Monday, September 19, 2005

Hatch Butchers Montesquieu, Hamilton

     Senator O Hatch (R-UT) brought up Montesquieu in his opening statement of the four-day Roberts hearings, and I instantly knew he'd butchered the ideas, smeared the guts over himself, and given a little barbarian's dance, but I forgot to blog about it.  I've also found some aged dupe/fool lawyer, J Presser, who advocates the same understanding.

     I don't know whether these chimpanzees simply can't understand the US Constitution, or simply tried and failed to understand the Spirit of Laws and the Federalist Papers, but the results are bound to offend.  And to think. this "Republican" Party is often thought to be the standard bearer for the traditional American ideology!  No, that they twist and bend for their simple-minded aims. 

Quoting the philosopher Montesquieu, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist, number 78, that, quote, There is no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from the le gislative and executive powers, unquote. Well, times have changed. Today, some see the separation of powers not as a condition for liberty but as an obstacle to their own politi cal agenda.

     It is hard to see how much more Classicist crap the foolish Hatch could manage to throw up in the faces of the audience, but neither his fellow Senators nor the public has stepped up repudiate this utter bullshit by Hatch, and as I am a huge fan of Montesquieu's political philosophy, I take it upon myself.

     I will prove, through various means, that Hatch is full of shit and is retarded, or speaks of what he knows not, specifically as it relates to the US Constitution.

     What does it mean to have the legislature be the same as the power of the judiciary?  It would mean, in part, as was in the case in the United Kingdom before 1870 and as expressly prohibited in the US Constitution, Bills of Attainder, defined by Wikipedia thusly: "A bill of attainder (or act of attainder) was an act of legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime, and punishing them, without benefit of a trial.".  By vote in Parliament, a man could be convicted.  People say "without trial" but they don't realize that the debate over the passage of the bill amounts to a trial by legislature.  Not only does the Constitution expresssly prohibit the States (Art I, Sec 10) and the Congress (Art I, Sec 9) from passing such laws, there is no threat to that system today.

     Now let's see just how wrong this "Senator" is.

     First, is the separation absolute?  I think Senator Hatch should recall that he himself served in the US Senate during the trial of President WJ Clinton.  So, no, where provided for in the Constitution, the Congress can serve a judicial function.

     Second, checks and balances.  The American system gives no free rein to any branch of government.  The Senate's confirmation procss is a check on the Executive, who otherwise could come to near tyranny by placing whomsoever he desires (cronies, flunkies, sixteen year old children) on the bench.  It is expressly within the intent and words of the Constitution for the US Senate to consent, by the usual process, a vote, to any nominee of the Presidents.  As others have elsewhere pointed out, even President G Washington was stymied in his attempts to place the extremely experienced jurist J Rutledge in the Chief Justice's seat, so let us not pretend that the President deserves some deference.  If some sycophant wants to say that GW Bush deserves more deference than G Washington, let them go off into the woods and wail to their hearts content.

     Third, the bloody irony.  How else might the legislative and judiciary become intermingled?  Mandatory minimums take away from the Judge almost all power to be merciful where extenuating circumstances suggest it (although it did _nothing_ to put John Ashcroft's nephew in jail for 40 pot plants).  Now, to be fair to Herr Hatch, Montesquieu writes of this Book VI Chapter 3 of the Spirit of Laws.

The nearer a government approaches towards a republic, the more the manner of judgeing becomes settled and fixed; hence it was a fault in the Republic of Sparta for the Ephori to pass such arbitrary judgements without having any laws to direct them.

     However, when the penalties for an ounce of cocaine (an admittedly bad drug) are greater than the penalties for firing a missile into a building, as is the case in Florida, it is obvious that legislatures don't always get it right.

     We can only hope that the citizens of Utah put forward someone without this sickening interest in perverting history for partisan gain.

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