An Observation

Those who are outraged by a single county clerk in Kentucky might be reminded that those who put so much everyday power in the unelected governmental agencies and agents that are basically unstoppable and unchecked … should be feeling a little abashed right now.

Consequences of the fulfillment of your desires. You’ve got ’em in spades.

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5 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    So let’s think about ‘uncheckable local officials’. How might we deal with, say, a clerk in the fish and wildlife department who has decided to only issue fisihing licenses to people he likes. Well we would point out that his job is to issue licenses based on whatever the rules are in the area for fishing licenses, then fire him the next time he deviates from that job requirement.

    That seems very simple. Someone doesn’t want to do their job, they get fired. Done. It would only be an outrage if someone invented some convoluted new idea of religious freedom that said local officials could change the rules however they please to comply with any fancies they might label ‘personal religious beliefs’.

    Of course there could still be trouble. The rules might be outrageous or enforcement could be very petty. But it seems to me a starting point for any discussion of checking the power of local officials is agreement that they must abide by rules whether they like it or not. If you can’t line up behind that you have nothing to contribute to the discussion.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    So let’s think about ‘uncheckable local officials’. How might we deal with, say, a clerk in the fish and wildlife department who has decided to only issue fisihing licenses to people he likes. Well we would point out that his job is to issue licenses based on whatever the rules are in the area for fishing licenses, then fire him the next time he deviates from that job requirement.

    Well, back here on earth there is actually little that can be done when a public official decides to screw you over. See these two stories (follow the first two links in the linked piece and the the third for a second persons story).

    Look you’ve said that it is in the DA/law enforcement’s purview to enforce the laws, not as written, but as they feel like it. Guess what, that clerk is following your personal view on how law is to be enacted by the state. Alas, when it isn’t to your liking alas, you disagree. Odd that.

    But it seems to me a starting point for any discussion of checking the power of local officials is agreement that they must abide by rules whether they like it or not.

    I agree. You alas, do not.

  3. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Someone doesn’t want to do their job, they get fired. Done.

    She’s probably in a union. Remember all the teachers collecting pay in NYC and Chicago because they were so bad the district(s) wanted to fire them, but can’t because of union rules. More things you support that are horrific, eh?

  4. Boonton says:

    Well, back here on earth there is actually little that can be done when a public official decides to screw you over.

    Then you should applaud the story of the clerk. She is ordered to follow the rules or go to jail. Are you applauding this check on abuse by local gov’t workers? I’m not sure from your tone.

    Look you’ve said that it is in the DA/law enforcement’s purview to enforce the laws, not as written, but as they feel like it

    Prosecutorial discretion is well understood and part of our legal tradition for centuries. It only applies to the enforcement of laws. The cop is not obligated to pull over every person he sees speeding. He is not, however, allowed to makeup his own speed limit and issue tickets to violators. As you may have noticed in our system both the Legislature and Executive are elected positions. Both the writing and execution of laws are equally important for a democratic check.

    She’s probably in a union. Remember all the teachers collecting pay in NYC and Chicago because they were so bad the district(s) wanted to fire them, but can’t because of union rules.

    Those are mini-trials where the district accuses a teacher of wrongdoing, they deny it, and as a result they set a hearing date far in the future forcing the teacher to report to the ‘rubber room’ every day or quite in frustration before that. They could be eliminated tomorrow if management set up immediate hearing dates.

    Fortunately it is a lot easier to fire someone when they clearly decide to stop doing their jobs. If you were a NYC teacher and you decided to stop showing up for your classes, it wouldn’t take years for your paychecks to stop.

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Then you should applaud the story of the clerk.

    You, by all rights, should be supporting her actions. Are you? It’s unclear from your tone.

    The cop is not obligated to pull over every person he sees speeding. He is not, however, allowed to makeup his own speed limit and issue tickets to violators.

    But he is not allowed to announce that no speeders will ever be pulled over (see “immigration safe zone cities”). This is a direct comparison to the clerk’s actions. If you applaud the one, you must by rights, applaud both (if you wish to be a person governed by principles).

    They could be eliminated tomorrow if management set up immediate hearing dates.

    Untrue.

    If you were a NYC teacher and you decided to stop showing up for your classes, it wouldn’t take years for your paychecks to stop.

    But if you decided to teach poorly, alas, you can’t ever be fired. The clerk didn’t “stop” showing up. She has not stopped working, just refused to do one thing, which isn’t the same. And she is an elected official.

    According to your stated position then, the “election” check and balance is the one you’d prefer, not jailing.

    Then you should applaud the story of the clerk. She is ordered to follow the rules or go to jail. Are you applauding this check on abuse by local gov’t workers? I’m not sure from your tone.

    She hasn’t been ordered to “follow the rules or go to jail” by anyone in position to do so. The rules a federal judge can issue “follow or jail” consist of are those rules which are federal statutes. She hasn’t broken any federal statutes. He has not “standing” to jail her for contempt. She has only broken state statutes. A state judge or official is in position to stop her. They haven’t. Having a federal judge do this is in violation of Constitutionally insured states rights.

    I’m not applauding the clerk. I’m condemning people exactly like you for your hypocrisy. You want the laws enforced by the discretion and personal beliefs of the agents of the law. On the one hand you think it is right for some official to completely ignore some laws. Yet when someone else does it in a way you don’t like … that! that is WRONG! No. It is no more wrong on the one hand than the other. You think that is “part of our legal tradition for centuries”. And you didn’t read the links I gave you about other examples of enforcement/bureaucratic malpractice. You keep wanting to grant the government more and more powers yet are aghast when people given those powers don’t do exactly what you want. This is not an unintended consequence. It is intentional and predictable.