Reader responds to pair of writings

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2008

On Feb. 11, the Peninsula Clarion contained two articles by local constitutional scholars.

Regarding Mr. Bird's Voices of the State, I too, am perplexed by how our U.S. Supreme Court is constituted and operated. Since the U.S. legal system seems to be based on adjudicated precedents in case law (eg, Roe vs. Wade), and since our U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to be the last word on U.S. Constitutional Rule of Law, I've always wondered what allows the Supreme Court to make a decision under presidents "A," "B" or "C" and, sometime later, a different set of justices might overturn that decision under presidents "D," "E" or "F," who may have appointed some of those new justices and whose religion, politics and/or policies differ substantially from those of presidents "A," "B" or "C."

Logic tells me, if we have consistency in the application of Constitutional law (the foundation of the U.S .Rule of Law), then the rationale for any Supreme Court decision would be made on the same basis, whenever those decisions are made and would be enduring decisions.

Also, those decisions would not be based on any religious belief or political policy, per se, but rather on a strict interpretation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and appropriate, pertinent already adjudicated case law.

Then we have an LTE dissertation on the Alaska Constitution and term limits by Mr. McBride. I am not a constitutional scholar, but I don't have to be one to understand the principle of "ex post facto laws"(EPFL).

However, (Googled) Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution says, among other things, "no state shall pass an ex post facto law." An EPFL is defined as a law passed after the occurrence of an event, which retroactively changes the legal consequences of that event" eg, previous elections?

Consecutive term limits for elected officials, per se, are not illegal.

Three examples are: 1) U.S. president; 2) Alaska governor; and 3) KPB mayor. Two consecutive terms are allowed for each.

As I understand the problem with the ACT 2007 term limits petition vote for the KPB School Board and KPB Assembly members, it resulted in an EPFL, i.e., the resulting retroactive provisions of the petition.

With some modification, the petition might be passed again, but why bother? The Alaska Constitution also provides for the repeal of enacted citizen petition laws, by the Legislature (and by the KPB Assembly?) two years after enactment.

When control of the assembly and the school board memberships is already at the discretion of the KPB voters, why bother with a costly, labor-intensive new term limits petition for a new law of questionable long-term duration?

Richard Hahn


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