Unconstitutional Crusades

25 Mar

Only in the Arkansas Legislature could the fundamental constitutional concept of the three branches of government under the Separation of Powers Doctrine be described as a form of “judicial activism” that apparently needs a fixin’ by the elected scholars coming from the nutty Arkansas GOP. Defending the Founders on unconstitutional crusades has certainly been a central theme in this often surreal and historically polarizing session of the General Assembly.

Thankfully, voters in the Natural State will have a chance to soundly reject the notion of giving these part-time lawmakers and their well-funded brand of template-politics the authority to take control over the otherwise independent judiciary system of our state, regardless of any other political leanings they may have.

Abortion restrictions? Forcefully advocating for gun rights that seem to literally extend to anywhere and everywhere? Perhaps the truth is this agenda is less insanity and more pre-planned side-show fodder for the REAL change Davy Carter and the boys have planned for the taxpayers of our state: far less tax on the very wealthy via absurd capital gains reductions (which means less services and more burden on the large numbers of po’ folk living here), other corporate tax loopholes, and the trying to provide cover of facing no real liability for any misdeeds of business through the guise of “sensible tort reform.”

Legal Analysis from the Legislative Impact Statement for Senate Joint Resolution 5:

The proposal would alter the balance of power between the branches of government. The Separation of Powers doctrine not only separates the departments of government, but also cordons off the powers of one from the other. Under the classic division of the powers, the legislature makes the laws and appropriates state revenues, the executive administers the laws and expends the appropriations, and the judiciary interprets the laws. See Chaffin v. Arkansas Game & Fish Comm’n, 296 Ark. 431, 757 S.W.2d 950 (1988) (“The Arkansas Constitution contains explicit separation of powers provisions which declare that one branch cannot exercise any power belonging to another branch.”) This promotes a series of constitutional checks and balances between the branches of government. See, e.g., Ball v. Roberts, 291 Ark. 84, 722 S.W.2d 829 (1987).

By restraining the Court from controlling its own practices, procedures, and evidence, the independence of the judiciary is threatened. By allowing the General Assembly the power to restrict the facts, the ways facts are brought forth, and the standards by which a jury may evaluate facts, the protections embodied in the Seventh Amendment are endangered.

Hardly a brain trust, but . . .

Unless we quickly turn this agenda on its heels somehow (not going to happen during this session, obviously), you can start making plans to live in a second Koch-land headquarters, with their home state of Kansas and its new deregulated Rethug utopia as being the model for where we will be headed.

You see, I don’t believe in “vast right-wing conspiracies.” I believe true ambitions can be found 99% of the time if one we’ll simply step back from the headlines and perform a little exercise called “follow the money.”


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