The Jury Talks Back

7/30/2010

Prop 14 lawsuit filed

Filed under: California Politics — aphrael @ 12:18 pm

The first lawsuit against Proposition 14 was filed yesterday.

The claims are:

(1) Prop 14 violates Article 2, Section 2.5 of the California Constitution by denying people the right to have votes cast for eligible write-in candidates be counted.

(2) Prop 14 violates Article 1, Section 2(a) of the California Constitution (the free speech clause) by denying people the right to have votes cast for write-in candidates be counted.

(3) Prop 14 violates the 1st amendment and 42 USC 1983 by denying people the right to have votes cast for write-in candidates be counted.

(4) Prop 14 violates the Elections Clause by denying people the right to have votes cast for write-in candidates be counted.

(5) Prop 14 violates due federal process by denying people the right to have votes cast for write-in candidates be counted.

(6) Prop 14 violates state due process by denying people the right to have votes cast for write-in candidates be counted.

(7) Prop 14 violates state equal protection by not allowing candidates to state a preference for a minor party which isn’t ballot qualified.

(8) Prop 14 violates the elections clause and 42 USC 1983 by not allowing candidates to state a preference for a minor party which isn’t ballot qualified.

———–

(1) is just wrong , as the clause only requires that votes cast in accordance with state law be counted (“A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted”).

(2) and (3) are bizarre, and the complaint doesn’t explain the theory under which this denies free speech.

(4) and (8) are inconsistent with my understanding of the elections clause (which would in any event only apply to federal offices) and would represent a gigantic change in federal elections law which would force many states to change their laws (effectively *requiring* write-ins and declaration of preference for unrecognized parties, everywhere, even though they often aren’t allowed now in many places).

(5), (6), and (7) are novel but I suspect unlikely to go very far.

7/21/2010

A Handful of Tyrannical Nobles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Leviticus @ 10:43 am

A few days ago, DRJ posted an article by Angelo Codevilla which argued – I can’t resist – that there were two Americas: one which perceived itself a “ruling class”, wed to and empowered by an ever-expanding federal government, and hell-bent on dictating to average Joes everywhere what they can or cannot do; and a “Country Class”, who was sick of the ruling class and its superiority complex and just wanted to be left to live their lives free of unnecessary government intervention.

Over the past few days, I’ve been arguing – in much the same spirit as Codevilla, I believe – that obscenely wealthy individuals don’t necessarily (and perhaps necessarily don’t) make good Congressional representatives, on the grounds that they usually can’t “think, feel, reason, and act” as their constituents do – which is their job, if you buy the logic of John Adams, who argued as much in his “Letter to John Penn”.

Such arguments – that the wealthy should not be representatives for the not-wealthy – are usually dismissed as “class warfare”. But the notion is not unprecedented – indeed, we find it in the pages of one of our nation’s most important collections of documents, The Federalist.

Federalist 39: “It is essential to [a republic] that it derived from the great body of society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.”

It’s a prescient warning, I think – the whole “aspire to the rank of republicans” bit is interesting, in light of how many captains of industry manage to worm their way into the Capitol.

This is my point: while there obviously cannot (and should not) be any sort of exclusionary cap on personal wealth for aspiring members of Congress, we would do well to remember 1) that we have elected a Congress much wealthier than their constituents, 2) that we have allowed those wealthy individuals to preside over matters which affect their own wealth in a serious way, and 3) that “no man is allowed to be a judge in his own case, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.” (Federalist 10)

In the interest of staving off the predictable, eight (8) of the ten wealthiest members of Congress are Democrats - so this has nothing to do with party. It’s about resisting a ruling class, which dances across party lines with a whimsical step. Simply put: we need to stop electing people to deal with our issues who don’t understand our issues in the first place.


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