Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adjournment Sine Die

Adjournment sine die - The end of a legislative session "without day." These adjournments are used to indicate the final adjournment of an annual or the two-year session of a Congress.

This interestingly bland detail introduced itself to me yesterday. As far as I can understand it (not being a Congressman or a Lawyer), this tool is used to close Congress and stop the ability for Congress to pass laws until the next scheduled session.

In case you didn't pick up the connotation there, if it's not used, then any member of Congress can sneak in, and pass laws using trickery. There are documented cases of this. Many laws that are effectively screwing up America today are caused by this very detail. I would elaborate on which ones, but I'm not ready to present such Nationally destructive info as of yet. (stay tuned as I slowly elaborate and give my evidence)

Under the original intent of the Constitution, Congress was only able to act with a Majority. That came to a screeching halt when the South seceded from the Union. Which meant that the southern states were not in Congress. Therefore, not majority could be reached. So, Lincoln wrote a writ to allow Emergency Powers to Congress so that they could get back to writing laws.

One of those nasty powers granted under the writ Lincoln wrote was a little thing called: Suspension of Rules.

I've written about Suspension of Rules before, but here's a brief synopsis. Suspension of Rules allows for the Congress to set aside the normal rules of making laws and pass laws without the normal checks and balances.

After researching this suspension of rules, I became aware that it's existence is tracked back to the 1870's, which would imply the time of the Lincoln writ. Under the Constitution and on major pieces of legislation, it states a need of a 2/3 majority vote. Congress should not have the ability to use the Suspension of Rules to pass major legislation.

Congress does have the ability to create it's own rules in the passage of laws within each House and Senate, but those rules are to help in the making of laws.

The Suspension of Rules is one of those "house rules" that is supposed to be used only on mundane things like the naming of Post Offices and whatnot. It was not meant to be used on major Constitutional issues.

I bring up the Suspension of Rules to illustrate a problem with not adjourning Congress at the end of the session. If Congress is not "officially" closed for the session, someone can come in and use things like Suspension of Rules to pass legislation while most of Congress is not present.

Adjournment Sine Die is important for keeping Congress honest. We may not even have the ability for Congress to use Adjournment Sine Die because we are at a State of War. We have been at a State of War since September 11th, 2001, because the President keeps renewing this decree. While we are at "war", Congress cannot convene.

So, if a controversial law is passed using a "house rule" and not using the Constitutional Rule, should it still be a valid law? Or, should it be considered unconstitutional because Congress didn't use procedural due process to pass that law? If Congress cannot convene, are we given due process when someone in Congress passes a major legislative piece while the session is supposed to be over?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Human Nature v. Activism

As I delve deeper in to the realm of Constitutional Law and Activism, I am constantly reminded of our human nature and peoples fear of the unknown. I've heard it all over that the greatest fear of man is the fear of change.

Feeling the call of duty that I feel, I continually strive to set an example and push forward in my activism. Knowing as I do that there are those that are so scared that they won't even read information to enlighten themselves, there are those that read but don't respond, and there are those that respond, but don't do anything.

The exceptional few have heeded the call and have stepped forward to fight the fight. At times, these "warriors" get tired and need a break. With so few people joining the ranks of the "warriors", there are gaps left in the wake of someone taking time to recharge their batteries.

Also, after a few of these times of recharge, people begin to question why they continue. I for one, will never stop, but I know of a few people that have grown bitter as time has gone on.

So I sit here pondering how to possibly appeal to peoples sense of impending doom or even their willingness to answer the call...

I'm afraid that people are so inclined to bury their heads in the sand that they are willing to run with the masses and not step out of the crowd to let their voices be heard.

The more people that step out, the more voices heard. The more we get the Government to stop and listen, the more we will get these laws changed.

I pray every day in my heart that people will wake up to the injustices that are happening to us every day. When will we stand up and say "No More Will I Sit Back And Do Nothing"?

I've heard it said that the only way for Evil to win is for enough Good People to do nothing.

Too many good people are doing nothing right now... How can we let the Evils of this world continue by standing by and letting it happen? Are we so scared about people knowing how we really feel that we will succumb to the mob mentality and watch as atrocities are committed in the name of the public good?

Do you feel that you could be doing more but are to scared to stand up and be heard?

Does knowing this allow you to sleep well at night? Or do you have internal struggles plaguing your every waking, and sometimes sleeping, moments?

Can you, and are you going to sit by and watch the world crumble? Or are you going to stand and fight?

I for one, chose to fight.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Judicial and Jury Nullification

I just found this on another blog...

Jury Symposium

The Northern Illinois Law Review recently (Summer 2008) had a symposium, The Modern American Jury:

  • Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Judicial Nullification? Judicial Compliance and Non-Compliance with Jury Improvement Efforts, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 407-424 (2008)

  • Irwin A. Horowitz, Jury Nullification: An Empirical Perspective, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 425-451 (2008)

  • Kirk W. Schuler, In the Vanguard of the American Jury: A Case Study of Jury Innovations in the Northern District of Iowa, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 453-501 (2008)

  • Elizabeth Dale, People v. Coughlin and Criticisms of the Criminal Jury in Late Nineteenth-Century Chicago, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 503-536 (2008)

  • Frank A. Perrecone & Lisa R. Fabiano, The Federalization of Punitive Damages and the Effect on Illinois Law, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 537-557 (2008)

  • I always find good stuff like this after the fact. Murphy's Law I suppose...

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    A Series on the Loss of Rights: A Right to Vote

    With the 2008 Presidential Elections less than a month away, I am getting more and more emails about our Right to Vote. Feeling compelled to clear up some misconceptions Americans have on our "Right to Vote", I find myself giving you yet another article in the series.

    Our Right to Vote is a basic Constitutional right as set forth in the Fifteenth Amendment. What most people will miss is the second part. "The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

    Appropriate legislation has turned into a "who's allowed to vote and who's not allowed". Even tho the "United States nor any State" can take away that right. Even based on a persons "previous condition of servitude". Interesting how most people with any type of criminal background are excluded from voting.

    But I digress.

    Here is a basic understanding of the voting process.

    The President is elected by Electoral College votes and not by Popular vote. Just like in 2004. Al Gore won the popular vote, but Bush won the electoral vote.

    So, why does it do any good to vote anyways? The more votes, the more electoral college points allotted to a state.

    Here is another problem most people aren't aware of. We used to have the right to "write in" a candidate. Now with invention of electronic voting, we no longer have the option (at times) to "write in" a candidate. Not to mention all of the voting machine fraud.

    So the question at hand remains. If neither candidate in the Presidential Election is worthy of holding office, what is the public to do? With the voting fraud, votes are shuffled from one candidate to another. And if the vote is for a third person, it may not even be counted at all. And not voting just reduces the numbers and therefore raising the percentages that a candidate has...

    Then we have Obama busing people to get registered to vote, and vote in the same day. The ACLU is sending out messages both on their blog and in emails trying to get people to vote (their agenda is for the Constitution itself).

    And this seasons elections are highly important. We are voting on a man who has acknowledged that he wouldn't mind being a dictator, and another who has close friends that are known terrorists. Who do we vote for to hold the highest office in the land? Who is "best qualified" to lead our Nation? If we write-in a candidate that we feel would do the job right, would our votes even make it.

    Is voting a guaranteed right? Or just a motion to be gone through by the people to placate them into believing that everything is ok? Is the outcome of the Vote predetermined by some other group we are unaware of as citizens?

    And with the reduction in eligible voters (people with a criminal record), do we really have a correct representation of the public in the voting system?

    This years vote will be the most important vote that some will ever make. I pray that those voting do their homework and know who they are voting for.

    Now is not the time for mistakes.