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  The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court) PASSED
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Author Topic: The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court) PASSED  (Read 12939 times)
Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« on: February 20, 2016, 02:33:53 pm »
« edited: March 31, 2016, 06:32:49 pm by Senator Truman »


Hear ye! Hear ye! Having seen the adoption of the Article addressing the Presidency and subordinate officers, this Convention will now turn its attention to the Judicial branch of the national government. As a third of our membership is campaigning for office this weekend (including the entire Southern delegation), I will refrain from calling any votes on proposed amendments or questions of principle until the ongoing federal elections have concluded on Monday; however, delegates are welcome to express their thoughts in this thread until then.

I now open the floor for debate.
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Associate Justice PiT
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2016, 05:54:31 pm »

     The Judicial Branch has a certain...stability to it that the other parts of the government do not. Without further comment at the moment, I can foretell that will form the crux of discussion on this section.
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President Griffin
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2016, 07:16:33 pm »

Oh: now the fun begins.
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Justice Blair
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 07:27:19 pm »

I think the Judical Branch is actually an area of Atlasia that needs a facelift; I'd like to see the courts play  a big role, rather than just settling disputes about petty electoral laws. If we have a reboot, and follow the US then there's going to be a lot that could be changed
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Classic Conservative
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 07:58:30 pm »

Could we have a US like Supreme Court???
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 12:59:43 am »

The Supreme Court is the guardian of last resort for constitutional government and the freedoms enshrined therein. I trust that just like in 2013, people will come to their senses and oppose base attempts to induce partisan and factional interests into the jurisprudence of the high court. I too would like a more active and involved court, but I would prefer that its independence be strictly guarded.

 

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President Griffin
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2016, 02:27:41 am »

Well, first of all, (mostly) regardless of however we decide to reform the judicial branch, I think it's safe to say that we need to maintain the current Justices at the onset of the new game. There will be a "reboot" as I understand it in the executive and legislative branches at the federal level (possibly at the regional level?), where we'll have special elections for all of the positions. It's patently absurd to allow whoever is President at that time to appoint all 3 ( or 5? 7? None?) Justices, given the proclivities among many here, I'm sure, to maintain lifetime appointments.

I suppose it's possible that we decide to go with some form of citizen court or something...in which case, this would no longer be relevant/applicable. I guess we will first have to determine exactly how many Justices will be on the Court and/or whether or not we will maintain a similar system, or move toward something fundamentally different. Once we know that, we can have a vote on retaining the current Court members, depending on the adopted structure. I imagine something like this:

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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 03:35:15 am »

Aside from Opebo, who is long gone, the longest any person has been on the court is two years, though bgwah is creeping towards 4 (only two of which have been in his current position though). 

Since Opebo's banning we have had 3 vacancies in the space of under two years. I don't think there has ever been a situation where the judges have been partial or baised based on political influence and considering we have had a liberal court since Bullmoose left in 2009, that says a lot both about the structure and about the types of Justices we have had.

We have had problems with activity and that is 1) a problem because there was a lack of accountability and we fixed that problem. 2) because of a lack of cases and I am interesting in hearing proposals to change that, particularly what Blair has in mind.

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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2016, 05:21:08 pm »

In the debate over the Executive Branch, we already effectively settled the issue of who appoints the Justices by voting to give that power to the president. It seems to me that the next question would be how many Justices there will be. If there are no objections, I will call a principle vote on the size of the Court tomorrow afternoon.

Personally, I think the current size (3) is about right: any larger would be inadvisable given the fact that we have a shortage of willing officeholders. It seems that others might not feel the same way, however, and I'm interested to hear any arguments for increasing the size of the bench.
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President Griffin
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 01:04:32 am »

Assuming we might wish to fundamentally change how the Court operates, should we first have a principle vote on retaining the type of Court we currently have? I mean, I feel like we're assuming here that the Court will fundamentally function as it currently does (which will probably end up being the case). I have no idea if Blair (or anyone else) had something radically different in mind or not.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 03:44:57 pm »

Assuming we might wish to fundamentally change how the Court operates, should we first have a principle vote on retaining the type of Court we currently have? I mean, I feel like we're assuming here that the Court will fundamentally function as it currently does (which will probably end up being the case). I have no idea if Blair (or anyone else) had something radically different in mind or not.
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you proposing added powers for the judiciary, or simply structural changes (fixed terms, etc.)?
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President Griffin
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 04:00:46 pm »

Assuming we might wish to fundamentally change how the Court operates, should we first have a principle vote on retaining the type of Court we currently have? I mean, I feel like we're assuming here that the Court will fundamentally function as it currently does (which will probably end up being the case). I have no idea if Blair (or anyone else) had something radically different in mind or not.
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you proposing added powers for the judiciary, or simply structural changes (fixed terms, etc.)?

I mean, it's possible for instance that we decide to go with a revolving court of sorts. Maybe something where we treat the judiciary like we would a jury and random people are selected from a (pre-confirmed) pool of a dozen or so judges. I don't know.

These are not preferred ideas from me by any means and I imagine they won't be popular regardless, but I have no idea what/if other people are considering radical changes to the courts in terms of its basic existence. My point was that we may be taking for granted the notion that we'll have a court that effectively functions as it does today when we start the debate. However, if nobody else is going to offer amendments or ideas for how it should be different, then I have no objections with us proceeding along these basic, defined lines.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2016, 08:28:24 pm »

Griffin makes a fair point - I know Blair had mentioned wanting to see changes made to the structure of the Court, and it would be helpful to hear those ideas before we make any binding decisions. I'll suspend my motion for now to allow delegates to put forward proposals; if there is no further debate, we'll move ahead with a principle vote on the size of the bench.

I encourage everyone who has even a vague idea about making a change to the Court to speak up - silence will be interpreted as support for the status quo, so don't be timid!
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Leinad
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2016, 02:32:39 am »

I encourage everyone who has even a vague idea about making a change to the Court to speak up

I suppose I have vague ideas, but not really anything substantive yet.

Finding some way to increase the number of cases would be great, but I'm also unsure on how to do it. Perhaps involving GM activity? That would probably open the door to controversy, not that that would be entirely bad.

I'd be open to some sort of radical change here, as long as it would actually help matters without causing too many more problems. I likewise have no objection to simply accepting the status quo with a minor tweak or two and then carrying on to the next topic.
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NeverAgain
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2016, 02:41:51 am »

I encourage everyone who has even a vague idea about making a change to the Court to speak up

I suppose I have vague ideas, but not really anything substantive yet.

Finding some way to increase the number of cases would be great, but I'm also unsure on how to do it. Perhaps involving GM activity? That would probably open the door to controversy, not that that would be entirely bad.

I'd be open to some sort of radical change here, as long as it would actually help matters without causing too many more problems. I likewise have no objection to simply accepting the status quo with a minor tweak or two and then carrying on to the next topic.

Agree with the Governor. I would enjoy seeing some more cases and more Judicial action. But other than that the status quo is fine.
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Lincoln Republican
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2016, 10:25:33 am »

The status quo is fine with me as to the courts.

Also, with GM involvement, we have to be very careful that the GM does not have the authority to create extreme scenarios for the country.
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Justice Blair
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2016, 02:54:02 pm »

I don't have anything especially radical in mind-I considered setting up regional courts lead by one justice, along with a standard Supreme Court of 3 justices but I'd be unsure if we'd have the numbers/energy to sustain this over a long period of time.

Likewise I'd be open to a rotating court that allows every President to appoint a Justice-it's just a question of whether we can get enough interest?
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Associate Justice PiT
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2016, 07:45:43 pm »

     A revolving court sounds like an interesting idea. It could work if we set up certain nonpartisan criteria for Court eligibility, ensuring that no side gets shut out of the Judiciary in the long-term.
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pikachu
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 10:49:34 pm »

The status quo works imo. Trying to make the court more active is dependent on an active citizenry wanting to settle constitutional issues (eg, Foucalf's Roe v ZuWo case last year).
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2016, 06:30:35 pm »

Likewise I'd be open to a rotating court that allows every President to appoint a Justice-it's just a question of whether we can get enough interest?
This pretty much sums up my view. Off the top of my head, I suppose we could set it up so that Justices could serve in other offices when they're not on the bench. For example:

Say there are nine Justices appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for life terms: three of these Justices sit on the Court at any given time, while the other six are on the sidelines. Every four months, the three sitting Justices step down and three of the Justices on the sideleines step up: thus, in a given year, each Justice would spend four months on the bench and eight months off. Depending on how we set up the rotation system (whether selection is fixed or randomized), it might be possible to allow Justices to hold other positions while they're not on the bench, though that might interfere with their ability to be impartial and independent of the rest of the government.

If we go with a rotating bench, we'll need to decide whether rotation is random (i.e. every four months we pull three names out of a hat, and those three Justices become the Court) or set (i.e. we have one set of Justices who serve January-April, one set who serve April-August, and one set who serve August-December). Each system has its flaws: in the first, some Justices may be on the bench more often than others, which gives them uneven influence; in the second, plaintiffs might strategically arrange their cases for times when the composition of the Court is more favorable to their position.

I also think Pikachu makes a good point about the activity of the Court being dependent on public participation. Our goal is to create a government that is conducive to activity, but we can't manufacture interest out of thin air. You can lead a horse to water...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. If there are no objections, I will call a principle vote on the proposed rotating bench tomorrow afternoon.
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pikachu
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2016, 03:14:58 am »

So, some stats which might be useful for this discussion: not counting windjammer, 27 terms served on the Supreme Court (this number counts Atlasians who served non-consecutive terms by the number of terms they served). The average justice served 15 months on the court. However, if you remove opebo, who served 88 months, that number decreases to about 12.5 months per justice. If you remove the four longest serving justices (Oakvale, Spade, opebo, and bgwah), who've served a bit more than half the total months of the court, we get to 8 months per justice. Just some stuff to keep in mind.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2016, 09:20:12 pm »

Seeing no objection, we will now proceed with a principle vote on the proposed rotating bench. Voting will last 48 hours or until all delegates have voted.

For the sake of clarity, the "Fixed Bench" is the system that the existing Supreme Court uses.

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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2016, 09:26:19 pm »

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Lincoln Republican
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2016, 10:05:21 pm »

X  Fixed Bench
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Classic Conservative
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2016, 10:26:29 pm »

Fixed Bench
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