"I would rather be right than
President," answered Henry Clay, when someone told him that his stand
against slavery would cost him the election.
Clay was five times a candidate for U.S. President, once coming within 5,000 votes.
son of a Baptist minister, Henry Clay studied law under George Wythe,
served in Congress over 40 years, and was elected Speaker of the House 6
Henry Clay stated in 1841:
which, catching its inspiration from the immortal God...animates and
prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and of death
itself-that is public virtue, that is the noblest, the sublimest of all
was part of the "Great Triumvirate," with Daniel Webster and John
Calhoun which led Congress during the early to mid-1800's.
helped negotiate the treaty that ended the War of 1812 and was key to
John Quincy Adams being the 6th President instead of Andrew Jackson.
1824, Clay supported the Greeks who wished to be free from the Muslim
Ottoman Empire, and he supported South Americans wanting freedom from
Abraham Lincoln described Henry Clay in a eulogy, July 6, 1852:
"When Greece rose against the Turks and struck for liberty, his name was mingled with the battle-cry of freedom.
When South America threw off the thraldom of Spain, his speeches were read at the head of her armies by Bolivar.
name has been, and will continue to be, hallowed in two hemisphere...
Clay was without an equal...He exorcised the demon which possessed the
Mr. Clay's efforts in behalf of the South
Americans, and afterwards, in behalf of the Greeks, in the times of
their respective struggles for civil liberty are among the finest on
1832, when an Asiatic Cholera epidemic ravaged New York, Henry Clay
recommended a Day of: "Public humiliation, prayer and fasting to be
observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity."
Clay was second cousin's of abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay, and in
1816, helped establish the American Colonization Society to aid free
American blacks in founding Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa.
Clay addressed the Kentucky Colonization Society in Frankfort, 1829:
hundred years have rolled away since the Son of God, our blessed
Redeemer, offered Himself on Mount Calvary for the salvation of our
When we shall, as soon we must, be translated from
this into another form of existence, is the hope presumptuous that we
shall behold the common Father of the whites and blacks, the great Ruler
of the Universe, cast his all-seeing eye upon civilized and regenerated
Africa, its cultivated fields, its coasts studded with numerous cities,
adorned with towering temples dedicated to the pure religion of His
as "The Great Compromiser," Clay opposed the Mexican-American War, and
struggled to maintain the Union between the North and the South by
proposing "The Compromise of 1850."
Henry Clay told the Senate, February 5, 1850:
hope it will not be out of place to do here, what again and again I
have done in my private chamber, to implore of Him who holds the
destinies of nations and individuals in His hands, to bestow upon our
country His blessing, to calm the violence and rage of party, to still
passion, to allow reason once more to resume its empire.
may I not ask of Him too, sir, to bestow on his humble servant...the
blessing of his smiles, and of strength and ability to perform the work
which now lies before him?...
I implore, as the best blessing which Heaven can bestow upon me...that if
the direct event of the dissolution of this Union is to happen, I shall
not survive to behold the sad and heart-rending spectacle."
Nine year before the Civil War began, Henry Clay died from tuberculosis on JUNE 29, 1852.
He was the first American to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
State of Kentucky placed a statue of Henry Clay in the U.S. Capitol's
Statuary Hall. Fifteen counties across America are named after him.
In 1957, a Senate Committee headed by John F. Kennedy named him one of the 5 best Senators ever.
Rep. John C. Breckinridge recalled Henry Clay as having said:
vanity of the world, and its insufficiency to satisfy the soul of man,
has been long a settled conviction of my mind. Man's inability to secure
by his own merits the approbation of God, I feel to be true...
I trust in the atonement of the Saviour of mercy, as the ground of my acceptance and of my hope of salvation."
Warning America, Henry Clay addressed the Senate, July 22, 1850, stating:
there be a war...I will not assert what party would prevail...for you
know, sir, what all history teaches...that few wars...have ever
terminated in the accomplishment of the objects for which they were
Think alone of our God, our country, our
consciences, and our glorious Union; that Union without which we shall
be torn into hostile fragments, and sooner or later become the victims
of military despotism, or foreign domination..."
will be the judgment of mankind...who are looking upon the progress of
this scheme of self-government as being that which holds out the highest
hopes...of ameliorating the condition of mankind...
Will not all the monarchs of the old world pronounce our glorious republic a disgraceful failure?
you come into the bosom of your family...to converse with the partner
of your fortunes...and...she asks you, 'Is there any danger of civil
war? Is there any danger of the torch being applied to any portion of
What response, Mr. President, can you make to
that wife of your choice, and those children with whom you have been
blessed by God? Will you go home and leave all in disorder and
confusion... Sir, we shall stand condemned by all human judgment...
is possible that, for the chastisement of our sins and transgressions,
the rod of Providence may be still applied to us, may be still suspended
I pray to Almighty God that it may not lead to the most unhappy and disastrous consequences to our beloved country"
In re Yohan K. and Marika K., 2013 IL App (1st) 123472 (June 19, 2013)
The Family Defense Center has been appellate counsel for parents who had been subject to separation from their children based upon the claims of a child abuse pediatrician that the "most likely" explanation for their infant son's medical findings was abusive causation. On June 19, 2013, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a ruling finding in favor of the parents on all points! Our analysis of the Appellate Court's holdings (which, as a published opinion, should have a huge impact for families in Illinois once it becomes final, and can also serve as persuasive authority in other jurisdictions) can be found below. The full 49-page opinion -- which is truly impressive for the Appellate Court's mastery of the complicated facts
-- can be found here:
On June 19, 2013, after a two-year-long ordeal battling allegations that
their infant son had been abused, Family Defense Center clients Teresa G.
and K.S. finally received vindication from the Illinois Appellate Court. The
unanimous opinion exonerates Teresa and K., holding that an accusation of
child abuse cannot be sustained based solely on a claim that the child’s
“constellation of injuries” (*i.e*., the mere existence of a certain type
or number of injuries) is indicative of abusive causation. This ruling has
the potential for far-ranging impact not just in Illinois, but in
jurisdictions across the country where parents and caretakers are forced to
defend themselves from speculative and vague accusations of child abuse
lodged by the State under the guise of “medical opinion.”
Teresa and K. had been targeted with allegations of child abuse when their
then-4-week-old son Yohan experienced seizures and was taken to Children’s
Memorial Hospital of Chicago (“CMH,” now the Ann and Robert H. Lurie
Children’s Hospital) on June 6, 2011. Exams identified intracranial and
retinal hemorrhages and skeletal imaging revealed an abnormality at his
left knee, later mis-diagnosed by CMH doctors as a fracture (the appellate
court concludes that there never was a fracture). The CMH child abuse
pediatrician declared the injuries suspicious for abuse and called the DCFS
hotline, ultimately causing the parents to lose temporary custody of Yohan
and his older sister Marika for a period of 15 months.
In formulating opinions about the cause of Yohan’s medical findings, CMH
physicians failed to give any consideration to: (1) rickets as a potential
explanation for the skeletal irregularity or (2) benign enlarged
intracranial spaces as a potential explanation for the intracranial
bleeding and retinal hemorrhages. At trial, where the parents were
represented by outstanding private trial counsel Ellen R. Domph, three
highly-credentialed and nationally-recognized physicians testified that
Yohan did, in fact, have both of these pre-existing medical conditions,
which are known to mimic signs of abuse. In finding that the children had
been abused and neglected, however, the trial court deferred to the medical
witnesses of the State and the Public Guardian appointed to represent Yohan
and Marika as guardian *ad litem* (“GAL”)—among the total eleven medical
experts who testified at the hearing, the State and GAL witnesses included
a child abuse pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, pediatric orthopedist,
and pediatric ophthalmologist—and their theory that the so-called
“constellation of injuries” is sufficient to sustain a conclusion of
abusive causation. The trial court, however, declined to name a
perpetrator of abuse despite Teresa and K. having been Yohan’s only
caretakers. At the subsequent dispositional hearing, the court returned
the children to the custody of K. and Teresa over the objections of the GAL
and State’s Attorney. The GAL and State’s Attorney maintained that because
the parents refused to accept the “abuse” conclusions of the trial court
and continued to assert their innocence (and not accuse each other of being
an abuse perpetrator), they therefore had failed to engage in “meaningful
therapy” which, according to them, required an “acknowledgement that Yohan
Not content with the judicial finding of abuse it had obtained in the trial
court, the GAL filed an appeal of the trial court’s decision to return the
children to their parents, asking the Appellate Court to vacate the order
returning the children home and, instead, to place Yohan and Marika in the
guardianship of the State child welfare agency. Teresa and K. filed a
cross-appeal challenging the trial court’s finding of abuse as unsupported
by either fact or law.
In its June 19 ruling, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District,
resoundingly rejects the theories pressed by the State and GAL. Instead,
the Appellate Court concludes that the trial court’s findings of abuse were
erroneous and contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence,
acknowledging that the parents had been “thrust into a nightmare.” The
Appellate Court directs that a determination of abusive causation cannot be
inferred from the “constellation” of alleged injuries and, moreover, that
where the State has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that
any single injury was caused by abuse, the State has not satisfied its
burden of proof (Paragraphs 144-47):
The [State and GAL] experts testified using the “constellation” of injuries
theory and, therefore, speculated and generalized about the possible
mechanisms causing the injuries in areas outside of their expertise [and]
assumed there must have been a connection between Yohan’s head-related
findings and the suspected fracture even though there was no basis in
evidence or law for this conclusion . . . . Instead of evaluating and
weighing the evidence and expert testimony as to each alleged injury, the
trial court allowed the proponents to elude their burden of proof by
claiming that the “constellation” of Yohan’s injuries created a
preponderance of evidence that he was abused.
This “constellation” of
injuries theory allowed the trial court to conclude that Yohan had been
abused even though not one of his individual injuries within the
constellation had been proven to be by abuse and where highly experienced
and credentialed, nationally-recognized doctors provided well-reasoned
medical explanations, albeit rare ones, to explain each of his injuries.
The [State and GAL] offered no evidence that an injury is more likely to be
caused by abuse merely because a second injury is alleged to exist,
particularly where there are reasonable nonabuse explanations offered for
each of the individual conditions. Not only did the [State and GAL] fail
to provide any authority for their “constellation” of injuries theory, but
they failed to identify any specific facts showing it should apply to
Yohan. The “constellation” theory invited the [State and GAL] experts to
improperly rely on assumptions about injuries outside their respective
specialties . . . .
The Appellate Court faults the trial court for ignoring many critical facts
that could not be reconciled with the theories offered by the State and GAL
experts, and for deferring to experts who were less experienced, less
qualified, and less credentialed than the parents’ experts in the relevant
areas of medicine. The Appellate Court also confronts key factual errors
the trial court had made in its ruling and the deficiencies in the
evaluation CMH had performed during Yohan’s hospitalization. This effort
by the reviewing court, which no doubt required a meticulous and thorough
review of the entire record, is notable given the density of the technical
medical testimony and evidence submitted during trial.
Independent of the trial court’s error in entering findings of abuse and
neglect, the Appellate Court denies the GAL’s claim that the trial court
erred in returning the children home to Teresa and K.S. where the lower
court’s ruling was consistent with all of the evidence at the dispositional
hearing. Specifically, the Appellate Court squarely rejects the GAL’s
notion that when there has been an adjudication of abuse, a parent’s
therapy is not “meaningful” unless the parent acknowledges that her child
was a victim of abuse:
The [State and GAL] offer no support for their suggestion that an
acknowledgement of abuse is a per se requirement for therapy to be
considered meaningful. To require that the parents must “acknowledge” the
truth of a trial court’s nonfinal findings of fact to be deemed to have had
“meaningful therapy” has no precedent. . . . We complete reject any notion
that parents should be declared unable to care for their children merely
because they persist in their own belief of innocence of wrongdoing,
particularly here where their insistence is supported by the evidence.
This decision is subject still to a potential petition for rehearing and/or
potential petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Given Appellate Court’s unanimous, well-reasoned, and factually-supported
opinion, however, the Family Defense Center is cautiously optimistic that
the opinion will stand as a very useful precedent for advocates for
wrongly-accused caretakers in complex medical cases.
Melissa L. Staas
Staff Attorney The Family Defense Center
*70 East Lake Street, Suite 1100*
*Chicago, Illinois 60601*
312-251-9800 x12 (t.)
312-251-9801 (f.) www.familydefensecenter.org
*The Family Defense Center is the 2010 winner of the "Excellent Emerging
Organization" Award, by the Axelson Center for Non-Profit Management.*
The Constitutional Convention was in a deadlock over how large and small states could be represented equally.
Some delegates left.
Then, on JUNE 28, 1787, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin spoke and shortly after, the U.S. Constitution became a reality.
as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to
distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we
have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of
In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain,
when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for
Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.
All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending Providence in our favor...
And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?"
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.'...
I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed...no better than the Builders of Babel."
Ben Franklin gave another address at the Constitutional Convention, 1787, titled Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy:
there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs
of men...ambition and avarice-the love of power and the love of money...
When united...they have...the most violent effects.
before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall, at the same
time, be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to
What kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence,
through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite
mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters?
It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust.
It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.
These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers..."
Franklin explained further:
"There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able, in return, to give more to them.
history informs us, there has been...a kind of warfare between the
governing and the governed; the one striving to obtain more for its
support, and the other to pay less...
indeed, the ruling power carries...and we see the revenues of princes
constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but
always in want of more.
The more the people
are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the
prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the
troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at
There is scarce a king in a
hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh-get
first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them
and their children servants for ever.
It will be
said that we do not propose to establish kings...But there is a natural
inclination in mankind to kingly government...
would rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the
appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like.
am apprehensive, therefore-perhaps too apprehensive-that the government
of the States may, in future times, end in a monarchy...and a king will
the sooner be set over us."