Statement from the LP Judicial Committee Regarding Wrights

Date: May 1, 2009 5:01 AM
Subject: Statement from the Libertarian Party Judicial Committee

The consensus of the Judicial Committee is that there is no automatic
removal or suspension of Libertarian National Committee members under
Bylaws Article 8, section 4. The ability to remove or suspend an
At-large member must either be done for cause under Article 8, section
5, paragraph 1, with a 2/3 vote of the entire Committee or
automatically under Article 8, section 5, paragraph 3.

Our consensus is that Mr. Wrights is still a member of the National
Committee. We understand that mail ballots are taking place regarding
this issue. Our further action is dependent on the outcome of these
ballots.

Ruth E. Bennett
Chair
Judicial Committee

43 thoughts on “Statement from the LP Judicial Committee Regarding Wrights

  1. Michael H. Wilson

    Simple common sense is what is needed and now we have some with this decision.

    Thanks to all.

    MW

  2. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Further clarification from Ruth B.:

    [I]t is premature to say that the Judicial Committee has made a ruling at this time. We have expressed a line of thinking shared by every member of the Judicial Committee. At this point, we are waiting on the mail ballots before the LNC.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    It’s still good news. Assuming that the existing consensus of the Judicial Committee holds, it amounts to notice that if the LNC fails to correct itself, the Judicial Committee will correct it.

  4. Rocky Eades

    Which mail ballots are Ruth referring to? I know there were mail ballots out to “elect” a replacement for Lee given the contention that he had been removed by the computer printout.

    Are there mail ballots out on the issue of removal? If that’s it, why would Redpath, et al have to ask for a vote on removal if they believed their earlier action to be legal and valid?

  5. Nicholas Sarwark

    I have heard that there was a challenge to the ruling of the Chair that Mr. Wrights was removed, that the Chair ruled that out of order, and that there is presently an appeal against the ruling of the Chair.

    Perhaps someone can contact their LNC member to get confirmation or clarification on that.

  6. George Phillies

    I am advised that there is a motion appealing the decision of the chair, and that it is current losing, and that there is also a motion now being voted upon to fill the alleged vacancy allegedly created by Mr. Wrights’ alleged departure by appointing to the vacancy: Lee Wrights.

  7. Erik Geib

    Are there perhaps mail bailouts used by the judiciary committee since they all its members don’t live in the same city?

  8. Erik Geib

    I understand that, but do they need paper ballots (not bailouts, as I typo-ed earlier- lol) for official rulings, maybe? In the business world you can agree to things by e-mail, but you generally still have to sign physical paperwork (save for electronic signatures). Just a thought.

  9. Michael Seebeck

    I can speculate forever, but I think most likely this is what will happen:

    1. Appeal of ruling of the chair fails, meaning that the body thinks that the motion was out of order without commenting on what happened.
    2. Motion to appoint Wrights to his own seat passes.
    3. JudComm issues its report undoing the whole thing, leaving Wrights in his seat, never vacated, which overturns the action of the Secretary to remove and the body to reappoint.

  10. Michael Seebeck

    Erik,

    the petitions are not the mail ballots of the LNC. Different thing. The petitions were to appeal by the delegates and sustaining members to overturn the actions regarding Wrights.

    Hope that sorts it out. :)

  11. Joe

    >> issues its report undoing the whole thing, leaving Wrights in his seat, never vacated, which overturns the action of the Secretary to remove and the body to reappoint.<<

    Thank God we’re finally getting something productive done to advance the cause of Liberty and leave our children and their progeny grateful to us for our wisdom, insight and heartfelt dedication and self-sacrifice to their well being.

    (Or if not self-sacrifice, the selfish holding of their freedom and possible future gratitude toward us as of value.)

  12. libertariangirl

    and that there is also a motion now being voted upon to fill the alleged vacancy allegedly created by Mr. Wrights’ alleged departure by appointing to the vacancy: Lee Wrights.

    I like the old Lee Wrights , who knows what this new guy might try and pull.

  13. Rachel H

    Knapp re-opened the petitions. We’ll keep collecting sigs until the JudComm returns, I think.

    But they’ve been submitted to JudComm . . .

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    No, Knapp didn’t re-open the petitions.

    First of all, it’s not petitions, it’s petition. The only one I’m administering is the delegate petition. Someone else is doing the member petition.

    Secondly, I can’t re-open the delegate petition without the assistance of PetitionOnline’s staff, which I’ve not requested, since I see no need to re-open a petition which has already clearly exceeded its required number of signers.

    Regards,
    Tom

  15. Jim Davidson

    @15 These seem like a good set of steps, Michael. At the end of any or all of them, Lee Wrights remains on the LNC. A good result.

    However, it does not seem to me to end there, and I definitely don’t agree with Peter @23 that the LP should “move on” and forget about this situation. The secretary and the chair have done very bad things here, improper things.

    You guys moved on and left the same evil people in place after the Angela Keaton fiasco, and look what they did next. You can’t seriously imagine that having the same thugs running the LP as officers and staff is going to work well.

    Unless you believe in some sort of magic, I don’t see how authoritarian means can result in libertarian ends.

  16. Michael Seebeck

    Thanks, Jim. However, we’ll know more as the last loose ends of the situation are tied up.

    As for the perpetrators, I’m not at liberty to discuss anything.

    And to answer the last statement, applying authoritarian means to authoritarians to remove them from being authoritarians or acting like it can result in libertarian ends. Enforcement of individual rights against the government oppressors comes to mind immediately.

  17. Susan Hogarth Post author

    …applying authoritarian means to authoritarians to remove them from being authoritarians or acting like it can result in libertarian ends. Enforcement of individual rights against the government oppressors comes to mind immediately.

    Defending yourself from government swine is not an ‘authoritarian means’, even if violence is used.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Chuck,

    Yes, there probably are — but once again, this isn’t about Wrights as much as it is about whether or not that alleged vacancy exists.

    According to the secretary, with the backing of the chair, the vacancy exists.

    According to the bylaws, the vacancy doesn’t exist.

    This thing needs to be settled unambiguously in favor of the bylaws. Allowing the secretary to remove members of the LNC, as long as he can get the chair to connive with him in doing so, would be extremely bad precedent.

  19. robert capozzi

    Hmm, I see the “rebar” theme is back.

    Yes, I spose defending oneself against an unjust State official is cause to defend oneself. But my goodness I’d want to be REAL careful with this idea…unless one is angling for a McVeigh/martyr type end. Didn’t seem to end so well for Tim.

  20. Michael Seebeck

    @28: Using force against others is an authoritarian means. The exception we make to that is that the use of said force in the first place is unjustifiable, while in response or self-defense it’s justifiable. But the point of application does not change the application itself. Chucking a brick at someone is still chucking a brick at someone, whether the other guy chucked one at you first or not.

  21. Chuck Moulton

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    Yes, there probably are

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear… there definitely are enough votes, not just probably. 9 people have already voted to appoint Lee. Unless someone switches votes at the last minute, he’s back.

    Once the vote ends I’ll try to post the results on my charts — assuming I’m able to get the vote soonish rather than waiting for next meeting’s minutes.

    http://www.chuckmoulton.org/libertarian/2010/voting/

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    No one should be removed with out due process

    Simply saying that someone’s dues are not current is not enough, or any other reason. It needs to be shown to be the case and the committee as a whole should be making that decision. We need to avoid the grudge problem. I have seen it, the grudge problem, and been on the receiving end of it in the LP twice.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    Chuck,

    I’m glad to hear that there are enough votes to “re-appoint” Lee to a seat that was never vacant.

    Once again, however, the seat isn’t vacant, and therefore no one can be appointed to fill it.

    This is important.

    Hopefully, the LNC will overturn the chair’s ruling as to the existence of a vacancy.

    If the LNC fails to overturn that ruling, hopefully the Judicial Committee will impose the bylaws pursuant to the instant appeal instead of allowing the LNC to proceed on a course of rebellion against those bylaws.

  24. Jim Davidson

    @33 “Using force against others is an authoritarian means.”

    No, that’s not so. Initiating force against others is an authoritarian means. Using force in defense of life, liberty, or property is not. Using force to retaliate against those who have attacked life, liberty, or property either for the purpose of recovering what has been taken or for the purpose of thwarting any future attempts by those attackers is also not authoritarian.

    A philosophy of liberty is not a philosophy of pacifism. There can be no peace without justice, no justice without freedom, and no freedom without weapons.

    It ought to go without saying that leaving the weapons in your closet while being confronted by hooligans like Starr and Repdath is a poor choice.

    Got rebar?

  25. George Phillies

    The member appeal to the Judicial committee is not voided by an LNC vote falsely claiming to appoint Lee Wrights to a vacancy, because the LNC claim that there is a vacancy is an act of fraud in violation of the statement of principles.

    Hopefully the Judicial committee will not need a third appeal in order to view this issue, should it come to pass. Hopefully the party’s radical wing will realize that they should vote against this motion.

  26. Michael Seebeck

    Jim, you’re confusing the action and the reason for the action. An authoritarian action is one where one imposes their will upon another by force. Self-defense definitely fits that bill, because that is what happens. The *reason* for the action is self-defense, which is justifiable, but if one does the action not in self-defense, i.e., initiation and not response, the the reason is not justified. In either case, it’s still an authoritarian action, but the reasons are what make the difference between it being authoritarian or libertarian in description and justification.

  27. Michael Seebeck

    We’ll have to see exactly what the JudComm actually says, but if they say the vacancy was not legitimate in the first place, then any actions related to that are also null and void by extension.

  28. Susan Hogarth Post author

    An authoritarian action is one where one imposes their will upon another by force. Self-defense definitely fits that bill, because that is what happens.

    This rather contradicts my understanding of libertarian thought, which holds that coercion or aggression (the initiation of force) is qualitatively different from the simple application of force.

    My understanding is that we have force as a tool in dealing with others. It can be applied defensively or offensively, and libertarianism only proscribes the offensive use of force. Pacifists do not draw this distinction.

    Your position seems confusing to me, because you seem to be saying that you make a distinction and that defense is ‘justifiable’ but still ‘authoritarian’. I think you’re introducing needless complexity here, as the word ‘authoritarian’ in libertarian lingo usually carries an unmitigated negative connotation.

  29. Michael Seebeck

    Susan, when you say “we have force as a tool in dealing with others. It can be applied defensively or offensively, and libertarianism only proscribes the offensive use of force.”, you are actually just restating what I just said in a different manner.

    For every action there is the action itself and the meaning and reason behind it. It is the different meaning and reasons that we draw the distinction at.

    Simple example of one man killing another comes to mind. Is it using force? Absolutely. But if he’s doing it to defend himself, we don’t call it initiating force. If he isn’t defending himself, then it is initiating force. The reason he kills does matter, and it’s not enough to look at the action alone.

    But using force on others is by definition authoritarian, because by doing so one attempts to establish their authority and control, even if it means re-establishing their own authority and control.

  30. Scotty Boman

    I sent this message to to LNC in response…

    Dear LNC:

    I am pleased to learn that Lee Wrights’ position on the LNC is officially recognized, once again. Hopefully, this is part of a trend toward more reconciliation within our party.

    The healing must take place so we may move forward as the unified force. This is required if we are to effectively challenge the cult of the omnipotent state.

    In liberty,
    Scotty Boman
    Michigan Delegation

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