Court Amendment Act

mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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Article 4 of the Constitution of The North Pacific will be amended as follows:

Article 4. The Court

1. The Court will try all criminal cases and review the constitutionality of laws or legality of government policies and actions.
2. Reviews of laws or government policies and actions must be made by request of an affected party unless there is a compelling regional interest in resolving it.
3. The Court will consist of at least five, but no more than seven citizens appointed by the Delegate and confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Regional Assembly.
4. Citizens will be exempt from constitutional restrictions on simultaneously serving in government official positions in more than one of the executive, legislative, or judicial categories for purposes of their appointment to The Court.
5. Neither the Delegate, Vice Delegate, or the Speaker of the Regional Assembly, may serve on the Court.
6.. The term of a Justice will be six months, beginning on the day they take the Oath of Office. The Delegate does not have the power to remove a Justice..
7. The Court shall select a Chief Justice among themselves.
8. The Chief Justice will administer the rules of the Court. Where no rules exist, the Chief Justice may use their discretion.
9. The official opinion of the Court in any trial or review will be binding on all Government bodies and officials.

I have included the marked up version below.

Article 4. The Court

1. The Court will try all criminal cases and review the constitutionality of laws or legality of government policies and actions.
2. Reviews of laws or government policies and actions must be made by request of an affected party unless there is a compelling regional interest in resolving it.
3. The Court will consist of at least three Justices five, but no more than seven citizens appointed by the Delegate and confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Regional Assembly. who will select a Chief Justice among themselves.
4. Citizens will be exempt from constitutional restrictions on simultaneously serving in government official positions in more than one of the executive, legislative, or judicial categories for purposes of their appointment to The Court.
5. Neither the Delegate, Vice Delegate, or the Speaker of the Regional Assembly may serve on the Court.
6. The term of a Justice will be six months, beginning on the day they take the Oath of Office. The Delegate does not have the power to remove a Justice..
7. The Court shall select a Chief Justice among themselves.

8. The Chief Justice will administer the rules of the Court. Where no rules exist, the Chief Justice may use their discretion.
9. The official opinion of the Court in any trial or review will be binding on all Government bodies and officials.
6. Justices will be elected by the Regional Assembly by a plurality vote every four months.
 
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mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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In my opinion, the current approach taken to our court mirrors that of an American state. That is a court that is elected, election promises, and generally our approach to the judiciary. Over the years though, our region has matured considerably. The Court is needed far less today than it once was. Though arguably there has been an uptick in election related court hearings :P

Secondly, it is often claimed that it is difficult to campaign to be a justice. i.e. that it is hard for them to draft platforms, offer campaign promises, or as we saw some recent elections even to demonstrate some minor understanding of the law is too much to ask of a candidate.

Thirdly, in some respects the Court can be seen as a waste of a person's talents. In that it would require them to sit there for four months and are therefore mostly unable to serve in another capacity. It also conversely means that people who want to do other things will never consider the Court.

So the model I propose essentially makes the court like the election commission in terms of “government official status”. There would be more members appointed on a rolling basis, which will minimise the chances of COIs and eliminate the need for THO’s and standby hearing officers.
 

Dreadton

TuffingTost Senior Reporter
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What about adding a line that a justice cannot be a prosecutor during their term?
 

Gorundu

When in doubt, blame Bob
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Since we intend to have more Justices under this system, perhaps what can be done regarding appeals is that a panel of three Justices hear the case first, and then, if their decision is appealed, it gets decided on by the full court/Justices that weren't involved in the original ruling?
 

Wonderess

"I will be true to you whatever comes."
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I really like this reformulation at its core. The Judiciary of course is vital to our system, but I think having active participators in the regional government elsewhere keeps the Justices themselves from becoming complacent or less active. I very much support this.

I also like Gorundu's idea. As a Justice I can tell you that if there are too many cooks in the kitchen deliberating it can slow the process exponentially. I think 3 remains the perfect number for general cases, and a appellate clause would be good. Perhaps there could be a risk in it to keep all cases from being appealed. A criminal case for instance may risk greater punishment by appealing for instance.
 

Robespierre

The MacMilitant
Deputy Speaker
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I quite like this idea. I’m interested to see how we can fine tune it and turn it into something that’s most optimal, but on the surface I can definitely support the concept.
 

Owenstacey

TNPer
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My first point is that this is dealing with article 4 of the constitution, not article 5.

Secondly, if Justices are being exempt, would article 6(5) not also need to be amended (or removed altogether) to remove Justices from being part of the judicial category?

Also, would article 5(4) need to make reference to justices being exempt from the judicial category since, should this bill pass, there would be no positions that fall within the judicial category.
 

Pallaith

TNPer
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High threshold for RA confirmation, longer term that in many cases will outpace the delegate’s, an inability for the delegate to remove the Justice...I’m not sure I agree with your characterization that the delegate would have “more power over the judicial branch.” There’s this persistent notion that appointments are some major coup for the delegate despite the very careful checks that are included and the very high scrutiny that people such as yourself apply to them. As we saw just a few days ago, this scrutiny is so high that even when most people agree on what should happen and understand the goal behind the appointment, there’s still a battle to guard against perceived overbearing action from the delegate.

Do you object to this in principle, or do you deem the checks in the draft insufficient?
 

St George

Speaker
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High threshold for RA confirmation, longer term that in many cases will outpace the delegate’s, an inability for the delegate to remove the Justice...I’m not sure I agree with your characterization that the delegate would have “more power over the judicial branch.” There’s this persistent notion that appointments are some major coup for the delegate despite the very careful checks that are included and the very high scrutiny that people such as yourself apply to them. As we saw just a few days ago, this scrutiny is so high that even when most people agree on what should happen and understand the goal behind the appointment, there’s still a battle to guard against perceived overbearing action from the delegate.

Do you object to this in principle, or do you deem the checks in the draft insufficient?
I think I probably object in principle, though I'll admit to being unsure in that position. We've already made prosecution a position potentially prone to patronage, I'd rather not do the same with justices, as with 5 of them, it'd be easier for an under-qualified or otherwise poor candidate to slip through the cracks - like with certain EC appointees who later disappeared.

I also think this just might be too soon, given the obvious kinks we've yet to work out after passing the AGORA Act. I think any change in this regard needs to be incremental, and only taken after we stress test the current system and ensure it's working properly.
 

Comfed

George Orwell, or, his nightmares.
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A two thirds confirmation vote? No judges would exist if that happened.
EDIT: never mind.
 
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