The New Judiciary

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Dianne
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The New Judiciary

Post by Dianne »

Hi, I have just been taken [i:1tecu0zr]completely by surprise[/i:1tecu0zr] by the new Judiciary bill. ':shock:'

It's my fault of course for not reading the pending legislation sub-forum lately, but in my defense there is not a *great* deal of discussion there either.

Even though its a highly detailed well-thought out addition to our government and constitution, I have some big disagreements with parts of it and also in the rapid way in which it has been passed. In combination with the establishment of Chancellor position (something that also blew right by me), we have quite dramatically altered the entire shape of our governmental system and constitution and I think this change has happened far too fast for my liking.

For instance, it's my feeling on the first read, that while great care has been taken to leave the judicial authority of the Scientific Council nominally in place, it has as an insitution, been prety much supplanted with this new system of a judiciary and an executive officer.

In my country, which has a multiparty system, there exists the concept of [b:1tecu0zr]"mandate."[/b:1tecu0zr] The idea being that just because a political party has won a slim majority (or even a substantial one) in the polls, they [u:1tecu0zr]don't necessarily have the madate of the people to radicaly re-craft the very structure of government itself[/u:1tecu0zr]. Changes of this order of magnitude, constitutional changes, should only be made with the [b:1tecu0zr]unanimous[/b:1tecu0zr] agreement of the populace or as near to it as makes no difference.

While I don't necessarily disagree with the bulk of this bill (it really is well done for the most part IMO), it scares the heck out of me that I live in a virtual "country" where three or four people acting in unison can change the entire basis of the state! In one fell swoop we have drafted almost more language onto the consitution than it currently contains. I think all citizens, regardless of whether they agree with this paricular bill should be worried about that.

Rather than simply graft an entire working judiciary onto the government without any deep thought as to the consequences of such, I think we should have tackled the constitution itself first. Whatever happened to the idea of a constitutional convention that all the citizens could contribute to and be a part of? Constitutional change should occur outside of or in the absence of political parties and have as its basis the will of the people as a whole, not the whims of any particular political party or ruling group.

I am also concerned that as a member of the Scientific Council, I had no inkling and no idea that this bill was in the works. Clearly, I am at fault for not informing myself by reading the forum, but equally clear is the fact that this bill [i:1tecu0zr]must have been discussed by most of the members of the Scientific Council without the Council actually meeting or having any official communication. [/i:1tecu0zr]

Does the Scientific Council even meet anymore? Does it have any relevance at all as an insitution? It concerns me that constitutionally aimed bills are being passed by the RA in rapid sucession (as they were in the last session of the RA), that are [b:1tecu0zr]not[/b:1tecu0zr] being reviewed by the Scientific Council as part of their constitutional responsibility.

To me this is more evidence that the SC is all but writing itself out of existence without actually saying so. Again, [i:1tecu0zr]whether or not you agree with that[/i:1tecu0zr], it still seems completely wrong that such massive, effective, constitutional change can occur with such little input and with no real mandate to so so.

If the Scientific Council is to be defunkt, then maybe we should just write it out of the Constitution altogether instead of replacing it with a new judicial system that keeps the titular heads of the SC on as a sort of "sop" to public opinion or history.

This willy-nilly changing of massive parts of our governmental structure without any real or meaningful consultation with the populace makes a farce of the idea of virtual government IMO.

How can we live in a country where the constitution itself changes so rapidly and so often? If the argument is that we are living in some kind of "formative" age, then we are merely owning up to radically revising the constitution and again should take more care to include the voices of the *entire* populace.

Perhaps the populace, like the populace of many RL countries today, is really apathetic and content to have larger minds work these things out for them, but perhaps we should at least ask first.

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Re: The New Judiciary

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Dianne":8oz7iqd8]Hi, I have just been taken [i:8oz7iqd8]completely by surprise[/i:8oz7iqd8] by the new Judiciary bill. ':shock:'

It's my fault of course for not reading the pending legislation sub-forum lately, but in my defense there is not a *great* deal of discussion there either.

Even though its a highly detailed well-thought out addition to our government and constitution, I have some big disagreements with parts of it and also in the rapid way in which it has been passed. In combination with the establishment of Chancellor position (something that also blew right by me), we have quite dramatically altered the entire shape of our governmental system and constitution and I think this change has happened far too fast for my liking.[/quote:8oz7iqd8]

Really, it cannot be said that the Judiciary Act was passed in haste. I first posted a detailed description of my ideas for developing our judiciary on the 5th of August, in the forums ([url=http://forums.neufreistadt.info/viewtop ... 9:8oz7iqd8]here[/url:8oz7iqd8]). Then, when few people responded to that, I took the suggestion of Gwyneth, the Dean of the Scientific Council, and drafted the means for implimenting it, and posted [i:8oz7iqd8]that[/i:8oz7iqd8] on the forum ([url=http://forums.neufreistadt.info/viewtop ... 2:8oz7iqd8]here[/url:8oz7iqd8]). There has been near enough [i:8oz7iqd8]two months[/i:8oz7iqd8] in which all of these proposals could have been discussed, by every single citizen of Neufreistadt (and even people who are not citizens), through the publicly accessible web forums. Some people have discussed it at length - others have chosen, for reasons best known to themselves, not to be involved in those discussions. That is entirely a matter for them.

As many have pointed out, it is a very important development for our soceity, to have a properly functioning judiciary, set about by the strictness of procedure necessary to guarantee the fairness that is a vital component of any judicial system, and, indeed, soceity. There has been every opportunity for everybody in the world to discuss this new judicial system, and it was passed not a moment too soon. How long do you think that you really think that we could have continued without any formal judicial procedure?

[quote:8oz7iqd8]For instance, it's my feeling on the first read, that while great care has been taken to leave the judicial authority of the Scientific Council nominally in place, it has as an insitution, been prety much supplanted with this new system of a judiciary and an executive officer. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

I cannot see how the executive affects the authority of the SC at all. And do you say that it is a bad thing that a professional judiciary takes over part of what were previously the functions of the Scientific Council? If so, why? What precisely is bad about it? If nothing, then where is the cause for complaint?

[quote:8oz7iqd8]In my country, which has a multiparty system, there exists the concept of [b:8oz7iqd8]"mandate."[/b:8oz7iqd8] The idea being that just because a political party has won a slim majority (or even a substantial one) in the polls, they [u:8oz7iqd8]don't necessarily have the madate of the people to radicaly re-craft the very structure of government itself[/u:8oz7iqd8]. Changes of this order of magnitude, constitutional changes, should only be made with the [b:8oz7iqd8]unanimous[/b:8oz7iqd8] agreement of the populace or as near to it as makes no difference. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

I cannot agree with that: the whole purpose of a government and political system is bindingly to resolve conflicts between people about what should be done. If people cannot agree, then at least some of them will have to accept what others decide, through the proper channels, whether they like it or not. If near unanimity were required for every decision of import, then virtually no decision of import would ever be made.

A government must do what is right, not merely what is popular, not least because, very often, no one thing has universal popular support, yet there must be a choice between them. How can it ever be right for a small minority to have the power to maintain a very bad status quo? A balance must be struck between the power of the citizenry to have an input into government decisionmaking, and the power of elected representatives to use their own judgment in arriving at conclusions about what ought be done. That balance is struck in our constitution by the requirement that constiutional amendments require a majority of two thirds of members of the elected representative assembly. If you believe that it should be something different, then that is another matter, for another thread, but, until it is changed, you, like every other citizen, are bound to follow the constitution as it currently stands.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]Rather than simply graft an entire working judiciary onto the government without any deep thought as to the consequences of such, I think we should have tackled the constitution itself first. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

I must say, that is wholly unfair to all of those who have spent many, many hours considering exactly that point very carefully. Have you not seen the lengthy discussions in the forums? A great many people have put a great deal of thought into the Judiciary Act, and it really is quite unwarranted for you to say, entering the debate only after the requisite authority has finally reached a binding decision on the matter, that no deep thought has been given to it.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]Whatever happened to the idea of a constitutional convention that all the citizens could contribute to and be a part of?[/quote:8oz7iqd8]

Of those who attended the publicly advertised meeting, open to all, as I understand it, to decide whether or not to have one, there were not a majority of people in favour of having it.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]Constitutional change should occur outside of or in the absence of political parties and have as its basis the will of the people as a whole, not the whims of any particular political party or ruling group. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

The Act was passed unanimously by the Repreentative Assembly. It is really quite unwarranted to suggest that the Judiciary Act was passed on a whim when such a great deal of time and trouble has gone into it by all concerned.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]I am also concerned that as a member of the Scientific Council, I had no inkling and no idea that this bill was in the works. Clearly, I am at fault for not informing myself by reading the forum, but equally clear is the fact that this bill [i:8oz7iqd8]must have been discussed by most of the members of the Scientific Council without the Council actually meeting or having any official communication. [/i:8oz7iqd8][/quote:8oz7iqd8]

My understanding of Scientific Council procedure is that it meets only after bills have been passed by the Representative Assembly to decide whether to ratify them or not.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]Does the Scientific Council even meet anymore? Does it have any relevance at all as an insitution? It concerns me that constitutionally aimed bills are being passed by the RA in rapid sucession (as they were in the last session of the RA), that are [b:8oz7iqd8]not[/b:8oz7iqd8] being reviewed by the Scientific Council as part of their constitutional responsibility.

To me this is more evidence that the SC is all but writing itself out of existence without actually saying so. Again, [i:8oz7iqd8]whether or not you agree with that[/i:8oz7iqd8], it still seems completely wrong that such massive, effective, constitutional change can occur with such little input and with no real mandate to do so.[/quote:8oz7iqd8]

As I have noted above, it is wholly unfair to say that there has been no real input, given the very lengthy forum discussions that there have been on the matter.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]If the Scientific Council is to be defunkt, then maybe we should just write it out of the Constitution altogether instead of replacing it with a new judicial system that keeps the titular heads of the SC on as a sort of "sop" to public opinion or history. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

You really do not seem to understand the very careful balance that I spent a lot of work creating between the Scientific Council and the Judiciary Commission: the Scientific Council, in its new form, is most certainly not defunct: it still ratifies Acts of the Representative Assembly, holds impeachment hearings, and can hear special appeals from Courts of Common Jurisdiction, and allow them on the basis that the Court of Common Jurisdiction from which the matter has been appealed has acted contrary to the text of the constitution. All three of those functions are very important, and it is wholly uninformed and ill-considered to claim that the Scientific Council in its new form is no more than a sop to public opinion or history.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]This willy-nilly changing of massive parts of our governmental structure without any real or meaningful consultation with the populace makes a farce of the idea of virtual government IMO. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

Really, I expected better than this of you. It is wholly improper of you to suggest that there has been inadequate consultation on the important and highly beneficial changes to our constitution that have occurred lately. The judiciary, in particular, as stated above, has been discussed at very great length on the forums over the past [i:8oz7iqd8]two months[/i:8oz7iqd8]. Everybody knows where the forums are. Everybody can access them. That some people have chosen, for whatever reason, not to do so does not mean that there has been inadequate public consultation. And to say that the Judiciary Act, into which such a great deal of thought has gone, is a change that has been made "willy-nilly" is recklessly ill-informed to the point of dishonesty.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]How can we live in a country where the constitution itself changes so rapidly and so often? If the argument is that we are living in some kind of "formative" age, then we are merely owning up to radically revising the constitution and again should take more care to include the voices of the *entire* populace. [/quote:8oz7iqd8]

If something needs changing, the mere fact that there have been other changes recently cannot possibly be a reason not to change it. As stated above, there has been more than enough opportunity for public input on all of the proposals.

[quote:8oz7iqd8]Perhaps the populace, like the populace of many RL countries today, is really apathetic and content to have larger minds work these things out for them, but perhaps we should at least ask first.[/quote:8oz7iqd8]

People have been "asked" on the forums. Those who read the forums, and who cared to reply, had an input into the Judiciary Act. It was revised a great many times in consequence of that input.

However, the decision has been made now. All of those who chose to have their input have already had their say, and those with the power to decide such matters have, unanimously, decided in favour of it.

In our new judiciary, we have created an institution that completes our government, and lends it an authority that it could never otherwise have had; by ensuring that there is an independent, professional, skilled and fair judicial system, we ensure that individual conflict is resolved as effectively, fairly and bindingly as our legislature ensures that public conflict is resolved. With our new judiciary, we can go forward and expand and increase the sophistication of our laws, and the commercial transactions possible under them, confident in the knowledge that we have a court system that we can trust to be fair, predictable and decicive when it is called upon. So, let us not look back at what has already been debated and decided, but look forward, to all of the possibilities that our new judiciary (and executive) gives us, and to how we can make the Confederation of Democratic Simulators an ever better place to live and socialise and do business. That is, after all, what we are about, is it not?

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Re: The New Judiciary

Post by Dianne »

Hi Ashcroft,

It seems you took a lot of my comments personally and have answered all my quoted points with some very similar language, so due to the great length of this post and the great repetition, I won't answer point by point but will do so more in summary instead.

I put the blame squarely on myself for not reading the proposed bill sub-forum and there is also the factor that I was away for two months recently, but to answer your main two points...

1) - You seem to be saying that I "cannot" say that the bill was passed in haste, and characterise my complaints in that regard as being baseless, but all I said was that it was "too fast for me."

To my mind we now have a current setup in Neufriestadt that is completely different from that outlined in the constitution. Today one could argue that the Guild is virtually powerless, and with this new Judiciary the SC almost inconsequential. These are not all the result of your bill of course, but still a fairly vast contitutional change in a very short period of time. It is, for better or worse, quite a different setup than is envisioned by the constitution but yet we have had no constitutional conference, no specific targetted attempts to change the constitution and no constitutional examination of these bills by the SC. I think that's rather shocking, and indeed a very rapid and all-encompassing change in our situation.

As I said, I basically am in favour of the majority of these changes, but I am arguing that they were somewhat improperly and far too rapidly accomplished.

2) You say that I have no basis for complaining about lack of notification of these changes, but I disagree.

As a member of the Scientific Council I am most disturbed that a bill that essentially changes our constitutional makeup was not mentioned to me by any other member of the Council, nor discussed amongst ourselves. I know our technical mandate is to review such bills [i:mkmjxx38]after[/i:mkmjxx38] they have passed to see if they violate the contitution etc., but its also typical that we would discuss any bill that envisioned such a major change especially one that was not getting as much discussion as one might hope for in the forums.

The SC may have met in my absence that I am not aware of, but we had not met for many weeks prior to my two month absence, I received no notification of any meetings by email in the whole time I was absent, and we have not met since I came back. All in all the SC has not met as far as I am aware since shortly after the Ulrika trial many months ago and previous to all this structural change. If this is really the case perhaps the SC is simply derelict in it's duties and should be impeached en masse.

Secondly as a citizen of Neufriestadt, I would expect that no government regardless of being duly elected would undertake to make such radical revisions of the basis of the state without pro-actively informing the citizens of same. I am not suggesting anything illlegal was done, merely that [u:mkmjxx38]historically[/u:mkmjxx38] a government seeks the mandate of it's people in a different way for large contitutional changes than it does for deciding on piffling matters like street signs or public events hosting.

Yes the government is duely elected and yes, technically they could pass a bill tomorrow declaring us a fascist state or a limited company or a protectorate of the US or any number of strange things and it would all be [u:mkmjxx38]legal[/u:mkmjxx38] (subject to constitutional review by the SC). That doesn't make it right.

A ruling party as constituted currently in Neufriestadt is really just a few people. You can argue that they are the duly elected government all you want and it won't change the fact that a very few people acting in unison have the power to make great changes. With great power comes great responsibility. It is their [u:mkmjxx38]duty[/u:mkmjxx38] in my view, not only to operate within the limits of the law but to be seen to be doing so in a fair and even handed way. Making great changes to the constitution without involving the entire population in the process is a big problem in my view.

I shall refrain from commenting too much more as I have a great many other things to do today and as you say it's pretty much a done deal now anyway.

All in all I would just like to say that I disagree with your characterisation of the bill as being "duly argued" and everyone being completely informed of it's occurance. I did not mean on my part to imply that no discussion or thought had taken place, that would be rude. Of course it has been discussed and of course lots of intelligent people have talked about it. A discussion I missed by not actively seeking it out.

On the other hand, your characterisation of it as being discussed to death over a great period of time with all parties kept informed is a bit "over the top." A month and a half of polite, limited discussion on one thread or two does not qualify for me as "sufficient discussion" of a very far reaching bill. The very fact that one had to [b:mkmjxx38]actively[/b:mkmjxx38] seek out this information to be aware of it at all is an obvious flaw in the process. Here I am a member of government, a member in fact of the branch specifically concerned with the things this bill adresses and the contitutional impact of bills in general and I was completely uninformed. That is a gross flaw in the process by any stretch of the imagination.

I will close with my two real complaints about the [i:mkmjxx38]substance[/i:mkmjxx38] of this bill (over and above the way in which it seems to seek to supplant the SC).

1) The "laws" and the benefits of the judicial system are extended specifically to non-citizens.

I can see no basis for this in law. It also codifies and specifically leaves the way open to the exact "terrorist" tactic which was used so sucessfully against us by Ulrika Z. Even though it's likely that no one would care about us as much as she to specifically target us with this loophole as a weapon, it just makes no sense to me why we would attempt to argue that our laws apply to people in "other countries." This is like the US passing a law and saying that it applies to France and the UK as well in my view.

Someone who is not a citizen of our "country" nor it's protectorates, nor a member of any organisation associated with us, is someone we have no jurisdiction over and should *not* be included under out umbrella of laws. This is not only pompous and silly, it's just asking for trouble vis a vis greifers of one kind or another.

2) This bill effectively defines and writes into the constitution a definition of Neufreistadt as one member of a [b:mkmjxx38]Confederation of Sim states[/b:mkmjxx38]. This will have an absoluely huge effect on our future and is a key point in deciding on our political makeup.

Now I am one of those in agreement that this is in fact what we [u:mkmjxx38]should[/u:mkmjxx38] define ourselves as, but much disucssion has gone back and forth on the matter with many of our leading citizens being quite certain of the fact that they do [b:mkmjxx38]not[/b:mkmjxx38] want us to be a "confederation" or a "federation." Great pains were taken in the naming process to avoid pre-deciding this very issue, yet now it is simply summarily written into the constitution as a part of this bill. The last I heard, the discussion was not actually over on that point.

As I said, I don't disagree with the concept (even though a far less unfortunate name than "Confederation of Democratic Simulators" could have been chosen), but the fact is the [i:mkmjxx38]people[/i:mkmjxx38] were still discussing this the last I heard, but now it's written into the constitution as a fact.

One of the dangers in passing huge long detailed bills that change the constitutional landscape is that minor wording like that in any one section can come to mean great things at a later date. I think the wording is very well done in this particular case and I applaud all the work that went into it, but mistakes can and will be made when due process is not followed and the time is not taken to soberly review the proposals before they become law.

I just think we should have had more general discussions about the nature of our state that involved the entire population before we just simply start re-writing big chunks of our founding documents. I don't think the process followed here was democratic in spirit, even though it violated no specific laws.

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Post by Publius Crabgrass »

[cross-posted under "positions vacant"]

I’m new here but have been following the debates about the new judiciary carefully. Indeed, the fact that folks have committed to the rule of law pushed me into joining this society. It is, as my new friend Ashcroft suggests, hard to argue that the judiciary bill was passed without considerable discussion as many bytes have been spilt in the forums over it. However, the new entity of a Public Scrutiny Judicial Panel, a sort of judicial candidate screening body, does appear to have been added at the last minute in a compromise that may have been too hasty.

It does seem odd that there would be a publicly elected body of folks who by the constitution can’t join any faction. In effect, what has been done is to create a new faction, consisting of those who are interested in overseeing the judiciary but cannot belong to any faction. Let’s call them the “faction-that-must-not-be-namedâ€

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Re: The New Judiciary

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Dianne":8a2wdfky]1) - You seem to be saying that I "cannot" say that the bill was passed in haste, and characterise my complaints in that regard as being baseless, but all I said was that it was "too fast for me." [/quote:8a2wdfky]

"Too fast for you" is not the same as "in haste". Of course, as far as you were concerned, unfortunately, the two months in which the Judiciary Act was discussed extensively were the same two months as you were away for entirely undertandable reasons. It may, therefore, from the outside [i:8a2wdfky]appear[/i:8a2wdfky] to have been hasty, even though it was not.

[quote:8a2wdfky]To my mind we now have a current setup in Neufriestadt that is completely different from that outlined in the constitution. Today one could argue that the Guild is virtually powerless, and with this new Judiciary the SC almost inconsequential.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

How can you say that the SC is inconsequential when it has the three important functions outlined in the above post?

[quote:8a2wdfky]These are not all the result of your bill of course, but still a fairly vast contitutional change in a very short period of time. It is, for better or worse, quite a different setup than is envisioned by the constitution but yet we have had no constitutional conference, no specific targetted attempts to change the constitution and no constitutional examination of these bills by the SC.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

Why should there be a constitutional conference? What on earth would that have acheived that two months of extensive forum debate, and numerous meetings of the RA and public meetings of the CSDF (the DPU do not hold public meetings) at which the Act was discussed would not?

[quote:8a2wdfky]I think that's rather shocking, and indeed a very rapid and all-encompassing change in our situation.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

Two months is not rapid, unless one has not been here for two months. For many people, including many of our citizens, two months is their entire SecondLifetime, or more.

[quote:8a2wdfky]As I said, I basically am in favour of the majority of these changes, but I am arguing that they were somewhat improperly and far too rapidly accomplished.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

How slow, exactly, do you think that we should have been in setting up a proper judiciary? Why do you pick that figure, rather than any other? We move too slowly on things as it is. There is no benefit in going slowly for the sake of it. Once everbody has had a chance (whether they have taken advantage of it or not) to have input, and all who have the power to do so are agreed, what is the use of waiting more time to do something that is very important?

[quote:8a2wdfky]2) You say that I have no basis for complaining about lack of notification of these changes, but I disagree.

As a member of the Scientific Council I am most disturbed that a bill that essentially changes our constitutional makeup was not mentioned to me by any other member of the Council, nor discussed amongst ourselves. [/quote:8a2wdfky]

I cannot comment on internal SC procedures, but what more could anybody want than lengthy discussion on a public forum over two months?

[quote:8a2wdfky]I know our technical mandate is to review such bills [i:8a2wdfky]after[/i:8a2wdfky] they have passed to see if they violate the contitution etc., but its also typical that we would discuss any bill that envisioned such a major change especially one that was not getting as much discussion as one might hope for in the forums. [/quote:8a2wdfky]

If people do not choose to partcipate in discussions, it is not for anybody to force discussion upon them. People have a right to be apathetic.

[quote:8a2wdfky]The SC may have met in my absence that I am not aware of, but we had not met for many weeks prior to my two month absence, I received no notification of any meetings by email in the whole time I was absent, and we have not met since I came back. All in all the SC has not met as far as I am aware since shortly after the Ulrika trial many months ago and previous to all this structural change. If this is really the case perhaps the SC is simply derelict in it's duties and should be impeached en masse. [/quote:8a2wdfky]

Again, I cannot comment on internal SC procedures, but I hardly think that one could impeach the entire Scientific Council for not doing more than is required of it by the constitution.

[quote:8a2wdfky]Secondly as a citizen of Neufriestadt, I would expect that no government regardless of being duly elected would undertake to make such radical revisions of the basis of the state without pro-actively informing the citizens of same.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

What more pro-active information could you want than lengthy forum discussion and numerous in-world meetings at the RA and by the only of the two political factions that has public meetings?

[quote:8a2wdfky] I am not suggesting anything illlegal was done, merely that [u:8a2wdfky]historically[/u:8a2wdfky] a government seeks the mandate of it's people in a different way for large contitutional changes than it does for deciding on piffling matters like street signs or public events hosting.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

That is why we have the requirement of a two thirds majority in the RA. This Act was passed with unanimity.

[quote:8a2wdfky]Yes the government is duely elected and yes, technically they could pass a bill tomorrow declaring us a fascist state or a limited company or a protectorate of the US or any number of strange things and it would all be [u:8a2wdfky]legal[/u:8a2wdfky] (subject to constitutional review by the SC). That doesn't make it right.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

But it would be wrong because the substance of it is wrong: it would no more be right, after all, if the government declared us a fascist state after four months of lengthy debate and conventions. The analogy is a bad one.

[quote:8a2wdfky]A ruling party as constituted currently in Neufriestadt is really just a few people. You can argue that they are the duly elected government all you want and it won't change the fact that a very few people acting in unison have the power to make great changes.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

Which is precisely how government is able to be effective at all.

[quote:8a2wdfky]With great power comes great responsibility. It is their [u:8a2wdfky]duty[/u:8a2wdfky] in my view, not only to operate within the limits of the law but to be seen to be doing so in a fair and even handed way. Making great changes to the constitution without involving the entire population in the process is a big problem in my view.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

It is untrue to claim that the entire population has not had an opportunity of being involved when every detail of the proposal has been discussed at great length on the public forums for two months. Not only has the entire population had an opportunity of being involved, but everybody in the world with web access has had the opportuinty of being involved! Just like in the real world, the government does not have send somebody to knock on every citizen's door every time that it plans to make an important change to the law: it is enough that it is published in the newspapers. If the citizens do not read the newspapers, they cannot afterwards complain that the change has been made without their consultation.

[quote:8a2wdfky]All in all I would just like to say that I disagree with your characterisation of the bill as being "duly argued" and everyone being completely informed of it's occurance. I did not mean on my part to imply that no discussion or thought had taken place, that would be rude. Of course it has been discussed and of course lots of intelligent people have talked about it. A discussion I missed by not actively seeking it out.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

It does not require much initiative to check the forums. What exactly more could you expect - an in-world IM with details of every upcoming discussion of importance? I cannot imagine what you think is insufficient about forum discussion as a means of involving our population.

[quote:8a2wdfky]On the other hand, your characterisation of it as being discussed to death over a great period of time with all parties kept informed is a bit "over the top." A month and a half of polite, limited discussion on one thread or two does not qualify for me as "sufficient discussion" of a very far reaching bill.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

The discussion was only limited by the choice of those who chose to participate. Anybody could have participated, and discussed anything. People chose not to do so for reasons that only they know. The number of threads is also irrelevant: what counts is how comprehensive that the threads are. And why on earth is two months not enough? How exactly do you work out, in any event, just how slow that the process should be? The important point is the scope for [i:8a2wdfky]opportunity[/i:8a2wdfky] of discussion, not the amount of actual discussion that took place. If it were the latter, apathy could permanently delay any important change.

[quote:8a2wdfky]The very fact that one had to [b:8a2wdfky]actively[/b:8a2wdfky] seek out this information to be aware of it at all is an obvious flaw in the process.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

I really don't follow this concept of activity that you are using. Why is it too much to ask that, if citizens want to be informed about what is happening in the nation of which they are citizens, that they read the forums?

[quote:8a2wdfky]Here I am a member of government, a member in fact of the branch specifically concerned with the things this bill adresses and the contitutional impact of bills in general and I was completely uninformed. That is a gross flaw in the process by any stretch of the imagination.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

That cannot be so, can it? You were not informed because you did not read the forums. You might have had a good reason for not having time to read the forums, but that does not mean that it is anybody's fault that you were not informed - it was just an unfortunate conflation of circumstances that meant that you could not be as involved as you would like in the development of our judicial system.

[quote:8a2wdfky]I will close with my two real complaints about the [i:8a2wdfky]substance[/i:8a2wdfky] of this bill (over and above the way in which it seems to seek to supplant the SC).

1) The "laws" and the benefits of the judicial system are extended specifically to non-citizens.

I can see no basis for this in law. It also codifies and specifically leaves the way open to the exact "terrorist" tactic which was used so sucessfully against us by Ulrika Z. Even though it's likely that no one would care about us as much as she to specifically target us with this loophole as a weapon, it just makes no sense to me why we would attempt to argue that our laws apply to people in "other countries." This is like the US passing a law and saying that it applies to France and the UK as well in my view.

Someone who is not a citizen of our "country" nor it's protectorates, nor a member of any organisation associated with us, is someone we have no jurisdiction over and should *not* be included under out umbrella of laws. This is not only pompous and silly, it's just asking for trouble vis a vis greifers of one kind or another.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

Really, please read all the discussions first - this was addressed at length on the original thread.

Our constitution provides that nobody shall be banished from any public land in the CDS except following trial in accordance with law or consent not to be tried. How do you expect people who are not citizens to be banished unless they are also subject to our laws?

If we are to be taken serioulsy, why should we not ensure that those who visit our territory are only banished for good grounds which they may contest in a court?

Furthermore, one of the important points of the power of the judiciary when combined with franchulates is that it means that people, whether citizens or not, can enforce contracts against citizens of the CDS. That involves those non-citizens being as much a subject to our law as everybody else. A person who is banished, for example, for bad behaviour in the Marketplatz, would then lose that right to enforce against our citizens for the term of that banishment.

As I explained at great length when this was first discussed, the practical limitations on the court's power (that it can only enforce against non-citizens by banishing them) is what ought be the limt of our powers, not some arbitrary requirement that only citizens are subject of our laws. You will note that, even in real life, if you visit another country, you are not made any the less the subject of its laws because you are not a citizen there.

You will also note that the constitution provides that the Court of Common Jurisdiction shall only resolve disputes that are capable of being resolved in accordance with our law. A dispute between two non-citizens not on our territory would not fall wihtin that category, as the powers of enforcement would be too weak to have any effect.

[quote:8a2wdfky]2) This bill effectively defines and writes into the constitution a definition of Neufreistadt as one member of a [b:8a2wdfky]Confederation of Sim states[/b:8a2wdfky]. This will have an absoluely huge effect on our future and is a key point in deciding on our political makeup. [/quote:8a2wdfky]

From my understanding, there was a competition, then an election to decide the new name, and, before I even joined, the SC declared that the name should be the "Confederation of Democratic Simulators". However, the constitution had not been updated to reflect that wording, so I included that in the Judiciary Act along with the citizenship changes to make everything clear. The change of substance had, as far as I understood it, already been agreed upon.

[quote:8a2wdfky]Now I am one of those in agreement that this is in fact what we [u:8a2wdfky]should[/u:8a2wdfky] define ourselves as, but much disucssion has gone back and forth on the matter with many of our leading citizens being quite certain of the fact that they do [b:8a2wdfky]not[/b:8a2wdfky] want us to be a "confederation" or a "federation." Great pains were taken in the naming process to avoid pre-deciding this very issue, yet now it is simply summarily written into the constitution as a part of this bill. The last I heard, the discussion was not actually over on that point.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

Actually, the Judiciary Act, although it encompasses the already agreed upon name, does not make any provisions that mean substantially that we are now a federation rather than a unitary state. It does not, for example, provide for any sort of regional or local government.

[quote:8a2wdfky]One of the dangers in passing huge long detailed bills that change the constitutional landscape is that minor wording like that in any one section can come to mean great things at a later date. I think the wording is very well done in this particular case and I applaud all the work that went into it, but mistakes can and will be made when due process is not followed and the time is not taken to soberly review the proposals before they become law. [/quote:8a2wdfky]

In this case, I cannot imagine what more sober reflection that there could have been, or how any of the processes can properly be characterised as undue.

[quote:8a2wdfky]I just think we should have had more general discussions about the nature of our state that involved the entire population before we just simply start re-writing big chunks of our founding documents. I don't think the process followed here was democratic in spirit, even though it violated no specific laws.[/quote:8a2wdfky]

I ask again - what more, within reason, could one possibly have asked for than lengthy and detailed debates (with the opportunity for anybody to join in about any aspect of what was proposed) on the foums, as well as numerous in-world discussions?

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Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

Dianne,

I respect your concern, a great deal has happened in terms of change in the last two months. In the case of the executive, we wanted to lighten some of the massive burden on the GM. In the case of the Judiciary, we wanted to build a road to binding dispute resolution.

It can be argued that it is excessively complex and overbuilt for a nation of 40 citizes. I disgree. The complexity of it reduces the uncertainty of a judgement. We did try to get this passed for fear of reproducing the 8 month wait for a watered down version that occured with franchulates. As it stands, franchulates will be essentially rewritten anyway.

Is the bill perfect? Surely not. We don't know until we try it, as this is an experiment. As a SL business person, I wanted something, *anything* in place that could solve disputes with a structured process. I was quite seriously ready to introduce rock/paper/scissors. I find the current judiciary bill much more just and useful to me.

Now the proof is in the pudding, let's see what happens. BTW I'm sure the SC will take a long hard look at this in it's decision to ratify the bill. I can also assure you that after we have practical experience and several cases have been decided that aspects of this bill may have amendments over the next few months. There is also the possibilty that for whatever reason(s) it doesn't work as advertised or at all (see the current microplot debate) in which case it might be abolished.

I feel the SC and the AC still have very real and undiminshed relevance to the CDS. I would like to see the SC meet more often and I'd like to see some of Kendra's structural ideas in place at the AC.

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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

"After the fact" discussions are sadly much more frustrating :( Dianne, we missed you for the past two months :(

To clarify, though —

1) At least 1/3 of all threads in the forums in the past two months are somehow related to the new Judiciary Branch. In terms of raw words, they are much more than that — perhaps half of what has been written, if not more, is indeed related to the Judiciary in some form.

2) *All* meetings of the RA in the past two months have addressed the Judiciary. In many of those cases, the discussion was far from reaching a consensus; more often than not, the RA meetings were postponed because there was not enough information to make a qualified decision. Also, RA members more often than not preferred to postpone a decision for another week to go back to the forums and argue a bit more publicly.

The RA met almost every week in the past two months.

3) At least one party (the CSDF) held [url=http://secondlife.com/events/event.php? ... 0:10kvq8hs]public meetings every week[/url:10kvq8hs], and the discussion of the Judiciary was almost always on the agenda. Members of other parties and non-aligned citizens actively participated in those discussions. Very often the meetings resulted in no consensus, and people lingered around after the meeting was over, still engaged in discussion. All these meetings had their transcripts duly posted on the forums.

4) Several scheduled meetings are announced in Neufreistadt, and while they weren't exactly related to the Judiciary or the changes in the Constitution, the conversations were quite often turned to those themes. For instance, Rudy Ruml, a rather new citizen, and unaffiliated to any party, called for a meeting to discuss a possible constitutional convention (which was rejected by a vote of the ones who were present, but that's beside the point — it was, indeed, publicly discussed on an open meeting).

5) During those two months, people constantly sent each other emails on this subject, trying to forge out a document that would be acceptable. So, the discussions are not limited to the forums — they spill over to personal conversations as well. Improptu meetings were attended by people who happened to be in-world at the moment.

6) Both parties, before being elected to the RA, announced their intentions to do [i:10kvq8hs]dramatic changes[/i:10kvq8hs] in the Constitution. While each party had different suggestions on how to go about those, they mostly focused on similar points.

Both parties listed their campaign programmes. They had publicly attended debates, with moderators with questions. One party held a meeting on each proposed change they wanted to introduce — 9 or 10 meetings in all, before Election Day. The discussion spilled over to the forums.

There can't be any doubts in the minds of the citizens that both parties stated very clearly, [i:10kvq8hs]before[/i:10kvq8hs] they were elected, that Neufreistadt would undergo [i:10kvq8hs]dramatic changes[/i:10kvq8hs] during this term. All party members were available for further discussion and clarification. Some of it was done in-world; some on the forums; some in private emails.

7) As soon as the new RA was elected, members of both parties worked together on [i:10kvq8hs]several[/i:10kvq8hs] compromises. For instance, both announced the introduction of an Executive Branch, which we now have, with Aliasi as Chancellor. Both had rather different models for doing that. But they worked together to reach a compromise on a common model. It was approved unanimously.

Candidates for the Chancellary presented their arguments in a publicly held RA meeting, a transcript of which was duly posted. Every citizen had access to what the candidates presented as arguments for their election as Chancellor.

8) Reports have been made in the in-world media ("The Democrat") regarding our proposed introduction of the Judiciary, the Executive Branch, and even the Franchulates. While "The Democrat" is mostly read in NFS, it also gets discussed outside of the City.

But that is not all. Even on the [url=http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread ... 4:10kvq8hs]Second Life Forums[/url:10kvq8hs], the new legal system of Neufreistadt was mentioned and discussed. So even people that don't look up our forums would have had a chance to discuss it on other places. I haven't checked other places, but even [url=http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/09/tradem ... l:10kvq8hs]the New World Notes[/url:10kvq8hs] mention the new legal system.

9) During this whole process, at least one member of the SC strived to be present at most of all those meetings, and participate, to the best of her ability, on the forum discussions. As you might imagine, Dianne, most meetings stretch across several timezones on different days. And things have been so heavilly discussed lately, that it's not uncommon to have overlapping meetings, and one person cannot do both at the same time. Yes, in one occasion, I had to leave an alt on one meeting in a computer, and log with my regular self to the other meeting. So it's unfair to say that "the SC did not know about what was going on".

Now, I regret that during those very busy and hectic two months, all members of the SC were sadly unavailable, for personal reasons. This being SL, this is naturally very understandable. The reason that we have more than one person on the SC is exactly to allow the burden to be shared among as many people as possible. By a sad stroke of coincidences, during all this period of heavy discussion, the SC was reduced to a single member :( Worse than that, one that is infamous for her chronic lack of time... but I did my best.

There was a request for a SC meeting in July and another in September; nobody was available for those. I cannot blame anyone for that; it's very hard to get a time where everybody can meet! :(

In any case, Dianne, I understand that it's hard to "come back" and see the "swift pace of change", which is certainly the way it seems to you. For the dozens of citizens that laboured on a daily basis — yes, some have been around in Neufreistadt discussing this [i:10kvq8hs]every single day[/i:10kvq8hs] since the very beginning — it was one of the most exhausting and time-consuming discussions ever. It embraced dozens of people, and not "the usual bunch" — 3 or 4 members of the RA and 1 or 2 of the SC, which was "the usual model" in the past. Dozens of people, Dianne. Even the [i:10kvq8hs]original Constitution of Neualtenburg[/i:10kvq8hs] was not discussed so extensively (it's far smaller in sheer size of words), for so long, and by so many professionals in the field.

While I'm sure that many would like to add further and successive revisions to the whole document establishing the Judiciary system, something that very likely will happen (laws are not "written in stone"), I don't think it is fair to say that this was "hastily done". It was given perhaps "top priority" in the available discussion time (second to the Executive Branch), which made it take 'only' two months of discussion instead of, say, a year or two. But how intensely-packed those two months were! As a matter of fact, people made off-the-hand remarks that everyone just discussed the legal system and the legal system and more legal system, while forgetting other things, like, say, Colonia Nova :) I can imagine that one of the reasons why the Executive Branch was put in place [i:10kvq8hs]before[/i:10kvq8hs] the Judiciary was to allow the City to be run swiftly on their daily chores while everybody else could get back to discussing the Judiciary again.

Too little discussion? Please. People are [i:10kvq8hs]tired[/i:10kvq8hs] of discussing (almost) nothing else but the Judiciary. If you check both parties' agendas for this term, you'll see both packed full with proposed changes — and the legal system was not even one of those! What this means is that we're on half-term right now, and much more has to be rolled out — 'swiftly' — in the next three months. If you're shocked about the change that took 3 months to accomplish, I think it was little compared to what is planned for the next 3 months! And remember that the citizens put their representatives in office because they [i:10kvq8hs]wanted[/i:10kvq8hs] all those changes to happen. It's a very, very dense agenda for 'only' six months — but people are indeed expecting all those items to be addressed!

In any case, the SC will meet next Tuesday, October 3rd at 5 PM SLT, to approve (or not) the Judiciary Act NL 5-9 (yes, as someone so correctly pointed out, points 2 and 3 are on the wrong order).

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Post by Justice Soothsayer »

[quote="Gwyneth Llewelyn":2ktysne7]In terms of raw words, they are much more than that .[/quote:2ktysne7]

Indeed, some of them quite raw :D :D :D

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Post by Dianne »

[quote="Gwyneth Llewelyn":17ucho6w]"After the fact" discussions are sadly much more frustrating :( Dianne, we missed you for the past two months :( ...[/quote:17ucho6w]I appreciate that I missed a great deal and that to a certain extent I am really whining a bit here, but I still have problems with the changes that have happened not just on a personal level but on an official one.

The mere presence of a single member of the SC at many of these meetings does not satisfy the constitutional requirement here.

The fact is, the Constitution has been massively changed without due recourse to proper constitutional amendments. All this has happened during a period when the governments chief "governor" over constitutional change (the SC) has not even met!

I understand that the majority of the public of our state is in agreement with these changes and that they are actually "where we all wanted to go" all along, but the way in which we have got there is not right.

There is a serious disconnect here.

If "the state" is just 40 avatars, and we are talking about a situation where we all kind of agree so "let's do this," that's one thing. In that case there is no need to be so formal or so complex in the first place. If we are making rules for a future, larger state where such rules will be necessary, then we should follow them to the letter.

It seems to me that when it suits us to bend the rules or do something fast, we merely mumble something up our sleeves about "well we all agree anyway," and proceed. If on the other hand someone criticises us for being slow or bureaucratic, we claim that we are making rules for a future enlarged state. It can't be both ways.

Five or six people, duly elected or not, voting in the RA should not be able to alter the very basic structure of the state IMO. The fact that (I am paraphrasing here), "most of us knew about it and agreed" is really beside the point.

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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Dianne":2ybem1ay]The mere presence of a single member of the SC at many of these meetings does not satisfy the constitutional requirement here.[/quote:2ybem1ay]

What precise constitutional requirement?

[quote:2ybem1ay]The fact is, the Constitution has been massively changed without due recourse to proper constitutional amendments.[/quote:2ybem1ay]

What recourse exactly do you claim was due, and in what precise ways were the constitutional amendments improper? In respect of each, what is the constitutional source (by chapter and section number) of those propositions?

[quote:2ybem1ay]I understand that the majority of the public of our state is in agreement with these changes and that they are actually "where we all wanted to go" all along, but the way in which we have got there is not right.

There is a serious disconnect here.

If "the state" is just 40 avatars, and we are talking about a situation where we all kind of agree so "let's do this," that's one thing. In that case there is no need to be so formal or so complex in the first place. If we are making rules for a future, larger state where such rules will be necessary, then we should follow them to the letter. [/quote:2ybem1ay]

How, precisely, do you alledge that we have deviated from "the letter", as you put it, of our rules? Is this not the exact opposite of what you wrote above when you claimed that, although we had followed the rules, we ought nonetheless not have acted without a braod consensus? Are you not now claiming instead that, although we acted with a broad consensus, we did not follow the rules? What precise rules have been broken?

[quote:2ybem1ay]It seems to me that when it suits us to bend the rules or do something fast, we merely mumble something up our sleeves about "well we all agree anyway," and proceed. If on the other hand someone criticises us for being slow or bureaucratic, we claim that we are making rules for a future enlarged state. It can't be both ways.[/quote:2ybem1ay]

Who has bent what precise rule how exactly? I cannot see anything in the constitution that prohibits the way in which the Judiciary Act was passed.

[quote:2ybem1ay]Five or six people, duly elected or not, voting in the RA should not be able to alter the very basic structure of the state IMO.[/quote:2ybem1ay]

But they can, and those are the rules. You may disagree with them, but that is an argument for changing the rules, not an argument that it was wrong in a particular instance to have acted in accordance with them. (In any event, as stated above, I disagree with such an argument in principle, but that is for another thread).

[quote:2ybem1ay] The fact that (I am paraphrasing here), "most of us knew about it and agreed" is really beside the point.[/quote:2ybem1ay]

It is not beside the point if your point was that there was not enough consultation, which it was.

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Post by Ranma Tardis »

[quote="Ashcroft Burnham":e26342ns] But they can, and those are the rules. You may disagree with them, but that is an argument for changing the rules, not an argument that it was wrong in a particular instance to have acted in accordance with them. (In any event, as stated above, I disagree with such an argument in principle, but that is for another thread).

It is not beside the point if your point was that there was not enough consultation, which it was.[/quote:e26342ns]

I agree with Diane, a major rewriting of the consultation is being done and by only one part of the government. The Regular Assembly does not have the authority to bypass the consultation and make these changes. It might as well make a bill that eliminates the SC and Guild while they are at it. The checks and balances of our founders are under attack. I see it as our democracy itself is under attack. I do not think the RA members want to do this or have bad intentions but the effect of this is still there.
The RA needs to carefully consider the effects of their actions. If they want to change the basic structure than a constitution convection needs to be done. The writing and passing of a bill is no substitute for this procedure. Again, I understand the RA is doing this in what they believe is in the citizens of Neufreistadt best interest and without malice but I urge them to follow proper procedure!

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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

Ranma,

As much as I hate to disagree with you publicly, I sadly have to insist, as it is my duty to observe, that you read the relevant passages of the Neufreistadt constitution and body of laws before claiming that "the RA does not have the authority to bypass the consultation and make these changes."

They not only have [i:qoowodjg]all the authority[/i:qoowodjg] to do so, but they are the [i:qoowodjg]only body in the CDS[/i:qoowodjg] that have this authority. This authority is not "shared" with anyone else.

There are no provisions in the Constitution that require — or even encourage! — the RA to do any sort of "consultation". They are sovereign in their decision. If they meet and simply decide to abolish the SC and the Guild on one stroke, they are absolutely free to do so. Nobody can prevent them to do whatever they wish.

But understand that these responsability comes from being an [i:qoowodjg]elected[/i:qoowodjg] body — one that any citizen can be elected to. If their ideas are too radical, on the next term, they will be judged by the citizens with their votes. Similarly, if they "do nothing" and just idly spend their times chatting, the citizens will judge them for doing nothing. That's what a representative democracy means: accepting the power that the people entrust in their hands, while being fully aware that this power, if abused, will be judged by the citizens themselves the next time an election is due.

Now a [i:qoowodjg]reasonable[/i:qoowodjg] RA will of course open up all the issues for public discussion. This is what this RA is doing. In fact, except for perhaps the very beginnings of Neufreistadt, where there was ample discussion everywhere, this current term has been the one where issues have been discussed most often. The Judiciary Act took two months of very intense and heavy discussion, for an amendment. Of the 12 listed amendments, most took at most one week of discussion — very often much less, and very often just among a handful of people. This particular one has been thoroughly discussed by almost everybody living in Neufreistadt — intensely and passionately, if I might add — and for a very long period of time.

On a personal note, I fail to understand how creating a responsible, professional judiciary that oversees the legal procedures in Neufreistadt is "placing democracy under attack". As a matter of fact, in my mind, a democracy [i:qoowodjg]without[/i:qoowodjg] a judiciary is being constantly under attack — you have laws, but nobody to pronounce judgement over them! Or worse even — having laws, and requiring ad-hoc judgement on those, by amateurs without procedures, who just make things up as they go along (I'm pointing to myself here :) ).

Democracy is "under attack" when it suddenly becomes clear that the whole system of laws are not put into effect, and that nobody is really caring about them. During this term, the RA correctly found out that two things were happening:
[list:qoowodjg][*:qoowodjg]Laws were passed, but nobody acted upon them.[/*:m:qoowodjg]
[*:qoowodjg]If someone wanted to complain to a legal system because they felt to be wronged somehow, and if there even was a relevant piece of law that could be addressed to deal with it, there was nobody to file that complaint to.[/*:m:qoowodjg][/list:u:qoowodjg]
To address issue #1, an Executive (sub-)Branch was created.

To address issue #2, a Judiciary Branch was deployed.

There is some confusion here (Dianne expressed about the same idea) about what the Judiciary Act [i:qoowodjg]is[/i:qoowodjg]. It is, without doubt, [i:qoowodjg]a Constitutional Amendment[/i:qoowodjg]. This is very clearly stated just after its preamble, and I'm going to quote it again:
[quote:qoowodjg][b:qoowodjg]Chapter I - the Judiciary Commission and the Common Jurisdiction[/b:qoowodjg]

1. The following section shall be inserted at the end of the Constitution, but before the table of amendments: – [/quote:qoowodjg]
It thus required a 2/3 supermajority to be approved by the RA — which it did, since all RA members (and there were all of them present!) approved the Judiciary Act.

You said:
[quote:qoowodjg]If they want to change the basic structure than a constitution convection needs to be done.[/quote:qoowodjg]
Ranma, again, I might agree with you on an emotional basis — I would like, as well, to see constitutional conventions to be held — but on a strictly legal basis, [i:qoowodjg]there is no provision in either the Constitution or the Code of Laws requiring the RA to hold anything in order to change the Constitution[/i:qoowodjg]. They're not even [i:qoowodjg]morally[/i:qoowodjg] obliged to do so; in fact, the mere fact that they [i:qoowodjg]do[/i:qoowodjg] change things with [i:qoowodjg]ample[/i:qoowodjg] public consultation is just something they should be applauded for, since they were not bound to do that.

The RA did, indeed, follow [i:qoowodjg]proper procedure[/i:qoowodjg], to the utmost detail. They even went way beyond "just following procedures" and did much more than that.

What you can obviously argue is that "then, these procedures are wrong and we need new ones". Great! It's your right, as a citizen, to present a bill to suggest new procedures, and defend strongly the need to adopt new procedures as quickly as possible. If I might so boldly suggest, that was exactly what Ashcroft Burnham did. He's a citizen unaffiliated with any party. He does not even belong to any citizens' association, to the best of my knowledge. He pushed the RA into submitting a bill for approval. He publicised that bill, talked about it everywhere, very publicly so, and pressed constantly for the RA to discuss it and approve it. Now what democracy allows so much power in the hands of [i:qoowodjg]individual citizens[/i:qoowodjg]?

I would thus seriously encourage you to do the same. Propose a well-structured document to point out what procedures should be taken in order to make constitutional amendments, and start to campaign publicly for it. Based on previous discussions on the forums, where many have asked for different ways of changing the Constitution, I'm quite sure that your proposal would indeed attract a sizeable amount of RA members willing to vote on it.

But Neufreistadt — like any other democracy — cannot base its decisions on "legislation that we would like to have", but only on "legislation that we have right now". Proper procedure, [i:qoowodjg]as it stands at the moment[/i:qoowodjg], was duly and meticulously followed. One might argue if those procedures are enough or not. They might not be; but that is besides the point; the RA can only pass legislation according to the procedures that are, indeed, defined in our Constitution and Code of Law and not on any others; and the SC can only validate those procedures and none others.

I hope that this clarifies the issue. I'm really not looking into sounding condescending or paternalising; one of my jobs, as you know, is defending the Constitution. But I don't defend a "constitution that we would like to have", or "procedures that I'd like to have", or follow a "reasoning that I would like to apply to Neufreistadt". All I'm allowed and entitled to do is to defend the Constitution and Code of Laws that we have [i:qoowodjg]right now[/i:qoowodjg] — and not any others. And thus, in my role as Dean of the SC, it is my solemn duty to affirm that the RA, by passing this Judiciary Act, was faultless (and blameless!) in its observance of the [i:qoowodjg]current[/i:qoowodjg] procedures that we have.

Naturally enough, all citizens that feel that we need different procedures are most welcome to raise up their collective voices and demand from their representatives that they adopt a different model. I truly encourage that, since it is precisely what a good and solid democracy is supposed to do — demand from their representatives that they change things according to the wishes of their citizens!

"I'm not building a game. I'm building a new country."
  -- Philip "Linden" Rosedale, interview to Wired, 2004-05-08

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Ranma Tardis

Post by Ranma Tardis »

Sigh............

As it seems that most of the other citizens want this act, I will stand aside. I could write an Act of my own but know it would be rejected 0-5. My positions seems to be out of place with the vast majority of citizens of Neufreistadt on most of the issues and this is ok as well. I think that it is too easy to make changes to the Consitution but we all know that an unanimous vote from the RA means that it is perfect and can not be questioned.
The Act will be passed tommorow without anyone to speak against it. I only wonder about the next Act and how it will affect the citizens?

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Pelanor Eldrich
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Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

[quote="Ranma Tardis":12m8248g]Sigh............

As it seems that most of the other citizens want this act, I will stand aside. I could write an Act of my own but know it would be rejected 0-5. My positions seems to be out of place with the vast majority of citizens of Neufreistadt on most of the issues and this is ok as well. I think that it is too easy to make changes to the Consitution but we all know that an unanimous vote from the RA means that it is perfect and can not be questioned.
The Act will be passed tommorow without anyone to speak against it. I only wonder about the next Act and how it will affect the citizens?[/quote:12m8248g]

Don't worry Ranma San, Patroklus (I believe) is proposing a constitutional amendment process bill. There's also nothing stopping you for proposing legislation. Even if your bill(s) get defeated 0-5, there are, I'm sure, aspects of them we'd all like to see, and so a compromise (like the Judiciary Bill) is worked out. :)

Pelanor Eldrich
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