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Author Topic: SENATE BILL: The Contempt of Congress Act (Law'd)  (Read 1365 times)
Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« on: September 02, 2012, 09:04:41 pm »
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The Contempt of Congress Act

1.  Any government official summoned before a Congressional Committee to testify and fails to without providing an excuse deemed legitimate by the Committee shall be charged with contempt of Congress.

2.  If the Senate votes to hold the official in contempt, he shall be subject to impeachment.

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« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 12:16:58 am by Senator North Carolina Yankee »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 09:09:56 pm »
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Ben you have have 24 hours to advocate for this.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 09:11:50 pm »
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Quote from: Recommendation by the Gov't Oversight and Reform Committee
The committee has voted to recommend that the Senate pass the Contempt of Congress Act or similar legislation designed to compell unbridled submission to our inquisitions from those called to testify. The committee has also voted to recommend that the torture be expanded to include non-officeholders by way of incorporating a voting ban when it reaches the Senate floor.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 09:13:34 pm »
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The Contempt of Congress Act

1.  Any government official summoned before a Congressional Committee to testify and fails to without providing an excuse deemed legitimate by the Committee shall be charged with contempt of Congress.

2.  If the Senate votes to hold the official in contempt, he shall be subject to impeachment. If the Senate votes to hold an Atlasian citizen in contempt, he shall be subject to up to a six month ban from voting.

How is this for implementing the Committee's secondary recommendation?
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 10:27:40 pm »
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This would constitute a bill of attainder and is beyond the enumerated powers of the Senate.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 10:37:06 pm »
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We need to find a way to prevent officials and citizens from refusing to speak to Committees.  This legislation will put the fear of God into them, and ensure that never happens.
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 10:40:05 pm »
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I am aware of that concern, shua. Would you care to offer a framework that would pass Constitutional muster, then?
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 08:12:51 pm »
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I am aware of that concern, shua. Would you care to offer a framework that would pass Constitutional muster, then?
Not really, since I don't see the need for this.
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 02:08:50 am »
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How does the real US Congress do this then?


I do see the need. The committees are very new and could easily be subjected to whims of someone up and deciding they are worthless and thus ignoring their requests and demands. This will ensure that atleast for the duration they exist, they will be taken seriously by such people and thus allow the committees to get a fair chance at success.
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 09:47:20 am »
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The best guess I can think of off the top of my head would be there is an implicit understanding among congresspersons that if any member of a party fails to satisfactorily cooperate with the committees, which seem to always have seats filled with people aligned with both the presiding government and a minority from the opposition, there would be punishments related to patronage delivered within the party rather than by the government as a whole. Alas, because candidates in the game do not really depend upon their parties to be effective instruments of political influence nearly so much as in real life, there is much less of an incentive for individual public officials to go along with all the unspoken rules and procedures established over time within the government.
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 12:09:12 am »
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The best guess I can think of off the top of my head would be there is an implicit understanding among congresspersons that if any member of a party fails to satisfactorily cooperate with the committees, which seem to always have seats filled with people aligned with both the presiding government and a minority from the opposition, there would be punishments related to patronage delivered within the party rather than by the government as a whole. Alas, because candidates in the game do not really depend upon their parties to be effective instruments of political influence nearly so much as in real life, there is much less of an incentive for individual public officials to go along with all the unspoken rules and procedures established over time within the government.

Are you certain that is how it works?
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 09:25:31 pm »
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No - my concentration in study has never been anywhere near parliamentary procedures and I don't know political sociology like the back of my hand. If I were right there would likely be a lot of exceptions. But I do not see anyone else providing ideas, so I suppose this is at least marginally better than letting the thread go silent for a couple days. When in doubt, I try to figure out who controls which strategic resources and how much leverage that might afford them against others.
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 01:05:48 am »
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contempt_of_Congress

It is a criminal offense in RL.

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Following a contempt citation, the presiding officer of the chamber is instructed to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia;[9] according to the law it is the "duty" of the U.S. Attorney to refer the matter to a grand jury for action.

The criminal offense of "contempt of Congress" sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.[10]

While the law pronounces the duty of the U.S. Attorney is to impanel a grand jury for its action on the matter, some proponents of the unitary executive theory believe that the Congress cannot properly compel the U.S. Attorney to take this action against the Executive Branch, asserting that the U.S. Attorney is a member of the Executive Branch who ultimately reports only to the President and that compelling the U.S. Attorney amounts to compelling the President himself. They believe that to allow Congress to force the President to take action against a subordinate following his directives would be a violation of the separation of powers and infringe on the power of the Executive branch. The legal basis for this belief, they contend, can be found in Federalist 49, in which James Madison wrote “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, none of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” This approach to government is commonly known as "departmentalism” or “coordinate construction”[citation needed]

Others believe that, under Article II, the principal duty of the President is to execute the law; that, under Article I, the law is what the lawmaker—e.g. Congress, in the case of statutory contempt—says it is and the Executive Branch cannot either define the meaning of the law (such powers of legislation being reserved to Congress) or interpret the law (such powers being reserved to the several Federal Courts); any attempt by the Executive to define or interpret the law would be a violation of the separation of powers; the Executive may only—and is obligated to—execute the law consistent with its definition and interpretation; and if the law specifies a duty on one of the President's subordinates, then the President must "take care" to see that the duty specified in the law is executed. To avoid or neglect the performance of this duty would not be faithful execution of the law, and would thus be a violation of the separation of powers, which the Congress and the Courts have several options to remedy.
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 11:38:05 pm »
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Can I get some feedback, based on what I posted? How would it be best to structure this so as to be legal based on our Constitution?
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 12:49:40 am »
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We have a new group of people in the Senate now, including some Constitution experience.


Marokai, what do you think of this and how should it proceed and still be valid legally?
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2012, 01:10:51 am »
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Marokai, what do you think of this and how should it proceed and still be valid legally?

Simple, instead of making it an instant punishment which would be a bill of attainder (and subsequently unconstitutional, IMO) just make refusal to appear in front of a Senate committee a crime, specify the range of punishment, and write procedure for a prosecutor to be selected by the committee to bring up the contempt case for judicial review from the Supremes. The court process would basically be a formality and you'd get the same result.
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2012, 11:14:59 am »
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Not too sure how criminal law works in Atlasia. Does this amendment address Marokai's suggestions?


A suggestion... your thoughts, Marokai?:

Quote
The Contempt of Congress Act

1. Any Atlasian summoned before a Congressional Committee to testify and fails to without providing an excuse deemed legitimate by the Committee can be charged with contempt of Congress.

2. Contempt of Congress is a crime punishable by law, which, if committed, shall carry the sentence of a ban from voting for up to six months.

3. In the event that a committee votes to charge an Atlasian with contempt of Congress, that committee shall select from its body one member to serve as prosecutor for the corresponding case in front of the Supreme Court.

I didn't quite know how to work the impeachment stuff into the wording. So if anyone wants to take a better go at it, be my guest.


« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 10:50:03 am by HagridOfTheDeep »Logged

Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2012, 12:18:14 am »
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You would have to do it as a ban from holding office, which would compel a resignation, rather then impeachment.

Hagrid, I will make this suggestion to you. If you are desiring feedback on a text, the best way to handle it is to post it without calling/offering it as an amendment. Once you offer it as an amendment though, the process kicks in and you risk a vote, and even a failing one at that, that could have been avoided simply by getting the feedback first. Especially if it is a small concern or issue. One it is resolved, then it can be offered and quickly passed possibly without needing a vote on it.
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2012, 12:52:04 am »
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Noted. Is it too late for me to edit my post and remove my calling it "an amendment"?
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2012, 06:55:02 am »
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It is not to late. It is only too late, if a vote has been started on it.
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2012, 06:55:48 am »
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The whole point though is to save time so if Marokai could give a response that would be wonderfull. Tongue
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2012, 05:22:32 pm »
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The whole point though is to save time so if Marokai could give a response that would be wonderfull. Tongue

It seems constitutionally acceptable to me, yes. Tongue
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2012, 12:03:18 am »
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Hagrid do you want to add that ban on holding office in as well, or just leave it with a voting ban?
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« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2012, 12:29:38 am »
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Hagrid?


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« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2012, 06:07:03 pm »
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My apologies. I saw the initial message, meant to reply, and then totally forgot. Tongue

An Amendment:

Quote
The Contempt of Congress Act

1. Any Atlasian summoned before a Congressional Committee to testify and fails to without providing an excuse deemed legitimate by the Committee can be charged with contempt of Congress.

2. Contempt of Congress is a crime punishable by law, which, if committed, shall carry the sentence of a ban from voting for up to six months. Any officeholder who is found to be in contempt of Congress will also incur a ban on holding office for six months.

3. In the event that a committee votes to charge an Atlasian with contempt of Congress, that committee shall select from its body one member to serve as prosecutor for the corresponding case in front of the Supreme Court.
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