Tuesday, January 5, 2010

America is NOT a Democracy

The use of the initiative, referendum, and recall are all tools of "direct democracy," that allow the electorate to exercise legislative power independently from their republican representatives. The Supreme Court faced a challenge to the use of statewide initiatives in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912).

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion, and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence." (…)
"The initiative and the tax measure in question are repugnant to the provisions of section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which forbids a State to deny to any person within it jurisdiction the equal protection of the law."
"The initiative amendment and the tax in question, levied pursuant to a measure, passed by authority of the initiative amendment, violate the right to a republican form of government which is guaranteed by section 4, article IV, of the Federal Constitution."
"Taxation by the initiative method violates fundamental rights, and is not in accordance with 'the law of the land.' (U.S.Const., Art. VI)."
"The initiative is in contravention of a republican form of government. Government by the people directly is the attribute of a pure democracy, and is subversive of the principles upon which the republic is founded. Direct legislation is, therefore, repugnant to that form of government with which alone Congress could admit a State to the Union and which the State is bound to maintain. [Footnote 3] "
"The Federal Constitution presupposes in each State the maintenance of a republican form of government and the existence of state legislatures, to-wit: representative assemblies having the power to make the laws, and that, in each State, the powers of government will be divided into three departments: a legislature, an executive and a judiciary. One of these, the legislature, is destroyed by the initiative. [Footnote 4]"
"The provision in the Oregon constitution for direct legislation violates the provisions of the act of Congress admitting Oregon to the Union."

1 comment:

Reasonsjester said...

Outstanding find. Definitely a court case to remember.