“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Holcomb

Ever since FDR’s “switch in time that saved nine,” our legal system and law schools have spewed out innumerable “constitutional law experts” who often claim that whatever any government official, agency, bureaucrat or cop can do to people is OK.  They do this by ignoring our short and simple constitutions to unleash an interminable fusillade of judicial pronouncements and federal/state code sections that, by their number of words alone, do seem to overwhelm the few political powers constitutions authorize.

…Except, of course, to someone who’s actually read the laws.

Nobody claims that Governor Holcomb’s COVID-19 mandates were actually authorized by any constitutions, state or federal.  The constitutions absolutely forbid executives from making laws.  Executive Orders are constitutionally actionable only if they’re only the details of executing laws written by legislators.

Other than invoking armed force against insurrection or invasion (which would be as ineffective against a virus as was Caligula’s attack on Poseidon), the Governor’s only constitutionally authorized emergency power is to call an emergency session of the General Assembly.

To be clear, the constitutions say that what the Governor did, and is still doing, is unconstitutional in both word and intent.

The Governor cited not the Indiana Constitution, but Indiana Code as his authority, specifically the statute, IC 10-14-3, the “Emergency Management and Disaster Law.”

That particular ream of legal effluvium does indeed appear to authorize every possible decree, action or mayhem, if read by itself; and if ignoring all the key principles of separation and limitations of powers in a republic.Kirk

Ironically, it’s even less-limited than the federal 40 U.S. Code § 1315 that Trump’s folks invoked against Portland protesters.

But consider what the Indiana Code says about its own authority in the hierarchy of law. What follows is IC 1-1-2 § 1-1-2-1:

“Section 1: The law governing this state is declared to be:

First. The Constitution of the United States and of this state.

Second. All statutes of the general assembly of the state in force, and not inconsistent with such constitutions.

Third. All statutes of the United States in force, and relating to subjects over which congress has power to legislate for the states, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.

Fourth. The common law of England, and statutes of the British Parliament made in aid thereof prior to the fourth year of the reign of James the First (except the second section of the sixth chapter of forty-third Elizabeth, the eighth chapter of thirteenth Elizabeth, and the ninth chapter of thirty-seventh Henry the Eighth,) and which are of a general nature, not local to that kingdom, and not inconsistent with the first, second and third specifications of this section.”

Please note the order.  Last, or fourth, is case law.  This is what most USA citizens now think comes first.   Supreme Court does, in fact, sound supreme.  But it’s actually dead last in the legal hierarchy that determines what politicians can decree what we can do, can’t do, and must do for them.

Third is the federal code. Second, is the Indiana Code, as long as the code doesn’t contradict the constitutions, state or federal.

First on the list, of course, are the constitutions that say only legislators can legislate.

The Indiana Constitution’s Article I, Section 26 says very clearly says that only the General Assembly (our legislature) has any authority to suspend the laws protecting our rights from politicians under any circumstances.  Article I, Section 25 very clearly says that laws cannot create any authority not already granted.

And nowhere is the legislature granted authority to delegate away it’s power and more local accountability by the stroke of a pen.

The law is clear.  Why the Governor still refuses to call our legislators to work, is not. You’d think he wouldn’t want all the protests, disagreements from Sheriffs and Indiana’s Attorney General landing on him alone.
Unless, of course, he intentionally crossed this Rubicon and wants to be Caesar.lucy-charlie-brown-football

That’s history we really shouldn’t want to repeat.

A “hearing” without ears

Post mortem on the Pro Tempore hearing

OK, so “hearing” is the wrong word, because they voted to not hear me at all.

I gave them written copies of the 10-point argument below, but they were handed back, saying it would be “inappropriate” for them to read it.  Of course, the State’s attorney did hand me nine-thousand pages of their arguments*…about why I should shut up and go away, as it turned out.

After spending ten minutes going over the rules (including how I’d get ten minutes to make my case) and other niceties of procedure, the State moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that whatever I’d have to say should’ve been said in July, and they’re sure that what I’d say would be the same as what was already said anyway…AndyTriesAgain

…Even though I wasn’t there in July, and it wasn’t the same argument.  And I was there to represent another person’s CAN-1 challenge (Ben Tackitt) who couldn’t make it to this hearing.

You see, the state arranges these meetings at inconvenient times in places with exotically expensive parking for a reason

And so, the State (everyone of authority in the hearing was paid as an administrative judge working as an agent/employee of Connie Lawson with a built-in and unconstitutional conflict of interest…whatta surprise) voted to reject CAUSE NUMBER 2018-124.  They wouldn’t give me even my ten minutes.  Not even two.

Even as they tried to shush me, I asked, “Does this exhaust my administrative remedy?

If they answered no, then I should’ve been allowed to speak.  If they answered yes, then it’d be clear that I’ve got a court case with no administrative remedy (helping me ascend to that diaphanous, magical and nearly unattainable quality of “standing” before the court).

So attorney Brad King told them not to answer me.

I was railroaded.  Again.

I really didn’t expect better.  I mean, how weird would be for the state’s cronies to vote against themselves?

HeroIt’s voters who’re supposed to vote against such corruption and entrenchment of power.  If I’ve done anything at all with my efforts over the decades, I have proven (over and over and over and…) that I can’t fly onto the scene with my ray-gun and save the day, dang it.

I’d like to, of course.  But I can’t.  It takes numbers.

My hope all along was that ordinary folks would hear about this case, and DO SOMETHING about it!

PoliticsMonsterThat’s my hope (not my expectation…but I do hope).

This cause was only one example of the continuous expansion of political powers and reduction of citizen powers and rights by unconstitutional legislation, and evermore-damaging constitutional amendments, which have spawned a culture of political cronyism that foils the purpose of term limits, democratic elections, and constitutional rule of law…

…Sigh…  <deep breath>

cropped-youSo I’m posting this for you, in the hopes that you’ll read it, agree that injustice is being done, and tell others about it.

Of course I hope you’ll do even more than that (write letters to the editor, call-in to radio shows, start a lawsuit, organize protest marches, foment revolution…).  But even if telling others is all you do, I’d be delighted, and grateful.

Anyway, here’s pretty much what I would’ve said today, if given the chance; it’s what I tried to hand them on paper at the hearing.  But none of this was heard, or read:

  1. Article I, Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution makes plain that there is no legal state authority except by specific provision in the constitution. Indiana Code does not create authority; all legal authority rests only upon the Indiana Constitution. All officeholders are required by oath of office to uphold this fundamental rule of law.  The state’s case rests entirely upon Indiana Code which contradicts and violates the state constitution.

  2. As of today, there are only two constitutionally clear ways to empower a Secretary of State; election by the voters of the state (Article 6, Section 1), and by gubernatorial appointment (Article 5 Section 18).

  3. Constitutional provisions in Article 5, Section 18 and Article 15, Section 3 ensure that no Indiana office is left vacated, yet make no special or extra-ordinary definition of pro tempore.  The specific constitutional authority to issue writs of election was repealed in 1984 (Article 5, Section 19), making it less constitutionally clear when, how, and by whom, special elections are to be called.  But the definition of pro tempore has always been known to be transitory and provisional.

  4. The original 1851 Article 6, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution mandated: “There shall be elected, by the voters of the State, a Secretary, and Auditor and a Treasurer of State, who shall, severally, hold their offices for two years. They shall perform such duties as may be enjoined by law; and no person shall be eligible to either (sic) of said offices, more than four years in any period of six years.”  The original wording makes evident the erosion of constitutional protections as demonstrated by the doubling of term limits in 1970.  Article 2 Section 11, unchanged from 1851, made more sense in the context of short term limits: “… an appointment pro tempore shall not be reckoned a part of that term.”  Lawson’s first term as SOS was longer than the 1851 full term of elected office, and was over half the entire 1851 term limit.

  5. On February 4, 2012, former Secretary of State Charlie White was removed from office, and Jerold A. Bonnet was made the temporary, interim, pro tempore Secretary of State of Indiana.  This appointment was unquestionably pro tempore because there was a legal challenge to White’s 2010 ballot eligibility, throwing into question how the SOS office would be filled, though by original constitutional design and one judge’s ruling, either Democrat Vop Osili should have confirmed, or been a special election should have been called.

  6. On March 16, 2012, Mitch Daniels named Connie Lawson the new Secretary of State. There was no contingency or compromise to this appointment. Connie Lawson’s unconditional replacement of Charlie White and Jerold Bonnet was not pro tempore by any definition of pro tempore (proxy, locum tenens or conditional officeholder – e.g., the President pro tempore of the Senate, who stands-in for the Lt. Governor’s role as President of the Senate, or Judge Pro Tem who stands in for another judge). Jerold A. Bonnet was unquestionably the only pro tempore Secretary of State.

  7. The intent of the term limitation, even as of 1970, was to limit the power and electoral advantage of incumbency, limit the entrenchment of factions, and inhibit politics as a lifetime career.

  8. The purpose of democratic elections is to both thwart crony entrenchment, and to give equal opportunity for all people, without any special classes of citizen powers, privileges or immunities, an equal chance to serve their society.

  9. Precedent” is not law.  Only legislators can make law.  While this is most plainly stated in the federal constitution, the state constitution follows the same form of separation of powers.  And Article I, Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution does indeed forbid law by precedent, as it is rule-making without constitutional provision, process or authority.

  10. SUMMARY: Connie Lawson’s first term of office was not pro tempore.  And as per arguments previously submitted for Indiana Election Commission CAUSE NUMBER 2018-12, she is not eligible for election to a term of office she cannot lawfully complete.  At best, Lawson’s candidacy strains electoral propriety, and taints the credibility of Indiana’s chief election officer.  But more seriously, to allow this candidacy to go forward presents an abuse of public trust, as well as an egregious violation of Indiana’s governing authority – the Indiana Constitution.

###

So, what comes next?

Plan B

Will the GOP get away with this obvious scheme to simply appoint cronies who can then run in the next election with all the advantages of incumbency?  Is this whole democratic process and term-limits thing kaput?  Is this how everybody gets to run as an incumbentin their first election?!?!?

Well, that’s up to you.

*Lawyers like to intimidate people with piles of paper and ink.  In fact it actually came up in the hearing how much time and money in billable hours were wasted on my futile attempts at justice.