It's a collection of three quotes -- one from the Constitution, one from FDR's court-packing speech, and one from a Supreme Court case -- all of which contain the word "blood."
U.S. Constitution, Article III:I can see that "blood" is a metaphor, and that each of the three quotes uses "blood" in a different way. The Constitution uses "blood" to refer to a person's descendants (as in "blood line"). Roosevelt used "blood" to mean vigor and strength and youthfulness. Justice Holmes used "blood" to mean sacrifice in battle.The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
FDR:Modern complexities call also for a constant infusion of new blood in the courts, just as it is needed in executive functions of the Government and in private business. A lowered mental or physical vigor leads men to avoid an examination of complicated and changed conditions. Little by little, new facts become blurred through old glasses, fitted, as it were for the needs of another generation; older men, assuming that the scene is the same as it was in the past, cease to explore or inquire into the present or the future....
[My] plan has two chief purposes. By bringing into the judicial system a steady and continuing stream of new and younger blood, I hope, first, to make the administration of all Federal justice speedier and, therefore, less costly; secondly, to bring to the decision of social and economic problems younger men who have had personal experience and contact with modern facts and circumstances under which average men have to live and work. This plan will save our national Constitution from hardening of the judicial arteries.
Missouri v. Holland (Justice Holmes, 1920):When we are dealing with words that also are a constituent act, like the Constitution of the United States, we must realize that they have called into life a being the development of which could not have been foreseen completely by the most gifted of its begetters. It was enough for them to realize or to hope that they had created an organism; it has taken a century and has cost their successors much sweat and blood to prove that they created a nation. The case before us must be considered in the light of our whole experience and not merely in that of what was said a hundred years ago.
I must have meant to collect more "blood" quotes and write an essay about the blood metaphor. Years have passed and I haven't done that, and now I offer up the three quotes in an open-ended blog post. Feel free to use the comments to add more constitutional blood quotes or to suggest what path this unwritten essay might have taken.
MORE: An important document in constitutional history, dating back to 1644, is Roger Williams' "The Bloody Tenent, Of Persecution for Cause of Conscience." Anyone interested in the current controversies about the separation of church and state should know this writing, which demonstrates a very deep and strong Christian root to the Establishment Clause:
[T]he blood of so many hundred thousand soules of Protestants and Papists, split in the Wars of present and former Ages, for their respective Consciences, is not required nor accepted by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace....
The Doctrine of persecution for cause of Conscience, is proved guilty of all the blood of the Soules crying for vengeance under the Altar....
God requireth not an uniformity of Religion to be inacted and inforced in any civill State; which inforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civill Warre, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisie and destruction of millions of souls.