Monday, December 06, 2010
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"This appears to quite unambiguously limit the power of the Federal government but current Supreme Court interpretations have claimed to find the Constitution to be a "living document" containing all sorts of powers (from the ability to control of drugs to the enforcement of environmental, state decisions onn same sex marriage and, of course medical care) which the founders never wrote into it.
Part of this is popular acceptance of a growth in government power which cannot & arguably should not be ignored. But part of it is that there is no negative feedback system above the Supreme Court pressing it not to extend these powers. I propose a "Enforcement of Amendment X Amendment.
At the petition of the legislatures of 15% of states or of 15% of electors, but not more than once in a calendar year, that a Supreme Court decision has wrongly claimed to find a power for the Federal government not authorised under Amendment X the Electoral College shall be convened. If they confirm this opinion they shall remove the longest serving member of the court who supported this judgement.Note that the power given here is very limited. It does not authorise the college to overturn the Court but merely to remove 1 member. If the court, with a new member are of the same opinion the law will not be changed. This is deliberate because the purpose of a Constitution is not to be revolutionary but to provide stability & some pressure in defence of freedoms. All that will happen is that the judges will not lightly extend government power & feel some encouragement to reduce it. It would likely take decades before a major change of direction was visible but it would be all the more secure for that.
Giving this power to the Electoral College may seem strange. It is because this means not giving it to the Congress or President. An example of separation of powers. I could have proposed a new body but that would have meant even more government. The founders did intend the Electoral College to be a significant organ of government but it has withered to a vestigial remnant as Presidential elections have become fully democratic. This would breathe some life into it
Sunday, December 05, 2010
"Barak Obama intends to kill; all the white people in America. He intends for them to be dropped from an aeroplane, dropped from a helicopter, left in the sea".Anybody think that is not a false statement of fact in relation to that Obama's character or conduct? I must admit I do think it is false. But it was said by British Labour MP Margaret Hodge. Though she didn't use the word "Obama".
The relevance of the "false statement of fact" remark is that that is precisely what the LudDims got Labour MP Phil Woolas removed for
Mr Woolas ran a "risky" campaign, the court was told, designed to "galvanise the white Sun vote" because he feared he faced defeat on poling day.... was also accused of making a false statement that Mr Watkins had reneged on a promise to live within the constituency prior to the election.
Declaring the May poll result void, Mr Justice Nigel Teare and Mr Justice Griffith Williams said Mr Woolas was guilty of illegal practices under election law.
They said he knew all three claims to be untrue, and had sought personal advantage by making them...
As a result not only is the election to be rerun but Woolas, who has been expelled by Labour in any case, is not allowed to stand again.The case was brought under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act. This makes it an offence to publish "any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct" to prevent them being elected - unless they believed it was true and had "reasonable grounds" to do so
OK on that precedent the BNP are bringing a similar case against Margaret Hodge who, among other things said and was recorded by C4 as saying the BNP want
“everyone who is sitting in this room to be expelled from this country, dropped from an aeroplane, dropped from a helicopter, left in the sea.”Now correct me if I'm wrong but quite certainly that is a "false statement of fact in relation to that candidate’s character or conduct", which the court have decided is illegal when a LudDim objects. Indeed it is a far more dishonest & extreme lie than anything Woollas said.
I will admit I was surprised when the LDs won this because politicians have always told lies to get elected, not leadt the LDs who made manifesto promises to support an EU referendum at the previous election & to vote against tuition fees at this one. If this reinterpretation of the law is honest I am rather happy with it - politicians should be accountable for their promises and a chance to do so onl;y 5 years latter, possibly after they have changed the electoral rules without asking us, & at best after they have taken a couple of trillion £s from us, is hardly accountability.
However if the law is not blind on this but run in a blatantly discriminatory way that removes such democratic rights as we nominally have. This appears to have been done when the court told the BNP to "legalise" their constitution & when a body which decided the LudDims had no duty to return money a donor had given them which had been stolen & then turned round & confiscated money from UKIP which had been honestly earned but with a minor technical irregularity in form filling.
If Woolas is guilty & deserves to be banned from Parliament & the Labour party then Margaret Hodge is 100 times moreso.
A big practical difference is that Woolllas only just won & Hodge won massively so the odds are Labour would beat Griffin again but that is of no relevance to the the principle of the "false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's character or conduct".
Legally the BNP clearly have a cast iron case.
Lets see if we live in a democracy or a police state.
We certainly don't live in a country where the news media prefer balanced reporting to party propaganda. BNP/Hodge coverage V LibDim/Woolas coverage
Dear Ed Miliband,
When Phil Woollas was found to have lied about another candidate the Labour party expelled him without even waiting to see if his appeal succeeded. I assume you have seen the video of Margaret Hodge claiming the BNP candidate wanted to throw a large section of the population out of helocopters into the sea & that you accept that this claim is a lie. If so a respect for democratic principles would appear to require Ms Hodge's immediate expulsion too. Or do you & your party disagree with this assessment in any way?