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Tiberius
09-24-2013, 10:01 PM
Tonight (9/24), Chan. 13 in Sacramento ran a story on "Ghost Voting" in the California assembly. Apparently, it is common and routine for members of the assembly to be absent during votes, but to have someone else push their button to cast their vote. The votes are taken electronically.

The TV footage showed this happening during the last two weeks of the recent session, in some cases during votes on what the news called a gun control bill.

As the reporter showed, this "ghost voting" is against express Assembly rules.

The significance here is that, if this occurred on any of the pending gun bills, the bills may not have actually passed and so should not be before the Governor. It may be hard to establish how many ghost votes there were - or it might be very easy. The news show had footage; likely there is more.

Just tossing it out for the big brains. If we can establish the lack of a valid vote, that would be a nice, direct shot at the bills.

T

Off the Roster
09-24-2013, 10:07 PM
Clocking in another employee at my work is a terminable offense.

Clocking = Ghost Voting in my book.

A-J
09-25-2013, 6:18 AM
If you heard the story (which also ran a few months ago too) you would have heard the legislators opinion that the rules are not relevant and they do it all the time. Meaning they'll do what they want when they want and F you for trying to act like you have any authority over them.

FastFinger
09-25-2013, 7:12 AM
You want to make it a requirement for our legislators to be there in person to vote? Gee, next you'll be wanting them to read or be familiar with a bill before they can vote on it. Dream on.

dave86
09-25-2013, 7:35 AM
Remember the Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Tiberius
09-25-2013, 8:17 AM
I get the cynicism. The point isn't to change their behavior or get them to show up. The point is that legally, and I think under the state Constitution, a bill needs a certain number of votes to pass. If, for example, SB 374 didn't get that number but needed, hypothetically, 15 "ghost" votes to pass, then in reality it didn't pass at all.

For any gun bills that go into effect, if ghost voting can be established (which may or may not be a big if - I don't know if there is a video or other record of the actual votes) there is powerful legal attack. A court will have a hard time holding that having someone else vote is OK. It may be routine, but it's not within the boundaries of the law.

dave_cg
09-25-2013, 9:06 AM
I get the cynicism. The point isn't to change their behavior or get them to show up. The point is that legally, and I think under the state Constitution, a bill needs a certain number of votes to pass. If, for example, SB 374 didn't get that number but needed, hypothetically, 15 "ghost" votes to pass, then in reality it didn't pass at all.

For any gun bills that go into effect, if ghost voting can be established (which may or may not be a big if - I don't know if there is a video or other record of the actual votes) there is powerful legal attack. A court will have a hard time holding that having someone else vote is OK. It may be routine, but it's not within the boundaries of the law.

So, how are you going to figure out how many ghost votes there were for a particular bill? Do you have video of the vote? Eye witnesses? Or are you going to make the argument that the burden of proof is on the legislature to prove that they *didn't* ghost vote, since many legislators are on record that it is common?

bigdawg86
09-25-2013, 9:10 AM
Don't the have CCTV / Public access cameras always taping legislative sessions like CSPAN for the fed?

dustoff31
09-25-2013, 9:11 AM
As the reporter showed, this "ghost voting" is against express Assembly rules.

And who is the only body empowered to enforce the rules of the Assembly?

The Assembly. Good luck with that.

dave_cg
09-25-2013, 9:49 AM
Don't the have CCTV / Public access cameras always taping legislative sessions like CSPAN for the fed?

But what does that show? Probably the person currently speaking, or the vote tally board. (Guessing, I've never watched.)

njineermike
09-25-2013, 9:52 AM
And who is the only body empowered to enforce the rules of the Assembly?

The Assembly. Good luck with that.

This. We're dealing with a case of the fox gaurding the henhouse, and the fox loves to eat chicken.

Tincon
09-25-2013, 10:39 AM
And who is the only body empowered to enforce the rules of the Assembly?

The Assembly. Good luck with that.

I'm not sure that is entirely true. The courts certainly have the power to interpret and enforce the state constitution. It reads:

The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may
enact no statute except by bill. . . . No bill may be passed unless, by rollcall
vote entered in the journal, a majority of the membership of each
house concurs.

If you had just one guy in there running around voting for everyone I don't think he could legally make a law. "rollcall vote" has a legal meaning and I don't think it is "a legislator or someone who sits near him is present and voted". There is also some federal issues about representative government.

That said I don't know how likely it would be that courts would intervene, even if there was a constitutional issue.

12voltguy
09-25-2013, 10:41 AM
Remember the Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

it's not who gets the votes
it's "who counts the votes"
1986 RANGLE NFA count:facepalm:

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 11:00 AM
Happened during the passage of SB50 (.50 ban)..

Not sure if anything has changed since then; perhaps there is a more effective way to do something than was tried back then?

Tiberius
09-25-2013, 4:14 PM
If one could establish that "ghost voting" happened during the vote on a bill, and that there were not enough "real" votes cast, one would have an excellent chance of winning a lawsuit to get the law thrown out. The Constitution sets out laws get passed; if the right procedure isn't followed, the bill is no good.

The rub here is how to establish that this happened, if it did. One reason it happens is, probably, because there's no record of it. To bring this lawsuit, the burden would be on the Plaintiff - in other words, us, to establish that 1) ghost voting happened and 2) made a difference. If we had a video showing that the vote of SB 374 included enough ghost votes that the bill wouldn't have passed without them, that's a real angle. A court will have a hard time saying "Oh, it's OK to pass bills even if there aren't enough votes."

But I have no idea if the evidence of ghost voting exists or can be found, and was hoping someone here might know. Are there C-span type records of all proceedings? Is everything taped? A FOIA request or the like might be able to find some videos. My hunch is there's no video record, and any log of who is where is likely a bit sketchy.

And if the bills get vetoed, for now it doesn't matter. Even if they do, though, if ghost voting is used to pass certain measures, it would be worth being present and recording that, somehow.

T

GM4spd
09-25-2013, 4:47 PM
Ghost or no ghost do you really think it is going to change anything
about SB374? :rolleyes: Pete

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 4:49 PM
The constitution doesn't care HOW the legislature passes laws. That is entirely left up to the legislature. If it passes out of the body *by whatever mechanism the body sees fit*, that's that.

When it comes to state legislatures, the constitution cares even less.

advocatusdiaboli
09-25-2013, 4:56 PM
This. We're dealing with a case of the fox gaurding the henhouse, and the fox loves to eat chicken.

And eat gun sportsmen, hunters, and citizens who want guns for self defense.

advocatusdiaboli
09-25-2013, 5:24 PM
Ghost or no ghost do you really think it is going to change anything
about SB374? :rolleyes: Pete

Nope. IF the result fits the end they had in mind, none of them care to examine the means for validity—they breathe a sigh of relief and move on to other work. That's why a big government is a threat to liberty.

samburr
09-25-2013, 6:10 PM
When is this going to be stopped? If the assembly has a law on the books. They are violating that law and should be removed for office at once. If they really had footage for the two weeks then everything durning those two weeks should be removed form the Governors desk!! You and I would loose........These violations should be acted upon by their own and not allowed to be swept under the rug like all the others. I am just so MAD and fed up. I would like to help but dont know where to start. If i was younger I would leave this state.

Tincon
09-25-2013, 6:13 PM
Tell me exactly where the constitution says that. In particular, in my memory the word "ghost" doesn't appear in the constitution at all.

I see this as a general trend among Calguns posters: They use the word "unconstitutional" to mean "I don't like it". For example, in "Brussel sprouts are unconstitutional". Unfortunately, that use of the word "unconstitutional" has little resemblance to common English usage.

See Art. 4, § 8 (former section), providing that “on the final passage of all bills they shall be read at length, and the vote shall be by yeas and nays upon each bill separately, and shall be entered on the journal, and no bill shall become a law without the concurrence of a majority of the members elected to each house.” The court, to inform itself, would look to the journals of the legislature, and if it appeared therefrom that the bill did not pass by the constitutional majority, then it would not be regarded as a law.  People of State of California v. Northern R. Co., 6 S.Ct. 1144, 118 U.S. 417, 30 L.Ed. 125;  Santa Clara County v. Southern Pac. R. Co. (C.C.1883) 18 F. 385, affirmed 6 S.Ct. 1132, 118 U.S. 394, 30 L.Ed. 118

So one would have to look at the journals of the legislature to see who was present and voted, as there is a presumption that they are correct. If a majority did not vote according to the journals, then "the bill did not pass by the constitutional majority, then it would not be regarded as a law." If the journal shows that there was a majority, but (video) evidence proves the journal to be incorrect, and that there was no majority, then the evidence overcomes the presumption and the bill again cannot be law.

I see a general trend by chainsaw to question people's posts about what is or is not constitutional, when chainsaw has not read the law or the constitution.

The constitution doesn't care HOW the legislature passes laws. That is entirely left up to the legislature. If it passes out of the body *by whatever mechanism the body sees fit*, that's that.

When it comes to state legislatures, the constitution cares even less.

Incorrect, see above.

SoCal Bob
09-25-2013, 6:15 PM
Perhaps this is the start we are looking for. We could find allies to help Sponsor a statewide initiative to require that legislators in Sacramento must be present to vote and must cast their own vote. Think of all the last minute questionable laws we could prevent.

Tincon
09-25-2013, 6:19 PM
Perhaps this is the start we are looking for. We could find allies to help Sponsor a statewide initiative to require that legislators in Sacramento must be present to vote and must cast their own vote. Think of all the last minute questionable laws we could prevent.

The constitution already requires this. Spend your millions on something else.

advocatusdiaboli
09-25-2013, 6:19 PM
While they clearly violated their own rules, who is going to enforce those rules on them but they themselves? No one. SO, in effect, they have near absolute power in the state now and no one with any power stands against them. And we all know what Lord Acton said about absolute power and corruption don't we?

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 6:20 PM
Incorrect, see above.

Thanks for the correction. I really had assumed legislatures have ultimate discretion. Granted, this is because it seems they treat any limits on their discretion as if they were laughable and inconsequential lately.

Certainly it doesn't seem the courts have bothered to reign them in in any fashion of late.

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 6:22 PM
The constitution already requires this. Spend your millions on something else.

The constitution requires this, yet the legislature persists in ignoring that requirement. What is the point of a requirement if it is unenforceable?

Tincon
09-25-2013, 6:30 PM
The constitution requires this, yet the legislature persists in ignoring that requirement. What is the point of a requirement if it is unenforceable?


Well an expensive referendum isn't going to help that.

Tincon
09-25-2013, 6:39 PM
Note the words "former section," that is how it read in 1889 when those cases were decided. They call that "settled law". Nothing has substantively changed, and West's Annotated California Codes now references the current section with those cites. Legislators have to be present to vote. *wheel spun*

five.five-six
09-25-2013, 6:43 PM
it's not who gets the votes
it's "who counts the votes"
1986 RANGLE NFA count:facepalm:

You got that right

t8BwqzzqcDs

Tincon
09-25-2013, 6:49 PM
So does this allow proxy voting or not? If those two cases are settled law, then rule 104 of the assembly is in violation of the constitution. Which is theoretically possible, but seems implausible.

I don't think it is.

Full text:

Members Voting
104.
Every Member in the Assembly Chamber when a roll call is
required shall record his or her vote openly and without debate, unless
the Assembly excuses that member by a majority vote of the Members
present and voting.
A Member may not operate the voting switch of any other Member,
except that a Member presiding at the time of a roll call, who is not
the Speaker or the Speaker pro Tempore, may direct another Member
on the floor to operate the voting switch of the presiding Member, and
any Member so presiding, including the Speaker and the Speaker pro
Tempore, may also operate the voting switches at the rostrum of the
Speaker and the Speaker pro Tempore, at their direction.

[I read this to mean that the member is present and voting, but as they are presiding another member may operate the "voting switch". As there was no voting switch in 1889 I don't think this was addressed, but I think as long as they are PRESENT (and can't operate the switch because they are presiding) it is constitutional.]

The name of any Member who refuses to vote as required by this rule,
after being requested by the Speaker to do so, shall be entered in the
Journal, together with a statement that he or she was present and did
so refuse to vote. Any Member who refuses so to vote may, if he or she
so desires, and immediately after the announcement of the vote, submit
a written explanation of the failure to vote and that explanation shall
be printed in the Journal, provided that no explanation may exceed 50
words in length.
In addition to the entry of his or her name in the Journal, any Member
who refuses so to vote when required, and who has not been excused
from doing so, may, immediately after the announcement of the vote,
at the discretion of the Speaker or upon demand of any Member, be
summoned to appear before the bar of the Assembly for public censure by
the Speaker or by any Member designated by the Speaker. Censure of a
Member as provided by this rule does not constitute a bar to proceedings
for his or her expulsion from the Assembly pursuant to Section 5 of
Article IV of the California Constitution.
A Member may submit a written explanation of his or her vote on
any bill or house resolution, and that explanation shall be printed in the
Journal immediately following the vote, provided that no explanation
may exceed 50 words in length.
43
Standing Rules of the Assembly
A Member, prior to adjournment on the same legislative day, in the
absence of any objection, may instruct the Chief Clerk to add his or her
vote to any previously announced vote that had been taken during his or
her absence, so long as the outcome of the vote is not thereby changed.
The Chief Clerk shall record any vote additions or vote changes in the
order signed by the Members at the Clerk’s desk.

kf6tac
09-25-2013, 6:52 PM
So does this allow proxy voting or not? If those two cases are settled law, then rule 104 of the assembly is in violation of the constitution. Which is theoretically possible, but seems implausible.

There's also the question (to which I don't presently know the answer) of whether California courts follow some version of the enrolled bill rule.

Tincon
09-25-2013, 7:02 PM
There's also the question (to which I don't presently know the answer) of whether California courts follow some version of the enrolled bill rule.

Well they do (going back to before motion pictures existed), but it's contrary to modern jurisprudence. Probably ripe for some new law, considering there is video evidence of this "ghost voting". Good point though.

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 7:42 PM
Exactly. The body could flip coins in chambers. If they leave and say it was a majority by the rules of the body, thats that.

Tiberius
09-25-2013, 8:10 PM
This seems to be turning into an unnecessarily argumentative thread. Here's how I see it:

The Constitution trumps any Assembly Rule. The Constitution requires a concurrence of the majority of members.

If there was no majoirty concurrence by the members who "really" voted, as opposed to those who "really" voted plus those who "ghost" voted, then the bill did not pass.

This would be enforced by bringing a lawsuit, by any Californian (or possibly on behalf of all Californians) against California. Exactly who to sue could get fine-tuned; if the bill at issue is a gun control bill, one might sue the DOJ to prevent enforcement of a bill that was not actually passed and so has no weight.

The next step is - where are these journals and what do they show? Would they show the ghost voting? I am skeptical that there is any record of this practice, beyond the snippets of video on the news. However, there may well be a record of who is entirely absent, as opposed to simply not at their seat.

11bravo1p
09-25-2013, 10:04 PM
Seems like a huge tactical advantage to exploit.
Why not use the energy expressed in this thread to try and talk each other out of the possibilty of using this to our tactical advantage and instead actually UTILIZE THIS to our advantage?
Times like these that I wish this forum had a CO.

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 10:30 PM
Really, it requires lawyers for something like this :/

Full Clip
09-25-2013, 10:32 PM
If you heard the story (which also ran a few months ago too) you would have heard the legislators opinion that the rules are not relevant and they do it all the time. Meaning they'll do what they want when they want and F you for trying to act like you have any authority over them.

Exactly the kind of behavior they want to protect by neutering the 2nd A.

Darryl Licht
09-25-2013, 10:38 PM
Same story here last night! One critical comment was that it sometimes results in a vote against the wishes of the missing legislator. They even cornered one legislator who said: "Yes, it is against policy, but common practice." He went on to say that "No worker is expected to be at his or her desk 8-10 hours a day without breaks for the restroom, etc."

Against policy? Its against the law! California law makers are law breakers!

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 10:46 PM
Seems to me there aren't any lawsuits that aren't hopeless by that metric.

curtisfong
09-25-2013, 11:22 PM
They really are a despicable, loathsome bunch.

RipVanWinkle
09-26-2013, 5:29 AM
This story is very old. A few years ago there was a lady legislator from Berkeley (I can't even remember her name), who ended up getting famous for crashing her car several times, and then claiming either legislative privilege, or some medical-treatment based excuse.

She had the habit of operating the voting switches for her colleagues. Tis never caused any problem, and was greatly appreciated by everyone, until she started also doing it for members from the opposite party, and having them vote her way (meaning the *wrong* way from their viewpoint). It led to a bit of a scandal, but since the practice of proxy voting was widely accepted in the legislature, there was little they could do about it.

You may be thinking of Carole Migden. Not from Berkeley, but an interesting example of "Bad Karma":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_Migden

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/Senator_Migden_at_the_2007_Gay_Pride_Festival.jpg/440px-Senator_Migden_at_the_2007_Gay_Pride_Festival.jpg

Tiberius
09-26-2013, 8:30 AM
You don't need to get arrested under a questionable law to have standing to sue. You just have to be affected by it. Taking SB374 for example, you would be affected if 1) you have a rifle that you have to register (which requires a fee), or 2) you want to buy a rifle that is unavailable because it is banned. Thats' assuming that SB 374 becomes law, which is questionable. And it is certainly constitutionally flawed in other respects, and unlikely to last even if it gets through Brown.

The big difficulty with this is establishing that ghost voting happened on a particular bill, and that it made a difference. I'm still not sure that can be done, but if can, this is a good way to attack certain bills.

dave_cg
09-26-2013, 8:34 AM
You don't need to get arrested under a questionable law to have standing to sue. You just have to be affected by it. Taking SB374 for example, you would be affected if 1) you have a rifle that you have to register (which requires a fee), or 2) you want to buy a rifle that is unavailable because it is banned. Thats' assuming that SB 374 becomes law, which is questionable. And it is certainly constitutionally flawed in other respects, and unlikely to last even if it gets through Brown.

The big difficulty with this is establishing that ghost voting happened on a particular bill, and that it made a difference. I'm still not sure that can be done, but if can, this is a good way to attack certain bills.

Which way does the burden of proof swing? Do we have to prove that ghost voting made a difference? Or do they need to prove that it didn't? If it's the latter, we should only need to show that it happened on this bill.

Tincon
09-26-2013, 8:45 AM
Which way does the burden of proof swing? Do we have to prove that ghost voting made a difference? Or do they need to prove that it didn't? If it's the latter, we should only need to show that it happened on this bill.

You would definitely need to prove it. And it isn't clear that much evidence would be admissible under current (and archaic) common law which goes back to protecting the sovereignty of the King of England (not kidding, see The King v Arundel).

Tincon
09-28-2013, 9:33 AM
It also occurred to me that a system where a legislator, whom my district did not elect, can vote for my district is pretty clearly NOT a "Republican Form of Government". As such the Guarantee Clause of the US Constitution is implicated. While traditionally this Clause was thought of as non-justicable, recently courts have been shifting away from that view, and this case would present a better argument than most. See Kerr v. Hickenlooper (D. Colo. 2012) 880 F.Supp.2d 1112.

curtisfong
09-28-2013, 10:42 AM
Exactly. If the assembly says a member has voted, the member voted, regardless whether or not assembly rules were broken.

Now, if the member in question actually said, "hey, that isn't how i wanted to vote", then you'd have a case.

Tincon
09-28-2013, 11:09 AM
IMO there is more to the Republican Form of Government than backroom deals.

Californio
09-28-2013, 12:30 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_of_attorney


Oral and written powers of attorney[edit]
Depending on the jurisdiction, a power of attorney may be oral and, whether witnessed, will hold up in court, the same as if it were in writing.

mrdd
09-29-2013, 3:42 AM
In California, there is language in the state constitution about how votes must be conducted on bills in the legislature. So, this is a matter of law, not just rules, which would have no legal consequence.

* CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION - CONS

ARTICLE IV LEGISLATIVE [SEC. 1 - SEC. 28] ( Heading of Article 4 amended Nov. 8, 1966, by Prop. 1-a. Res.Ch. 139, 1966 1st Ex. Sess. )

SEC. 8. (b) The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may enact no statute except by bill. No bill may be passed unless it is read by title on 3 days in each house except that the house may dispense with this requirement by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two thirds of the membership concurring. No bill may be passed until the bill with amendments has been printed and distributed to the members. No bill may be passed unless, by rollcall vote entered in the journal, a majority of the membership of each house concurs.

What this says to me is that if a member votes for another member without a valid proxy in writing, they have broken the law.

rp55
09-29-2013, 9:55 AM
Tell me exactly where the constitution says that. In particular, in my memory the word "ghost" doesn't appear in the constitution at all.


Article 4. The guarantee clause.
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government"

One can argue what "Republican Form" means but you can't shoehorn in a legislator voting multiple times into any definition of it.

Having said that, there are restrictions somewhere (I will leave it to the attorneys to find) on an organization having rules and not following them. Something to do with the terms "arbitrary and capricious" as I recall. I think that would be a better argument.

I say that because I did prevail in a Federal lawsuit against a government agency where they settled immediately when that was pointed out to them by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a pretrial conference in the late nineties.

chainsaw
09-29-2013, 10:02 AM
What this says to me is that if a member votes for another member without a valid proxy in writing, they have broken the law.
Where does it say that proxy voting is not allowed? If it is allowed, where does it say "in writing"? Why is a conversation over espresso and bagels not sufficient? Chapter and verse please.

The only problem I can see here is that the assembly violated its own rules, which it can set itself, and from which it can dispense itself. Furthermore, it seems to be generally accepted that form errors in the conduct legislative bodies are automatically cured once the final result is enrolled.

I think this whole idea is a complete waste of time. But to some extent, that's good. I like it when gun rights proponents get all worked up about something pointless, and waste their time on a hopeless pursuit. Leaves them less time to work on something sensible.

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 10:11 AM
Leaves them less time to work on something sensible.

Like the time you spent on redefining "rational" to mean "half baked, illogical, factually faulty reasoning"?

The pot called, he is disappointed in your choice of evening wear color.

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 1:05 PM
I'm very sorry, but I have not redefined "rational basis", which is a term of art in constitutional jurisprudence.

If you insist on wrongly using the meaning of "rational basis" for "rational", you will find yourself wrapped in contradictions.

I'm not the one insisting that the language of law is anything but cosmetically reminiscent of English, and that the logic of law is anything but cosmetically similar to actual logic.

Or, even worse, proud of supporting laws that aren't written in English, let alone actually logical.

Tincon
09-29-2013, 1:23 PM
Where does it say that proxy voting is not allowed? If it is allowed, where does it say "in writing"? Why is a conversation over espresso and bagels not sufficient? Chapter and verse please.

The constitution says "roll call" vote. The dictionary definition for roll call involves checking present attendance and at a specific time. I think that's the common understanding as well. Sure a court might find differently, but they don't need further "Chapter and verse" to find it unconstitutional.


I think this whole idea is a complete waste of time.

Maybe so, it would be an uphill battle, at least to a legal victory, for a number of reasons. But it would make great PR. Lawsuit accuses legislators of unconstitutional vote fraud used to pass anti-gun bill? :43:

covingtonhouse
09-29-2013, 1:27 PM
I think this whole idea is a complete waste of time. But to some extent, that's good. I like it when gun rights proponents get all worked up about something pointless, and waste their time on a hopeless pursuit. Leaves them less time to work on something sensible.

So what would you define as a sensible approach to attacking gun control laws?? What's been tried already? How's that working out for you? Or is it working perfectly, in which case you're a :troll:

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 1:28 PM
dictionary definition

Not to beat a dead horse, but as I've pointed out several times, dictionary definitions have no utility in a courtroom.

I am told this is a feature, not a bug.

njineermike
09-29-2013, 1:30 PM
Whenever I'm doing something where there is a "roll call" its always been required to actually be physically in attendance. Maybe with this new definition I can do my jury duty by proxy.

Tincon
09-29-2013, 2:07 PM
Not to beat a dead horse, but as I've pointed out several times, dictionary definitions have no utility in a courtroom.

I am told this is a feature, not a bug.

Not so. For example (from Heller):

Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson). Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.” 1 A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771); see also N. Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) (reprinted 1989) (hereinafter Webster) (similar).

The dictionary is used quite often. It is just that some words have a different legal meaning ("terms of art"). The meanings control where they exist. Normal words however have a normal meaning. This may help. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/academic-programs/legal-writing-scholarship/writing-center/upload/statutoryinterpretation.pdf

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 2:34 PM
As long as the single most critical areas of jurisprudence (rational basis, scrutiny) rely on terms of art that bear no resemblance to their plain English meaning, I don't see how the rare cases where the courts actually pay attention to actual logic and plain English meaning help us.

Who cares if the courts actually agree that "arms" and "keep" and "bear", when used in law, miraculously (which all but screams "this is an outlier") match their plain English meanings if you can't actually apply those plain English meanings in a way that give Incorporation any relevance whatsoever?

"I very strongly disagree with your claim that all is not doom and gloom on this."

Tincon
09-29-2013, 3:09 PM
As long as the single most critical areas of jurisprudence (rational basis, scrutiny) rely on terms of art that bear no resemblance to their plain English meaning, I don't see how the rare cases where the courts actually pay attention to actual logic and plain English meaning help us.

Who cares if the courts actually agree that "arms" and "keep" and "bear", when used in law, miraculously (which all but screams "this is an outlier") match their plain English meanings if you can't actually apply those plain English meanings in a way that give Incorporation any relevance whatsoever?

"I very strongly disagree with your claim that all is not doom and gloom on this."

What you are saying is, "Since the courts use something other than the dictionary to define some (very important) words, I don't understand how the dictionary definition of other words is helpful. The answer is that the courts use the dictionary to define the vast majority of words. I gave you a very helpful link on the subject.

njineermike
09-29-2013, 3:20 PM
Another calgunner found this......

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/09/23/ghost-voting-california-assembly-members-caught-breaking-the-rules/

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 4:06 PM
As punishment for having been publicly berated, they would probably turn the screw a little more. And they would make a much larger PR opportunity out of it.

Bull. They're already trying to turn the screws as far as they can. The whole idea that if we are mean to them that they'll be magically more effective is silly.

And the idea that Steinberg and Yee aren't both already at 11 on the stupid attention whore scale is equally laughable.

No, the real reason not to try it is because it is doomed to fail. They've already established they don't give a damn about ethics or reason, and that they simply can never be held accountable on either front.

curtisfong
09-29-2013, 4:19 PM
The dictionary is used quite often. It is just that some words have a different legal meaning ("terms of art"). The meanings control where they exist. Normal words however have a normal meaning. This may help. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/academic-programs/legal-writing-scholarship/writing-center/upload/statutoryinterpretation.pdf

Thanks. Perusing it now. There isn't anything in it thus far I find surprising, however.

I still maintain that even if they are outliers, the contexts in which the plain meaning (or dictionary definition) are secondary (or even, worse, contradictory) to the term of art are those contexts that are of the utmost importance to us and which can be abused to lead to irrational, illogical, and corrosive conclusions.

In this instance, the 2A context in CA's or the 9th's jurisdictions, specifically, the intent of the Incorporation of the Bill of Rights to curtail legislative abuse.

Ultimately, there is no other context in which we will ever see any 2A rights progress in CA.

basalt
10-03-2013, 2:31 AM
If a member is caught "ghost voting" every single one of their votes and those of the members they voted for should be deemed null and void for the entire session.