AJEL v. State
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|AJEL v. State|
|Court||The Electorate of the Happyface State|
|Full case name||Archet Judgeship Equality League for the Equal Representation of the Oppressed High Penguin Population v. The Electorate of Happyface's Great State|
|Date decided||January 3rd, 2011|
|Judge(s) sitting||Citizens' referendum|
|Archet is subject to the whims of the government, and nothing was done wrong. The gerrymeandering of the courts in the jurisdictions of Archet can continue and be performed any time the district writers want, for any reason, or for no reason, because there is no gaurentee in law, precedent, doctrine, or constitution of any kind protecting Archet. Archet is a very sparse territory and does not need an equal representation when there is nothing of importance to represent. Lower judge rulings affirmed, no precedent written.|
Archet Judgeship Equality League v. the Electorate, known foreignly as AJEL v. State, is a court case that resulted in a colossal blow to the civil rights movement of Archet. Through HF's oddball referendum system, the highest "court" in the state ruled that Archet is "fully subject to the whims of the government" and that "the district can be drawn any way they want it to be drawn, regardless of rights".
It has led to increased hatred in Archet and has increased the call for Archetian independence.
The Constitution of the United States of Antarctica guarantees that every state has a judicial system that can be "fed into" the federal courts. It does not specify how that system is to be done, just that there must be something, and must adhere to the guaranteed judicial rights of no double jeopardy, a public and speedy trial, the right to attempt to appeal, and that all rulings must have non-forged evidence to back it up.
History has shown that this vagueness has resulted in insane judicial systems on mostly the state level. Only federal courts have a guarantee for the people to vote on their judges. Some state courts appoint, others elect, and HF State's Supreme Court is a popular referendum.
For example, West Pengolia's judicial system is broken down into the first instance, one appeal, and Penghis Khan. The judges of lower circuits of West Pengolia are appointed by, obviously, Penghis Khan, and Penghis Khan himself is the State Supreme Court. Starkly contrasting this is the strict rules and systems of Sub-Antarctica, which must have professional judges and a defined hierarchy of apportionally districted judgeships elected by the people.
The more local the judgeship, the weirder the rules. Archet is a major example of governmental insanity, in that it has a rural circuit of eighty nine judges, and only two of them are actually Archetian. Archet has several good-sized cities and can't be considered fully "rural".
While many of these judges are elected, the districts are gerrymeandered so that Archet can only effectively elect two of their own judges, and some are appointed.
This has resulted in an effective denial of judicial rights to the Archetians, who must file suit before a judge that doesn't even know what Archet is, much less how to help them dispute and interpret law. Even on appeal, Archet is funneled not to a state appeals court, but to the court of instance of a nearby city, adding a level that doesn't exist for most anyone else, further reducing rights because, again, the city-slicker judges sometimes refused to hear appeals, and when the appeals were forced in, they had no idea what to do and so struck down the Archetians.
High Penguins and Archetian citizens have considered themselves oppressed because of this, and rightfully so.
The buroughs, council, and other city lawmakers (HF State has seperate legislators) voted unanimously to form a permanent committee dedicated to campaigning against this injustice. It was called the Archetian Judgeship Equality League, or AJEL for short.
The Committee thoroughly analyzed the political field of Archet and concluded that their system stank.
They drafted up the following suggestions to be sent to the State Legislature (Archet has no devolved local/county/province legislature like most HF areas, another injustice) for approval.
- Archet deserves fair, free elections of its own judges in a circuit that is compacted to serve the Archetians only. Or, Archet deserves the right to have Archetian governments, like cities, appoint their own Archetian judges that know and care about the interests of the Archetian penguins.
- Archet deserves to, on appeal, go to state appeal circuits, not to some city-slicker court of first instance. They deserve the same appeal rights and systems as the rest of their state, and it's just discriminatory not to give it to them.
- Archet deserves, like every other county in HF State, to have its own devolved local/county legislature and a fair amount of seats in the Happyface State Legislature.
- Archet deserves a seat on the South Pole Council. (They notably wrote "Pingko is an unoccupied wasteland and has a delegate, but we, with populations of thousands, don't?! What's up with that?!")
- Happyface State should treat Archet as a state county and not a conquered territory. It should send police to so that the Archet Rangers don't have to be vigilantes. Or, Archet Rangers should become recognized police so that the cops that do show up stop arresting them for being vigilantes.
- Happyface should cater further to the interests of Archet and stop controlling them from the highest state level. Local and municipal governments above a town mayor should be permitted to convene so that Archetians may govern themselves.
- Archetians deserve the right to govern themselves to the exact same degree as every state. They either want everything governed like Archet or Archet governed like everything.
- Change the name of their first court to reflect Archet. Archet is not "whatever" or "the territory that no one remembers the name of".
- Failure to comply with these simple demands, they wrote, would lead to extreme unrest and the possibility of secession, independence movements, or armed confrontation.
They were ignored. The legislature didn't even consider the bill, despite unanimous support from Archet.
Furious, the AJEL decided to excercise their Constitutional rights. The judges were to be supreme to all other branches, USA law dictates, so they were correct in assuming that judges could force, by injunction, the HF Legislature to grant the above petition effect as a law.
So it began.
Naturally, the case began in the official court of first instance: their eighty nine panel First Rural Court of Instance for the Territory That, for Smile's Sake, We Can't Remember the Name Of, or, as most called it, First Rural Court of Instance for Whatever. It's notation is R1-?, the question mark being Archet (but no one knew that).
The attorneys, district and otherwise, for the AJEL made a case for their rights. Outlining their rich history, diversity, uniqueness, and importance, they pleaded the eighty nine judge panel to allow the local provisions of their petition to be enacted, within their power. That would mean that the court would have to disband and be redistricted, drawn by Archetian flipper, this time with the force of law.
The judges, not wanting to give up their job, reviewed the case and issued their opinion, a majority of 79-10. The two Archetian judges wrote a separate, far harsher dissent from the other eight.
|“|| The plaintiff has not presented any real evidence to the Court that their judicial, legislative, or executive governments need to be changed on any level higher than what they have, nor have they proven to us that they are not a conquered territory. Archee- that's its name, right? -Archee was won by the Happyface State's military back when the Sovereign reigned supreme, and the status did not change when King Happyface abdicated and ceded the realm to the United States of Antarctica.
Conquered territories are always subject to the whim of their rulers and do not need franchisement beyond what the ruler sees fit as giving to them. The districting, and our jobs, are constitutional because there isn't anything in any Constitution saying that we can't do this. Further, we don't intend to write legal precedent changing that. Archet is a territory, and a terrioty it will be.
No changes will be made.
— R1-? majority
|“||We have no idea what these penguins are or why they're in our court. They seem to be representing an improperly governed territory, and as neutral arbitrators and authors of the law, we should give them the tools they need to be free, happy, and productive citizens of this great state and of the USA.||”|
— R1-?, the eight judges' majority dissent (the two Archetian judges had their own dissent.)
|“||This court has an endless track record of denying Archetians the basic right to participate in their government. Once again, they have chosen to disregard evidence and have committed the gravest of judicial activism. You'd might as well send in the army. What are we but a conquered realm without right, ruled by our vigilante rangers, ungoverned, and unloved. When will this end? ...perhaps the only chance we have is secession!!||”|
— R1-?, two Archetian judges' separate dissent
AJEL appealed and the case was granted a hearing on the next level.
The municipal court that receives Archet cases is the First Municipal Court of Enderby City. Though the court had nine judges, a panel of three was selected to hear Archet's case.
There, the High Penguins again pleaded for representation, this time adding the demands on their petition that could be met on this level. They begged the judges to overturn the lower court and treat the Archetians like citizens, not subjects.
However, the court shocked the Archetians with a worse blow than the Rural circuit under them. The defense (the State) called Judgement as a Matter of Law, or JMOL. This means that they were claiming that the plaintiff (AJEL) does not have enough evidence to bring a lawsuit in the first place. The judges agreed and dismissed the case without a trial.
It seemed that the case was done. Archet was doomed, becuase that was the only evidence they had...
Seperation of powers blurs in the HF State when it comes to the Governor and the judiciary. The Governor reserves the right to force a retrial on any state court that isn't the Supreme Court, be it by advancing the lawsuit or by trial de novo, sending it to another court on the same level.
Happyface414, the governor of the state at the time, was not present to rule, nor had he been for ages. When HF left, he had given the position over to his Lieutenant Governor (AKA vice governor), Trudat7, who, as Acting Governor, performed all of the duties of the Governor.
Trudat was an intelligent penguin that knew of Archet's plight and secretly disliked the way the state conducted it. However, HF State law forbids the Lieutenant Governor, even acting as the Governor, to "meddle" with Archet or Archetian manners going through any appelate court or any courts with direct jurisdiction over it, as was specified in their annexation treaty. Trudat found a loophole that was ironically in the very system designed to disenfranchise Archet. Enderby was not in Archet, so he could intervene, despite the fact that the case had Archetian plaintiffs and was Archetian in manner. See, 1M-Enderby was a court of first instance, too, but served a special purpose for Archet. It wasn't their court or the traditional sense of "appealate".
This loophole enabled Trudat to use his gubernatorial power of "trial hijacking" to kick AJEL v. State upstairs.
The case moved onwards to the Second District State Court of Appeals.
Using their second chance wisely, the Archetians gathered more evidence and also Freezelandian testimonies to their rights to present to the single-judge court, ppresided by Judge Collio01. Updating their demands to what this court could control, the case resumed.
Unfortunately, the judge didn't know what Archet was. At all. (Another fine example of why Archet needs court reform.) The defendants had a field day with this, telling the Judge biased facts like "Archet is a conquered territory" and "Archet's people have a fine court system" and other such nonsense.
Judge Coolio, however, deemed that he was unfit to judge this case because he had "no real idea what Archet was". He couldn't rule in favor or against something that he had no idea as to what it was.
The case was dismissed summarily.
Once again, Archet lost... -but that's when things got interesting.
Call to the People (SC-HF)
The State Constitution of the former kingdom reads:
|“|| In the interests and furthering the common good, be it resolved that, in cases criminal, the main justice representtative is the people. The Citizenry shall, as the Legislature so prescribes, get together in the court house- a People's Forum -and discuss if the criminal arrested shall be detained. An impartial arbitrator shall maintain order and allow each party to defend themselves, but shall not infringe the rights of the People to vote a guilty or innocent verdict, nor infringe their sentance of choice. Civil courts and injunctions as performed by the Anenxxor shall be conducted by judge alone.
In all manners of court, the highest state judicial power shall be vested in the People. A Supreme Electorate Forum, consisting of Three Registrars appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature, shall hear the case and write an Opinion. The Majority Opinion shall then be presented to the People, where, by majority vote, they shall Affirm or Deny the judgement.
— State Constitution of the Happyface State
This means that State Supreme Court rulings must be approved by the citizens of the Happyface State. Archet's fate was going to the hands of penguins that knew nothing about them... AGAIN.
The Supreme Electorate Forum is required to hear all cases that appeal to it. There is no choice in the matter.
AJEL appealed to the Registrars, and the trial began. Archet's side pitched the same arguments with passion and evidence, but to no avail. The Registrars knew about Archet, but were appointed by Happyface before he left. They had simiolar anti-Archet opinions, seeing them as a conquered territory, and in a 3-0 decision, sided with the defendents. Archet's structure was not going to be changed.
They did not rule on the Parliament issue or the sovereignty issue, or even if Archet was a territory. They only sent the district stuff and the mayor stuff to the Masses.
Per their requirements, the Registrars drafted the title and question of the ballot. Reading it over, the AJEL approved of its wording and sent it to the voters, hoping for a miracle.
The ballot read:
:Shall the Courts, acting in their power as defined by the USA's Constitution, compel the Happyface State to redraw the judicial seats, rewrite the court composition, and otherwise change the governance of the Territory of Archet, with the Archetians themselves doing the drawing? Shall, in doing this, Archet be permitted to have its court districts compacted to its territory, and have its appeals process redirected to the Appeals circuitry instead of sidestepping to the First Municipal Court of Enderby City? Shall, in persuence to these, Archet be permitted to have its own County Government, and a municipal/city government that is larger than one Mayor and three council penguins, and shall the State Legislature treat Archet as a district, in that it receives Autonomy to make legislation, instead of maintaining direct control?
Ninety percent of the State voted "NO". The Registrar's decision was to be upheld, and Archet was to remain exactly as it was.
For the next several weeks, the AJEL pled for the federal courts to hear their case, hoping to trump the state and the vote of its citizens.
They all refused, and the rest... was history.
The case was over, and Archet lost.
Archetians were outraged at this case, and the Archetian Independent Party quickly overtook the Archetian National Party in approval ratings. More and more Archetians began to realize that Archet could not remain in the Happyface State. Factions debated, though, as to whether or not Archet should push to rejoin Freezeland, or become their own nation.
Criticism of the case
Large amounts of criticism came from civil rights' groups and from Freezeland. Mainly, they agreed that Archet was oppressed and not represented in their own government, in all levels and branches of it.