Monday, May 18, 2009

Stevens, Hacker Vote To Reject Wrights Appeal

On Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Dr. Tom Stevens was the only member of the Judicial Committee voting against it having "subject matter jurisdiction" over the fourth question posed in the amended appeal of R. Lee Wrights to the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party. That fourth question was, "Does a lapse in dues require a ‘for cause’ removal described in Article 8, Section 5?" After the Judicial Committee voted it had "subject matter jurisdiction" over the question, it voted 5 to 2 to accept the appeal (Bennett, Cobb, Nicks, Nolan & Sarwark voting to accept the appeal; Stevens & Hacker voting against accepting the appeal).

Before voting against accepting the Wrights appeal on the question of whether "a lapse in dues requires a "for cause" removal described in Article 8, Section 5", Dr. Stevens made a number of points regarding the reasoning behind his vote.

1. The appeal of R. Lee Wrights does not state any particular relief sought from the Judicial Committee. Hence it is inappropriate to accept the appeal when the Judicial Committee isn't being asked to do anything except issue an opinion as to what it thinks could be included in a "for cause" suspension under Article 8, Section 5. Since no "for cause" "suspension" took place under Article 8, Section 5, the appeal raises a speculative and hypothetical question.

2. Even if we implied that the relief sought by R. Lee Wrights was reinstatement, the Judicial Committee cannot order that since he was not "suspended" in accordance with the provisions of Article 8, Section 5 of the Libertarian Party Bylaws.

3. Since the remedy under Article 8, Section 5 is reinstatement, even if a claim was stated upon which relief could be granted, the issue is moot since R. Lee Wrights has already been re-appointed to serve as an At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee.

4. The appeal language speaks of whether "a lapse in dues requires a "for cause" removal described in Article 8, Section 5" of the bylaws. No such "for cause" removal can be found in Article 8, Section 5. Only a suspension "for cause" is referenced in that section.

5. The Judicial Committee cannot and should not be in the business of issuing advisory opinions.

In light of the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party voting to accept subject matter jurisdiction over the fourth question posed by R. Lee Wrights and voting to accept the appeal, a hearing on the matter will soon be scheduled. Despite Dr. Stevens voting against the Judicial Committee having jurisdiction on the issue and his voting against hearing the appeal, he will, nevertheless, fully participate in the upcoming hearing and vote as he deems appropriate.

In Liberty,

Dr. Tom Stevens
Judicial Committee Member
Libertarian Party

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