IPFS Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

More About: Vin Suprynowicz's Columns Archive


Let us suppose those oil stocks you bought went through the roof, you invented a better mousetrap, or the Megabucks machine finally decided to line up just right. Imagine, in other words, you’re suddenly a millionaire with a new house so big you need to hire domestic help.

You tell your new maid and cook what kind of menus you prefer, and what time you expect your meals. At first, they do as instructed. But before long you notice they’re not serving what you like at all, and meal times are straying further and further from those you requested.

You call them in for a chat. One or two slip-ups because the casserole caught fire are one thing, you say, but this is getting out of hand. You’re the boss. This is what you want. Can they handle it?

No, you’re told. Such picayune stuff as what dishes are to be served and at what times of day are “rule making decisions” and “administrative details.” Your authority over them “does not extend to such administrative matters.”

What do you do? Back off and say, “Oh well?” Schedule some group therapy at which you can all vent your feelings and frustrations? If you’re one of today’s “compassionate liberals,” I suppose you might.

But the correct answer is to give these deluded cretins the heave-ho, and promptly hire replacements who get the picture.

In England and in most of the world as the founders knew it in the late 1700s, governments were established by military conquerors, who then established dynasties on the model of the Pharaohs, claiming a “divine right” to kill any peasant who displeased them, or even to (honest) invade a peasant’s wedding, grab the bride if she seemed attractive, haul her back to the castle, and see to it that the eldest child raised by that couple would actually be the illegitimate offspring of the lord of the manor.

The king awarded various parcels of land to sundry dukes and earls, who divvied them up among the lesser nobility, who in turn could tell each peasant where to live, where they were allowed to hunt and fish, and how much tax they’d pay for the privilege.

That didn’t go over real well with the kind of folks who broke the American wilderness to the plow. On this continent, they declared in a document which remains a binding legal precedent (and any elected office-holder who says otherwise should be hanged for treason) that “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” for one purpose: to “secure the rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Earlier drafts said “life, liberty, and property,” which the founders held to be pretty much the same thing, though this final version was considered a bit more expansive.)

See the difference? Here in America, the government does not decide whether the common folk shall live or die. Rather, the common folk decide whether the government shall live or die. As Jefferson and the fellows put it, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

We formed the government. We hired its officers, who remain our servants. We gave them instruction manuals, in the form of one federal and several state constitutions. We tell them what time the meals shall be served. If it starts to seem our instructions were insufficiently detailed, we retain the right to amend those constitutions to firm up our rules for them in any way we see fit.

Fast forward to 2006. The Nevada Supreme Court takes under consideration the People’s Initiative to Stop the Taking of Our Lands -- better known as “PISTOL” -- written and promoted by local eminent domain attorney Kermitt Waters and retired District Court Judge Don Chairez, who’s now leading in the polls in his run for state attorney general.

But the judges don’t like PISTOL. Oh no. The initiative declares “All property rights are ... fundamental,” and “Government actions which result in substantial economic loss to private property shall require the payment of just compensation” -- the latter echoing the U.S. Supreme Court in its “Lucas” decision.

Oh good heavens. That would “create a broad new class of fundamental rights,” the Nevada justices shrieked back on Sept. 8.

Only because they haven’t been enforcing our property rights as they should have, of course, preferring to allow their political cronies to tell us what we can do with our own property -- and then charge us “property taxes” to pay the thugs who come out to “inspect” us.

Armed with a newly minted state statute dictating that such initiative questions must deal with a “single subject,” the court ruled three weeks ago that those two portions of the initiative must be “severed.”

There’s even a precedent. A decade back, when Nevadans decided to install term limits, the justices decided they didn’t want term limits for themselves. So they “severed” term limits for judges from the rest of the question, requiring Nevadans to vote on the two questions separately. Campaigning hard against term limits for the courts, the judges managed to defeat the “severed” half of the question which would have affected them, although the other half passed. (Though you’d never know it, given how its clear language has since been “interpreted.”)

So, last month, the court did the same thing to “PISTOL.” They “severed” sections 1 and 8, the parts about “fundamental constitutional rights” and “just compensation.”

Ergo, when we go to the polls in November, we’ll be able to vote for the half of the PISTOL referendum that the judges left “un-severed” under its initial designation, Question 2. And the other half, the part that used to be sections 1 and 8? That “severed” part is now on the ballot as a separate question, that being Question number ... wait a minute. I’m sure it’s here, somewhere.

Nope. Violating even its own crooked, self-serving precedent from the term limits case, the Nevada Supreme Court didn’t place the “severed” parts of Question 2 -- OK’d by 137,000 Nevada petition signers (far more than required) -- anywhere on the ballot, at all. They just threw them away!

Meantime, three other sections of the PISTOL question -- Sections 3, 9, and 10, voiding secret or “unpublished” court decisions; barring senior judges such as the vampiric Deborah Agosti who continue to serve forever despite refusing to ever face the voters for re-election; and allowing a property owner trying to keep his land to disqualify one crooked or prejudiced judge -- were also dumped for displeasing the justices. Why? Because we, their bosses, are not allowed to “dictate administrative details” or meddle in “rule making decisions,” they declared. Our powers to amend the constitution “do not extend to administrative matters.”

Says who? Why, the Nevada Supreme Court, in their own previous decision “Train Trench Vote v. Reno”! To “prove” they have the power to limit us (their employers) from clarifying and further restricting their conditions of employment, they cite the fact they’ve done it before, and have not yet been hanged!

The cook and the maid have decided that what kinds of food we’ll eat and when they’re to be served are “rule making decisions” and “administrative details” -- that our authority over them “does not extend to such administrative matters.”

Arrogance seems too pale a term, here. Finding that they use such “procedural” methods as secret, unpublished decisions and the assignment of unelected “senior judges” to thwart law and justice, the people have every right to wade in and set things to rights, going so far as to instruct them on the point size of their printing, if we find it necessary. If we wish to amend the constitution to instruct the justices to sing all their rulings in the key of B-flat while wearing purple G-strings and standing on one foot, it is within our power to do so, whether they think that’s “intruding on their prerogatives” or not. The servant has one option if he or she doesn’t like the conditions of employment: Quit.

This insurrection can and must be squashed. We can fire them all for starters, and dissolve the court entirely should we find it necessary. Is that “administrative” enough for you?

Our servants, the deluded cretins Nancy Becker and Michael Douglas, have forgotten who’s the boss. On Nov. 7, we have our opportunity to give them the heave-ho, and start the process of hiring replacements who get the picture.

A good and wise second step, since there now appears to be an entire class of individuals living in our midst who think they’re our bosses, would be to instruct our delegates in Carson City to enact legislation barring any “member of the bar” from ever again serving on our highest court.

Or have we imported some class of European aristocracy, with “esquires” after their names, to lay down the rules for us, to tell us we must doff our caps and bow and scrape and ask their permission to hunt in the woods or fish in the creek, and how dare we object if a good if inconveniently undead friend of theirs wishes to hear cases forever without bothering to run for re-election?

Uppity vassals! Down! Down on your knees when you seek permission to address this court!