tack50 v. Lincoln Speaker Wulfric
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April 21, 2021, 02:22:58 PM

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  tack50 v. Lincoln Speaker Wulfric
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tack50
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« on: March 24, 2021, 10:47:14 AM »

Greetings Honourable Justice for the region of Lincoln.

I am filing this case to declare the motion of no confidence against Lincoln Chancellor S019 as invalid as is has not fulfilled the requirements for a valid no confidence vote on the Chanellor of Lincoln, as specified in Article I, Section 12 of the Lincoln Constitution.

Furthermore, the no confidence vote as it was ran by Speaker Wulfric breaks multiple provisions of the standing orders of the Lincoln Council, most notably Section 3.A. The Chief Judicial officer of the region of Lincoln is empowered to make a binding decision as per section 7 of the Standing orders.

x tack50, petitioner
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Lincoln Speaker Dwarven Dragon
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2021, 11:14:01 AM »
« Edited: March 24, 2021, 09:02:40 PM by Lincoln Speaker Dwarven Dragon »

I ask the court to dismiss this case. The section of the Constitution so prescribed appears as follows:

Quote
12. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.


A majority of the membership - in fact, a supermajority thereof - did indeed vote Aye on the motion. Further, nowhere in this text does it require that the "second" happens on the forum. I am happy to share discord DMs on the subject should the Court take this case. Further, as the text does not specifically require that the second happen before the vote begins, AGA's Aye can be considered a second - the text only really serves to prevent a 1-0 (or 1-1 with the Governor tiebreak I suppose) vote of no confidence. This vote was 4-1.

I am not sure what the citizen is arguing with regard to section 3A of the Standing Orders, which states:

Quote
Section 3: Legislative Debates and Voting
A. All proposed legislation shall be open for debate for no less than 72 hours after the Speaker places it on the floor.


This section refers specifically to Legislation, not a motion. A motion of No confidence does not require a Governor's signature and so is not Legislation. Further, we have this section:

Quote
2. The presiding officer may unilaterally suspend any section of these rules at any time, unless another Councillor objects. If a Councillor objects, suspending the rules shall require the consent of two-thirds of sitting Councillors.



Thus this can be considered a suspension of the rules. As no one in the Council indicated an objection during the proceedings, as I am the presiding officer, and as the motion did receive the support of 2/3 of the Council, all requirements of this are met.

Thus, the Court should dismiss.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 10:25:49 PM »

The Rules of the Lincoln Council delegates Lincoln's Chief Judicial Official the ability to resolve rules disputes occurring within the Council. Under this authority, the court will hear the case. There are several issues at hand where a binding precedent appears to be necessary.

Petitioner and respondent are requested to submit their briefs with all due haste, but no later than 11 pm on March 30th (additional time may be granted upon request). Amicus briefs will also be accepted until this time.

Questions from the bench to come later.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 10:40:48 PM »

For the reference of both parties when writing drafts, the court views the following four questions as the most important issues of this dispute:

1. Is a second to a motion valid if it occurs in a venue other than the legislature itself?
2. When a motion requires a second to proceed, can the motion proceed chronologically before the second is made?
3. How broadly is "legislation" defined within the Rules of the Lincoln Council? Namely, if all legislation requires the governor's signature, what is the purpose of Rule 9.B?
4. Can a suspension of the rules by the presiding officer be implicit, or must it be announced as such?
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tack50
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 06:43:36 AM »

Brief of the petitioner

Since Justice Bacon King has decided to give us 4 questions for the court to decide, I will dedicate this brief to simply giving my answer to those 4 questions, but I will add more content to this if prompted to do so.



1. Is a second to a motion valid if it occurs in a venue other than the legislature itself?

In my view, clearly not, at least not as things currently stand now. A second to a motion, just like every other kind of procedure, should be performed on the Atlas forum and not on any sort of parallel secret chamber. At the end of the day, Atlasia exists exclusively on the boards of the Atlas forum, with anywhere else being essencially irrelevant for official purposes even when it can have several informal purposes for coordination and what not.

This may not be formally codified on legislation (although some sections of the standing orders and the Lincoln constitution make references to threads), but it has been the norm in Atlasia since its inception. Atlasia is a game where all formal votes and activities should happen in public on the forum.

Furthermore, due to the nature of Discord being behind closed doors, we cannot even know for sure whether or not the room Wulfric alludes to even exists, or who is in it! It could be the case that, for example, the very own chancellor being kicked out of office was not in the know! Needless to say, opening the door to a "shadow legislature" unaccountable to anyone but its members is a very dangerous slippery slope.

If the court considers it in order, I am hereby requesting a list of the members of the Discord room where the respondent alleges the second happened; the name of the server and channel in question as well as a transcript of the conversation where it happened.



2. When a motion requires a second to proceed, can the motion proceed chronologically before the second is made?

In my opinion no; however that question is slightly irrelevant in the abstract.

In this particular kind of motion, the Lincoln constitution is extremely clear that in order for a vote of no confidence to be opened, there must be a sufficient second:

Quote from:  Article I, Section 12 of the Lincoln Constitution
12. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.

The Lincoln Constitution makes it clear that without a valid second, there cannot be a motion of no confidence voted upon by the Council.



3. How broadly is "legislation" defined within the Rules of the Lincoln Council? Namely, if all legislation requires the governor's signature, what is the purpose of Rule 9.B?

Not all legislation (as debated by the Council) requires the signature of the Governor. I can think namely of at least 3 categories of legislation that do not require such signature:

a) Legislation to change the standing orders of the Council
b) Constitutional amendments
c) Non binding resolutions of the Council (generally these are meant to express the view of the council on a particular issue, but have no force of law attached and are just an opinion or an expression of intentions)

While it is customary for the Governor of Lincoln to sign these, his signature is not needed.

The purpose of Rule 9.B would be to specify that the legislation that requires the signature of the Governor (all which falls outside those 3 categories; generally everything with some "force of law")  shall be called a "bill" before being passed and an "Act" after passage. In my opinion it is perhaps a superflous rule but it is what it is.



4. Can a suspension of the rules by the presiding officer be implicit, or must it be announced as such?

In my opinion, a suspension of the rules by the presiding officer must be explicitly announced as such in most scenarios; since after all the suspension requires the consent of 2/3 of the Council, giving other councillors the right to object and call a vote to suspend the rules.

Speakers at the end of the day are human and sometimes they might, on accident, not follow the proper procedures; which could be retroactively justified as a suspension of the rules if no one objects if it came to court.

Given the great importance of this vote, removing the chief executive officer of the region of Lincoln, as well as the respondent's normally good disposition in serving as Speaker; I would be surprised if this was a genuine mistake as opposed to a scheme to rush things through.

However, even if we entertain that motion that this was an accident and retroactively allow it to stand as a rules suspension; a rules suspension cannot overrule the requirement for a sufficient second as established by the Lincoln Constitution; since the specific procedure specified by the constitution would overrule the standing orders.
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Lincoln Speaker Dwarven Dragon
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2021, 09:08:04 AM »

I have employed Oakvale as Counsel in this case.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2021, 09:45:10 AM »
« Edited: March 26, 2021, 09:57:58 AM by Oakvale »

Justice Bacon King, as noted above I have been retained as defense counsel in this case and make this submission on behalf of my client, the Speaker.

I will, in my brief, first address the four questions posed by the Court.

1. Is a second to a motion valid if it occurs in a venue other than the legislature itself?

I am in full agreement with the petitioner on this issue. I do not believe there is any scenario in which a second to a motion is valid if it occurs outside the boards proper, any more than would be a vote on legislation. I am in further agreement with the petitioner that the premise that the activity of policy makers could in any sense be moved to an external forum would be a dangerous precedent to set.

However,  I do not believe the question arises in this instance and as such it is irrelevant to the validity of the motion as passed.

2. When a motion requires a second to proceed, can the motion proceed chronologically before the second is made?

I find myself again in full agreement with the petitioner. I believe any fair reading of the passage -

Quote from:  Article I, Section 12 of the Lincoln Constitution
12. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.

- requires a sufficient second prior to the vote taking place.

Again, nonetheless, I will demonstrate that the passage of this motion was in fact carried out as prescribed by the Constitution of Lincoln.

3. How broadly is "legislation" defined within the Rules of the Lincoln Council? Namely, if all legislation requires the governor's signature, what is the purpose of Rule 9.B?

I frankly think this question is rather simple. A motion does not create, amend or repeal law. If it did so, it would not be a motion.

It is thus, by definition, not legislation and is entirely exempt from the relevant provisions of the standing orders. It may be that the drafters of the regional Constitution intended for this passage to apply to all business of the legislature, but that is not what the text says. There is zero ambiguity in this instance.

4. Can a suspension of the rules by the presiding officer be implicit, or must it be announced as such?

With reference to the above response to the Court's third question, I would simply note that the standing orders in question do not apply and thus do not require suspension. I argue that it is therefore entirely immaterial to the case at hand when and whether the presiding officer can suspend the rules which govern the debate on legislation, as this was not legislation.


Why the motion was valid:


My position therefore is that I disagree with many of my client's initial arguments on this matter - I believe that a motion does, indeed, require a valid second before it can proceed. I reject the notion that this can be received in external fora.

But the motion of no confidence in the then-Chancellor was nonetheless valid and must be upheld.

The Constitution of Lincoln in Art. 1, §5 as cited above, states that:

Quote from:  Article I, Section 12 of the Lincoln Constitution
12. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.

Let us first consider the question of a sufficient second, which I agree must take place prior to a vote of the Council.

The Lincoln Council consists of five members. The order of events in this instance was as such:

1. The motion of no confidence was introduced, with the Speaker introducing the motion and simultaneously posting "Aye".

2. A second Councilor, AGA, then announced his support for the motion, by likewise posting "Aye".

3. The remaining three Councilors voted.

I argue that the events detailed in points 1. and 2. should not be considered as valid votes - the vote having not yet begun - but instead as the simple submission of a motion and then a second, provided by Councilor AGA.

Under the Constitution, the practical effect of this was that, the motion having been introduced and seconded as proper, three Councilors voted. This, alone, constituted a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay as prescribed by the Constitution and the motion therefore passed.

Clearly the Speaker and the de facto seconder believed they were simply voting "Aye" on the motion, rather than properly introducing and seconding as required. What they believe, however, is immaterial to the constitutional facts. It is irrelevant that the Speaker added a superfluous "Aye" to his introduction, and likewise that he did not vote subsequently. It is similarly irrelevant that Councilor AGA that seconded the motion with a generic "Aye" of support instead of writing "I second the motion" or some such construction, or that he likewise did not subsequently vote.

Let us again return to the facts:

The motion was introduced.

The motion was supported by a seconder.

The motion was, subsequent to this, voted upon by a three fifths majority of the membership of the Council.

Ergo, the motion was valid under any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution.

I will fully concede that the Council would be advised to take far more care with such important business in the future to avoid raising the kind of Constitutional questions we face today. Indeed, if a lone member of the Council had not voted, falling below the crucial three-fifths membership threshold, I accept that the motion would have indeed been invalid.

But, fortuitously, this did not happen, and a bare majority of the membership of the Council voted following the introduction and seconding of the motion of no confidence. The Council therefore narrowly avoided a fiasco in which the democratic will of the people of Lincoln would be overturned by the judiciary because of an overly hasty process.

I submit that a ruling that the passage of this motion - not legislation - was invalid would have only the obscure technical effect of declaring that a valid second must be submitted in a very specific form of words, even though it is apparent to any reasonable person that Councilor AGA's support was the functional equivalent thereof.

I would further note that, given the democratic decision of the people of Lincoln, the only other practical impact would be to temporarily delay, for at most a matter of hours, a repeat of the motion with, one must assume, an entirely identical result. There can therefore be no compelling public interest in such a ruling.

I ask the honorable Justice to reject the notion that the seconding of a valid motion in the legislature requires a specific form of words, something not prescribed anywhere in the region's Constitution. I ask that he simply advises the legislature instead to instead strive to avoid such constitutional speculation in the future and upholds the legitimacy of the motion, which, fundamentally, represented nothing less than the confirmation of the result of the recent democratic election.

I thank the Court.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2021, 07:33:03 PM »
« Edited: March 28, 2021, 07:38:35 PM by Bacon King »

A question for the respondent's counsel:

Your argument, while broadly compelling, appears to rely on the assumption that the motion is not considered legislation. Otherwise, the issue of seconding (and all points thereafter) would be moot due to the fact that debate was not open for the 72 hours required by Section 3.A. How do you reconcile your definition with the following portion of Section 6?

Quote
C. The Chancellor shall introduce a piece of legislation to nominate a candidate for Speaker, who will then face a vote before the Council, requiring a majority support to assume office.

D. The Chancellor shall certify the results following the election, and the Speaker shall immediately assume office.

E. The Council may, at any time, remove the Speaker by making introducing repeal legislation to the introductory legislation of Section V, Part C. The motion shall take precedence over all other motions and bills before the Council, and shall be conducted in the manner outlined in the section entitled legislative debates and voting. The Chancellor will designate a Councillor to preside in the place of the Speaker.


The Standing Orders explicitly define as "legislation" the motions used for both nominating/electing and removing an individual from the office of Speaker. By what rationale do you consider the removal of a Chancellor to be otherwise?

(edit: I split the remainder of this post into a second post for ease of reading)
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Bacon King
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2021, 07:36:39 PM »

I would further note that, given the democratic decision of the people of Lincoln, the only other practical impact would be to temporarily delay, for at most a matter of hours, a repeat of the motion with, one must assume, an entirely identical result. There can therefore be no compelling public interest in such a ruling.

Note that this is not a traditional court case; the purpose of this tribunal is to determine the proper interpretation of the Lincoln Council's rules, called under the authority of Section 7.C of those very rules. Therefore the practical impact is strictly speaking not relevant to the technical outcome of this case.

However, you do raise a valid point. To be direct: the will of the Lincoln Council is clear on the matter of S019's Chancellorship. The only question here is whether the Council expressed its will in accordance with the rules it established for itself. To me, the real concern is the future impact on the precedent of this case. The proper procedure should be clarified in this situation, because allowing the current ambiguity to persist could cause much greater problems in the future, in situations where the will of the Council is not so clear. If it came down to it, I would much rather inconvenience the current council by forcing them to repeat a vote than find myself in a situation where my interpretation of these issues actually determined the balance of power!

However, is this dilemma necessarily even something being faced? Because --

Quote
I ask that he simply advises the legislature instead to instead strive to avoid such constitutional speculation in the future and upholds the legitimacy of the motion

this is a point I had not considered and it raises several important questions. Must the court necessarily adjudicate the outcome of the current dispute alongside its decision "dictating the proper interpretation" of the Council Rules? If so, must the two necessarily be consistent? In fact, does this court even have the authority to actually tell the council how it must resolve the dispute at hand? Or does the court merely have the authority to provide the council with its judgement, and leave the council free to apply it as it deems appropriate?

Gentlemen, as far as I am aware, this is the first Section 7.C hearing in the history of the Lincoln. I am cognizant of the significance of the precedent we will be establishing in this case. How far does the authority delegated to me by 7.C extend? I would very much appreciate the opinions of both the petitioner and respondent on this matter, as well as any friends of the court who happen to be following these proceedings.

I hesitate to unduly interfere with the internal affairs of the legislative branch, and if Section 7.C did not exist, I doubt I would have the authority to hear this case in the first place, considering the broad deference the Atlasian (and American) judicial branch must grant the legislative branch when it comes to the manner in which the latter handles its own internal affairs. Section 7.C is essentially a standing invitation granted by Lincoln's Council to this Court, to intervene and rule on matters of parliamentary procedure when and where it is necessary. How far does the invitation extend?

On this topic, I have a question for the petitioner: if this court rules in your favor, is it sufficient to provide Lincoln's Council with the correct interpretation of its rules? If not, what additional steps must the court take (e.g. explicitly countermanding S019's removal as Chancellor?), and where does the Court derive its authority to take these additional steps?
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tack50
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2021, 04:44:24 AM »

I think this is what I have to do now?

Quote
Gentlemen, as far as I am aware, this is the first Section 7.C hearing in the history of the Lincoln. I am cognizant of the significance of the precedent we will be establishing in this case. How far does the authority delegated to me by 7.C extend? I would very much appreciate the opinions of both the petitioner and respondent on this matter, as well as any friends of the court who happen to be following these proceedings.

It is worth noting that the South and Fremont as well as the Federal Congress if I am not mistaken have similar sections in their respective standing orders, though none of those has used a Section 7.C hearing either.

It is also worth noting I am not a sitting Lincoln councillor, so in theory I don't have standing to sue but the SC got rid of standing requirements a year ago so Tongue


Quote
I hesitate to unduly interfere with the internal affairs of the legislative branch, and if Section 7.C did not exist, I doubt I would have the authority to hear this case in the first place, considering the broad deference the Atlasian (and American) judicial branch must grant the legislative branch when it comes to the manner in which the latter handles its own internal affairs. Section 7.C is essentially a standing invitation granted by Lincoln's Council to this Court, to intervene and rule on matters of parliamentary procedure when and where it is necessary. How far does the invitation extend?

In theory the authority to hear this case would extend only as far as the legislature allows I imagine, as indeed the legislative branch is granted a big amount of leeway to handle its own affairs.

I think Section 7.C was intended as a last resort option to appeal rulings made by the presiding officer. Of course, nothing would stop the region from repealing that section if it so desired and having the presiding officer's decisions be non-appealable


Quote
On this topic, I have a question for the petitioner: if this court rules in your favor, is it sufficient to provide Lincoln's Council with the correct interpretation of its rules? If not, what additional steps must the court take (e.g. explicitly countermanding S019's removal as Chancellor?), and where does the Court derive its authority to take these additional steps?

Yes, the ultimate objective would be countermandering S019's removal as Chancellor. However, if the court decides it is not in the best interests of Atlasia and Lincoln to issue such a remedy because it would be undone by the legislature merely hours after issuing such a ruling I would be fine with some sort of advisory ruling to ensure that this situation does not repeat itself (of course, there is the question as to whether the court can issue such an advisory ruling, to which the answer normally seems to be no)
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Oakvale
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 08:54:33 AM »

A question for the respondent's counsel:

Your argument, while broadly compelling, appears to rely on the assumption that the motion is not considered legislation. Otherwise, the issue of seconding (and all points thereafter) would be moot due to the fact that debate was not open for the 72 hours required by Section 3.A. How do you reconcile your definition with the following portion of Section 6?

Quote
C. The Chancellor shall introduce a piece of legislation to nominate a candidate for Speaker, who will then face a vote before the Council, requiring a majority support to assume office.

D. The Chancellor shall certify the results following the election, and the Speaker shall immediately assume office.

E. The Council may, at any time, remove the Speaker by making introducing repeal legislation to the introductory legislation of Section V, Part C. The motion shall take precedence over all other motions and bills before the Council, and shall be conducted in the manner outlined in the section entitled legislative debates and voting. The Chancellor will designate a Councillor to preside in the place of the Speaker.


The Standing Orders explicitly define as "legislation" the motions used for both nominating/electing and removing an individual from the office of Speaker. By what rationale do you consider the removal of a Chancellor to be otherwise?

(edit: I split the remainder of this post into a second post for ease of reading)

The present standing orders were adopted in August 2020. Prior to the contested motion at question in this case, the relevant motions were carried out once flowing the implementation of the standing orders.

In October last year, Councilor SO19 declared a vote of confidence in his nomination to form a government.

Without any 72-hour waiting period, the Council immediately voted on the motion and SO19 was ratified as Chancellor of Lincoln.

Subsequent to this, and without any similar waiting period, SO19 then nominated a candidate for Speaker, and voting immediately commenced.

Both candidates were duly elected with no apparent objections.

Let us consider the implications of treating a motion as legislation under the standing rules. §3, c.A of the standing orders states, as noted by the petitioner in his complaint:

Quote
Section 3: Legislative Debates and Voting
A. All proposed legislation shall be open for debate for no less than 72 hours after the Speaker places it on the floor

Clearly this did not happen in the above instance, nor in the current matter. I submit that this is right and proper - a motion is not legislation and, as set in precedent by the legislature, including the former Chancellor himself, is not treated as such. The reference to motions as a 'piece of legislation' must simply be considered an inconsistency in the drafting which is effectively unenforceable.

If the Court were to hold that motions should be treated identically to legislation, then we must assume that Chancellor SO19's appointment was invalid, and Lincoln had no legitimate Chancellor in this period. I do not believe this is the case.

To strengthen the point, if a motion is to be treated identically to legislation, then there are other provisions of the standing orders that should apply:

Quote
D. Each piece of legislation on the floor shall receive its own thread. Threads shall be titled as follows:

L 1.1: The BLANK Act, where L acknowledges the legislation is in the Council of Lincoln, 1 indicating that the legislation is in the first meeting of the Council of Lincoln, 1 indicating that the legislation was the first piece of legislation introduced in the Legislation Introduction Thread, and BLANK being replaced with the name of the piece of legislation.

Clearly this is nonsensical - a motion is not an Act, and does enter the statute. What law has been made? The "Appointment of SO19 as Chancellor" Act does not, as far as I'm aware, have any legal basis. Nor did any of the Council at the time make any pretense that the motion was an Act of law.

Additionally:

Quote
F. Each thread shall remain open until the bill either (a) becomes law via the Governor's signature, lack of Gubernatorial action, or referendum override, (b) fails to receive majority support from Council, (c) is sent to the public for a referendum, pursuant to Article I, Section 6 of the Comprehensive Constitutional Amendment, or (d) the Chancellor moves to revoke it from the floor, subject to a majority vote.

From my reading of the standing orders, legislation must either ultimately a) become law via gubernatorial signature or lack of action b) fail a vote of the council c) be sent for public referendum or d) be revoked.

At least two of these provisions - a) and b) - seem incomptabile with both a common sense understanding of a motion of confidence/no confidence and, indeed, the principles of parliamentary democracy upon which Lincoln's system of government is based.

Since, as we have established, a motion of confidence/no confidence is not an "Act", a precedent set by prior Councils, it can, by definition, not "become law". Likewise the idea that the Governor could submit a Chancellor-candidate to a presidential-style election by way of submitting a motion to public referendum seems incompatible with the Constitution, which states in Art. 1, §5:

Quote
10. The Council, on the first day after the governor’s appointment of a chancellor, the Speaker or any member of the Council shall introduce a motion, “that this Council has confidence in His (or Her) Excellency’s government”. A simple majority of councilors voting Aye or Nay shall be sufficient to establish confidence. If the new government should fail to gain the confidence of the Council, the appointed chancellor shall be dismissed and the governor shall advance the appointment of a new chancellor whom he shall submit to the judgement of the Council. This vote of confidence in the Chancellor may also take the form of a vote in a thread opened by the Governor about the State Opening of the Council of Lincoln

And in Art. 1, §14:

Quote
14. Early elections for the Council may be called by the governor as long as the snap election does not occur less than a month before a regular election if he determines that no government can be formed, following the failure of a confidence vote at the beginning of a new parliamentary term or the failure of any councilor to produce a government as described in Section 6 of Article II or following a successful vote of non-confidence in the government and failure of the successive confidence vote to produce a government. In addition, the Governor may call a snap election at the request of the Chancellor, be it that the snap election does not occur less than a month before or after a regularly scheduled election.

Clearly there is no provision in the Constitution for a Governor to hold a de facto referendum by submitting a single candidate to a vote of the people. Instead his only option is to dissolve the Council and call a snap election. This is not functionally equivalent to a public referendum on legislation, which may be called by the Governor should he disapprove of a bill passed by the legislature.

Thus, it is not possible to treat motions as legislation without creating a barrage of unworkable procedural inconsistencies. The Lincoln Council themselves have recognized this in the past and set a common sense precedent which the incumbent Council followed.

I would finally argue that, even if the Court were to hold that the motion - and thus subsequent similar motions passed in an equivalent manner - were invalid under the standing orders, then the standing orders themselves would be in conflict with the Constitution of Lincoln, which, of course, overrides any provisions of procedural rules set by the legislature. In the key clause at question:

Quote
2. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.

The Constitution grants the Council the right to declare no confidence in the Chancellor with only the requirement of both a sufficient second and then a majority vote.

While it is true that the Constitution also grants the Council the power to set its own rules of procedure, surely the imposition of a series of contradictory and impractical rules that would result from assuming that all motions must be dealt with as legislation would be in violation of the constitutional guarantee of the Council's power to remove a Chancellor upon satisfaction of the two requirements set out in the text. As an illustration, to choose just one of the above examples, nowhere in the Constitution does it suggest that a Governor can refer a motion of no confidence in the government to a referendum - indeed, the suggestion would be in obvious conflict with the constitutional provisions at hand.

Ergo, whatever the text of the standing orders - and while I agree they are in many places contradictory and misleading, the Council has wisely chosen to set practical precedent on their approach - the right of the Council to remove a Chancellor, dependent upon two criteria, which were both fulfilled, must surely take precedence.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 09:27:22 AM »
« Edited: March 30, 2021, 09:33:09 AM by Oakvale »

Quote
I ask that he simply advises the legislature instead to instead strive to avoid such constitutional speculation in the future and upholds the legitimacy of the motion

this is a point I had not considered and it raises several important questions. Must the court necessarily adjudicate the outcome of the current dispute alongside its decision "dictating the proper interpretation" of the Council Rules? If so, must the two necessarily be consistent? In fact, does this court even have the authority to actually tell the council how it must resolve the dispute at hand? Or does the court merely have the authority to provide the council with its judgement, and leave the council free to apply it as it deems appropriate?

Gentlemen, as far as I am aware, this is the first Section 7.C hearing in the history of the Lincoln. I am cognizant of the significance of the precedent we will be establishing in this case. How far does the authority delegated to me by 7.C extend? I would very much appreciate the opinions of both the petitioner and respondent on this matter, as well as any friends of the court who happen to be following these proceedings.

I hesitate to unduly interfere with the internal affairs of the legislative branch, and if Section 7.C did not exist, I doubt I would have the authority to hear this case in the first place, considering the broad deference the Atlasian (and American) judicial branch must grant the legislative branch when it comes to the manner in which the latter handles its own internal affairs. Section 7.C is essentially a standing invitation granted by Lincoln's Council to this Court, to intervene and rule on matters of parliamentary procedure when and where it is necessary. How far does the invitation extend?

On this topic, I have a question for the petitioner: if this court rules in your favor, is it sufficient to provide Lincoln's Council with the correct interpretation of its rules? If not, what additional steps must the court take (e.g. explicitly countermanding S019's removal as Chancellor?), and where does the Court derive its authority to take these additional steps?


As I note in my response above, the standing orders would seem to be in many places internally contradictory and, indeed, potentially, in contradiction of the Constitution. The Council has previously wisely proceeded on a path that avoids these questions by taking a pragmatic approach to the implementations of motions vs. legislation.

I am happy to see the petitioner would be comfortable with the Court issuing advice while upholding the motion, although I disagree with the petitioner's statement that the Court is unable to issue an advisory ruling. Certainly in my own tenure on the Supreme Court the Court issued multiple advisories, albeit, granted, often in the context of a ruling proper in which the constitutionality of a matter was adjudicated - I do not believe there is anything preventing the Court from upholding the legality of motion with a caution to the legislature that such ambiguities could cause hypothetical issues and would be best remedied.

I'd further note that it is not entirely clear that the provision of the standing orders that allows for a judicial ruling even applies in this instance:

Quote
3. If the Council cannot resolve a rules dispute, Lincoln's chief judicial office may issue a binding decision dictating the proper interpretation.

There is, after all, in fact, no dispute on the rules within the Council, and thus nothing to resolve. The sufficient condition would not seem to exist.

The petitioner is not a member of the Council, or indeed a citizen of Lincoln (to be clear: I have no issue with this - the Court has long held that 'standing' in an obsolete concept in Atlasia and I welcome the intervention of public-minded citizens on these matters).

The Council is therefore not in a situation whereby it 'cannot resolve a rules dispute'.  I am therefore unclear on whether the Court can in fact issue a binding ruling on the interpretation of the standing orders, but, in any event, as I have stated, my argument is fundamentally that the motion was carried out as per the Constitution and was hence valid.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2021, 02:59:30 AM »
« Edited: April 05, 2021, 02:22:12 PM by Bacon King »

Thank you both; no further questions from the bench.

The opinion of the court can be expected to be announced on or before Saturday (i.e. April 3rd). Sunday evening (4/4) (see end of post)




As an aside: I thank both parties for their patience! My new job irl requires frequent manual labor, which is a massive change from the total lack of physical activity I've had during the Year of Covid.

It's my second week on the job so I'm still adjusting to the new routine -- meaning I am VERY drained/tired in the evenings. Coupled with the fact that I am not a morning person in the slightest, I've not yet had many opportunities to participate in these nuanced legal discussions during the work week.

Hell, even now I'm only able to be here because I passed out as soon as I got home after 3 PM and slept until almost midnight (I did wake up well-rested though, I've actually had a decent amount of free time tonight, AND there's still three more hours before I need to be at work... honestly I might just start doing this every day lmao)

Regardless though I will have plenty of time during the weekend to write up a proper opinion! Just keeping y'all in the loop so you know what's going on



edit as of 4/5: opinion is about 75% done, turning out longer than I intended for it to be. I did most of it Saturday evening but then unexpectedly got called in and had to do a ton of work yesterday (was literally working from sunrise until after midnight) but the silver lining is I now have a much easier and lighter work load for the rest of this week. Opinion will probably be finished this evening
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 11:18:55 AM »
« Edited: April 08, 2021, 12:49:49 PM by Bacon King »

I. Jurisdiction

The Lincoln Court's jurisdiction in this case is granted by Rules of the Lincoln Council Section 7, Subsection C*, which states:

Quote
If the Council cannot resolve a rules dispute, Lincoln's chief judicial office may issue a binding decision dictating the proper interpretation.

*Note that this clause is actually numbered 7.3 within the Rules of the Lincoln Council itself, because Section 7 incongruously features numerical designations for its subsections. The consistent style throughout the rest of the document is to label subsections alphabetically. By all appearances this anomaly of Section 7 is a mere typographical error. When referring to 7.3, the court will instead refer to it as 7.C which appears to be its intended designation. This is to provide clarity because most will probably not catch this subtle difference when reading through the document.

The Court believes the required threshold -- that the rules dispute is one the council "cannot resolve" -- has been met. The phrase "cannot resolve" is broad and includes no specific qualifications or restrictions. It does not say the petitioner must be a member of the Council (though such restriction would likely be unconstitutional regardless due Politics Fan v. The South). There is no requirement that the dispute must necessarily be one that the Council has unsuccessfully attempted to resolve. It does not even require the rules dispute originate within the Council itself. For the Court to have jurisdiction for a 7.C hearing, it is sufficient that the rules dispute be one that the Council cannot resolve.

In this particular case, the individual disputing the Speaker's interpretation and application of the rules has no method through which he can even present his dispute to the Council itself, so has no recourse available. The Council itself has no possible mechanism through which to address or resolve the dispute if they even wished to do so. The council cannot resolve this rules dispute, therefore jurisdiction for a 7.C hearing exists.

It is worth noting here that this jurisdiction is strictly discretionary, meaning that even when a situation like this one exists and the jurisdiction is valid, the court still has full discretion to decide whether it will hear the case or not. This is indicated by the use of the conditional in 7.C: "Lincoln's chief judicial office may issue a binding decision..."; therefore the court's broad interpretation of its jurisdiction in the preceding paragraph is balanced by the court's at-will authority to decline cases meeting this jurisdictional requirement. So while any Atlasian citizen can theoretically demand a 7.C hearing after noticing any trivial procedural error, this court can -- and will -- immediately reject any such litigious spammer.

Regardless: it is within the jurisdiction of this court to judge the case brought by the petitioner, and the court has chosen to exercise its right to do so.

II. Extent and Nature of Court's Authority

The authority of the court in a 7.C hearing is limited to the ability to "issue a binding decision dictating the proper interpretation" of Rules of the Lincoln Council; the language used here is quite ambiguous. The phrase "issue a binding decision" indicates the court can compel the Lincoln Council to take certain actions, implying the court can (for example) overturn the results of a council vote that was held contrary to the council rules. However, the scope of this authority is limited by the four words that follow: "...dictating the proper interpretation". The court's authority to compel the Council is seemingly limited to providing errata for Rules of the Lincoln Council, which must thereafter be adhered to alongside all other procedural rules.

An argument could be made that the court has the authority to overturn and/or annul council actions in the event that they violate a "proper interpretation" of rules that have already previously been dictated by the court in a previous 7.C case. The power to issue a binding decision implies the authority to compel adherence to the decision; a ruling can not truly be considered binding if it is unenforceable. However, this is an open question and irrelevant to the issue at hand. For the purposes of this decision, it is clear the court lacks the power to overturn the results of the recent no confidence vote in Chancellor S019.

Pragmatism is an important consideration here as well. Declaring the motion to be void would open a particularly difficult can of worms. It would significantly impede the Council's work if they were forced to overturn the vote and place everything they've done for the last two weeks in a legal limbo, especially when the result of the vote would be a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, as the counsel for the respondent explained, that would only be the tip of the iceberg. If S019's removal as chancellor should be repealed because it was conducted improperly, logical consistency would demand his initial election as chancellor also be repealed, because that vote was conducted in the same manner. Doing this would trigger a constitutional crisis and throw the regional government into chaos -- such an outcome should obviously be avoided.

Ultimately: in this instance the court lacks the authority to overturn the motion at the heart of this case, and even if it did, the court would be extraordinarily hesitant to exercise such authority. Instead, the purpose of this hearing is to examine the rules under dispute and to provide a definitive interpretation for the Council to follow.

III. Facts of the Case and Arguments Presented

Lincoln Council Speaker Dwarven Dragon posted a thread titled "Motion of No Confidence" on the Regional Governments subforum on March 23 at 10:06 PM forum time. This post included a quote box containing a motion of no confidence against Lincoln Chancellor S019, followed by the instruction, "Members shall cast their votes on this motion." His post concluded with his own vote in favor of the motion.

One minute later, AGA voted in favor of the motion. At 10:36 PM, S019 cast the only vote against the motion. This was followed by the "aye" vote of Brother Johnathan at 10:42 PM. The final "aye" vote was cast by IBNU (current screen name "Liberal Hack") two hours later at 12:28 AM on March 24. Official Council business within the thread ended at 1:13 AM, three hours and seven minutes after the thread was first posted; the Speaker announced the motion passed, four votes in favor to one against.

Later that day, tack50 petitioned the Lincoln Court to overturn the vote, arguing that its passage violated both the Lincoln Constitution and the Lincoln Council's own procedural rules. Specifically, the petitioner asserted the motion's passage contravened Article I Section 12 of the Lincoln Constitution, which states:

Quote
12. The Council shall have the power to declare no confidence in the chancellor’s government. A motion of no confidence shall require a sufficient second to be voted on by the Council, and if this is achieved, a majority of the membership of the Council voting Aye or Nay is sufficient to declare non-confidence in the government. If a loss of confidence occurs in the government, the governor must call a snap election or appoint a new candidate for chancellor.

Tack50 also cited 3.A as one of several council rules that had been violated. It states the following:

Quote
A. All proposed legislation shall be open for debate for no less than 72 hours after the Speaker places it on the floor.

The respondent, Lincoln Speaker Dwarven Dragon, replied to the petitioner's claims and requested the dismissal of the case. The Speaker asserted the Constitution was not violated with a series of arguments, summarized as follows:

1. a second is still valid even if made off-site, in a private message sent to him on the Discord social networking platform
2. when a vote requires a second to begin, the second to open the vote is valid even if it's made after the vote has already begun without a second occurring. Also this second can take the form of a vote in the affirmative.
3. Rule 3.A does not apply because the motion is not legislation, because it does not require the governor's signature
4. Everything is valid regardless because he decided the rules were suspended at the time, he just didn't announce it, and because no one objected to his secret suspension of the rules, his suspension was valid. And even if someone did object, his secret suspension of the rules would have overridden this objection, because a sufficient supermajority voted in favor of the motion itself and these votes also count as votes in favor of suspending the rules that the voters had no way of knowing were being suspended at the time

The Speaker's counsel and the petitioner concurred most of these claims were not valid, but they are cited here regardless: these rules have still been disputed in this trial, so this opinion will clarify their proper interpretation.

The counsel for the respondent, Oakvale, provided a more substantial argument to support the validity of the contested motion. He posited that the vote of AGA should be interpreted as a de facto second, sufficient to formally open the vote. Neither Dwarven Dragon nor AGA cast a valid vote, as their votes were cast before the vote properly started, but the resulting vote total of 2 to 1 was still sufficient for the motion's passage.

Beyond this debate over seconds, the other central issue for this hearing was the term "legislation" -- specifically, how exactly it was defined by Rules of the Lincoln Council, whether that definition covered the No Confidence Motion, and which if any of the confusing and often contradictory rules for legislation were applicable here.

These two components of the case, "seconds" and of "legislation", are the most significant points of contention, and will therefore be the primary issues considered by the court.

IV. A Matter of Seconds

When can a second be more than a second? Must a second be explicit, or is it also implied to exist within some other statement of support -- for example, an attempted vote? If one considers intention alone, that is certainly the case. A Council member casting a vote in support of a motion can be understood in more general terms as a Council member acting to support the eventual passage of the motion. Seconding the introduction of a motion expresses the very same intent, just at an earlier step in the parliamentary process. They are not strictly identical, of course, and it's not difficult to imagine hypothetical scenarios where a Council member would be willing to second a motion they intended to vote against, or would deliberately refrain from seconding a motion that they would nevertheless support if it still managed to reach a final vote. These exceptions are however rare, and regardless they are not relevant to the case at hand. The respondent is correct that the invalid vote made by AGA carries the same intention as if AGA had seconded the motion. However, is intention the only relevant factor?

The court would be remiss if it did not consider the procedural implications of the above assessment. Establishing a precedent that parliamentary motions such as a second can be implied could cause significant uncertainty and confusion. Allowing the Speaker to retroactively infer the existence of a second necessarily requires the retroactive invalidation of one or more votes. If one accepts that voting did not truly open until after the vote of AGA, then unfortunately one must also accept that the Speaker closed the vote prematurely with two votes still outstanding. Furthermore, given the "true" final vote of 2 to 1, those two outstanding votes were nominally still enough to tip the balance in the other direction. While in the present case this point is moot, in similar situations the outcome of the vote can be changed this way.

For example, consider the hypothetical of Brother Johnathan voting against the motion rather than supporting it. In such a scenario, the full council would have still passed the motion, 3 votes to 2. However, when the Speaker eventually realizes that they started the vote without a second and interprets AGA's vote as an implicit second, then suddenly the motion will have retroactively failed, 1 vote to 2. The problems could be even worse and result in even more votes being disqualified after the fact; for example, any "nay" votes made prior to the "implicit second" would also be removed. While the respondent's argument is a compelling interpretation of the specific vote currently under scrutiny in this case, applying its logic to other similar situations would instead actively subvert the will of the Council. The court is therefore very hesitant to accept the argument, even just for the specific scenario we now face.

Fortunately, however, the court does not need to accept the argument as a binding precedent in order to uphold its conclusion and validate the legitimacy of the no confidence motion. As established in Part II of this judgement (titled "Extent and Nature of Court's Authority") The Lincoln Court in this case lacks any authority to countermand or repeal the council's actions -- even if the court determines the actions had no legitimate legal basis. Fortunately, therefore, we can avoid a ruling that would destabilize the council without being forced to establish an unsatisfactory precedent in the name of pragmatism.

In the legislative process, proper adherence to protocol is a necessity. Parliamentary procedures are constructed to be clear and consistent so that every participant and observer can remain on the same page. Allowing the retroactive reinterpretation of votes into seconds would open a can of worms that is best left unopened. If a motion requires a second, the second should be explicitly declared as such. If the Speaker neglects to seek a required second before starting a vote, then that vote is simply not valid. The outcome of that vote is null and void; the Speaker's only option is to revert back to before the vote was held (or to not make such mistakes in the first place).

V. Legislation Legislation Legislation

Rules of the Lincoln Council uses the word "legislation" 45 times, the vast majority of which directly contradict one or more of the other 44. The term appears to have several different definitions and it would be exceedingly difficult to discern any sort of internally consistent logic to determine which rules are supposed to apply to which things throughout those 45 references. I fear such an effort is far beyond the scope of my own authority, as it would venture far beyond the scope of this trial. Even if I had the power to do so, however, it would not be appropriate to force upon the Lincoln Council a new edition of the rules it uses for itself. I can only suggest for the council to implement its own revision so that some semblance of consistency can be provided. I can only offer the following guidance.

It appears evident that most references to the word "legislation" refer to a category that includes every type of item the council can consider.

Section 9, "Terminology", provides the following context:

Quote
A. All legislation regarding the rules of the Council shall be called the Standing Orders.

B. All proposed legislation that requires the signature of the Governor shall be called a Bill until signed and thereafter an Act.

So items that will need the governor's signature are known as Bills, or Acts. They are explicitly merely a subset of legislation, which also is stated here to include internal resolutions such as the Standing Orders. Section 6 further clarifies that the motions both for electing and removing a Speaker are both considered legislation as well. This last reference is notable because it clarifies that the legislation for removing a Speaker must follow the rules of Section 3 (titled "Legislative Debates and Voting"), quoted below:

Quote
E. The Council may, at any time, remove the Speaker by making introducing repeal legislation to the introductory legislation of Section V, Part C.* The motion shall take precedence over all other motions and bills before the Council, and shall be conducted in the manner outlined in the section entitled legislative debates and voting. The Chancellor will designate a Councillor to preside in the place of the Speaker.

*while beyond the scope of this hearing, this reference to a nonexistent "Section V, Part C" most likely refers to subsection C of this very section (i.e. section 6), which describes the special legislation that must be passed before a new Speaker can take office. One can reasonably infer that the legislation to install a Speaker must be repealed to later remove that Speaker. A probable explanation for this error is that at some point an amendment inserted a new section above this one and the following sections were renumbered accordingly, but this specific reference was accidentally missed.

This reference allows us to connect the references to "legislation" within Section 3 to the broader and more inclusive definition of the term found in Sections 6 and 9. In fact, once this association can be made, the source of the confusion is clear, as only one part of the Rules of the Lincoln Council directly contradicts these other portions of the text.

Section 2 of Rules of the Lincoln Council uses an aberrant definition of legislation fundamentally incompatible with the rest of the document. During the trial, the respondent argued the motion should not be considered legislation by quoting several portions of Section 2. They argued, convincingly, that the rules about "legislation" contained within this section could not possibly apply to the motion under review. However, after examining the full text in detail, it is clear the error occurs not from applying the label of "legislation" to the Motion, but rather from the nature of Section 2. The rules contained therein are not just incompatible with the Motion of No Confidence, they are also incongruous with several items explicitly labeled as legislation elsewhere in the Rules. The Court therefore finds Section 2 to be inapplicable due to its erroneous use of the term "legislation".

If examined closely, one can determine Section 2 does not actually pertain to all legislation like it claims to do; rather, it is intended to be a process for BILLS, not all legislation. Its author seems to have inappropriately used the wrong terminology. The evidence is clear: section 2 describes the consecutive steps required to create new laws by passing bills. One listed requirement is the creation of a thread titled "The BLANK Act", with BLANK being the name of the "legislation" in question. Another requirement is literally submitting it to the Governor for their signature. These both very clearly indicate the described process is only for bills/acts, not any other sort of legislation. This understanding of Section 2's limitation appears to be fully in accord with the existing practices of the Lincoln Council, so this court's interpretation is consistent the council's own interpretation, and likely matches the original intention of the author(s) as well.

Ultimately, The rules of Section 2 should only apply to bills/acts, not motions or the other forms of legislation named elsewhere in the rules. A Motion of No Confidence against the Chancellor should be interpreted as a form of legislation, and must therefore meet all applicable requirements contained within Section 3 that do not contradict the Lincoln Constitution itself.

VI. Preemptively Preventing Shenanigans

Out of an abundance of caution, the court will now consider certain creative interpretations of parliamentary procedure proposed during the trial that it has not yet addressed, in order to prevent any ambiguity that might occur if not explicitly refuted.

A second must occur on this forum, and in fact must occur in the same thread as the thing being seconded. Furthermore, when a second is required for something to start happening, that second must occur BEFORE the thing starts happening. Assertions to the contrary are prima facie ridiculous and no further elaboration is required.

For a rule suspension under the auspices of Rule 7.B to be valid, the Speaker explicitly announces they are suspending the rules. Before this rule suspension can occur, the Speaker must wait until after the requisite time for objections has elapsed. A vote on suspending the rules must explicitly be declared as such during or prior to the start of that vote. A vote held on any topic other than suspending the rules can never suspend the rules under the auspices of Rule 7.B. A vote does not become exempted from the rules under the auspices of Rule 7.B just because a supermajority voted in favor of it. Any assertions to the contrary blatantly violate the plain reading of the Lincoln Council Rules and no further elaboration is required.

(post character limit reached, opinion continued below)
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Bacon King
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 11:19:59 AM »
« Edited: April 08, 2021, 01:05:09 PM by Bacon King »

VII. Conclusion

The passage of the No Confidence Motion is hereby upheld as the court has no authority to do otherwise.

In accordance with the authority granted to it by Section 7.C of the Council rules, the Lincoln Court hereby dictates the following list to be the proper interpretation of the Rules of the Lincoln Council. It shall be legally binding. For ease of reference, this list shall be included in the Lincoln Council Noticeboard, immediately below the Rules of the Lincoln Council.





Lincoln Council Rules Errata

Section I: Preface

A. The Lincoln Council Rules Errata shall be considered part of the Lincoln Council Rules and included alongside it.
B. The Errata shall override the main text of the rules whenever the two contradict.
C. Additions to the Errata shall only be made by the Lincoln Justice, and only as the result of a hearing held under the purview of Section 7.C (7.3) of the Lincoln Council Rules.
D. Adherence to the Errata is legally binding and subject to court order.
E. The Lincoln Council may remove any part of the Errata other than what is contained in this section (i.e. Section I). It may do so in the form of an amendment, in the same manner as it would pass an amendment to the main text of the Lincoln Council Rules.
F. In the event that the Lincoln Council rescinds the Lincoln Court's authority to issue binding decisions dictating the proper interpretation of Council rules, the Lincoln Council shall thereafter assume full control of the entirety of the Errata, inheriting the authority they had previously delegated to the court. They shall thereafter have the power to amend, repeal, and/or add to any part of the Errata -- including this Section -- in the same manner they would do so for the main body of the Lincoln Council Rules.
G. In the event that an amendment to the main text of the Lincoln Council Rules affects the numbering of any Sections/subsections referenced in the Errata, those references contained here shall instead be considered to refer to the new designation of the section/subsection to which it previously referenced. In such an event, the section/subsection designations can be freely edited at will so they may continue referencing the same text.
H. This first section of the errata shall exist only for the purposes of explaining this document and describing the manner in which interpretations added to the following sections shall apply.
I. The outcome of any 7.C trial that provides new interpretations must be included in a new sequentially numbered section, starting with the first trial in the following section.

Section II: Outcome of tack50 v Lincoln Speaker Wulfric

A. A second is only valid if it is explicitly declared to be as such.
B. Motions are considered to be legislation.
C. All references to legislation in Section 2 apply only to Bills/Acts, as defined in Section 9.B
D. Motions of No Confidence in the Chancellor shall adhere to the requirements of Section 3 where possible, except when doing so would contradict any provision the Lincoln Constitution.
E. For a second to be valid, it must occur on this forum and in the same thread as the thing being seconded
F. If a second is required for a vote to begin, the second required to begin the vote must be made before the vote can begin.
G. For a rule suspension under the auspices of Rule 7.B to be valid, the Speaker explicitly announces they are suspending the rules. Before this rule suspension can occur, the Speaker must wait until after the requisite time for objections has elapsed. A vote on suspending the rules must explicitly be declared as such during or prior to the start of that vote. A vote held on any topic other than suspending the rules can never suspend the rules under the auspices of Rule 7.B. A vote does not become exempted from the rules under the auspices of Rule 7.B just because a supermajority voted in favor of it. Any assertions to the contrary blatantly violate the plain reading of the Lincoln Council Rules and no further elaboration is required.





Be it resolved,
Bacon King
Lincoln Justice; chief judicial officer of Lincoln
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Bacon King
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2021, 11:29:46 AM »

post script: I know this is weird but I have never had so much fun writing an opinion. this was so fun. Literally dedicated the better part of two of my days off to write this thing and there couldn't have been a better way to spend the time. Maybe I'm just very starved of intellectual stimulation, but this was a refreshing change of pace


also please let me know if you see any typos I tried to proofread it but considering this is literally like 25,000 characters of text I probably missed stuff
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2021, 12:47:32 PM »

I thank the Court for its decision and, in particular, for a fascinating and comprehensive opinion, which I hope will guide the Council in avoiding these unfortunate situations in the future.
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2021, 03:08:39 PM »

post script: I know this is weird but I have never had so much fun writing an opinion. this was so fun. Literally dedicated the better part of two of my days off to write this thing and there couldn't have been a better way to spend the time. Maybe I'm just very starved of intellectual stimulation, but this was a refreshing change of pace


also please let me know if you see any typos I tried to proofread it but considering this is literally like 25,000 characters of text I probably missed stuff

"the Lincoln Court shall thereafter assume full control of the entirety of the Errata, inheriting the authority they had previously delegated to the court"

Uh...the court delegated to itself, and shall assume full control of the things it previously delegated to itself? This makes no sense.

Also..
" must wait until after the requisite time for objections has elapsed."

To confirm, does the court view this requisite time for objections as the 24 hours used in other sections? Section 7 itself doesn't provide any time frame for objections (other than, I suppose, before the Council has completely abandoned the requisite thread)...



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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2021, 05:28:55 PM »

"the Lincoln Court shall thereafter assume full control of the entirety of the Errata, inheriting the authority they had previously delegated to the court"

Uh...the court delegated to itself, and shall assume full control of the things it previously delegated to itself? This makes no sense.

oh wow that is a massive mistake, thank you for catching it! "Lincoln Court" is intended to be "Lincoln Council" there and I have edited the text accordingly.

Errata 1.F was the last thing I added in, right at the end of my final proofreading pass. As I was skimming through my description of the errata system for the last time I suddenly realized, "if the Court lost it's 7.C authority, wouldn't that make it impossible for anyone to change Section I?" So I added the line as a failsafe, granting the council the authority to change Section I in the event that the rationale for prohibiting their alteration of Section I (i.e., ensuring the results of a 7.C hearing would remain legally binding) no longer applied.

However, because I added that AFTER I was done with all the proofreading, I failed to notice my error! Thanks to your help though it has now been corrected.

Quote
" must wait until after the requisite time for objections has elapsed."

To confirm, does the court view this requisite time for objections as the 24 hours used in other sections? Section 7 itself doesn't provide any time frame for objections (other than, I suppose, before the Council has completely abandoned the requisite thread)...

The court's vagueness is deliberate, sorry Smiley I felt the issue was too far removed from any of the topics considered and discussed during this trial. Making a definitive comment would have violated the principle of judicial restraint.

7.B does not include any explicit restriction about when objections must be made. Your interpretation is certainly logical, but it is not necessarily the same interpretation that others might arrive at. I would suggest the Council consider amending the section in order to clarify the situation -- otherwise, it could end up being the topic of another 7.C hearing

Also if you do amend 7.B it would be really cool if, while you're at it, you also fixed Section 7 so its subsections were correctly listed as letters instead of numbers Grin
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tack50
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2021, 05:04:29 AM »

I thank the court for this extremely comprehensive opinion. I am surprised it is this long but if the justice had fan in writing it, I am not one to have prejudices Tongue
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Bacon King
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2021, 01:10:59 PM »

I have made a couple of slight edits to my decision. After speaking with the President last night I have clarified the restrictions on rule suspensions only apply when using rule 7.B to do so.

I have also added two new lines to Errata Section I, explaining how it works.
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