Request for Review: Removal from Positions on the Basis of Criticism of Government Policy

Discussion in 'Court of The North Pacific' started by abc, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. abc

    abc Duck -

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    1. What law, government policy, or action (taken by a government official) do you request that the Court review?

    Pallaith's removal of me from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Gameside Advocate for using the RMB to voice my concerns about an embassy region.

    2. What portions of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Legal Code, or other legal document do you believe has been violated by the above? How so?

    Bill of Rights, Clause 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.

    While the argument could be made that free speech was not infringed as it was allowed to go through, the Delegate certainly did not encourage it by removing me from these positions for said free speech.

    3. Are there any prior rulings of the Court that support your request for review? Which ones, and how?

    None that I am aware of.

    4. Please establish your standing by detailing how you, personally, have been adversely affected. If you are requesting a review of a governmental action, you must include how any rights or freedoms of yours have been violated.

    I have been adversely affected through the loss of my position as a staff member in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Gameside Advocates. I lost my position as the result of a post on the RMB of 10000 Islands criticizing recent government actions of theirs. The Delegate of The North Pacific responded by removing me from my positions, thereby making me in the future unlikely to criticize a foreign government or TNP's Foreign Policy and thus creating an atmosphere not conducive to free speech.

    5. Do you have any further information you wish to submit to the Court with your request?

    I wish to provide to the Court the actual RMB Post which caused this to occur: https://www.nationstates.net/page=rmb/postid=34829182
     
  2. bootsie

    bootsie TNPer - - - - -

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    This request for review is accepted. The period for submitting briefs is now open.

    EDIT: As a note, the briefing period will be extended to 10 days for this review.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  3. bootsie

    bootsie TNPer - - - - -

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    The Court would like to inquire from the Delegate or his Minister of Foreign Affairs how exactly they have approached the applications of the Foreign Affairs Ministry this term. Can anyone that applies be accepted, such as with the Culture Ministry and the NPA, or is the Ministry more selective, with poor fits declined?
     
  4. Darcania

    Darcania kul Seredrau - - -

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    To clarify for the Court, the NPA by far does not accept anyone who applies - in fact it's the most secure Ministry, requiring an admin check, no multiple military memberships, a correct Oath, a separate and longer application, and the MoD's own security checks similar to the Vice Delegate's.
     
  5. bootsie

    bootsie TNPer - - - - -

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    Our apologies. The inquiry still stands. As a reminder, the briefing period remains open.
     
  6. Pallaith

    Pallaith TNPer - - -

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    Anyone may apply, the ministers retain the right to accept or deny applicants to executive staff as they see fit. Generally speaking the FA staff has had the strictest criteria for long term service and at times stricter criteria for joining staff (such as requiring citizenship rather than just accepting residency). In my experience staff turnover is higher in FA than any other ministry, and at least part of that is expecting a higher standard for diplomats compared to other kinds of staff.
     
  7. Crushing Our Enemies

    Crushing Our Enemies TNPer - - - - - -

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    In June 2015, the Court found The Democratic Republic of Tomb guilty of Gross Misconduct because "it is the Court's opinion that the Defendant's attempt to curtail the Complainant's criticisms of the NPA as a requirement to join constitutes a violation of the Bill of Rights, and is not justifiable. Having sworn an oath to uphold the Bill of Rights, the Defendant is guilty of violating that oath." By claiming that Pallaith, as delegate, has violated abc's rights, abc is accusing Pallaith of a crime. Under the Bill of Rights clause 7, Pallaith is entitled to a fair trial, representation by counsel, and a presumption of innocense. Furthermore, under clause 6, he cannot be held to answer for a crime in a manner not prescribed by the Constitution or Legal Code. Therefore, it is beyond the power of the Court to rule on the facts of this matter through a request for review. In other words, the Court may not rule on whether or not Pallaith has violated abc's rights in this matter, and cannot prescribe any remedy for abc. Doing so would effectively be issuing an opinion that Pallaith is guilty of a crime, which is a clear violation of his clause 6 and 7 rights.

    However, I believe that the Court can and should rule on the matters of law that abc is enquiring about, namely the circumstances under which a Delegate, broadly, can fire an Executive Officer or exclude a nation from executive work because of something they said. Additionally, it is important whether speech made through puppets or in other regions is protected, or whether one's free speech rights stop at the borders of TNP (i.e. telegrams sent from TNP nations, posts on the RMB or official forum, and messages sent in related Discord servers).

    Geographic Limits on Free Speech
    Regarding the latter issue, let us imagine that the Delegate had a puppet that held a position of authority in another region, and a TNPer had a puppet in that same region. If the Delegate's puppet were to eject the TNPer's puppet from that region because they said they like pineapple pizza on that foreign region's RMB, it stands to reason that no BOR violation has occurred, because the matter took place entirely outside of TNP and did not involve any TNP nations. It does not matter that the ejectee has a nation in TNP - only TNP nations themselves are guaranteed the protections of the Bill of Rights.

    By the same token, if the Delegate used their authority in TNP to cancel our embassy with that region, or put pressure on the foreign government to punish the TNPer's puppet for liking pineapple pizza, that still would not violate the TNPer's right to free speech. Even though it is TNP government power at play, the affected party is not a TNP nation, and does nothing to abridge or discourage the TNPer's right to speak freely through their TNP nation.

    However, if the TNP delegate were to read the offending post on the foreign RMB, and then decide to refuse NPA membership to the TNPer unless they agreed to edit their post to say that pineapple pizza is garbage, and refrain from posting about pineapple pizza in the future, that seems like a fairly clear violation of the BOR, because TNP government power is being used to punish a TNPer for something they said.

    Bottom line: In general, the government cannot take action against a TNP nation that violates/discourages their freedom of speech, even if that speech takes place elsewhere. However, nations outside of TNP are not afforded the protections of the bill of rights merely by having a nation in TNP.

    Excluding or Removing Non-Officials from the Executive
    Now I come to the question of whether the Delegate is allowed to exclude or remove someone from executive work because of something they said. This being a primarily text-based game, it is noteworthy that nearly everything a nation does can be interpreted as some sort of speech. If the Court were to hold that the Delegate could not exclude or remove a nation from the executive because of something they said, one can hardly imagine any legal justification for removing/excluding someone from the executive at all!

    Rather, I hold that the Delegate, as head of government, has the inherent power to decide who is allowed to participate in executive work, and it is reasonable to allow that, as a leader, the Delegate sets the direction and mission of the executive, and may exclude or remove nations from the executive who do not align with that direction and mission. By extension, their appointed Executive Officers may assist them in that endeavor. However, if the Delegate or a minister were to remove/exclude a nation from the executive because of speech that had no bearing on executive work (such as "pineapple pizza r0xx0rs") that would appear to be outside the bounds of legal justification.

    Bottom line: The delegate and executive officers can generally exclude anyone they wish from executive work (official or non-official), but not solely because they disagree with something they said that has no bearing on executive work.

    Dismissing or Refusing to Appoint an Executive Officer
    I believe that the Delegate's power to dismiss or refuse to appoint a nation to an Executive Officer position is slightly more expansive, since the power to appoint and dismiss Executive Officers freely is expressly granted to the Delegate in the Constitution. A potential litmus test: if a nation says something that gives the Delegate doubts about the nations competence, judgment, or capacity to do the job of an Executive Officer, then the Delegate has the power to dismiss or refuse to appoint an Executive Officer, even if what they said has no bearing on executive work. For instance, if a nation says something that displays a shocking ignorance of how foreign policy is conducted, or they leak classified logs from another region in public, these seem like situations that could give the Delegate doubts about their competence or judgment, respectively, and would be legal justification for firing them or refusing to appoint them.

    Bottom line: The delegate is free to dismiss an executive officer for saying something that gives the delegate doubts about their competence, judgment, or capacity to do their job.

    There have been very few Court opinions regarding free speech over the years, so there is little precedent to guide the Court in this review. I urge the Court to create reasonable guidelines that protect speech without unduly hampering the Delegate's ability to be reasonably selective of who they involve in the government.
     
  8. bootsie

    bootsie TNPer - - - - -

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    @abc You said on Discord that you were going to release screenshots of your telegram conversation with the Delegate of 10000 Islands. The Court would like to request these screenshots, with any personal information or information harmful to TNP redacted.
     
  9. abc

    abc Duck -

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    My apologies; I will get these to you later today
     
  10. bootsie

    bootsie TNPer - - - - -

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    Just as a note, the briefing period did end on the 1st of April.

    The Court will have its ruling out in the next couple of days.
     
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  11. abc

    abc Duck -

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    I know it is quite late to do this, and I do apologize. I was a bit occupied over the past few days and didn't have a chance to get the screenshots to you.

    Although the briefing period is now over, here are the logs of our full conversation: https://imgur.com/a/8kSJU1B

    I hope, if nothing else, it will help people better understand the matter.
     
  12. Bobberino

    Bobberino Minister of Defense - - - -

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    ABC was removed from the NPA for being in a seperate military organization, for the record. This was under MoD Darcania.
     
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  13. Eluvatar

    Eluvatar TNPer - - - -

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    Obviously we don't have a ruling yet. Deliberations are certainly progressing however, and I would expect a ruling this week. Probably.
     
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  14. mcmasterdonia

    mcmasterdonia TNPer - - - - -

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    Will your ruling just be the :rofl: emote?
     
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