, 84 Eng. Rep. 1061, 1062 (1662) (out-of-court confession may be used against the confessor, but not against his co-conspirators); M. Hale, History of the Common Law of England 163—164 (C. Gray ed. 1971); 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *373. As traditionally understood, the right was designed to prevent, for example, the kind of abuse that permitted the Crown to convict Sir Walter Raleigh of treason on the basis of the out-of-court confession of Lord Cobham, a co-conspirator. See 30 Wright & Graham, supra, §6342, at 258—269.
Barton’s claim is easily debunked, but he knows that his right-wing audience will never bother to actually attempt to verify anything that he says, which allows him to continue to spread these sorts of falsehoods with impunity: