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Introduction

#184: Sept. - Nov. 2022
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LanDroid

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United States of America

Introduction

When (the Constitution) was written, in Philadelphia in 1787, it did not contain a bill of rights. The people who drafted the Constitution did not think one was necessary. They thought that the structure of government was enough to protect individuals' rights. The Bill of Rights was added later.
Already learning something on Page 1. I thought the Constitution was ratified with the understanding that a bill of rights was forthcoming. I stand corrected...
Let's be clear about one thing, for starters: the Constitution is not a bulwark. By this I mean it does not erect an impenetrable wall around the citizens of the United States to defend them against tyranny and abuses. It is porous. It needs shoring up from time to time.
But the laws themselves only go so far. A prohibition on murder is meaningless if there are no police officers or prosecutors to enforce it or if a judge's order sending a convicted criminal to prison can be ignored for the right price. Likewise, a routine contract has effect only if the parties are willing to adhere to it in good faith and, barring that, to go to court to enforce it through the judicial system.

So, too, if a federal judge determines that the president -- or any other elected leader or government employee -- has run afoul of the Constitution, the document itself cannot enforce the court's order. If the head of the executive branch violates it, a consequence must follow. Otherwise the rule of law becomes meaningless.
Get a copy, this is going to be good...
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LanDroid

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United States of America

Re: Introduction

First. Having a cop on the block matters. It is important to grasp something about human nature that drives legal systems: a law is meaningful only to the extent that it is enforceable.
...Second. There is a big difference between policy and politics.
...Third. Once something gets in the government's "toolbox," it can be picked up for use at any time.
...Fourth. "Strict reading of the Constitution" is a myth.
...Fifth. American values are not laid out in the Constitution. The idea that American values are not in the Constitution is one that piggy-backs on the debunking of strict reading of the Constitution, and it is extremely important.
...Sixth.No Constitutional power is absolute.
...Seventh. With law, it all depends. Cue the eye rolls.
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Harry Marks
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Ukraine

Re: Introduction

Yes, some good points made in that introduction.

I particularly liked the "toolbox" point and it got me thinking about a point made on Yascha Mounk's "Persuasion" podcast recently by Richard Rhodes in connection with inequality. Rhodes argues that the upper middle class, the top 10-15% in income, has a tendency to complexify the system and this functions to oppress the poor. His Exhibit A would be all the zoning restrictions on housing which have made building starter homes impossible to profit from, especially in well-meaning blue state megalopolises.

The toolbox issue, combined with our passion for procedural fairness, has gradually eroded a lot of common sense in government. For example, there is currently an effort to build a wave of election protests so that state legislatures, gerrymandered into dominance for Republicans, can steal the next Presidential election. Entirely legally, as the New York Times pointed out with its expose. Nothing like clogging things up with the fairness obsession to hand power over to hidden actors.
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