Welcome to Wittenberg!

Author Topic: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular  (Read 601 times)

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2020, 01:36:57 PM »


You're using words like 'problem'.  I'm asserting that it isn't a problem at all.  What I'm arguing is that the Ziu should be able to do all this and for it not to be an issue.  Again, this is the constitutional United States perspectives smashing up against Westminster parliamentary perspectives.  I am arguing that the actual "problem" is that the OrgLaw makes things difficult for the Ziu to do what it wants, but I say that from a point of view where parliamentary supremacy is more important to me than being tied to a rigid written constitution.

The issue with your interpretation is that you are placing parliamentary supremacy at the top of the priority pile, but that's not how our system is intended to behave.  The Senats is not a secondary body to the Cosa!  It's explicitly intended to be a check on the Cosa.  So to the extent that there are ways to evade that and undermine the check, it's a problem.

I agree that if you think the Senats and OrgLaw are dumb as institutions, then this doesn't matter.  But then why both to argue the point?  If I say that the seat belts in the new Volvo don't work, it doesn't seem productive to assert that this isn't a "problem" because cars are silly, right?


The OrgLaw literally says "such that the sovereignty and territory of any extant Province is not altered without the consent of that Province".  Yes, it could be argued that that line can be interpreted to mean 'not altered without the consent of that province's executive assembly", but I think the nature of the provinces, the spirit of the OrgLaw and all prior convention pretty much makes a referendum necessary.  I would trust that the Court would also think the same.
The OrgLaw doesn't say this, and so the guiding principle would be the extent to which we interpret the government of a province to be capable of assenting to things on behalf of the province.  It is definitely not obvious either way, and a good case could be made for each side.  It'd probably come down to looking at how similar language or concepts are parsed in practice in other contexts.  But since I think the consent of the Senats is actually a brake on this one, I'm not too fussed either way.
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2020, 01:40:54 PM »
Honestly parliamentary supremacy is probably one of the worst concepts of the British political system. It basically means everything is ad hoc, and the only thing that prevents abuse on a massive scale is either precedent (which can always be disregarded since Parliament is supreme) or the good will of every actor involved. It's a recipe for disaster.
Honestly parliamentary supremacy is probably one of the worst concepts of the British political system. It basically means everything is ad hoc, and the only thing that prevents abuse on a massive scale is either precedent (which can always be disregarded since Parliament is supreme) or the good will of every actor involved. It's a recipe for disaster.

The alternative being that you end up restricted by a document written a couple of hundred years ago in a different age with different needs and without foresight of what the future may bring.  I have a lot of problems with Westminster, but the ad hoc and pragmatic nature of British constitutional affairs is not one of them.
If there's no written constitution, then the Government can do whatever it can get away with, as long as they can please a bare majority.  In a country like ours, where there are few norms remaining, no physical sovereignty, and no physical institutions, we're particularly vulnerable to potential issues like perceived illegitimacy or Government abuse.

What stops the Government from passing ex post facto bills?  It would be convenient to do so at times, even if it would be a horrible abuse of power.  Likewise, what stops the Government from restricting criticism?  The OrgLaw's protections!
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 01:42:51 PM by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu »
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Online Miestră Schivă, UrN

  • Prime Minister
  • Citizen
  • Posts: 754
  • Large and In Charge
    • Talossan since: 2004-06-12

    • View Profile
    • Free Democrats of Talossa
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2020, 02:07:25 PM »
Obviously, I disagree with this take.  Most of these issues thus far come from the language of the amendment you guys just passed a few months ago.  If anything, it seems like that would be an argument against it, unless the process is improved.  Assign someone in the in-group to root through this term's huge revamp and try to find problems.  Unless someone is actively looking for them, you won't find them, and someone else will later.

Talk about being deformed by bitter struggles!

I'm not in favour of a total OrgLaw revamp; the Attorney-General is. The rhetorical move here ("you guys", "the in-group") is to frame the Government as not only an indissoluble bloc, but a reprehensible clique monopolising power. Stop doing that.

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Talossa. Ask me anything.

"IS INACTIVITY BAD? I THINK NOT!" - Lord Hooligan
"It probably would be a bit helpful if you resigned and became inactive..." - Sir A. Davinescù

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2020, 02:45:14 PM »
Obviously, I disagree with this take.  Most of these issues thus far come from the language of the amendment you guys just passed a few months ago.  If anything, it seems like that would be an argument against it, unless the process is improved.  Assign someone in the in-group to root through this term's huge revamp and try to find problems.  Unless someone is actively looking for them, you won't find them, and someone else will later.

Talk about being deformed by bitter struggles!

I'm not in favour of a total OrgLaw revamp; the Attorney-General is. The rhetorical move here ("you guys", "the in-group") is to frame the Government as not only an indissoluble bloc, but a reprehensible clique monopolising power. Stop doing that.
I'm not sure referring to the government as "you guys" carries quite the sinister weight you're reading into it. But to the extent that you seem to be saying that you're not going to rewrite the whole law again immediately, I'm glad! It'll make it a lot easier as a lawyer.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 02:47:00 PM by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu »
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Danihel Txechescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2020, 03:18:20 PM »
Constitutions can be (and are) regularly updated and patched. [...]

This is the Mexican constitution, in Git: https://github.com/ceyusa/constitucion-mexicana/

Offline Istefan Perþonest

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 52
    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2020, 05:50:38 PM »
Any party with a majority in the Ziu and any province can create themselves a friendly Senats seats whenever they please.  A simple act of the Ziu creates a new province from the existing one and assigns whatever specific citizens they want, however they please (as long as it includes one active person and nine other citizens).  Theoretically this could be done multiple times, in fact, if there are enough citizens available -- but I think only Benito could actually do it more than once right now (yielded two new ten-person provinces and one four-person province).  As far as I can tell, there is nothing to prevent this.  It's actually a significant danger, since any majority in the Ziu is going to command a majority in at least a couple of provinces, and two Senats votes would be a big deal.
Well, obviously, the first check is that you actually have to have a Senats majority in order to pass an act of the Ziu. At which point, why do you need to expand the Senats in order to secure a friendly Senats?

The only obvious case would be if you had a majority in the Senats but needed a two-thirds majority. And such cases are limited to impeaching a member of the Senats (which still has to be ratified by a provincial vote), and certain OrgLaw amendments (which would still need voter approval). It seems a contrived scenario.

The other case would be if a party thought it was going to lose the next election but could retain the Senats if it made a few friendly Senators. But, frankly, Talossan politics are too small-scale and too non-geographic for that to be the sort of secure thing that, say, a transient Congressional majority making DC into a state would be. And to do it, you'd either need the consent of the king or a two-thirds Cosa majority to pass the bill over his veto.
Istefan Éovart Perþonest
Cunstavál of Fiôvâ
Burgermeister of Inland Revenue
Arvitieir Prima of Benito
Buy Talossan stamps and the Talossan ℓ5 here!

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2020, 06:59:08 PM »
Any party with a majority in the Ziu and any province can create themselves a friendly Senats seats whenever they please.  A simple act of the Ziu creates a new province from the existing one and assigns whatever specific citizens they want, however they please (as long as it includes one active person and nine other citizens).  Theoretically this could be done multiple times, in fact, if there are enough citizens available -- but I think only Benito could actually do it more than once right now (yielded two new ten-person provinces and one four-person province).  As far as I can tell, there is nothing to prevent this.  It's actually a significant danger, since any majority in the Ziu is going to command a majority in at least a couple of provinces, and two Senats votes would be a big deal.
Well, obviously, the first check is that you actually have to have a Senats majority in order to pass an act of the Ziu. At which point, why do you need to expand the Senats in order to secure a friendly Senats?

The only obvious case would be if you had a majority in the Senats but needed a two-thirds majority. And such cases are limited to impeaching a member of the Senats (which still has to be ratified by a provincial vote), and certain OrgLaw amendments (which would still need voter approval). It seems a contrived scenario.

The other case would be if a party thought it was going to lose the next election but could retain the Senats if it made a few friendly Senators. But, frankly, Talossan politics are too small-scale and too non-geographic for that to be the sort of secure thing that, say, a transient Congressional majority making DC into a state would be. And to do it, you'd either need the consent of the king or a two-thirds Cosa majority to pass the bill over his veto.
Well, the scenario is only possible if you have a majority in the Ziu, yes.  So I guess that's a check, but the whole idea is a way for a party to increase their own power in an undemocratic way.  So the real first check is again that the Senats has to consent to any change in its own makeup (which would probably include a new province, although it's kind of arguable either way).  But yeah, you put your finger exactly on the utility of the scenario -- there have been multiple times when a party with a majority in both houses of the Ziu wanted to push forward legislation or actions that required a 2/3 Senats majority, and this could potentially create one.  I thought it was an interesting vulnerability, even if it would have a very simple fix (admitting new Senators only after an election).

I think the consent of the Senats thing detonates the whole scheme early on, though!  Which is good :)
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2020, 07:05:07 PM »
Returning to the purpose of my thread:

It looks like it's possible to render a lawsuit impossible to appeal if the Ziu creates an inferior cort and you name the justices in your suit in some way, per Org.VIII.6.  Unless the suit is predicated on the Covenants, the Cort cannot be compelled to hear an appeal, and any justice who's a named party cannot hear any part of a suit.  So any inferior court needs to have some other method of appeal, or else it will be a simple matter to place a suit beyond the reach of the CpI as long as you have a friendly judge of first resort.
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2020, 07:10:06 PM »
Here's a fun one!  Interestingly, it appears that no entity in the Kingdom is capable of surrendering.  The Ziu is both tasked with laws governing the defence of the country but forbidden from surrendering in war, so unless they make a law stating whose job it is to surrender, then it's impossible.  As far as they can tell, no such law exists -- although maybe "command of the armed forces" includes that, if you squint hard enough?  Probably not.

Nationalism in its finest form: it is illegal to surrender.
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2020, 07:42:26 AM »
The new Org.VI has a typo as posted: the last clause has "offce" instead of "office."  The whole thing also uses the male pronoun as gender neutral, but that's unrelated and an overall problem that should be fixed with "their."
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2020, 07:55:52 AM »
The new Org.VI also introduces a fascinating accidental new rule: Talossa is required to have at least two political parties.  If there ever comes a time when there is only one political party, a Government cannot be formed!  This is because the RCV requirements state that MCs must start with electing a Seneschal, and MCs must vote for at least two choices, and they must choose from among the leaders of political parties.
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2020, 08:05:51 AM »
It's also interesting to note that the terms of Talossan Seneschals have gradually increased as time has gone on.  Five months became six months, and stayed that way for a very long time formally, but the month of recess became almost de rigeur to extend it to seven.  And later (really almost the same time) it was extended to be basically eight, since balloting needed time to occur once it shifted to the internet.  Then recently the folks in charge changed it up to add on another month, so now a Seneschal is typically going to serve for nine months (first Clark month, then month of recess, then six more Clark months, then a month of voting).
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Sir Alexandreu Davinescu

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 451
  • CONSISTE ET COGITA
    • Talossan since: 6-9-2006

    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2020, 08:49:01 AM »
The Magistracy is closed-down, and has been for a while.  But it heard a bunch of cases.  So here's a question: does any of that precedent bind any future corts?  Obviously not the CpI, but what about a new inferior cort?  It seems like it would depend on whether or not they count as coordinate courts, which is a concept with which I am largely unfamiliar.  But if an inferior court ever gets established, it will be kind of important to think about this.
Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Açafat del Val

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 232
  • Senator for Florencia
    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2020, 11:22:40 AM »
Folks, facts are friendly or they're not, but at the end of the day they're still the facts.

As much as we in Talossa have every reason to take pride in the "amateurity" of our day-to-day operations and larger aspirations, the facts are that there has been a consistent and unjustifiably stubborn refusal to acknowledge that our laws in all forms need to be updated, synchronized, and edited (in the technical sense that there are wildly inconsistent styles, uses of punctuation, and more).

Both the Organic Law and El Lexhatx are a disgusting hodgepodge of half-efforts and compromises born of apathy, inability, or both.

The 2017 "Still Into This" version of the OrgLaw was the result of a thousand compromises. It comes from the right place, but its authors' desire to keep the peace (and their collective lack of time to commit a thousand professional hours into it) has produced a broken OrgLaw.

Hell, last term's "Uniform Seneschal" amendment was the result of too many conflicting desires. One person wanted one thing, another person wanted a different thing, but somewhere in the middle everyone agreed that a changed was needed. It was written in order to pass by a majority of the Ziu, far before any intention to make it a good piece of law, and that's the fact.

And El Lexhatx. I don't even want to start there. It has been amended so often by so many people in so many small pieces at a time that to call it a hodgepodge is a both an understatement and a euphemism. It's atrocious. Too much have we changed one small paragraph without confirming in any manner how that change may affect the thousands of other areas of laws, in no small part because few of us have the time or the desire to undertake such an endeavor.

What Talossa needs - if we ever at all about law, the concept of good government, and the administration of both - is a total and utter rewriting of both documents, in sync and without compromise.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. None of this has been intended or desired to admonish, disparage, or otherwise defame any current or past member of the Ziu who may have written or voted for any of the laws that I have implicated here. Rather, we must acknowledge the facts: the **** is broken.

Offline Açafat del Val

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 232
  • Senator for Florencia
    • View Profile
Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2020, 11:29:24 AM »
I am exploring the possibility to form a collaborative committee, invite select people to participate, and produce a bona fide solution to referendum before the end of this term. If you are interested to serve on this committee, whoever you are, then send me a message privately (on Witt or elsewhere).

But know that this Government - or, more specifically, this Minister of the Government - has no interest to entertain any more compromises that lead to delays and broken products. If you care more about tradition or maintain the status quo for the very sake of tradition and maintaining the status quo, then do not bother. I am looking only for folks who have the determination and ability to start Talossa with a clean slate, and to give us the Organic Law that we deserve.

As staunchly republican and derivativist as I am, the ultimate "product" does not have to reflect those values. What I want is a clean book of laws, agnostic of the hot-button political issues of the day. No more half-measures; no more giving the King one job but taking away another; no more sinecures, like the provincial constables; no more confusion as to who, what, where, when, or how: these fusses must be put to bed.

Oh, and that's the final note for me: No more sinecures, and no more pomp and circumstance for the sake of pomp and circumstance. These sort of British traditions that we in Talossa like to emulate were not just willed into existence; they come from a long line of actual purposeful acts. But if an office or a tradition do not serve a real, common, or meaningful purpose other than but that's how it's always been done around here, then it's time for that thing to go.

That's a hardline for me and this Government. If we as Talossans cannot honestly answer the following two questions - What does [blank] actually do!? and When was the last time that this office did anything productive!? - then it will be abolished. That may encompass such things as the provinces themselves, entire arms of the Civil Service, several officers of the legislature, and more.

If you want to help with this, come aboard.