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Judicial review (JR1) - citizen discussion

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Demo Game Revival: Citizens' started by donsig, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    As acting pro tem Chief Justice I am opening a citizen discussion about JR1, our first judicial review:

    Chief Justice Black Hole has recused himself from JR1, has appointed me pro tem Chief Justice and President Cyc has consented to the appointment. My duties as pro tem CJ pertain only to JR1. CJ Black Hole will continue to handle any other CJ duties.

    The purpose of this discussion thread is to allow citizens a forum to express their views on the case. Any citizen is free to post an Amicus Curiae brief and I urge everyone to remember that all elected officials are still citizens. Justices are free to express opinions here as citizens. Any such opinions expressed are not to be regarded as official judicial pronouncements. The official findings of the judicial members will be posted in the judicial thread at the appropriate time. Also, please bear in mind that judicial reviews are not election campaigns. Judicial members are not bound to rule in favor of the majority - they are bound to rule according to our laws and our constitution. With this in mind, please feel free to present your views on this case.

    I intend to let this discussion proceed until it peters out at which time I will declare discussion over and ask the members of the judiciary to prepare their formal decision on the case.

    The legal question to be addressed in this judicial review is:

    Does the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Principles fit the definition of a political party under our laws?
     
  2. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    As an Amicus Curiae, I would like to post my current point of view.

    From what I could gather from the opening post of the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Principles, the purpose of the group is not to push the wishes of a political party in a Democratic environment, but to stress the principles of a Democratic government in an environment where a government must fill a void. There is no Democratic government. There are no parties in a Democratic Government. There is no Communist government, just as there is no Facist government. There is a Depotism. There is a tough-guy Warlord, ruling by threat of death, probably. Is that really a government?

    Yes, we have crossed the line between Demogame structural gvernment and Civ3 in-game government. A sticky situation. Perhaps we need clarification of which world the defendant is in and which world the prosecution rests. A tangled web we weave.

    Perhaps if the group were to change its name to represent a philosophy of Democratic principles, it could be looked at through a different lens. Not sure if there would be a difference.

    As of now, the group could be looked at as one supporting a movement towards a Democratic government, as opposed to a movement towards a Monarchy. But we're just talking principles here. Can't Democratic principles be used in other forms of government to some degree?

    We as a people may need to redefine the meaning of "political parties" before we can truly answer the legal question.
     
  3. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    Thank you Donsig for volunteering your time to the court.
    The definition of a political party as defined by multiple sources:

    While I see no overt reach for political power the AADP have a set ideology as well as a written platform. Without evidence that the group will create a voting bloc and or another sort of grab for political power it may be premature to call them a political party. However, what other purpose is this organization created for then to push the principles laid out in their written ideals. A group like this with large numbers could swing elections and many other important polled issues. That is what I believe Article 1 of our constitution is there to defend.
     
  4. Falcon02

    Falcon02 General

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    I feel the key to this issue is what is a "Political Party" and what is "Citizen Group."

    In the past Citizen Groups have been allowed and encouraged. But "Political parties" have typically prohibited.

    I feel one of the key things about "political parties" is the strict control over members, requiring them to vote a certain way, forbidding them from joining "competing parties," and specifically endorsing candidates who are either members of their group or support their goals. Thus far the group in question hasn't done that or stated the intent to do that.
     
  5. Black_Hole

    Black_Hole Chieftain

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    I believe reading article A in its entirety is important:
    You will notice that this article also guarantees a right to free speech and a right to assemble. If a broad definition is used of political parties it will undermine these rights, especially the right to assemble. As such, I believe to ensure the right to assemble and free speech a narrow view should be applied, that being an organization that endorses candidates for elections.

    For example, most would not consider the AARP a political party and the reason being is that it does not exclusively endorse its members for election. It is also important to note that political parties generally have a large scope and are not focused on specific topics, like the NRA, for example.
     
  6. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    Great points fellow Hibernians. I layed out in my last post that as of yet the AADP did not fully constitute a political party IMO. However the groundwork is laid out for a powerful organization that could fulfill the definition of a political party. This is a Democracy Game and the Constitution gives us many of the rights laid out in the AADPs' objectives. Adding amendments to the constitution could gaurantee the rest of the principles if the citizenry agree with them. My problem with a citizen group that has political objectives is that they will gain power with large numbers and render those not affiliated powerless.
     
  7. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    I appreciate your efforts in having this Citizen's Group abide by the law, Lord Civius. As a current member of this group and one of the founding members of the "NO political parties" clan, I can assure you that I will keep a mindful eye on the AADP. Any overt political power grabbing or requirements of its membership to follow blindly will be curtailed.
     
  8. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chieftain

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    While the desire to assemble and participate in a discussion of government is an admirable and constitutionally protected quality, it is plain to see that the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Principles is a political party. Democratic principles are, of course, political principles and any organization that advocates a particular political ideology is inherently political in nature. This fact places the AADP across the line from other citizen groups. Citizen groups that deal with social or global issues (such as environmentalists or technologists) are at their root apolitical. To them, the ruling government is unimportant as long as the citizens' desired issues are being addressed. Clearly the AADP will not be able to remove itself from the process of government, but will in fact seek to control this process as its stated goal.

    As Lord Civius pointed out, the AADP has a political platform. The majority of issues the AADP seeks to promote are also written in our Constitution, the foremost political document of Hibernia. The featured discussion on the AADP thread is what political system we as a country should use. The image, and de facto icon, of the group is a politician (or at the least an electoral official). The list goes on.

    The logical counter to both of these points is simple: there haven't been any elections since the AADP was founded. Who knows what steps the organization will take once election season comes around? It is entirely believable that a member of the AADP running for office will use that membership as a way to rally votes and persuade people to their cause. To Falcon02 in particular, I would respond that the activities he feels define a political party are in fact evolutions and outgrowths of established political parties rather than "key things".

    Having said all that, I agree with the majority of posters that, for a political party, the AADP is extremely benign. I will also stop short of calling for a course of action. Black_Hole, founder of the AADP, is an intelligent, passionate citizen, and it would be a shame to curtail such enthusiasm for our Democracy. However, the fact remains that the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Principles is a political party. Political parties are illegal under the Constitution. Something must be done.
     
  9. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    The Amicus Curiae briefs submitted thus far have raised some excellent points. In ruling on this JR the members of the judiciary will need a legal definition of both political parties and citizens groups. I think it would help the court if there were more briefs and discussion regarding the benefits and dangers of these two types of organizations. I have some questions I'd like to see answered in further briefs:

    • Why does our constitution ban political parties?
    • What is the function of citizens groups?
    • What actions are considered proper and improper for citizen groups to engage in?
    Examples from past democracy games are welcome. We have a rich history of democracy games on CivFanatics spanning [civ2] through [civ4]. Feel free to check the archives for information to add to these briefs.
     
  10. civplayah

    civplayah fronter

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    The parties are banned due to intense rivalry that happened in the CIV DGame III.
    I'm not sure about the other two, though.
     
  11. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    That is the most recent example, but from the discussions in earlier games it seems there was another time when political parties may have caused even worse problems.

    My opinion

    A political party in CFC DemoGame terms is a collection of people who organize votes for or against specific individuals or policies. The most extreme example IMO would be creation of a slate of candidates to run for several offices in an election, and activities to coordinate group members voting for candidates on the party ticket. Other examples would be organizing a vote against a candidate for the Designated Player pool, or a vote for a Constitutional amendment.

    Signs that an organization is a party include:
    • Posts arranging for various party members to run for various offices, in particular ensuring that all party members run for different offices and that all major offices have a party candidate.
    • Posts informing party members of who in the party is running for office, especially when advocating votes for party members.
    • Bringing a poll to the party's attention and recommending a vote on the poll, in particular for the party's preferred option.
      • By contrast, if the group is based on shared philosophy (distinguishing feature of a citizen group) it should not be necessary to tell members how to vote.
    • Discussions and polls which exclusively benefit the party's membership.
    • Extreme partisan behaviour, which can be loosely defined as advocating the party's platform even when it is patently clear that the resulting actions would be damaging to the national interest, or at least not beneficial.
     
  12. Nobody

    Nobody Gangster

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    My definition of a Political Party, as far as the demogame is concerned is a citizens group that forces members to vote a certain way on polls or vote a certain way in elections.

    I think that a citizens group should be able to do anything else it wants, including decisions or issues amongest its members, informing members of polls they might be interested in and telling members who is running in an election. As long as there membership in the group dosent require them to vote a certain way then they are not a political party.

    I think the ban on political partys was put in place back when the first demogame was being planned so that the country would work as a group and not split off into factions. And the law has just been brought along ever since.

    That said the AADP isnt a political party, its a citizen group. If come election time they instruct members on how to vote, then it would be a political party and need to be banned.
     
  13. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    It would be detrimental to a group like the AADP to advise its members on how to vote. I do not fear a blatant action like that as they would be dismantled immediately. A group sharing political ideals would no doubt IMO vote for a citizen that shares their views. Organizing according to ones political objectives, as the AADP have done, encourages its members to push for the objectives laid out in their platform. How better to do this then elect citizens that share their ideals. By signing up for the AADP you are openly acknologing you will stand behind the objectives laid out. So a vote for a fellow member is a vote for the ideals of the organization.
     
  14. Black_Hole

    Black_Hole Chieftain

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    I would request that when the justices rule on this case they setup a criteria that should be followed(on whether an organization is a political party) in the future in addition to a specific ruling on the AADP, so we can have a precedent that can be followed in the future.
     
  15. Philadelphus

    Philadelphus Chieftain

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    I second that.
     
  16. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    We will do what we can while also trying not to cross the line into writing legislation. I intend to include my legal definition of both citizen groups and political parties in my findings. I'm not sure how much good this will do since we may have a split decision here. Perhaps the individual decisions we hand down can form the seed for a proper law regarding this issue.

    Discussion seems to have died down so I will now call for the members of the judiciary to begin formal deliberations with a goal of having formal decisions ready within 48 hours of this post.
     
  17. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chieftain

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    I believe the fears and negative feelings many have expressed towards political parties could better be directed at what I would call "partisan political activity". The AADP is, in fact, a political party as it is a group of citizens organized under shared political ideals. However, I do not believe it aspires to nor is capable of the electoral machinations various citizens have mentioned above as the result of political parties.

    I wonder if it would be for the best if, in ruling on this case, the Judiciary redefines (or rather, further defines) what the term "political party" means. As I've stated before, the AADP is a political party, but perhaps it is not a Demogame political party. A ruling could be provided as to the Constitutional meaning of "political party", including why they are detrimental and how they can be identified (DaveShack has made an excellent attempt at this in his post). Such a decision would uphold the Constitutional right of assembly-- albeit for political ends-- while still protecting our Democracy from the vile grip of "politics" we all understandably fear.

    Barring that, we must reword the Constitution (and all that entails) if we want to allow groups such as the AADP to exist.
     

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