Decisions of The Court of the North Pacific

DECISIONS OF THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
posted opinions in chronological order

31 July 2005

IN THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC

In the Matter of A Petition for Judicial Review
(UN Delegate Candidate Eligibility Requirements)


BEFORE Grosseschnauzer, Chief Justice.

An expedited proceeding for judicial review was filed by the Prime Minister, Tresville, under Article V, section 8 of the Constitution of The North Pacific effective from 7 July 2005. The petition states:
As PM, RV and RA member I would like the court to review the constitution in regards to this section of the constitution:

Section 2: Elected Offices of the Regional Government.

The following offices shall comprise the Cabinet of The North Pacific Regional Government. Except for the UN Delegate for the Region, the Prime Minister and each Cabinet minister shall have a vote on any Cabinet action. The UN Delegate for the Region, each Cabinet-level position, and all other positions established in the Regional Government, has the responsibility to uphold and enforce this Constitution, and to implement and comply with the actions taken by the Regional Government pursuant to this Constitution or The North Pacific Legal Code. Each Cabinet-level position shall have the duties and responsibilities as listed in this Section or as provided elsewhere in this Constitution or in The North Pacific Legal Code. Each Cabinet-level position shall have such authority as is necessary and proper to exercise the powers granted to, or to execute the duties imposed upon, that position under this Constitution, or by The North Pacific Legal Code, or by the other laws enacted pursuant to this Constitution, and subject to such limitations on those powers and duties established under this Constitution.
We need a decision that specifies if the Delegate of the region is part of the Cabinet.

This needs to be clarified since it would require any candidate for office to be a Registered Voter.
(bolded language in original petition.)

The quoted constitutional provision is the introductory paragraph of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. (Note: A reference to the “Constitution” throughout this opinion is a reference to the Constitution of The North Pacific effective from 7 July 2005.) We infer from the petition that the question really deals with the relationship of various provisions of Article III, sections 1, 2, 3 and 4, which deal generally with the election of the “Cabinet” and sections 7 and 8, which deal specifically with the election of the UN Delegate. The Court takes judicial notice that an election for UN Delegate is scheduled for 1 August to 7 August 2005 in accordance with the Constitution that requires expedited determination of the petition. A notice of the expedited proceeding has been publicly posted at the official off-site forum by the Court since the nomination period for the office of UN Delegate is underway and there was no other means of expeditious notification to otherwise unidentified interested parties available to the Court. (See http://s2.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacif...howtopic=4918.)

Turning to the petition filed by the Prime Minister, and to the responses filed to the petition in the thread for this proceeding, we answer the question posed as follows.

We believe that, in looking functionally at what the various provisions of the Constitution describe, the Delegate is a member of the elected Cabinet, and not just the Cabinet as a whole – which also includes the deputy ministers. This conclusion is not affected by the provision that the UN Delegate is expressly precluded in the Constitution as an elected member from voting in the Cabinet. We conclude, further, that the provisions governing Cabinet elections as a whole in sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article II of the Constitution apply to the election of the UN Delegate unless expressly varied by an applicable clause of sections 6 or 7 of that Article. This conclusion reflects a sound method of interpretation that gives the fullest possible application to all of the provisions of the Constitution without disregarding any of its provisions, and we believe this interpretation best fulfills the intention of the original Constitution as well as the two revisions of the Constitution as to the election of the UN Delegate, the Prime Minister, and the other Ministers listed in Article III, section 2 (Note: By this we refer to Article II section 2 of the original constitution, (posted in June 2004 by Blackshear at http://s2.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacif...?showtopic=1567 with an amendment shown here: http://s2.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacif...?showtopic=2608 as well as Article II, section 2 of the revision that took effect in April, 2005 posted here: http://s2.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacif...?showtopic=4177, as well as Article III section 2 of the current revision that became effective 7 July 2005). There is nothing in the regional archives as to the development of the first or second revision that evidences a contrary intention. (Note: see http://s2.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacif...?showtopic=3761, and http://s11.invisionfree.com/True_North_Pacific/index.php?c=4 .)

This conclusion is reinforced by the following:

Article III, section 3, clause 6 of the Constitution states that:
6) For purposes of this Constitution, "Cabinet-level position" is construed to refer to the UN Delegate for the Region, the Prime Minister, any Cabinet Minister of the Regional Government, any deputy Cabinet Minister who has acted as a Minister for more than half of an elected term of office, or the Attorney General.
In addition to Article III, section 3, the phrase “Cabinet-level position” appears in Article III, sections 1, 4, and 5. In each instance it appears to be a synonym for the word “Cabinet” or the phrase “elected members of the Cabinet” and the definitional language quoted above reinforces that usage. Sections 1, 4, and 5 of Article III all deal with the Cabinet generally. Section 2 notes that “except forthe UN Delegate for the Region, the Prime Minister and each Cabinet minister shall have a vote on any Cabinet action.” (Emphasis added.) This language clearly indicates that the Delegate is an elected member of the Cabinet.

As to the provision in Article III, section 7 concerning the requirement that “a newly-elected Delegate shall be required to forfeit any position they may hold as Prime Minister, a Cabinet minister, a deputy minister, or as Attorney General, they may hold,” the Constitution consistently uses the phrase “Cabinet minister” to refer to the Minister of External Affairs, the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs, the Minster of Defense, the Attorney General as Minister of Justice, the Minister of Culture and Education, and the Minister of Arts and Entertainment, collectively, as opposed to a reference to the Cabinet as a whole (which would include the Prime Minister and the UN Delegate.) This is shown, for instance in Article III, section 3, clause 1, which states that “ No person, through one or more Nations, who has acted in any Cabinet-level position as Delegate, as Prime Minister, or as a particular Cabinet Minister, for more than one half of a term to which some other person was originally elected, shall be subsequently elected to that elected office of the Cabinet more than once, pursuant to this section.” In addition, the referenced provision in Article III, section 7 is merely reinforcing Article III, section 4, clause 3, which provides that “Cabinet members shall not hold more than one Cabinet-level position at the same time,” a provision that clearly applies to the UN Delegate due to the constitutionally provided definition of “Cabinet-level position.”

As to the differences between procedures for the election of the Delegate and the election of the Cabinet generally, we note such things as the different time periods during which candidates are nominated or may declare themselves (which was changed by a proposal adopted in the s11 constitutional convention) as between the UN Delegate and the other elected members of the Cabinet, the fact that the Prime Minister is the default administrator of Cabinet elections, while the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs is the default administrator of UN Delegate elections, the fact that voters in Cabinet elections generally must be registered voters, while voters in elections for UN Delegate must be both registered voters and must have a nation within TNP who are UN members, and the fact that a specific durational residency requirement of three months prior to candidacy is imposed on candidates for UN delegate, while candidates for other offices are only required to be residents. (All candidates are required to be participants in the off-site forum for at least a month prior to candidacy.) These differences can be attributed to a desire to handle the election of the UN Delegate in a specialized manner, and not to a desire that the process differ in all respects from the election procedure for other members of the Cabinet. There is nothing in the Constitution that evidences an intention that the general requirement that all elected members of the Cabinet be registered voters not apply to candidates for the UN Delegate. Accordingly, we hold that the requirement does apply to the UN Delegate, and that any candidate for UN Delegate must be a registered voter.

In conclusion, we summarize our holding as follows: The UN Delegate is an elected member of the Cabinet. The general principles and provisions that apply to the election of all elected members of the Cabinet that appear in Article III, sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 apply to the election of the UN Delegate unless there is a variance in a specific provision of Article III, sections 6 and 7 as to the election of the UN Delegate, in which case, such provision takes precedence. As a result, any candidate for UN Delegate must be a registered voter as required for any candidate for any elected office in the Cabinet.

We will note for the record that both of the Associate Justices were provided an opportunity to review and comment on the draft text of this Opinion.

The petition is granted.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.



5 September 2005

IN THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC

In the Matter of A Petition for Judicial Review
(Registered Voter Application of Insane Power)


BEFORE Grosseschnauzer, Chief Justice.

After consulting with Associate Justice Byardkuria (who has also confirmed the information concerning the deletion of the nation Insane Legensa), this proceeding is hereby DISMISSED, with instructions to the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs to dismiss the application due to ineligibility since the applicant's nation does not currently exist.

In the future, it is recommended that the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs determine each registered voter application since the constitutional method for review of those decisions is intended to be the mechanism described in Constitution Article II, Section 3. That provision permits the Cabinet to review any Ministerial action or decision at the request of any two registered voters, and then having formulated its position on the Ministerial decision, transmit it to the registered voters for a decision through a referendum supervised by the Speaker of the Regional Assembly. From what few statements that were submitted there were factual issues presented, not legal questions, which made the judicial review mechanism inappropriate.

One other point -- the validity of any referendum conducted prior to 7 July 2005 has to be determined on the basis of the constitution then in place, and not under the current constitution. Should either of the players whose applications were rejected by the registered voters of the region in accordance with the provisions of Article I, section 4 of the April Constitution revision under which the those questions were decided, choose to apply again, the only viable manner of review for the new applications under the constitution in effect from 7 July 2005 is that described in the preceding paragraph. The Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs has to make the initial decision, whatever that may be (approve, deny, refer to the Cabinet, refer to the registered voters for a referendum decision). The constitution gives the Minister that sort of discretion, and rather than pass the buck, he should exercise the duty and authority given to him under the constitution.

The review mechanism of Constitution, Article II Section 3 is there as a check and balance to a decision or action by any of the elected Ministers; that is what it is there for, and the ultimate arbiter of such political decisions are the body of registered voters, which is where that decision is committed under the constitution. (And we would note that the constitution specifies registered voters, and not the regional assembly, since such referenda do not involved the adoption of a statute or the adoption of a constitutional amendment.)

This matter should have never been initiated as a judicial review proceeding; the constutition clearly set out a mechanism for a Ministerial decision and a review of that Ministerial decision under the review provisions of Article II, Section 3. They should have been followed in this instance.

PROCEEDING DISMISSED.



18 September 2005

IN THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC

The North Pacific versus Cathyy.

Before Associate Justice Byardkurdia

RESPONSE TO INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL AS FILED SEPTEMBER 17, 2005

The Court affirms the prior decision with respect to the gag order in criminal proceedings. While readings of TNP Law 4, Rule 507 may be interpreted as indicating that a defendant or other named party may not discuss matters of the case with their counsel, a similarly strict interpretation would also prohibit public filings of complaint or appeal with respect to any aspect of the case. As this would violate the rights of named parties with respect to counsel and due process, such interpretations cannot be accepted as factual and enforceable. As these guidelines are recognized as purely interim, the Court is not prepared at this time to amend the guidelines as given; however, by way of clarification and pending finalization of the Court procedural document, no portion of Law 507 as written should be interpreted in such a way as to make good faith efforts to prepare defense unlawful. As such, the interpretation of this Court is that Rule 507 applies solely to communications between those parties possessing bona fide involvement in the case (e.g. named parties, respective counsel, officers of the Court, potential witnesses, etc.) and those without any such involvement, provided that such communication is germane and relevant to the roles of the communicating parties in the trial. Methods of communication which are inherently public, such as forum posts, cannot be assured to exclude those parties without involvement, and, as such, are prohibited. Communications related to pending action and taking place between involved parties, provided such efforts represent a bona fide attempt to prepare cases for hearing, are not subject to Rule 507.

Upon review of all relevant passages, and examination of Court rules, the Court finds that the final charge, of attempted coup d’etat, does not meet the provisions of Rule 506(a) concerning citation of violation for the charge presented. As such, the charge of attempted coup d’etat is dismissed as submitted. Please note that this does not constitute a finding of innocence or guilt for purposes of appeal or further trial.


The Court also affirms the prior ruling with respect to appointment of a lead prosecutor. At this time, at the time of filing, and at the time of appointment, the designated prosecutor is or was not a member of the Cabinet (Article 3, Section 5, Clause 4, Constitution of the North Pacific), and, as such, not subject to exclusion under Rule 503( c). However, the Court also recognizes the likelihood that this status may change prior to initiation of proceedings, and strongly recommends that the Office of the Attorney General investigate the likelihood of such change. If any such change is found to be reasonably certain, it is requested that the Attorney General designate replacement counsel in order to avoid any additional delays in procedure, or, failing such, indicate intent to rely on the co-counsel designated in the original indictment.
- Byardkuria
Associate Justice, Court of the North Pacific

PETITION GRANTED IN PART; DENIED IN PART.

Concurring Statement by Grosseschnauzer, Chief Justice

I post a concurrence solely to point out that there is nothing preventing the Attorney General from filing a supplemental or superceding indictment that conforms to the provisions of Rule 506.

I also point out that I do not concur with Justice Byardkuria on the handling of this interlocutory appeal in the sense of it would establish any precedent whatsoever because there is no basis in the Constitution, the Legal Code or the Court rules currently being used that authorizes such a proceeding. Accordinly, all parties are cautioned that Justice Byardkuria's statement should not be used as precedent in future situations.

23 September 2005

IN THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC

The North Pacific versus Cathyy.

BEFORE Grosseschnauzer, Chief Justice.

On the matter of an Interlocutory Appeal:

The undersigned has previously expressed his reservations that a right to file interlocutory appeals even exists under principles of TNP law, and the draft interim Court rules do not mention that such a proceedure exist. With that reservation stated, and that this statement therefore has no precedental value, the ruling of Justice Byardkuria is AFFIRMED.

The determination of whether a particular nation is a registered voter is a matter placed by law as a responsibility of the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs. As a matter of judicial notice of fact, as shown in the appropriate threads of the Ministry of Immigration and Internal Affairs forum, the court notes the statements of Minister Baribeau that a complete review of all registered voters had to be conducted for administrative reasons, and that the process was not completed until this past week. The undersigned will also note that a request was made by the Court even before the draft interim Court rules were posted for comment (and temporary implementation pending adoption of final rules) to the Minister for a complete and current list of registered voters so as to prepare the initial list of jurors in order of call. Therefore, under the circumstances, the preparation of the juror list under the described procedures could not even begin until a current registered voter list was made available to the Court. Now that a list has been supplied, the process of preparing the juror list has begun, and the posting of a juror list in a random order of the randomly assigned drawing numbers will be completed shortly.
As to any objection to the inclusion of a registered voter on the list supplied by the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs, the constution provides a metnod of Cabinet review of Ministerial action, and the undersigned notes that that process has not been invoked or used by defendant or her counsel, or more accurately, by any two registered voters on behalf of defendant or her counsel. That would be the appropriate remedy to contest those determinations of fact.
The ruling of Justice Byardkuria is therefore in all respects is AFFIRMED and the proceeding seeking an interlocutory appeal is DISMISSED.

PROCEEDING DISMISSED.
 
15 January 2006

IN THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC

In the Matter of a Petition for Judicial Review

(Imposition of Conditions for Approval of Registered Voter Applications by the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs)


Before GROSSESCHNAUZER, Chief Justice and BYARDKURIA, Associate Justice:

On December 12, 2005, the following petition for judicial review was filed with the Court:

I, Hersfold, as a Registered Voter of The North Pacific, do hereby request a Judicial Review of the actions of Minister of Immigration of Internal Affairs Deikura in reference to placing stipulations on Registered Voter Status.

On November 11, 2005, Minister Deikura accepted Fedele's application to become a Registered Voter on these conditions:

1) You will keep me informed of your UN nation and any sleepers (or switchers, depending on your terminology) you may have at all times. You will notify me by any medium with time verification of any changes whatsoever.
2) Your nation here or any puppet nation under your control may not directly violate the constitution.
3) You will not attempt to join or gain access to information specifically for the NPA, nor will you attempt to run for offices that are privy to priveliged information about the regional government, nor will you attempt to join or gain access to the NPIA.
4) If found to violate any of the above, you will resign your RV status and voluntarily confine yourself to the OOC forums in perpituity. If you do so, you will not face prosecution for anything short of Treason as long as you remain in civil conduct.


5) These provisions will remain in effect for the duration of your RV membership, or until a time not less than 2 months after you publically disavow any association with any raider group, after which, an investigation will be performed to verify your lack of direct participation in any such groups.

(Emphasis mine, conditions found here as originally posted on s2)

On November 17, Deputy Minister Gaspo accepted Blue Wolf II's application (with Minister Deikura's approval) on the same conditions.

Today, December 12, Minister Deikura accepted Cathyy's RV application on these stipulations:

1)  You, nor any puppet you control will engage in unendorsement campaigns.
2)  You will maintain a higher standard of conduct than is expected of others, and abide by forum rules at all times.
3)  You will not seek any elected or appointed office without my prior authorization (or my successor's).
4)  If in the event that you violate any of the provisions by my discrecion, you will voluntarily confine yourself to OOC in perpituity.  Doing so will assure you of judicial immunity if violation of these provisions constitutes a violation of the law or constitution.


I reserve the right to dismiss any of the above stipulations at any time.  These provisions are not subject to negotiation, and you retain all other rights due to all registered voters.

(Emphasis mine - Originally posted here in the Minister's Office.)

I challenge the authority of the Minister to issue such conditions on nations attempting to apply to become registered voters, unde the following clauses of the Declaration of Rights (Article 1) of the Constitution:

Article I, Clauses 2-3:

2. Each Nation's rights to free speech, free press, and the free expression of religion shall not be infringed, and shall be encouraged, by the governmental authorities of the region. Each Nation has the right to assemble, and to petition the governmental authorities of the region, including the UN Delegate, for the redress of grievances. The governmental authorities of the region shall act only in the best interests of the Region, as permitted and limited under this Constitution.
3. Participation in the governmental authorities of the region is voluntary. Participation in the United Nations shall not be a condition of participation in the governmental authorities of the region.

Article I, Clause 9:

9. Each Nation in The North Pacific is guaranteed the organization and operation of the governmental authorities of the region on fundamental principles of democracy, accountability, and transparency. No action by the governmental authorities of the region shall deny to any Nation of The North Pacific, due process of law, including prior notice and the opportunity to be heard, nor deny to any Nation of The North Pacific the equal and fair treatment and protection of the provisions of this Constitution. No governmental authority shall have power to adopt or impose an ex post facto law or a bill of attainder as to any act for purposes of criminal proceedings.

Article I, Clause 11:

11. No governmental authority of the region has the power to suspend or disregard this Constitution or the Legal Code In the event of an actual emergency, the governmental authorities of the region, with the express consent of the Nations of the region or their representatives, is authorized to act in any reasonable manner that is consistent as practicable with the pertinent provisions of this Constitution.

The conditions I left unbolded above do not, in my opinion, violate any part of the Constitution, and are well within the MoIIA's authority to request. However, the bolded sections greatly infringe upon the rights of these three nations.

Article I, Clause 2, is breached by condition #2 for Cathyy. While I do hope that all nations could be responsible enough to conduct themselves in a proper manner, it is not the Government's job to dictate how they must act by law. Forum rules are to be managed by Forum Administration and Moderation, which, while the individuals involved may be the same, must be held separate.

Article I, Clause 3, is breached by condition #3 for Cathyy, Fedele, and Blue Wolf. By restricting the ability to run for public office, the choice to participate in government is no longer completely voluntary, as the Constitution requires.

Article I, Clause 9 is breached by condition #4 for Cathyy, Fedele, and Blue Wolf. By preventing trials from occuring against these nations in the event they breach these provisions, the due process of law is refused to those nations wishing to press charges against them for any damages done through the breach of conditions.

Article I, Clause 11 is breached again by conditions #4. By denying criminal proceedings against these nations, the Legal Code and Constitution are being partially suspended on the behalf of these three nations.

In the event that these conditions set by Minister Deikura are found unconstitutional, I request that they all be removed at once, while allowing the three nations in question to remain as Registered Voters. Should any of these nations attempt to violate the Constitution in some way, or attempt to compromise the security of this region or any other through their position as RV's, they may be tried as required by the Constitution and Legal Code as an equal.

If I require another RV to second this motion, then please notify me and I will try to find support. Thank you for the Court's time.

The United Federation of Hersfold
Registered Voter
Regional Assemblyman

On December 15, 2005, Associate Justice Byardkuria entered the following Order on behalf of the Court:

ON BEHALF OF THE COURT OF THE NORTH PACIFIC -

In the matter of Request for Judicial Review, filed by Hersfold, December 12, 2005.

At the request of the filing party, and recognizant of the obligations incumbent upon many members of the region at this time and in the weeks to come, a stay of proceedings is hereby granted.  As such, the Court will begin hearing comments and statements by interested parties regarding the concerns of the request on January 2, 2006.  Such statements will be concluded by January 9, 2006, at which time rebuttals may be entered through January 12, 2006.  At that time, the Court will meet and enter a ruling in the matter.

In response to the concerns posted earlier in this thread, and regarding the comments and statements to be entered during the above-noted schedule, it is important to remember that the request as filed is simply for an administrative decision regarding registered voter requirements, and, as such, will not involve any determination of factual evidence or punitive action against any party.

Any parties with questions or concerns regarding administrative and operational issues in this hearing may direct them to a member of the Court.

- Byardkuria
Associate Justice, Court of the North Pacific

The Chief Justice, Grosseschnauzer, augmented the Order with the following request that:

interested parties *** consider the following questions that are clearly implicit in the petition:

1. Whether any restriction whatsoever on registered voter status is a violation of the Constitution unless it is imposed as a result of either a criminal conviction or as a remedy in a civil case. (see Constitution, Article V, section 3 and Constitution, Article V, section 4.)

2. Further, assuming that a court judgment is required to impose a condition on the approval of registered voter status, whether there is anything that prevents the imposition of such conditions in a civil or criminal proceeding by a consent judgment of the parties.

The period for the filing of statements and rebuttals to such statements having expired, the Court determines the Petition for Judicial Review as follows:


There are several questions presented by the Petition, and the Court will address them in turn. First, does the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs have the power to include conditions in accepting an application for registered voter status? Second, if no such power exists, does that power exist in any other governmental authority of the region, and under what circumstances? And third, if the actions of the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs are not legal, what remedy is appropriate in this proceeding?

We begin with the question of the validity of the actions cited in the Petition. He Court holds that those actions of the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs are not authorized by either the Constitution or the Legal Code. Such conditions amount to the imposition of a penalty for unspecified offenses against the applicant nation. Neither the Constitution nor the Legal Code grant to the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs the authority to determine and impose such penalties; and their punitive nature, as restrictions upon the rights and liberties of a member nation of The North Pacific, clearly violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws or bills of attainder as contained in Clause 9 of the Declaration of Rights, and further violates the following portion of Clause 11 of The Declaration of Rights:
No governmental authority of the region has the power to suspend or disregard this Constitution or the Legal Code.

The Constitution clearly specifies only two methods by which restrictions may be imposed on an individual nation of The North Pacific:
Article V, Section 4 in part provides that:

Any sentence may include the suspension of any or all of a registered voter's rights to participate in the government as a registered voter, to hold office, to participate in the North Pacific Army, to participate in the North Pacific Intelligence Agency, or otherwise, as deemed appropriate to the circumstances.

Sentences are normally determined by the finder of fact, a jury, as part of its verdict, and under the constitution, the sentence must be proportionate to the offenses of which a party is convicted. Under these constitutional provisions, the Court is obligated to determine that any restrictions imposed upon the rights and liberties of a member Nation are proportionate to the offenses that they have been found to have committed,

The second method is by way of a civil proceeding. A civil proceeding may be brought by
Any nation that believes some other nation in The North Pacific has caused injury to any right, liberty, privilege, protection, or other duty that belongs to that nation as a matter of right under the Constitution of The North Pacific, or The North Pacific Legal Code, and which does not rise to the level of a criminal offense,

The Court has been granted “power to adopt rules and regulations for the procedure of trials, hearings, and its internal operations, including rules of evidence and the random selection of trial and grand juries, not inconsistent with this Constitution or The North Pacific Legal Code.” (TNP Constitution, Article V, Section 1, Clause D.) Pursuant to that authority, the Court has adopted Interim Rule 411 which provides that
The Court shall enter its findings of fact and conclusions of law on the record as soon as practicable after the hearing of the claim. The Court shall order any remedy proportionate to the findings entered by the Court.

As with a criminal proceeding, the remedy imposed must be proportionate to the claim presented by the complaining nation.

The Constitution limits the violations which may be the subject of a civil or criminal proceeding to the following:

Constitution Article V Section 5 said:
The following acts shall constitute grounds for civil, criminal or impeachment proceedings:
A - Failure of a Nation to observe and abide by the Constitution of The North Pacific and The North Pacific Legal Code.
B - Failure of a Nation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other nation or region in a manner inconsistent with the Constitution of The North Pacific and the North Pacific Legal Code.
C - Failure of a Nation to refrain from giving assistance to any nation or region against which The North Pacific is taking defensive or enforcement action. Exceptions is given to those Nations acting with official authorization of the North Pacific Army or the North Pacific Intelligence Agency, and is subject to the consent of the Cabinet officer having appropriate jurisdiction.
D - Failure of a Nation to Observe Its Oath of Office or its Oath as a Registered Voter.
With these provisions, as well as the provisions of the Declaration of Rights, taken into account, it is clear that restrictions upon the rights and liberties under the Constitution of a particular registered voter cannot be imposed except by a judgment of the Court imposed as a result of a criminal or civil proceeding. Such a judgment requires both the determination of the facts as to that individual Nation as well as the determination of a proportionate sentence or remedy.

Having determined that a judicial proceeding is a pre-requisite to the imposition of such restrictions, and that the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs does not have the power to impose such restrictions, we now turn to the resolution of the status of the registered voter applicants upon whom the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs imposed conditions on the acceptance of their registered voter status.

First, a judicial proceeding is clearly necessary as a pre-requisite to the imposition of such conditions as the Minister has attempted to impose. Therefore, it will be necessary to vacate the action of the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs as to the conditional acceptance of each such registered voter described in the petition.

Second, there is nothing precluding the Ministry of Immigration of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, or an individual Nation of The North Pacific from filing a proceeding in this Court that includes stipulations as to the facts of the conduct of a registered voter applicant (demonstrating a listed ground for a proceeding described in Article V, Section 5 of the Constitution) and a stipulation for a sentence or remedy as to those grounds of violation. The Court will still be required to assess the stipulations to determine that the proposed sentence or remedy (depending on whether the matter is a civil or criminal proceeding) is proportionate to the conduct alleged.

Third, in order to best protect the interests of parties that have a stake in the outcome of this particular proceeding, the Court will grant a stay for a period not to exceed ten days to allow the filing of proceedings as to each registered voter applicant affected by this decision by the either the Minister of Immigration and Internal Affairs in a civil proceeding or the Attorney General or the Deputy Minister of Justice in a criminal proceeding in order to permit the appropriate Minister and the applicant to file any such stipulations and consents they deem appropriate for the Court’s consideration in the entry of a judgment. The Court will expedite the consideration of such proceedings so that these matters will be judicially resolved no later than 31 January 2006. In the event the stipulations and consents are not sufficient for the entry of a judgment, then the matters will be carried over for a trial in the usual course to the next term of Court that begins 1 February 2006.


Associate Justice BYARDKURIA wrote the following concurring opinion in which the Chief Justice, GROSSESCHNAUZER concurs:

AFFIRMING OPINION

It is my opinion that the imposition of conditions of participation upon prospective Registered Voters, unless levied equally upon all applicants, is in open violation of Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of the North Pacific, to wit:

Each Nation entitled to a vote in any manner under the fundamental laws of the region is entitled to the equal treatment and protection of that Nation's right to vote.
Additionally, it is the opinion of this Justice that the actions of a Cabinet Minister, in imposing such conditions upon an applicant on pain of disenfranchisement, looking particularly at requiring a nation to confine themselves outside of governmental operations, is in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution of The North Pacific with respect to due process:

. . .No action by the governmental authorities of the region shall deny to any Nation of The North Pacific, due process of law, including prior notice and the opportunity to be heard, nor deny to any Nation of The North Pacific the equal and fair treatment and protection of the provisions of this Constitution.
as well as Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of The North Pacific:

Each Nation's rights to free speech, free press, and the free expression of religion shall not be infringed, and shall be encouraged, by the governmental authorities of the region. Each Nation has the right to assemble, and to petition the governmental authorities of the region, including the UN Delegate, for the redress of grievances.
in that requiring any nation to adhere to a particular, non-legislated rule set in the absence of a Judicial order or sentence is a tacit suppression of right of trial and the due process of the law, and that conditional confinement of a nation outside the formal governmental areas is a suppression of the right to petition for redress in particular, and Section 2 in general.


With respect to the question of whether participation and behavioral conditions may be imposed upon a Nation by consent judgment in a criminal or civil proceeding, the question with respect to a criminal proceeding is explicitly addressed in Article V, Section 4, Paragraph C of the Constitution of the North Pacific:

. . . Any sentence may include the suspension of any or all of a registered voter's rights to participate in the government as a registered voter, to hold office, to participate in the North Pacific Army, to participate in the North Pacific Intelligence Agency, or otherwise, as deemed appropriate to the circumstances.
.

With regards to civil procedure, it is the opinion of this Justice that the primary basis of this question is not on the propriety of setting such conditions, but doing so without due process of law. Given that such a judgment would be entered at the conclusion of a trial meeting the requirements of the Constitution, Legal Code, and Interim Court Rules of the North Pacific, it could not be said, in such a case, that such a judgment would violate the body of law as it currently exists, particularly with regard to preservation of rights in the absence of due process. In lieu of contradictory legislation or precedent, and in light of the aforementioned attitude of the Constitution in the matter with regards to criminal proceedings, it is my opinion that such conditions may be imposed as a judgment in a civil proceeding, assuming such ruling meets all other criteria.

Byardkuria
Associate Justice of the North Pacific
 
FILED BEFORE THE COURT, FEBRUARY 10, 2006.

Assigned to - Byardkuria, Presiding Justice

Each of the several questions entered by Election Comissioner Erastide, in her request found here[*], will be addressed in turn.
* - Editorial Note: Link went to a post that stated:
As requested by Byardkuria, this is a copy of my explanation of all the questions I had that I wanted answers to.
To Byardkuria and Heft:

These are in no particular order, and some of them may just be me and not Heft. tongue.gif But this is my request for an official ruling. And if you want me to post this in a court forum, just say so, it'll go there in the morning.

* Nation Identification
There are two questions here. One concerns individuals that identify their TNP nation, however when that nation is checked upon, the nation is no longer in TNP. Can they declare another nation some place else? And if yes, where is appropriate? Asking for a name change in the admin forum? Posting in the RV thread? a PM to the MoIIA?

Second question concerns UN nations, which are needed to vote in Delegate/Vice-Delegate elections. Are election commissioners required to check UNs *during* voting? Or should nations have UN status throughout the election and even after? Given the necessity for invaders and defenders to change the status of their puppets, what is a reasonable amount of time to allow the commissioners to check their status, while allowing them to go about their way of gameplay? Should they be able to provide the name of a UN at the moment of verification, even if it is different than the one initially posted?
* Majority/50% rule
I interpretated, it seems completely wrongly, that the majority simply meant 50%. Just to make it clear... Majority means >50% of the cast votes. Does this count abstain or no? Since Heft and I said they wouldn't count.... can they lead to a runoff?
* Nation dropping out before election is finished
What happens when a nation drops out after elections have started, but there are no alternate candidates. What would happen if *noone* ran period? If noone runs, can a PM appoint a large portion of the cabinet?
* Nation dropping out while race is finished that would be in runoffs
Second nation dropping question. What happens when a runoff should occur but one of the candidates has left? Does it devolve to the third candidate? Or does the first automatically win it? What if the person in first dropped out, would the person in second win since they would be the only person in a runoff?
* New nations involved in runoffs
Lastly.... I *think*. If a runoff occurs, can nations that have been admitted to the RV rolls by the new MoIIA participate in the runoff? They technically are RV before the voting starts, but they have been admitted by a new minister. Can Ministers take office... in pieces? Or do they all enter together en masse replacing the previous gov't?
* Nation Identification
There are two questions here. One concerns individuals that identify their TNP nation, however when that nation is checked upon, the nation is no longer in TNP. Can they declare another nation some place else? And if yes, where is appropriate? Asking for a name change in the admin forum? Posting in the RV thread? a PM to the MoIIA?
Within the Registered Voter oath, the following passage is found -

I understand that if my Nation leaves The North Pacific region for reasons other than participation in North Pacific Army deployments that I may be stripped of my right to vote and required to reapply.
Since the practice has been to permit nations to change their official registered nation simply by contacting the MoIIA, changes (registered nation and forum name) communicated to the MoIIA, either via a post within their agency or PM, should serve as sufficient notice, given that such change had occurred and been accepted by the MoIIA prior to the casting of the vote. If a voter does have a registered voting nation in TNP, and meets all other requirements to vote, and given that the functional definition tu far is 1 vote=1 forum account, rather than 1 vote = 1 nation, the Court does not feel that it is appropriate to discount their vote should they accidentally list another puppet nation on their ballot.



Second question concerns UN nations, which are needed to vote in Delegate/Vice-Delegate elections. Are election commissioners required to check UNs *during* voting? Or should nations have UN status throughout the election and even after? Given the necessity for invaders and defenders to change the status of their puppets, what is a reasonable amount of time to allow the commissioners to check their status, while allowing them to go about their way of gameplay? Should they be able to provide the name of a UN at the moment of verification, even if it is different than the one initially posted?
In fact, this query appears to be predicated upon an incorrect assumption.
Article 1, Section 3, paragraph c -

C - All Nations who have registered to vote under the provisions of Article II, Section 2, of this Constitution and who reside in The North Pacific, or are active members of The North Pacific Army or The North Pacific Intelligence Agency, shall be entitled to submit a single vote for each election regardless of UN status. No person shall be permitted to cast more than one vote, through one or more Nations.
Under this passage, it appears to be unconstitutional to require a UN Nation for the forum vote for delegate. However, it is still significant that voters are required to designate their UN Nation at the time of registration. Changes made to this nation, without informing the MoIIA of such changes - be it directly, or through another official such as the MoD, would invalidate voter status in the same fashion as moving their designate nation out of the region without designating another.



Majority/50% rule
I interpretated, it seems completely wrongly, that the majority simply meant 50%. Just to make it clear... Majority means >50% of the cast votes. Does this count abstain or no? Since Heft and I said they wouldn't count.... can they lead to a runoff?
Abstentions, while not counted for victory totals, do constitute votes. As such, a majority is defined as more than half of all ballots cast, rather than half of all ballots cast for a candidate. So yes - if 90 votes are cast, and the totals are 44-43-3, a runoff would be required, as it would be difficult for either candidate to successfully demonstrate a mandate.



Nation dropping out before election is finished
What happens when a nation drops out after elections have started, but there are no alternate candidates. What would happen if *noone* ran period? If noone runs, can a PM appoint a large portion of the cabinet?
If a nation drops out of an election, any votes cast for that candidate, while still to be considered legal votes, should be treated as abstentions - in other words, while they will count toward total votes cast, they will not count in determination of vote totals for any one candidate. Should that nation be running unopposed, it will be too late for any other candidate to declare, per TNP Law 5, Section 2. As such, when the post is vacated at the end of the term, it should be filled according to Article 3, Paragraph 5, Section 3, i.e. appointment by the PM of a Deputy Minister who will act as full minister subject to confirmation by popular referendum.


Nation dropping out while race is finished that would be in runoffs
Second nation dropping question. What happens when a runoff should occur but one of the candidates has left? Does it devolve to the third candidate? Or does the first automatically win it? What if the person in first dropped out, would the person in second win since they would be the only person in a runoff?
By treating votes for withdrawn candidates as abstentions, this scenario should be handled the same as any other plurality scenario. If two runoff candidates have been determined, and one then withdraws their candidacy, it should be considered a concession of defeat to their opponent - noting that a plurality is sufficient to win a runoff.



New nations involved in runoffs
Lastly.... I *think*. If a runoff occurs, can nations that have been admitted to the RV rolls by the new MoIIA participate in the runoff? They technically are RV before the voting starts, but they have been admitted by a new minister.
No. Article 3, Section 1, Paragraph D of the Constitution states that
D - Only Nations who are registered to vote when the voting period commences shall be entitled to vote. . .
TNP Law 5, Section 4, paragraph D, states that
D - The runoff election shall utilize the same procedures as for the initial round of elections. A plurality shall determine the winner of the runoff election.
Given that a runoff election is held to be a second round of the same election, rather than a separate election, the constituency should be preserved.


Can Ministers take office... in pieces? Or do they all enter together en masse replacing the previous gov't?
The Constitution references times and dates for nations to take office - it does not reference any requirement that the Cabinet et al take office en banc. Due also to the potential created by such a scenario for the creation of an interregnum while awaiting a single runoff election, and the security concerns it creates, the Court sees no reason that Ministers may not take office as they are certified as victors in their respective elections.



- Byardkuria
Chief Justice of the Court of The North Pacific

EDIT - 2/10/06 - correction of quote tag.
 
Before the Court of the North Pacific - Byardkuria, Chief Justice, presiding.

On April 27, 2006, the following request was filed with the Court.

Dalimbar said:
Mr. Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of The North Pacific,

I come before the Court of The North Pacific requesting that the Courts legally recognize two members of the North Pacific Army as official candidates for the Minister of Defence race. The members are Haor Chall and Azazel. Though recognizing the continuation of voting after the legal deadline was up, members of the North Pacific Army have reached a majority decision on the two in question, each attaining 54.5% (6/11 for each). I wish to see legal recognition of the two candidates, and a smooth continuation of this election.

Thank you.
Dalimbar
Minister of Defence of The North Pacific.
Per the Constitution of The North Pacific, aspirants to the office of Minister of Defense are bound by all common law regarding Cabinet office aspirants, found primarily in Article III of the Constitution, as well as a peculiar restriction to that position –

Constitution of the North Pacific said:
5) To stand for election as the Minister of Defense, a candidate shall have received the endorsement of a majority of the nations then in active service in the North Pacific Army within seven days prior to nomination or declaration of candidacy. Members of the North Pacific Army may endorse one or more candidates that stand for election as Minister of Defense in the same election.
It is this question which must be considered primarily in disputes of eligibility for this position. It would appear to be a fairly simple question of fact. In the designated nomination thread, (http://s13.invisionfree.com/TNP/index.php?showtopic=1061)Haor Chall declared his candidacy on Apr 25 2006, at 04:53 AM (all times given are US Central, unless designated otherwise). He received the majority endorsement on Apr 25 2006, at 09:01 PM*. As such, Haor Chall was not, at the time he declared his candidacy, eligible to run for the office of Minister of Defense. The fact of the matter, however, is that there is a very simple workaround for this concern, in that a party in this circumstance would need simply to declare their continued interest in candidacy after the majority in question had been declared. In a campaign thread, (http://s13.invisionfree.com/TNP/index.php?showtopic=1084), Haor Chall continues to actively discuss matters of candidacy and office with various members of the region. It is the opinion of the Court that this is a tacit declaration of candidacy, and, therefore, Haor Chall is an eligible candidate for the office of Minister of Defense in this term.

Azazel declared his candidacy in the same thread on Apr 28 2006, at 03:19 AM, and received the majority endorsement Apr 27 2006, at 04:45 PM. Therefore, he does not face the same question as the prior party. However,

TNP Law 5 said:
D- [Declarations of candidacy] may be made during a seven day period starting 10 days prior to the designated voting period for the election cycle for the next term of office. Alternatively, any three Nations that are registered voters may nominate a Nation as a candidate for UN Delegate, UN Vice Delegate, Prime Minister, a specific elected Cabinet Minister, Speaker of the Regional Assembly or for a seat on the Security Council during a seven day period starting 10 days prior to the designated voting period for the election cycle for the next term of office. The Election Commissioners or their designees shall verify the eligibility of each Nation that declares or is nominated as a candidate, and shall publish the certified list of candidates for each office or position one day prior to the beginning of the voting period.
Per Article III, Section 1, Paragraph B of the Constitution,
. . . Voting shall commence at 12:00 am GMT on the first day of the designated month and end at 11:59 pm GMT on the seventh day of the designated month. . .
By these dates, the latest time a potential candidate for office in this election cycle could declare their candidacy was 11:59 GMT, April 27, 2006. Azazel’s candidacy was declared 28th April 2006, 09:19 AM GMT. Therefore, by the above cited law, Azazel is not an eligible candidate for the office of Minister of Defense in this term.

*Due to potential security concerns, the Court is electing, at this time, not to directly release the thread in which these endorsements were given.


Entered this Twenty-Ninth day of April 2006, at 0432 GMT.

Byardkuria
Chief Justice of the North Pacific
 
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