What do you know of/about the US Constitution?

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,866
US
For me, having one party in control at a time is a premise for those who enjoy big government, that is "getting things done," whatever that is. As messy as things can get with turmoil and gridlock, it is a recipe to limit government. When there is really some issue of utmost importance - for the god of the nation - to be accomplished government comes together to get things done. Please note the preamble to the Constitution:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
I am searching my historical recollection for governments of the 20th century founded on either de jure or de facto (eg one-party state) elimination of separation of powers.
Most European governments today do not have separation of powers as that term is understood in the US. Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, and Greece are the ones I just checked and they all use the Westminster System or a slight variation thereof. France is a curious hybrid. They have a strong independent president who handles foreign policy, but they also have a PM who sits in the legislature and handles all things domestic.

The American model is more common in the Western Hemisphere, Canada being an exception. India and Japan both Westminster, meaning they have no separation of powers.

Maybe it's a matter of definitions. How do you define separation of powers?

I'd also like to know your definition of one party rule. To me one party rule is what they had in the Soviet Union - the Communist Party and no other parties were allowed. I can't count the number of times I've said that the Westminster system is a multiparty democracy.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
Maybe it's a matter of definitions. How do you define separation of powers?
How I would define it, would depend on the context. At first blush, I am reminded of Thomas Jefferson, and would extend one of his (many) principles as - separation of power is when the people have more guns than the politicians. :)
Another form of separation is so-called "state's rights" and a "limited" central government.

In the context of your question, I'd define separation of power as an antithesis or opposite of one-party or one-man rule, both on some continuous scale; the opposite of "L' etat, c'est moi" the opposite of one "branch" being able to force the other two into subservience. Separation of power makes one have to win by persuasion and not by force.

In the context of one of your earlier posts, you might say separation of powers is a design to perpetuate gridlock. :)
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
In Constitutional law, separation of powers means that Congress can't give orders to military officers because that's the president's job as commander in chief. The president can't strike down a law on Constitutional grounds because only the judiciary is allowed to do that. The judiciary can not appropriate money. Only Congress can do that. So when I say that to convert the US to a westminster system of government we first must eliminate the independent presidency and transfer those powers to the speaker of the house, that's an end to separation of powers because powers previously wielded by the executive branch are now wielded by the legislative branch. It works just fine in Britain. When I read about the Falkland Islands War, it's always Margaret Thatcher, a member of Parliament, who's giving orders to the military. The Queen, who is the nominal commander-in-chief, is never mentioned. I assume the Queen's function as commander-in-chief is just as ceremonial as her other functions.

Using your definition we're back to ground we already covered several times already. You prefer a government where power is so difused that little can get done while I prefer a government where for the sake of efficiency power is slightly less difused. If an American prime minister brought a bill to the lower house, the minority party can still discuss it, and try to marshal popular opposition to the bill, just like they can now. Just like now, the minority party might also try to slow down the legislation by using a trick of parliamentary procedure such as avoiding a quorum or a filibuster (if the lower house had filibusters). If the bill passes the lower house, it then goes to the upper house where the PM has much less influence. If the bill passes Congress and becomes law (because there's no longer a president who can veto it) the law is still subject to our independent judiciary. I'm not proposing changing that. And a PM is always thinking about re-election. He or she will not pass a law that's too controversial if it will cost his or her party too many votes. Plenty of checks and balances still in place.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
Using your definition we're back to ground we already covered several times already. You prefer a government where power is so difused
Don't think for a second that I didn't know you were laying a passive-aggressive trap, whereby you would cheerfully ask me define something, and then criticize the answer. I hope you feel better now. :)

As to the substance, if it actually matters (and I don't think it does), you should ask me what I prefer rather than try to tell me. What I prefer doesn't exist, nor will I live to see it - and don't cast any votes trying to get it. The only relief I seek has to come from a(n honest) federal judge. And after 15 years of trying, I doubt I am going to live to see one of those.

"Plenty of checks and balances still in place"
To reprise a Code Blue Oldie There is only one form of government - the few rule the many. IMO, the details are less important than the nature of those individuals who are prone to seek office, and those who win out against the other office-seekers. Now to bastardize Madison - if there were angels in government, you would not need to fret over the details Given who is in government, it is waste of time to fret over the details. I think almost all of them would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven, and those who don't fit that, better not make too much trouble..

All that said, the opening post is about our knowledge of the US Constitution, which for me, comes in three phases: original, post 14th Amendment, and post-Constitution state-of-emergency government. I don't mind addressing any of your issues against that backdrop.
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
I wasn't trying to trap you. We were using different definitions and it's impossible to have a conversation that way. I was just trying to get us on the same page. If you saw a trap, why did you step into it?

If I've erroneously summarized your position, I'm glad to have you correct me. Again that's just me trying to hammer out where we stand so we're on the same page. If this conversation is to continue, we have to be on the same page or else we're having two different conversations again.

I'm still not clear on what you want if it's not difused power. If you could find an honest judge, what would you ask him or her to rule?

This deep into a thread I feel no obligation to stick to the OP. Every thread wanders off track eventually. If people respond to what I say, I'll probably keep the conversation going because I assume people are interested. If no one responds, that means no one cares.
 
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Oct 2018
21
New Joisey
What do you know about the U.S. Constitution? What are your favorite/not favorite parts in it? More importantly, do you think our leaders within the country obey it? What do you think their biggest challenges that they struggle with?
It was ratified in 1788 and replaced the Articles of Confederation. I think some leaders obey it more that others <cough cough> second amendment <cough cough>. I also think it’s interesting how liberal and progressive the constitution was for it’s day.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
I'm still not clear on what you want if it's not difused power.
Like they say in Rom-Com movies - it's not you, it's me. :)
To be courteous, I am going to give you an answer and be completely candid - though you will probably find it obtuse and evasive. I am not thinking inside any box that you are likely to recognize. I am sure you have noticed. No one on the forum thinks the way I do.

I want what I believe everyone wants. Search your soul and be honest with yourself about whether this is what you want also. I want a good king: one whose wisdom will bring bounty to the land, peace and prosperity to the righteous, and whose anger will bring swift, harsh judgement to the wicked.

Ben Franklin recognized that a good king is what people want. The 12 tribes of Israel had a federal republic as a gift from God, and they begged Samuel for a king. A good and perfect king is what the Bible promises, after the final war - and how many have taken comfort from that?

However, since the chances of ending up with a bad king instead a good king are about a million-to-one, I'd be willing to have the form of "diffuse" government that is my birthright, and that is why, in the real world, I need one honest judge, so I can get back the rest of what is mine.
 
Oct 2018
181
Adelaide south Australia
Can you give more details or give an example of why you dislike preferential voting?
I dislike preferential voting because it's not uncommon for a person , or indeed a government to be elected on preferences:

Say I vote for my candidate. He does not have enough 'primary votes' (number one on the ballot paper) Then his preference kick in. There are some very strange bedfellows as a result of preferences. It also means that a government can be elected with well under 50% of the popular vote.

If the US used our system, Trump could never have been elected; he would first have to be elected to a seat in parliament in his own right, and THEN be voted leader of his party by elected party members. That person usually is not only a sitting member, but is already head of his party going into an election.

Below is a link to a video about Australian preferential voting. The video was made by SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) which is like the Ameriacn PBS.

Explainer: What is preferential voting?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
I dislike preferential voting because it's not uncommon for a person , or indeed a government to be elected on preferences:
Say I vote for my candidate. He does not have enough 'primary votes' (number one on the ballot paper) Then his preference kick in. There are some very strange bedfellows as a result of preferences. It also means that a government can be elected with well under 50% of the popular vote.
In France they almost always have two elections a couple of weeks apart. In the first round every party runs a candidate. Because there are so many candidates running, it almost never happens that one of them wins a majority. So in the second round, only the top two finishers in the first round are allowed to run. Anyone who voted for a candidate who finished lower than second must now vote for one of the top two finishers. Yes, it means that some people no longer get to vote for their favorite candidate or party, but at least you can vote for your second choice. That's better than having no say at all.

It sounds like the Australian system is similar but instead of having to go to the polls a second time the election officials vote for you applying your list of second, third, fourth choice, etc.

In an American election where no candidate gets a majority of votes we either apply the French system and eliminate the third place candidate from the second round election, or we award victory to the candidate with a plurality of votes even if that's not a majority. If it's important for the winning candidate to have a majority of votes, then I like the Australian system because it saves the bother of having to go to the polls a second time. Would you prefer a system like the French with only two candidates in the second round? The Australian system preserves the theoretical possibility that a third or fourth place candidate might get enough votes in the subsequent rounds to win. The French system assumes the third place candidate can not possibly win the second round.
 

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