• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-30-2022, 04:10 PM
    I said it depends on the reason for seceding. In 1861 did Texas have the ethical right to secede so it could continue to maintain slavery? There's another factor to consider apart from damages, btw. Suppose an extreme anti-abortion State desires to punish any doctor or woman who facilitated or had an abortion prior to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Knowing that such an ex post facto law would violate the federal constituion's ban on such laws it secedes and then passes a statute criminalizing such activity after the fact (assume the State's constitution doesn't contain a prohibition on such laws). A woman who had an abortion when Roe was the law is arrested before she has a chance to leave the State and is tried under the new law. Her defense is that the secession was illegal and the federal constitution's ban on ex post facto laws remains applicable. What should the result be? You could substitute some offense other than one relating to abortion. Maybe a State criminalizes the practice of a religion other than the one favored by a majority of the State's citizens. The point is that if an individual loses a right that is protected by the federal constitution (e.g., the right not to be subject to an ex post facto law or the right to freedom of religion) as a result of the secession is he just out of luck? The ex post facto example is an extreme case; only a rabid statist would think it ethical to punish someone for an act he performed not only when there was no prohibition against it, but also when the State was prohibited from criminalizing the act.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-29-2022, 10:51 AM
    As a purely legal matter, there isn't a right to secede, just as there is no legal right to commit treason. Compare the sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution's definition of treason and consider the fact that many people were involved in both documents. Consider also that while the DOI approves of revolution under certain circumstances, it also acknowledges that the colonies were free and independent states -- i.e., governments that had the power "to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do." The DOI wasn't a blueprint for an anarchic society. As a moral matter, you're really asking if any group of people, no matter what the size -- from a state to an individual -- has the right to disassociate from government. It seems to me it depends on the reason for the disassociation. Did South Carolina and the other states of the Confederacy have the right to secede so they could maintain the institution of slavery? Would Warren Jeffs and his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have had the right to secede from federal, state, and local govenment so he could rape children? But even if the argument for or against secession is based on morality, who gets to decide the issue? There is no Supreme Court of Ethics, so as a practical matter it ultimately depends on which side has the greater force to maintain its desires. And the loser will always cry "tyrrany!" I doubt that you believe that it would be wrong under any conceivable circumstance for a group of people to use force to impose their will on another group or an individual. But if you agree that sometime it's necessary, then under what circunstances would the use of force be justified and, more important, who gets to decide? It's obvious I'm not an anarchist. Men are not saints, and government is a necessary evil. Moreover, I doubt that anarchy can ever exist in a society of more that a handful of people. When folks band together, as they inevitably will, there will always be rules and punishments for breaking those rules.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-28-2022, 10:22 AM
    A written contract provides greater assurance that there will be no misunderstanding later on regarding exactly what the parties' understanding was. A gentlemen can die or become mentally incompetent, and his executor, the beneficiaries of his estate, or his guardian will demand proof of what the original understanding was. As film mogul Louis B. Mayer is reputed to have said, an oral contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-28-2022, 10:09 AM
    Texas would first need to convince its own citizens that secession is worth the loss all of the federal benefits that the state and its people currently receive (e.g., Social Security).
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-27-2022, 02:06 PM
    It's not the only kind. There's a laundry list of them in 11 USC §523, including taxes; debts for money obtained by fraud or theft; domestic support obligations; and certain intentional torts. See https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/523
    16 replies | 1226 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-27-2022, 09:01 AM
    The biggest complication isn't damages, but the fact that the seceding individual may have to move. Remaining in the territorial area of the governmental entity from which he is seceding while at the same time claiming he isn't subject to the laws of the entity will get very dicey very quickly.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-27-2022, 07:25 AM
    Taking this to its logical extreme, it follows that an individual has the right to leave his relationship with government and to no longer be bound by its rules. In other words, secession and self detrermination can't be limited to just governments. But that is pure anarchy, and it doesn't work, no matter how many people believe in the myth of Galt's Gulch. To the contrary -- I have drafted hundreds of contracts, and one of the boilerplate provisions states that the contract cannot be amended or terminated without the consent of all parties (excluding emplyment contracts). But you are correct in that a court will not order a party to continue to be bound to a contract he has breached (excluding cases of specific performance). Instead, the breaching party will be liable for damages. But the contract analogy is inapposite in at least one respect: what is the remedy for a breach? In a case involving individuals instead of governments, the usual remedy is damages. But what are the damages if, say, California decided to secede? Setting aside the fact that this could be a positive boon to the rest of the country, how could one ever measure the damages, especially if California were one of the states that receive more federal money than its citizens pay in federal taxes? So unless you're prepared to say that a state government may breach its contract with the other states with impunity, what is the remedy?
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-26-2022, 02:21 PM
    Just as a contract can be dissolved if all parties thereto consent, the Union could be dissolved if all of its members agreed. It would probably be possible even if less than 100% consented. But if only one State wants to leave, you're going to have a problem. From a purely legal standpoint (assuming secession can be analyzed in legal terms) the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no right to secede. From a de facto perspective it's hard to see how it would ever be allowed, either by the other States or by the citizens of the secession wannabe State. Newborns don't enter into contracts. Older minors sometimes do, and they have the right to disaffirm the contract under certain conditions. A contract for necessaries could be viewed as enforceable under a quantum meruit theory without regard to actual consent. Not sure what all that has to do with secession, though.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-21-2022, 03:27 PM
    Except you didn't limit your claim to personal service contracts. You even acknowledged that one can be forced to convey real property via specific performance (presumably without becoming a slave). Nice try, but no cigar. And, BTW, how in the world is a State that has joined a union analogous to someone who has promised to render personal services? And how can a State possibly complain that it's a slave if it's forced to abide by the Constitution?
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-21-2022, 12:06 PM
    If George Wallace hadn't capitulated, I am sure the federal government and/or the Alabama National Guard would have forced Alabama to desegregate the University, just as Eisenhower did with respect to the Little Rock school in 1957. There are some contractual debts that aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy. But in any event, it's not slavery. Your original claim that a "contract that one cannot exit is slavery" was a gross generalization unsupported by the law, as your reference to specific performance demonstrates.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-21-2022, 10:25 AM
    That's true -- but sometimes it works well short of bloody conflict. For example, Arkansas and Alabama (through their respective Governors, Orval Faubus and George Wallace) were persuaded to cease their opposition to racially integrated schools without having to go to war.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-21-2022, 10:20 AM
    No, it's called a contract, which is a promise the law will enforce. Do you think you can simply walk away from your home mortgage obligation and that requiring you to repay the loan you got to buy your house is slavery?
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-21-2022, 07:09 AM
    South Carolina thought that way in 1860. It didn't work out too well. You failed to mention another alternative: the other states could demand the recalcitrant state remain in the Union and stop doing whatever it was doing that violated the Constitution, arguing that the Constitution was a contract among the States and that no party to a contract has the right to unilaterally withdraw from or breach it.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-20-2022, 04:02 PM
    Since giving the federal government the authority to tax (something it didn't have under the Articles of Confederation) was a principal feature of the Constitution, how was it destroyed by the imposition of the Whiskey Tax? I'll give you the Alien and Sedition Acts, but enforcing a tax that the States had given the federal government the authority to enact shouldn't have come as a surprise.
    221 replies | 4855 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-15-2022, 10:59 AM
    Maybe you missed the part where I referred to those who think it's ALL political. Those who create an irrebuttable presumption (I hope you know what that is) that it's purely political have convinced themselves that under no circumstances will there ever be evidence of criminal activity sufficient to bring charges against Trump and/or some of his supporters, so there's no legitimate reason to even have an investigation. They simply cannot conceive that there might be some fire where there's smoke. It's like some of those who went ballistic when the search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago -- without any knowledge of what was in the affidavit supporting the warrant, they were convinced that it was a political ploy, totally devoid of any legitimacy. There are others who may not go that far but who have ignored or played down the seriousness of Trump's efforts to get Pence to throw out certified electors and of the submission of phony slates of electors by some of his supporters. One wonders how they would feel if these efforts had been made by pro-Democrat people (e.g. what if Vice President Biden had thrown out electors in January 2017, resulting in Clinton's election?). Which isn't what I said.
    33 replies | 2045 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-15-2022, 07:08 AM
    I have no idea what the DOJ is after or what information it already has that may have prompted the subpoenas, and neither does anyone else on this site. But that doesn't stop some folks from creating an irrebuttable presumption that it's all political and that Trump and his supporters are squeaky clean patriotic citizens who would never dream of doing something like overturning the election, submitting phony slates of electors, or storming the Capitol.
    33 replies | 2045 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-12-2022, 09:56 AM
    1. Trump isn't POTUS. And the issue isn't that the stuff is above his pay grade. It's that he has no right to possess it and to leave it lying around his house where any guest of his might sneak some out. Recall there were empty classified folders among the material taken in the execution of the warrant. 2. The only person who stole anything was Trump. The seized materials belong to the federal government, excluding some personal stuff.
    715 replies | 31036 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-07-2022, 09:54 AM
    The issue in my hypothetical had nothing to do with an election's fairness. It had everything to do with what the independent state legislature doctrine entails. The last time SCOTUS addressed ISL was in a 5-4 decision in 2015. You might find it interesting. The last paragraph of Scalia's dissent is classic Nino. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/13-1314
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-07-2022, 08:48 AM
    My God, you're pathetic. Were the GOP-appointed "electors" appointed in accordance with state election laws? Of course not, yet you claim the GOP had every legal right to "certify" a bunch of impostors. It seems you want to ignore state election laws when it suits your purpose.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-07-2022, 08:40 AM
    The 12th Amendment doesn't say that. It says the electors shall certify the votes for each candidate but it doesn't address how a dispute over who the legal electors are is to be resolved. I never said it was. The hypothetical simply follows from your reading of the Constitution. How odd you should say that. In my hypothetical the legislature grossly violated the people's right to choose by changing the election rules after the fact and ignoring the voice of the people, yet you say that's permitted.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 03:30 PM
    So what? The people I referred to were state legislators, not persons holding federal office. Are you dyslexic? Moreover, I didn't say they were trying to appoint themselves as electors; they were trying to decertify the result.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 03:16 PM
    But the Constitution doesn't give him this discretion regarding whether the certification was proper. It says the votes shall be counted, nothing more. A state's own constitution limits the power of its legislature because the legislature is created by the state constitution in the first place. The federal constitution didn't create state legislatures; it just took them as it found them. If a state legislature really is all-powerful when it comes to presidential elections, consider this scenario: a state law provides that presidential electors shall be chosen by popular vote. After a presidential election the state legislature passes a law stating that the electors who came in second in the vote will be the state's official electors and will be certified to the Archives by the Speaker of the House and President of the state Senate. No allegations of fraud, just pure politics. The law isn't presented to the Governor for his signature because there's no need to. Nor is there a problem with the federal Constitution's prohibition of ex post facto laws, because that applies only to criminal laws, not election laws. The legislature can change the rules after the fact because the federal Constitution says the legislature is supreme when it comes to choosing presidential electors. See anything wrong with this picture?
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 01:11 PM
    What law gives him this authority? Not the 12th Amendment. Not the Electoral Count Act. What law, pray tell? Then that was for the state judiciary to determine, not the Vice President or the state legislature. I am aware of the argument (the "independent state legislature doctrine") that when it comes to federal elections a state legislature isn't subject to judicial oversight. The counterargument is that a state legislature is created by and is necessarily subject to the state's own constitution, which will very likely have a separation-of-powers design under which the judiciary is to decide election disputes. I'm also aware that SCOTUS is set to hear a case next term involving this very question -- Moore v. Harper, involving a dispute over North Carolina's congressional districts. You said earlier, "If that delays proceedings by a day or two then what is the problem?" No investigation into alleged voting irregularities would be accomplished in a few days. Look at how long the audit in Arizona dragged out -- and Trump still lost. Hell, even today his lemmings are still trying to get the results in Wisconsin decertified.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 12:09 PM
    Called into question by whom? A bunch of Trump supporters pretending to be electors? Each state legislature has passed statutes dealing with how its state's electors are to be chosen and certified. My guess is that all of them provide that the electors are chosen by the voters, not by the legislature. I also suspect that they provide procedures for settling election disputes and for finally certifying the electors who have been chosen (I think this would be done by the Secretary of State). In addition the Electoral Count Act (3 USC §6) provides that the Governor of each state is to send a Certificate of Ascertainment to the Archivist of the United States certifying the electors that have been chosen. But despite all this you claim that a Vice President can ignore all of this procedure and reject what state officials have done pursuant to the state's own laws. Where in the world did he get this authority to override state officials?
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 10:01 AM
    But nothing in the Constitution (specifically the 12th Amendment) gives Pence the authority to determine that a state's certified slate of electors was improperly chosen or to send the issue back to a state legislature. It simply says "The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted". We've been through this before -- the 12th Amendment isn't a dispute resolution mechanism. http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?551617-TX-GOP-Lawmaker-seeks-to-give-VP-Pence-%91Exclusive-Authority%92-to-Overturn-FRAUDULENT-Election/page3&highlight=mechanism
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 08:37 AM
    One could make that argument, but then one would have to overcome the Electoral Count Act: Unofficial is the key word. In Arizona, for example, only 8 Senators (out of 30) and 20 Representatives (out of 60) signed their silly letter claiming to contest the outcome. This wasn't even a majority of either chamber and had as much legal effect as a bunch of drunks in a bar claiming to be electors.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-06-2022, 06:54 AM
    There were no states that "cast dual electoral votes". There were only some groups of Trump lemmings who pretended to be electors but who had no legal standing.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-04-2022, 08:16 PM
    Unless you've seen the documents that were retrieved in the execution of the warrant, you have no basis whatsoever to characterize it as a minor paperwork issue. That is simply wishful thinking on your part because you've apparently bought into the myth that the DOJ is always wrong and Trump is beyond reproach. If it was so petty, pray tell why did Trump resist turning over the docs for over a year? And why did he fail to comply with the subpoena? And why did the search warrant uncover twice as many docs with classified markings in a couple of hours than Trump returned to the FBI after its month-long so-called diligent search? The Art of the Con, indeed.
    715 replies | 31036 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-04-2022, 08:06 PM
    Your pitiful response cited no authority for what you wished Pence to do. I suggest you learn some law before shooting your mouth off about something you know very little about.
    172 replies | 5791 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
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