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Messages - Açafat del Val

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Wittenberg / Re: Talossan National News - now available online!
« on: December 28, 2020, 01:17:48 PM »
GV, this is really exciting stuff. Thank you ever for your continued work!

It's very poetic that even in 1996 we in Talossa were asking ourselves: "What's in a name?" (See the attached photo for reference.)

The Lobby / Re: [JUSTICE] Acting Minister
« on: December 28, 2020, 01:04:53 PM »
My sincerest apologies to the people of Florencia and the nation of Talossa. When my exercise of the official duties vested in me may become non- or misfeasant, I will intend to resign; until that time, I endeavor to continue in service and act in the name and to the benefit of Talossa.

The College of Arms / Re: Coat of Arms for Adam Grigoriu
« on: December 28, 2020, 01:00:56 PM »
I would be happy to assist @S:reu Grigoriu, if I am authorized to do so.

I need to confirm what the blazon is, so that I may emblazon it at all.

Either @S:reu Ardpresteir or Grigoriu, please clarify which of the below is the correct blazon?

  • Lozengy argent and gules a book argent, a bordure gules fimbriated sable
  • Lozengy argent and gules a book argent, a bordure azure

Wittenberg / Re: ANNOUNCING: The Campaign for Dual Head of State
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:50:00 PM »
It sounds good on paper, but in practice we would get the disadvantages of both and the advantages of neither.

A truly viable co-sovereignty would look like the Roman Consuls, whereby our Regeu and Schac'h would serve concurrently over every Clark but can veto unilaterally... in other words, each bill or other action would have to pass the approval of both.

That would be unpopular, probably, for obvious reasons.

We are better served when a given office has a clear, concise, and conspicuous exercise of its powers. If we want dual heads, then, we should merely mimic what so-called semi-presidential governments do: the head of state has unilateral power on some items, the head of government has unilateral power on other items, and everything else is exercised by the legislature or judiciary. See for some reference the governments of France, Portugal, South Korea, Russia, and Mongolia.

Unfortunately, that option is not on the list to choose from and we're given only the choice to vote for/against a "co-prince".

I plan to vote against.

The College of Arms / Re: Updated/Redesigned CoA Image
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:32:01 PM »
Thank you for doing this.  I commend and endorse this effort, and hope related good news is forthcoming.

Thank you, sir. It was no trouble. I look forward to assisting more in the future.

Wittenberg / Re: [CULTURE]: Talossan Analog Art Show
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:25:21 PM »
Has the Art Show received a number of submissions?

Edit: I was about to submit a photo of a canvas print, but the actual source art is a photo taken by a camera, which I am not sure counts as analog. So, no submission from me :(

Wittenberg / Re: L'Chronica 11.20
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:24:17 PM »

The Royal Civil Service / Re: [Chancery] New Appointments
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:23:37 PM »
I am currently updating the CÉZEMBREAN ADMINISTRATION GUIDE and I request an official roster of the citizens of our Sovereign Province.

X. Pol Briga, Le Sénéchal de Cézembre

I'm attempting to get MPF to help me set you up as I don't have the ability in the database to add provincial secretaries. I'll let you know when this is complete.

Any update from MPF? :)

The Lobby / Re: [FINANCE] Voluntary Donations / Coins and Stamps Campaign
« on: December 28, 2020, 12:19:21 PM »
What is the status of funds heretofore raised? What is the remaining deficit? Where is a verified, bona fide link to donate to the Treasury? (Probably through PayPal, if I recall correctly.)

Hear, hear!

The Lobby / Re: [TERP] Interior: 'deed poll' names used during immigration
« on: November 13, 2020, 02:06:30 PM »
No.  I would have to vote against any measure trying to force a "real name" only rule.  I try to make it a habit not to vote for things in Talossa that are more authoritarian and limiting than the laws of my resident country.

There is a difference between 'forcing a real name' and 'prohibiting fake names'. I proposed the latter.

In the UK I am free to go about my daily life using whatever name I so choose.  This can be as simple as going by Eddie instead of Edward, or choosing to interchange both depending on how I feel.  I actually do this, both at home and in Talossa.  I can also choose to go by any random name.  If I decide I don't like my surname, I can just decide, right here and right now, to start using a different one.  If I fancy sounding more pompous in life I might want to choose to change my name to Reginald Nigel Hargreaves and it would be completely allowed. I don't need special certificates or anything if I want to do that.  I'm sure the US has similar freedoms.

The US does not have similar freedoms.

For one, it would be grounds for fraud to walk around using different names.

For two, all (or nearly all) of the states require a process far more strenuous than you are describing. I have two personal friends who changed their names in the last 5 years, and it was not nearly as simple as paying some fees. A person has to send put out an ad in a newspaper whose audience is larger than a certain number; they have to send certified mail to all their creditors, and prove to the court that those creditors have received ALL POTENTIAL NOTIFICATION that the name change occurred; they have to wait X number of days so that members of the public may protest against the change; and they have to carry documents for the rest of their lives to prove why their legal name is now different than their birth name.

For three, I strongly contest the assertion on its merits, anyways, that you can go around with "whatever name you so choose". Sure, in the narrowest sense possible, that is true and no one will stop you. But you cannot rightly purchase a car under "Steve Mccaw" while paying down a mortgage under "Julius Pumpernickel".

Yeah, the government cannot and will not proscribe any particular names - so I very well could change my own surname to Pumpernickel - but I most certainly cannot walk around the community using two different names depending on who I want to fool. Actors don't get two stage names, and even when they use one, both the government and anyone who gives them money have every legal right to know their "real name" and their whereabouts (in addition to the legal power to find them and compel answers).

At least in the U.S., what you're describing would be fraudulent and constitute a cause of action for any civil suit... especially if any money was exchanged.

Of course, a limit applies.  I can't have it printed on my driving licence or open a bank account in this new name unless I go through the 'deed poll' process.  I say "process", but all I need to do is fill out a form and pay a fee.

See above.

When would it not be allowed?  There might be more circumstances in the UK where it would not be allowed, but for now the only relevant answer is immigration.  People coming into the country must provide immigration authorities with real details, obviously.  However, once they have left the immigration buildings and have gone into the community, they can start going about using whatever name they wish. 

That is the Talossan status quo (-ish).  We demand that a real and legal name is collected during immigration.  We verify that to the best of our ability.  After that, we leave it up to the person to have the freedom to go by whatever name they wish for whatever reason they wish. 

Bottom line.  It is none of anyone's business, other than for official reasons, what a person's birth name might be unless they choose to tell you.  The fact that somebody might not like that is, well, gradnă.

I'm gonna have to sternly agree to disagree. It is absolutely my right as a Talossan to know that the person on the other side of the table is real, acting in good faith, and answerable to a court of law. The entire fiasco of Guy Incognito is that, if it were not for his own failure to perpetuate his lies and hide them better, then one day he could have disappeared and taken Talossa's treasury/website/other property with him... and we would have ZERO recourse to recover any of it.

I do not care if someone uses a Talossan name. After all, look at me. What I do mind is when someone makes themself unanswerable to our laws.

Bottom line, if you can't trust Talossa enough with your "real name", then you don't belong here. Either you have a malicious agenda, you are flaky, you are trying to undermine the sovereignty or validity of our government, or combinations thereof.

I think I would support tougher measures of identity verification; that's fair enough.  I think it will hurt immigration numbers, but I can get behind it. However, I will not support the abolition of deed polls / introduction of a "real names only" law.  Again, I try to make it a habit not to vote for laws in Talossa that restrict freedoms to a degree where I would be less free in Talossa than I would be in my resident country of the UK.

It is possible to prohibit "fake names" at the same time as allowing "street names". These things are not mutually exclusive.

The Lobby / Re: [TERP] Interior: 'deed poll' names used during immigration
« on: November 12, 2020, 04:34:56 PM »
I would like to say: case law is law only to the extent that a judge interpreted statutes at the time of judgement, meaning in other words that a change to those statutes would indirectly invalidate (or make moot) any contradictory case law.

The criminal case being mentioned was not decided on law but on the merits of the prosecution, certain dicta notwithstanding, and the appeal after it bore no precedent according to the OrgLaw because it was heard by only one member of the Uppermost Cort. That is to say: the judgement at issue does not by itself create case law for Talossa, but affords justice only for the particular defendant in that particular case.

The Ziu is entirely at liberty under the Organic Law to enact a statute defining what a name is, prohibiting the use of "fake names" and so forth, despite the acquittal of Senator Guy Incognito.

If there is appetite for this, I will gladly write a draft and place it in the Hopper. There is room to go further than the Pete Townsend Act.

My broad judicial philosophy is textualism; that the actual, ordinary, public meaning of the words should prevail. (Fortunately, in Talossa, our laws are not so old as to raise the question of linguistic drift.) This itself is based on two principles.

The first is democratic legitimacy. What, exactly, was the intent of each and every one of the legislators at the time they voted for the legislation is impossible to know, and so any version of reading legislative intent or considering the question of the problem the law was intended to address inherently privileges some votes over others. The actual language they voted all for, however, is unambiguously the language they all chose to enact. And when an unelected judge substitutes his sense of justice for what the law says, he is usurping power from the representatives that made the law; and here it is a worse usurpation of democracy, because while the legislature can change the intent by passing a new law, they certainly can't change the judge's sense of justice the same way. The defect of democracy is that it never can implement uncompromised justice; the glory is that it is far more amenable to correction than any other system.

The second reason is the principle of fair notice. Any individual person should be held to adhering only to the law as written, rather than being expected to know the intent of those who wrote it or of the sense of justice of the judge. The "crime of analogy" seen in Soviet and Imperial Chinese law creates a structurally unjust society in a way that no unjust but published statute possibly can.

(The concept of lapsus linguae still applies; obvious human error should be treated as such. I grant that my predicates are vague enough that there's a sorites paradox in drawing the line between noticing drafting errors and trying to read intent.)

Now, how does all this impersonal theoretical principle rubber hit the road when you reach the personal end of small-group dynamics and the emotions? I think, ultimately, it works better for a judge to adhere to the principle than to try to directly address the dynamics. While I think it is potentially worthwhile for a judge to promote non-public discussion between the parties to reach a settlement friendlier to the dynamics, if there is no settlement, the best way to rule is, in fact, impersonally. A party that loses what it think it deserved is going to be all the more incensed if it thinks it was a case of the judge personally siding against the party, to the detriment of the group dynamics, and every millimeter by which the judge deviates from the impersonal application of the law is the more justification for feeling so.

Of course, other people will disagree with me on pretty much all those points, and I can see their arguments for doing so, even if they do not persuade me. If any of you find my approach truly unacceptable, I urge you to vote against my appointment, because after decades of amateur legal philosophizing it is very unlikely that I will change my mind.

Upon reading this in further detail, I am curious about a few details.

It seems incongruent to suggest on the one hand that an unelected judge should not make law, and on the other hand that only an unelected judge can determine what the intent of the authors was or is.

My question here is: Do you see the irony in those assertions, S:reu Perþonest? Please explain your answer thoroughly, as to why these statements are or are not mutually exclusive.

As a matter of dialogue, I would like to offer my own answer succinctly: Authors cannot possibly predict the interpretation of their own language, and therefore their intent is not somehow perfectly clear or obvious. As a matter of fact, just in Talossa, we recently amended the Organic Law because the author of a section - the King, no less - insisted adamantly that the section was being misinterpreted, even if it seemed plain to everyone else that it meant something different than the King said it did.

Follow-up question, then: What if your own interpretation of a law, particularly while in your official capacity as a judge, comes at odds with the authors' own intent? What if the language says something so obviously to you, but the author testifies that the language means something else? Would you then defer to the author's intent? If so, can you really call yourself a textualist?; and if not, how do you reconcile the hypocrisy?

S:reu Perþonest, thank you kindly for participating wholeheartedly in this hearing.

I do have other questions, but foremost I would like to ask: how should the Uppermost Cort endeavor to increase overall engagement, education, and enthusiasm with the judiciary itself and the law more generally? Are you concerned, if at all, that too few Talossans appreciate our unique legal system?

On that note: what would be your legal analysis in the semi-recent criminal case, re: Legality of non-Talossan Name? I would like to hear not only whether you think that the court of original jurisdiction reached a sound conclusion (and why it did or did not), but also whether you worry that it set(s) a bad legal precedent.

Lastly for this round: what is your favorite flavor of ice cream, and what is your most enjoyed activity during the winter months?

The Lobby / Re: [FINANCE] Draft Budget coming November 1
« on: November 08, 2020, 02:13:20 PM »
Before I do (or do not) respond to any other items... I would like to withdraw the following budget request:

JUSTICE: for "monetary grants in kind for meritorious and exceptional work done in the execution of official ministerial or bureaucratic duties, for any civil servant or nonpolitical appointees", $100

In consideration of the budget deficit, this piece of discretionary spending is better spent on other things.

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