Docket #16-008: Next year has to be better… right?

In this episode:

  • The Supreme Court is set to decide how fair a fair trial needs to be;
  • What Attorney General Jeff Sessions would mean for the legalization movement;
  • It’s been a tough year for the International Criminal Court, so I sat down for a chat with Roger Clark, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who helped create it;
  • Plus a surprising amount of abortion law news. What fun.

I’m Geoffrey Blackwell, I’ve set up a Google alert for Archduke Ferdinand, and this is Docket #16-8 of All Too Common Law.

Opening Statement

Guest Roger S. Clark during UN conference on nuclear weapons.

I understand the conservative point of view. The classic liberal and conservative political philosophies are more about different priorities than anything else.

But we aren’t even working in that spectrum anymore. Classical conservativism is essentially dead. The libertarians make feeble head-fakes toward it–when their party isn’t nominating goofballs like Gary Johnson.

It’s not about balancing different sets of priorities anymore. What the Republican Party is about now is holding onto power. To the exclusion of everything else. Don’t get me wrong. All politicians want power. I’m not naive. But their motivations and how they use the power when they have it makes all the difference.

We’re watching this all play out now in the microcosm of North Carolina. And I want to set aside the ins and outs of the bills that the lame-duck legislature and outgoing governor Pat McCrory passed and signed into law. Just consider the general principles of democratic societies: government by consent of the governed, an informed electorate, fair and open elections, all of that. Hold those bedrock principles in your mind while you consider that after the people of north Carolina voted for the candidates they wanted to hold elected office in their state, the party that lost power decided that the proper thing to do was to change all the duties of a whole slew of elected officials.

Democracy cannot work if the people don’t know the powers they’re voting to give to candidates. If we’re holding elections for sheriff and the county board doesn’t like who the people pick, the answer is not to strip the sheriff’s office of all it power and give it to the dog catcher instead. The people elected a dog catcher for that job. They didn’t know she would also be vested with police power.

But that’s exactly what we’re watching go down in North Carolina. The Republican legislature didn’t get the governor they wanted so they’ve reallocated all the authority in the state into offices they still hold. The governor appoints a majority of the state board of education? Take their authority away and grant it all to the state superintendent. The governor appoints Election Board officials? Let’s change the very nature of the Board.

This is greed. This is avarice. This is lust for power.

This is why I will never vote Republican.