Roe v. Attorney General ZuWo
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Foucaulf
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« on: December 03, 2014, 09:12:58 PM »

Members of the Supreme Court of Atlasia,

I petition for writ of certiorari regarding a case for which I am now registered as defense counsel.

My client, "Jane Roe" of Amhest, Massachusetts, is a physician providing special care and abortion services. As the Region of the Northeast lack any statute regarding abortion, she has been free to offer her services since registering her business. On October 11 of this year, she had concluded an operation on a customer, hereforth left unnamed, when she was contacted by federal investigation authorities. She received notice from federal authorities that, under Section 2 of the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act, she will be barred of her license until five years from the day of notice.

My client, having never been warned or notified of this law throughout her practice, filed a claim against prosecuting authorities, namely the Attorney General. Pursuant to Article I, Section 5 of the Third Constitution, the Senate has no power reserved to make law on grounds of abortion, or indeed on grounds of any restriction of medical procedure. Clause 32 of Section 5 fails to apply in this case, given lack of any clause relating to medical procedure, the closest of which being clause 13 on providing research to "medical disorders."

Having denied hearing of the case in lower courts due to judicial inactivity, my client wishes to appeal to the Supreme Court. We argue that the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act in its entirely lacks constitutionality and should be deprived of any regulatory effect.

Regards,

x Foucaulf, LL. D OoP, Esq.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 03:11:46 AM »

This has been seen. Given the high workload of the Court at present it may take a few days for a decision on cert to be made.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 03:32:33 PM »

Note: Given the season, we are extending the usual schedule so that this timetable becomes active as of January 3rd, 2015.


Official Atlasia Supreme Court Release
Nyman, DC

Writ of Certiorari

The Supreme Court of Atlasia grants certiorari to hear the question of whether the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act violates the Constitution of Atlasia.


Schedule

Petitioner has one week from January 3rd, 2015, to file his brief.  It is expected no later than 6:00PM EDT on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

Respondent has an additional seventy-two hours from that date to file his brief.  It is expected no later than 6:00PM EDT on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

Amicus Briefs will be accepted until 6:00PM EDT on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, unless the filing party can show sufficient need.

Additional time may be granted to either party upon a showing of sufficient need, and the right of either party to respond to the filed briefs may be granted upon request.

A period of argument (Q&A) will be scheduled after presentation of the briefs in case any member of the Court has any questions for the parties.
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MyRescueKittehRocks
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 01:57:36 AM »

What are your reasons for granting certiorari? I have reason to show beyond probable cause that certiorari should be denied and the law enforced as strictly interpreted. Roe was notified of the law yet kept granting late term abortions which are illegal under the statute. The lower courts all have convicted Roe and no procedures were violated. So please resind certiorari and honor the lower courts rulings.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 10:52:59 AM »

What are your reasons for granting certiorari? I have reason to show beyond probable cause that certiorari should be denied and the law enforced as strictly interpreted. Roe was notified of the law yet kept granting late term abortions which are illegal under the statute. The lower courts all have convicted Roe and no procedures were violated. So please resind certiorari and honor the lower courts rulings.

We believe the issue will benefit from constitutional clarification.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 01:34:19 PM »

Reminder that opening arguments for the petitioner are due today.
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 02:15:16 PM »

Justices of the Supreme Court of Atlasia,

I apologize for the delay in filing my brief, but I was occupied with my several other jobs; legal practice in Atlasia does not pay very well, due to the very low demand for it.

The case now under consideration in the Supreme Court concerns the unconstitutional detainment and revoking of license of my client, a doctor providing abortion services. I argue that Sections 1 and 2 of the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act, under which my client was charged, is unconstitutional due to it assuming a federal power not expressly detailed in Article I.5 of the Third Constitution.


I. The scope of the Senate's enumerated powers

My argument necessarily invokes a history of Atlasian precedent on the Senate's powers, referenced in cases such as Fritz v. Ernest, Peter v. Atlasia and Junkie v. Atlasia. Though these cases were decided under past Constitutions, they are admissible for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court has employed their usage in precedent under the Third Constitution (see TheRileyKeaton v. Atlasia). Second, in the push to ratify the Third Constitution with haste, Article I.5 of the Third Constitution is exactly the same as that under the Second.

Jurisprudence on the nature of the Senate's powers is first found in Fritz v. Ernest, but the decision itself is spottily written. Its principles were instead articulated in detail by Chief Justice Sam Spade:

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Both citations come from the Junkie v. Atlasia ruling. To repeat, precedent has established two necessary criteria for the constitutionality of Senate statute: the granting of affirmative power fitting with the plain meaning of the Constitution.

Junkie v. Atlasia focuses on the elucidation of the first criterion, the granting of affirmative power. Its decision affirms that a clause in the Constitution on the Senate's powers exists independently of all others. Were there overlap and conflict, "Rather, each provision supplements the other respective power."

This criterion by itself, however, cannot be sufficient. A clause can be subject to wild interpretations; to provide an abstract example, clause I.5.30 of the Constitution, on regulations for protections of employment, would not intuitively be sufficient to justify a transition to a fully socialist economy, even if one argues that such a bill does necessarily protect the employed. This is why all precedent has evoked an idea of plain meaning.

While a definition of this principle has not been elaborated upon, we have seen it in practice in cases like Peter v. Atlasia:

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Or South Park Conservative v. Atlasia, in two different ways:

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Would that not include people in these establishments, the restaurants, the cinemas, the libraries? Would the prohibiting of smoking, a potentially dangerous activity not only to one's self but others around that person, protect the health of "those in employment"? We can't imagine any other interpretation other than that.[/quote]

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Other examples can be drawn from precedent, notably Sam Spade's. The common trend in these rulings, however, is that the plain meaning of enumerated powers is all that which is explicitly recognized in the text and hence self-evident.

This is seen in Peter, where Sam Spade see the clause's plain meaning as evidently granting the power of punishing fraud, but only that. This is also seen in SPC, in which Marokai refers to the article's self-evident nature, and Sam Space uses the exact words in the clause to delineate the Senate's powers. Another application is in Junkie, where Sam Spade's decision hinges on the separation of the word "tax" from others in clause 1.

The argument that follows hinges on this interpretation of plain meaning in the Constitution.
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 02:15:41 PM »
« Edited: January 10, 2015, 02:19:36 PM by Foucaulf »

II. Lack of enumeration of the power to restrict abortions

The Third Constitution details 31 expressed powers to the Senate, in addition to a "necessary and proper" clause. Any one of those 31 powers, if found to authorize the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act, should be sufficient to justify its constitutionality. However, the principle of plain meaning implies we must look at the clauses carefully, with reference to the words explicitly recognized in them.

The Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act, clause 1.1, declares the following:

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This clause, the foundation of the entire act, is a statement authorizing the power to restrict a medical procedure, without reference to any other principle. Is there any clause in Article I.5 whose plain meaning allows for this? Looking at the clauses granting power on medical procedures or even "Public Health," we see one provisioning for medical research (13), the quarantine of diseases (14), regulation for those in employment (30), and preservation of nature (31).

The only clause among those four to authorize powers of regulation, a category to which the powers of restriction exclusively belongs, is article 30. But it is also self-evident that the article does not have as its goal the management of the admissibility of medical procedure, and hence we have ran out of clauses.

Defendants of the act may claim that the necessary and proper clause allows the power to restrict abortions to emanate from clauses 13 or 14. Such an argument quickly falls apart. The necessary restrictions implied to fully execute clauses 13 or 14 are restrictions on medical procedures that would not resolve or worsen medical disorders or contagious diseases.

Another argument is to claim that I argue the Senate has not the express power to restrict any medical procedure, a responsibility that is necessary and proper in some vaguer sense; they may reference a positive right enumerated in Article VI. The argument remains that the medical procedures we intuitively want to restrict are those that cause unexpected harm and suffering. A wide range of them would be covered by clause I.5.7, on the punishment of Fraud. That clause provides, I believe, a sufficient range of interests for the Senate to pursue.

Any penalty for the performance of abortion in Section 2 of the Act is obviously nullified due to the unconstitutionality of Section 1.

Conclusion

The argument above is an argument for the Senate not being constitutionally empowered to act to restrict abortions; it is agnostic on whether the Regions have the power. That is a fact of the case I represent, which deals with a federal prosecution of an abortion provider, rather than that of an abortion seeker.

Nevertheless, Atlasia has seen throughout its regions a trend of social liberalization. The immediate conflict facing us is that what is permissible by the Regions is still forbidden by the Senate, such that disobedience of the supremacy of Federal law remains a crime. To protect the interests of Atlasian citizens, we must demand a close reading of the Constitution to resolve these conflicts.


Respectfully,

x Foucaulf, LL. D OoP, Esq.
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ZuWo
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 03:12:48 PM »

It's definitely going to take a while for me to formulate a response to the petitioner's brief but I expect to be able to meet the deadline set by the Court.
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ZuWo
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2015, 03:31:53 PM »

To the Justices of the Supreme Court,


1. General remarks

Before I respond to the specific arguments made by the petitioner in his brief I would like to remark the following: Firstly, the background story told by Foucaulf, which involves a client named Janet Roe and her alleged legal dispute with Atlasian prosecution authorities, is entirely fictional. The petitioner is, of course, free to embellish his narration in a manner he finds desirable but as he lacks the authority to establish facts concerning events which may or may have not occurred in the context of Atlasia there is no reason to take the Janet Roe storyline at face value.

However, and this is my second point, I thank the petitioner for directing the Court’s attention to an issue which, for a considerable amount of time, has more or less openly dominated a great deal of the political discourse in Atlasia, namely the fundamental question of what the Senate can and cannot do and how the powers of the Senate limit the law-making responsibilities of the Atlasian regions. It is no secret that this was always an issue dear to my heart when I served as a regional officeholder so I await the Court’s ruling on this matter with great interest.


2. The scope of the Senate’s powers

The petitioner’s brief focuses on Article I, Section 5 of the Atlasian constitution and the 32 clauses which enumerate certain powers of the Senate. The petitioner also cites previous rulings by the Supreme Court which suggest that the Senate derives its law-making powers exclusively from the plain meaning of the clauses appearing in Article I, Section 5. 

It can be argued that this interpretation of the scope of the Senate’s powers is too restrictive. For one, the mere existence of Article I, VI contradicts the notion that the constitutional powers of the Senate are limited to the rights explicitly enumerated in the previous section. Indeed, Article I, VI lists seven powers that are denied to the Senate but the entire section would appear completely redundant if the Senate’s powers were restricted to Article I, V in its plain meaning. Following the argument made by the petitioner it does not make sense, for instance, to explicitly deny the Senate the right to lay a tax or duty on “articles exported from any region” as stated in Article I, VI, 3, because none of the 32 clauses grant such a power to the Senate in the first place. Why, then, is Article I, VI, part of the Atlasian constitution at all? Indeed, the presence of said article seems logically sound only under the assumption that the powers of the Senate are to be interpreted much more liberally than the petitioner suggests but there is a need of a few specifically defined constitutional safeguards against a potential overreach by the Senate.
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ZuWo
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2015, 03:33:19 PM »

Furthermore, the petitioner’s understanding of senatorial responsibilities is fundamentally at odds with the way the Senate has operated for several years. In fact, a high number of bills which have been passed by the Senate lack a firm legal basis according to the narrow reading of the constitution the petitioner employs. Indeed, there seems to have been an implicit consensus among Senators of all stripes that the Senate’s ability to pass laws for the entirety of the Republic of Atlasia are based on a loose (or, as the petitioner puts it, “wild”) interpretation of Article I, V. Were the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act” to be ruled invalid for the reasons given by Foucaulf, a few dozen if not more other bills ought to be repealed as well, which would result in a paradigm shift in Atlasian politics of unprecedented proportions.

Finally, there may be a way to reconcile both the petitioner’s point of view and the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act”. Foucaulf argues that none of the clauses in Article I, V are a sufficient justification for restricting a medical procedure. We can claim, however, that Article VI, III offers a possible constitutional way out of the dilemma. Article VI, III states that the “Atlasian government shall not deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property, without due process, nor shall it deny any citizen the equal protection of the laws.” Indeed, by outlawing abortions in the 28th week of gestation the Senate may have implicitly defined personhood as beginning at that moment. Therefore, the protection of a citizen’s life, liberty and property as established by Article VI, II might extend to the point of fetal viability.


3. Summary

To sum up, three arguments can be put forward against invalidating the federal act in question. Firstly, the constitution is unclear on the exact nature of the scope of the Senate’s competences. If, as stated by the petitioner, the Senate must be granted affirmative power in order to make laws as defined by the plain meaning of the words that the drafters of the constitution utilized, Article I, VI, which states certain powers the Senate does not have, appears entirely superfluous; clearly, the constitution does not need to bar the Senate from doing something which the Senate is not allowed to do in the first place.

Secondly, if the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act” were struck down numerous Senate bills would suddenly be on very shaky legal ground. While this is not a legal argument per se, it highlights that the petitioner’s narrow reading of the constitution fundamentally contradicts the manner in which the Senate has conducted its affairs in recent years. Undoubtedly, this would have significant political consequences.

Thirdly, the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act” can be regarded as a tacit legislative definition of a fetus’ personhood at the 28th week of gestation. Consequently, even if the Court finds that the petitioner’s reading of the constitution is accurate, Article VI, III of the constitution could then be construed as pertaining to the law at hand and would assert its constitutional validity.

Respectfully, Attorney General ZuWo
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TJ in Oregon
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2015, 09:22:28 PM »

Furthermore, the petitioner’s understanding of senatorial responsibilities is fundamentally at odds with the way the Senate has operated for several years. In fact, a high number of bills which have been passed by the Senate lack a firm legal basis according to the narrow reading of the constitution the petitioner employs. Indeed, there seems to have been an implicit consensus among Senators of all stripes that the Senate’s ability to pass laws for the entirety of the Republic of Atlasia are based on a loose (or, as the petitioner puts it, “wild”) interpretation of Article I, V. Were the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act” to be ruled invalid for the reasons given by Foucaulf, a few dozen if not more other bills ought to be repealed as well, which would result in a paradigm shift in Atlasian politics of unprecedented proportions.

Mr. Attorney General, would you be willing to cite a few examples of other laws that you believe would also need to be struck down if the Court were to adopt the Plaintiff's narrower view of the powers granted to the Senate in Article I rather than the wider view your argument espouses?
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ZuWo
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2015, 06:08:44 AM »

Thank you for the question, Justice TJ.

My wording regarding laws that should be repealed if the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act” were to be ruled invalid was deliberately unspecific as I did not want to make my answer to the petitioner’s brief unreadable by citing too many examples in a single post. I am glad I have the opportunity to present a few examples now.

Following the premise of Focaulf’s brief and excerpts of past rulings handed down by the Supreme Court, the Senate “must be granted affirmative power in order to make laws”, and these powers must derive from the plain meaning of words and phrases used in the constitution. Indeed, this affects the below-mentioned laws passed by the Senate - and probably many more since I have only been able to focus on a few due to time constraints.

-   The Senate has dedicated a lot of time debating and passing bills dealing with drug use and possession. I do not see, however, which of the clauses enumerated in the article that defines the powers of the Senate grants the Senate the affirmative power to pass such legislation for the entire Republic of Atlasia. Therefore, laws such as the “Cannabinoid Legalization Act”, “Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 2013”, “Consistency in Drug Enforcement Bill” or “Cheech and Chong Act”, which have set federal standards that the Atlasian regions are obliged to respect, cannot be upheld if we employ a narrow reading of the constitution.

-   Similarly, a plain reading of the clauses in Article I, V does not empower the Senate to pass laws which, as the petitioner puts it, transform the Republic of Atlasia into a “fully socialist economy”. While Article I, V, 30 grants the Senate the power to make regulations to protect those in employment, it is a stretch to argue that this clause means the Senate can pass detailed regulations on the management structure of privately owned companies, such as in the recently passed “Co-Determination Act of 2014”.
Likewise, it is tenable only under a very wide interpretation of clause 30 to assume that the Senate is actually empowered to make it illegal for 14-year olds to work in a summer job or businesses owned by their own families in the entire Republic of Atlasia, as was recently reaffirmed by the “Youth Employment Act”.

If the Court wishes to see additional examples, I will present more. However, I believe that the above-mentioned cases are valid examples of my general point that out that the petitioner’s reading of the constitution affects the fate of not only the “Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act”, but of many other bills passed by the Senate as well.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2015, 05:03:46 PM »

Thanks, Zuwo and Foucaulf. Since there have been no requests to file an amicus brief on either side, we will now take this case under discussion.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2015, 04:55:49 PM »
« Edited: February 20, 2015, 04:58:48 PM by oakvale »

Supreme Court of Atlasia
Nyman, DC

Roe v. Attorney General ZuWo

Opinion of the Court.

(Senior Associate Justice Oakvale delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court.)

After careful consideration of the submitted briefs and the facts of the case, the Court has come to a unanimous decision in favour of the petitioner, Foucaulf. The Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act represents an overreach of the powers granted to the Senate by the Constitution of Atlasia.

At issue in this case are the enumerated powers of the Senate and the scope of said powers, specifically as it relates to legislating on the procedure of abortion as outlined in the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act (2012), hereafter referred to as the LTARA.

It should be noted that, as petitioner Foucaulf correctly states, while the longstanding precedents of Fritz v. Ernest (2004) and Junkie v. Atlasia (2010) were established under previous revisions of the Constitution, the relevant text is identical and we believe that the fundamental thrust of the precedent applies just as clearly today as it did then. The petitioner draws attention to our dismissal of TheRileyKeaton v. Atlasia (2014) under these terms.

Before proceeding to the substance of the matter, we believe it would be prudent to address the respondent's point about the petitioner's client, Ms. Roe -

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While the Attorney General may well be correct on this point, we do not believe it materially affects the substance of the case. Mr. Foucaulf is free to embody his arguments with a certain narrative flair, particularly as the Supreme Court abolished the concept of legal standing to sue several years ago and has not enforced such a requirement since. As such, the material reality of "Janet Roe" is, if the Court may be permitted an unfortunate pun, ultimately immaterial.

The Constitution outlines a broad but, crucially, very specific range of powers granted to the Senate in Art. 1, §5 c.1-32, ranging from the power to lay taxes and excise duties to legislating for the enforcement of federal law under the principle of federal supremacy.

In delivering the opinion of the Court in Junkie v. Atlasia Chief Justice Spade stated -
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Accordingly, the primary question before the Court was whether we would effectively overturn this precedent, granting the Senate far broader powers than traditionally understood, or to uphold this precedent, in which case the LTARA would require constitutional justification within the existing enumerated powers of the Senate.

In his eloquently argued submitted brief, the Attorney General, ZuWo, argues that

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We must admit that we find this argument singularly unconvincing. If the Constitution, as the Attorney General argues contains a broad swathe of powers aside from those enumerated, it raises the obvious question - why have we bothered to enumerate said powers so specifically and explicitly?

Indeed, Art. I, §5 begins in the clearest possible terms -

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We have little choice but to accept the plain meaning of the text - that "[t]he Senate shall have the power", and the subsequent list of astonishingly specific powers - far narrower, we must note, than those in the United States Constitution upon which our guiding document is primarily based - indicates that anything not listed in c.1-32 of §5 is a power clearly and obviously denied to the Senate by virtue of its conspicuous absence. The introductory sentence of Art. I, §5 additionally notes that these powers are further limited by "other provisions" of the Constitution - to wit, the Senate may only legislate under said powers provided they do not conflict with any other provision of the Constitution.

On this point, the respondent argues that the explicit denials of power to the Senate in the following section (Art. I, §6 c.1-7) imply a far broader and vaguer interpretation of Art. I, §5 than previously understood. We are not inclined to agree with this interpretation. The explicit denials of duty power et al to the Senate serve only to add textual weight to the opening of Art. I, §5 - that the Senate's powers are additionally "limited by other provisions in the Constitution". The Senate cannot viably legislate under the powers granted in §5 c.1-32, whatever the purported rationale, if such legislation conflicts with any other part of the text. In this instance, the explicit limits on such action in §6 c.1-7 simply bars the Senate from the consideration and imposition of legislation allowing for such constitutionally prohibited laws, regardless of a - perfectly legitimate or otherwise - clear rationale and justification under the powers outlined in the preceding article.

If we were to accept the respondent's line of thought, we would not only be overturning the better part of a decade of Supreme Court precedent, but we would in the process be ceding theoretically unlimited and unchecked power to the Senate. This imperial Senate could, and we must assume based on all historical precedent, would, operate at its collective whim, expanding its power over the lives and livelihoods of every Atlasian citizen and negating the regions to mere formalities, a set of nominal administrative districts administered by a neutered local government and a judicially castrated executive.

The aspect of the respondent's defense of the LTARA that we find the most intriguing from a constitutional perspective is one he unfortunately only touches upon in passing. The Attorney General argues that -

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The argument that Senatorial restrictions on the practice of abortion amount to an implicit definition of personhood, and thus that the unborn child or foetus (the Court invites readers of this ruling to substitute the term they find most appropriate as befits their personal views on this contentious subject) is guaranteed the right to life at the point established as the legal abortion cut-off established by the LTARA rests upon the Senate's intent to extend equal protection to foetuses beyond the 28th week of pregnancy in accordance with Art. VI, c.3 and whether or not the Senate has the power to do so. The LTARA in its current form, however, clearly does not extend equal protection to foetuses beyond the 28th week of pregnancy.

Art. I, §5, c.3 states in clear terms that -

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The LTARA includes the disclaimer that -

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Leaving aside c., which can be arguably be accounted for under the aforementioned constitutional guarantee to life and in any event is not particularly relevant to this discussion, let us examine a, b, and d., which allow for abortions after the cut-off point where the pregnancy results from an incident of rape, incest or where there are signs of a 'severe birth defect'. If the LTARA implicitly defines "life" as beginning twenty-eight weeks into a pregnancy, it must logically follow that it also implicitly defines life created as a result of rape or incest or with severe birth defects as less worthy of protection than other life. Additionally, the argument as it stands is somewhat circular - it is not clear to us that legislation can effectively create its own rationale upon its passage.

If we were to follow the Attorney General's argument to its logical conclusion and were to uphold the LTARA under this reading, we would also be in effect ruling that children born in such circumstances were not citizens and had no right to life, nor liberty, nor, for that matter, and by definition, equal protection under the law. That is an obviously untenable position for this Court to adopt. We cannot believe that the LTARA defines unborn life, implicitly or otherwise, in such a dystopian manner. Thus we must conclude that if the Senate has the power to extend such protection under Art. VI, c.3, then the LTARA would itself be in violation of Art. VI, c.3 . As such the argument defeats itself.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2015, 04:56:21 PM »

This argument is, in fact, arguably a stronger case against allowing abortion in any circumstances than against allowing moderate restrictions on the practice, although the Court must pause to point out in no uncertain terms that such a debate is a political question outside the scope of this case and that this matter concerns the powers of the Senate on this issue, not the legality of the medical procedure of abortion per se.

Astute readers may perceive that we have so far focused almost entirely on the respondent's defense of the LTARA rather than Mr. Foucaulf's case against the law. This is because we believe that the fact that clear, limited, powers are granted to the Senate puts the onus of constitutional justification squarely on the legislature and the government - a law passed by the Senate must be justified in order to exist. The burden of proof is on the legislators who pass the law and the authorities who enforce it. A law passed by the Senate must be considered unconstitutional by default without a clear justification within the nearly three dozen powers delegated to the Senate in Art. I, §5, c.1-32. Indeed, the Attorney General makes no attempt to justify the LTARA under these pre-existing outlined powers.

In his brief, the petitioner, Mr. Foucaulf, attacks several arguable justifications for the LTARA under Art. I, §5. We will examine these in turn. Petitioner specifically cites c.13, c.14, c.30 and c.31 as potential - and in his view invalid - justifications for the law.

Art. 1, §5, c.13 grants the Senate the power to -

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This is a clause that has in our opinion been misinterpreted in past decisions which we will not revisit here. There is no justification for restrictions on an elective medical procedure such as abortion in c.13, since abortion cannot under any fair reading of the text be considered "research", "investigation", or a "demonstration", let alone relate to the cause, diagnosis and treatment of medical disorders. It is clear that c.13 is intended to limit this power of the Senate to - and only to - medical research activities.

Art. 1, §5, c.14 continues that the Senate has the power to -

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While we will concede that a particularly inventive lawyer could argue that pregnancy is a contagious disease, the Court must regrettably shy from bringing anti-natalism into the annals of constitutional scholarship. As with c.13, the power of the Senate here is explicitly and plainly limited to a specific issue - preventing the spread of disease. The LTARA cannot, therefore, be reasonably justified under this clause.

Mr. Foucaulf then notes that the Senate has the power under Art. 1, §5, c.30 to -

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Again, the principle of plain meaning prevents a fanciful interpretation of this clause, which has been correctly applied to uphold bans on smoking in workplaces. Unless we were to accept that legislating on trimester limits on abortion was a bizarre generational economic project designed to protect the Public Health of a future generation of employees and provide business with "commerce", we cannot, either, uphold the LTARA under c.30.

Finally, Mr. Foucaulf directs the Court's attention to Art. 1, §5, c.31, which grants the Senate the power to -

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Similarly, a reading of this clause that would allow the LTARA to survive would require us to argue that restrictions on abortion constitute the protection and preservation of "natural beauty", "biological diversity" or "other natural resources". While we could, admittedly, claim that unborn life constitutes "biological diversity", and no member of this Court would dispute the clichéd politician's maxim that children are the nation's most precious resource, we cannot reasonably uphold the LTARA on the basis of a clause that clearly refers to wildlife and the natural environment.

With no other clause providing an even semi-plausible justification for the LTARA, it becomes obvious that upholding this law would require a tortured reading of the Constitution. The Court would be wrangling a constitutional rationale for the law from a section with no apparent relevance. This would of course lead inevitably to severe constitutional issues - perhaps the Senate's ability to legislate for abortion can then be derived from Art. I, §2 c.15's bequeathing of the power "[t]o provide for the humanitarian relief of the distress caused by unpredictable events of natural or man-made origin." Unfortunately, we must reluctantly decline to impose such a novel interpretation of our Constitution upon the nation.

The respondent continues to argue that, should the Court overturn the LTARA and reiterate the strict limits placed on the powers of the Senate, we would potentially open all manner of past legislation to constitutional challenge. That may or may not be so, but it is not sufficient reason to grant the Senate sweeping powers in a haze of legal ambiguity.

Specifically, the respondent claims that -

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Perhaps so, but it is not clear to us why the Court should be obliged to uphold this law because the Senate has grown comfortable with potentially overreaching its proper mandate. Law that may come before the Court as the result of our judgement in this matter, such as the several examples of recent legislation that the Attorney General cites, will survive or be struck down on its own constitutional merits and whether it is justified under the thirty-one powers granted to that august body. The apparent implication that an increasingly imperial Senate, untethered from its defined role in public life - "[...] the manner in which the Senate has conducted its affairs in recent years," - has enacted sweeping legislative action that may exceed the parameters set in Art. V, is in our view all the more reason to today restate the limits of the Senate's ability to impose its will on the nation.

It may be that this ruling will have "political implications", as the Attorney General alleges, but it would be a shameful dereliction of our overriding duty to the bedrock law of Atlasia for us to ignore the pressing constitutional questions surrounding this issue because it may upset some elected representatives. What the respondent refers to as a "narrow" reading of the text of the Constitution is nothing more than what the petitioner correctly refers to as an application of the well-established and storied "plain meaning principle".

Concluding his spirited attack on the legality of the LTARA, the petitioner states that -

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We are, however, willing to be unreformed theists on this point. As the former Justice Spade wrote in Junkie v. Atlasia -

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We see no compelling rationale for overturning this precedent. It seems to evident to us that, if abortion is to be legal in Atlasia, and as mentioned in the analysis of the 'implicit definition of life' argument presented by the Attorney General, such a discussion is outside the remit of this particular case, then the regions, and the regions alone, must possess the constitutional power to legislate on this procedure.

To digress briefly on a point of personal privilege, the Court is naturally aware that the current administration is nearing the end of its term. Should Mr. ZuWo not continue in his role as Attorney General in the next Cabinet, we wish to extend our gratitude and thanks for the co-operation and courtesy he has always shown to this Court throughout his tenure in the nation's highest law enforcement office, and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Today, the Court upholds the longstanding precedent set by Fritz v. Ernest (2004) and Junkie v. Atlasia (2010). The Senate is granted, as Justice Spade notes in his landmark ruling in Junkie..., "broad [but] certainly not universal" powers under the Constitution. Any legislation that cannot be justified under the powers enumerated in Art. 1, §5, c.1-32 represents an illegal overreach of the Senate's proper role, and the constitutional onus must be on the Senate to legislate within these strict limits. To rule otherwise would not only be to reject a decade of overwhelming and compelling precedent on a component of the Constitution that has survived virtually unscathed the countless revisions of the document, but would cede theoretically limitless power to the federal Senate at the expense of the sovereign building blocks of Atlasia, the regions and the regional governments.

We therefore choose to uphold the precedent, which remains today, as it has in years prior, the only fair and reasonable reading of the text of the Constitution. The Senate has no authority to legislate on abortion. The Late Term Abortion Restriction Act has no justification under these strictly limited powers, and it therefore cannot stand, in whole or in part.

The Late Term Abortion Restriction Act is thus in violation of the Constitution of Atlasia, and it is hereby struck down in its entirety.
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ZuWo
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2015, 05:06:47 PM »

I thank the Court for its very detailed ruling and kind remarks directed at me. I, too, have appreciated working with the Justices of the Supreme Court, who at all times have shown their impartiality.
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2015, 05:43:34 PM »

I also thank the Court for their extensive ruling and careful deliberation on the matter. The Justices have produced a landmark ruling, one which I advise future legislators to consider carefully.
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bgwah
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2015, 03:48:23 PM »

Assuming that dumb rule is still around, I formally concur.
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TJ in Oregon
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2015, 09:14:31 PM »

I also formally concur. Tongue
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