The Hegelian Dialectic Of Capitalism And Socialism In The American Bureaucracy

Socialism may be impossible yet it is unavoidable and must occur in cycles of reform with Capitalism. In the Hegelian theory of dialectical materialism of existence, critique and synthesis in remedy and solution, Capitalism is destroyed in part periodically by Socialist reform and then reborn again. In the United States, Capitalism is structurally restrained by bureaucratic reforms based upon theories of the public interest, nationalism and the commonweal, all theories of Socialist empathy.

The U.S. Constitution creates three branches of government: the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The President, as a modern Executive, is empowered with an enormous regulatory bureaucracy which is overseen in a manner of checks and balances by the other two branches. This modern bureaucratic state has placed upon the private sector a primary motive of being that departs from the for-profit motive of Capitalism and imposes that of ensuring legal compliance. In a complex era of high technology and big industry, this Socialist leaning is unavoidable if Capitalism is to survive. And, such regulation, though democratic and Capitalistic in spirit and theory, is Socialist in result.

This dualism, the points along a continuum of Capitalism and Socialism, in the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, is humankind’s striving toward the absolute freedom of the species in actualization of an unknown Idea, the consummation of evolution. Regardless of one’s belief in the source or definition of the Idea, humans evolve incrementally, improving life in their community. The various elements of the community each evolve along the Hegelian dialectic from existence to critique to synthetic improvement. The many elements include: religion, science, philosophy, art, literature and education. An additional element is the economic Capitalist-Socialist continuum which evolves in dialectical form and is expressed in the governing structure of the community.

Through rational, reasoned reform of its Capitalist governing structure overtime, America has achieved its current bureaucratic state. This bureaucratic state is currently in a period of contraction, with the undoing of some Socialist theories and returning to earlier thoughts of Capitalism. Much of the current trend toward a rebirth of Capitalism is a result of new technology and the creativity it has inspired in the area of commerce. Entrepreneurs are emerging in all business sectors. Americans who enjoy new goods and services and a sense of patriotism economic creativity engenders ask for reforms in government to facilitate further business development.

The current expression in America of this phenomenon, of a demand for government and economic creativity, is not a full destructive critique of Socialist expressions in the American government and economy. Rather, it is an expression of the Janus dualism in human nature. As history indicates, humans are innately inquisitive and acquisitively self-interested. Humans as a species are also affectionate and emphatic. From the beginning of Colonial America until the current presidency, America has evolved in cycles of “boom and bust,” high surges in Capitalist creativity and profit absent imposing regulation to despairs of economic failure and the lessening burden of governmental business safe harbors and social safety nets. This is an example of the philosophical construct of dialectical materialism.

In example, the legislature acts in response to changes in popular will with developments in human history. Citizens ask for a repeal of burdensome laws in times of business prosperity and, in turn, for social measures in times of hardship. Unlike legislators, judges are bound by codes of ethics to abide the rule of law first and foremost as it embodies theories of democracy, fairness and justice. These theories should be immutable regardless of the nature of economic times, regardless of boom or bust. So, to what do we attribute judicial repeal of time honored legal precedent, especially when these changes in the law coincidentally parallel new economic events and changes in popular will?

Judges exercise independent judgment absent partisanship. Yet, in the spirit of Ludwig von Mises and great thinkers from time immemorial, judges acknowledge the essential qualities of human nature – self-interest, greed, empathy and affection. So, too, judicial opinions reflect changes in history and socio-economic developments over time which avail themselves of the Hegelian dialectic as expressed in Capitalist and Socialist theory. An essential question exists as to whether the judiciary must respond to the import of the human creativity these qualities produce and the effect of human creativity upon the community the judiciary governs?

The American public should discuss the nature of governmental reform as expressed by changes in rights and privileges incumbent within the rule of law. The primary focus is the Hegelian dialectic of the Capitalist-Socialist continuum.

Colonial America expressed the dialectical continuum with the beginning point of the existence of the individual rights possessed by Native Americans. The discoverers of the New World were encouraged by developments in the means of maritime travel to conquer the Native Americans and, in Capitalist fashion, usurp their property in a theory of survival of the fittest. Yet, the Colonials stepped away from their own usurper, the English monarchy, through many acts and demands of social welfare, namely the survival of humans as individuals, possessing equal rights of individual self-governance and self-determination in a communal environment. The history of Colonial America is one of synthesis for England imposed tariffs as a large, usurpations government providing for English citizens. Yet, the Colonial and Early Americans, themselves, engaged in a Capitalist plantation economy with Socialist theories of paternalism in the maintenance of the institution of slavery and indentured servitude. Native Americans, even today, benefit from theories of Socialism.

The American Civil War began a critique of the Capitalism of the slave economy. It began with individuals forming the Underground Railroad and the act by predominately Northern slaveholders of permitting slaves to purchase their freedom through learning gainful labor or acts of unrestricted emancipation. The Socialist critique of the then existing Capitalist American economy consummated with the act by President Lincoln of emancipation.

In response, to newfound competition of Americans of African descent, the judicial opinion of Plessey v. Ferguson was issued imposing business restraints upon Black Americans. This, too, is a dualist, synthetic critique expressing Capitalist and Socialist theories. For, it provided a Socialist business subsidy to White Americans thereby encouraging competition at the expense of Black Americans. The Socialist correction was Brown v. Board of Education. Intervening was extensive public reform in the creation of the American Bureaucratic State in the form of the New Deal.

America continues the challenge of the bureaucratic state in the modern era. Much regulation is currently challenged to permit new forms of industry. The Hegelian dialectic provides material synthesis of contradiction and paradox to form new laws from new customs and new legal developments in the private sector of contract law and business formation.

The remedies proposed for the laws currently governing bureaucracies in America are equally along extreme points in a continuum. Some purveyors of conservative legal thought seek a return to theories of non-delegation which would extensively negate the power of Congress to delegate “legislative” power in the form of rulemaking to bureaucratic agencies. More liberal points of view on the continuum would support agencies by expressing great deference to their exercise of rulemaking and adjudicative powers owing to their expertise in highly specific subjects requiring centuries of experience.

In America, we rely upon the judiciary to honor a truly just midpoint along the Hegelian dialectic of Capitalist and Socialist reform. With the U.S. Constitution in place, we will never return to an economy that is too Capitalist or evolve into one that is too Socialist.

Lori Gayle Nuckolls

Are We Changing The Law Governing The Presidency?

Must we acknowledge that previous presidents over the course of American history abided practices, strategies and customs similar to those of Presidents in the modern era? And, similarly, if these principles and practices are centuries old, must we acknowledge that we are imposing a revision of the legal standards governing the presidency if we sanction modern presidents for ages old conduct?

One example of the foregoing would be the foreign policy of President John Tyler, the 10th president from 1841 until 1845. President Tyler confronted the issue of possession by the United States of only part of the Northern American continent and not the Pacific Northwest which was occupied by Britain and Mexico. President Tyler sought these territories, Oregon from Britain and California from Mexico.

Initially, President Tyler proposed a tripartite treaty wherein America would forego 2 million dollars of its claims against Mexico in exchange for California, north of the thirty-second parallel. Britain would be asked to support these terms in exchange for a favorable determination of the Oregon boundary without warfare, one at the Columbia River. Yet, this treaty proposal was not successful. Mexico sought to retain California, and British officials did not wish to unduly pressure Mexico to accept America’s terms.

President Tyler still wished to resolve the issue of ownership of the Northern American continent without warfare. He proposed a tripartite commercial treaty involving the lowering of tariffs. President Tyler sent a private citizen, Duff Green, at government expense to Britain. He informed the American Ambassador to Britain, Edward Everett, that it would be Green’s role to be of substantial service in negotiations.

Even earlier, President Tyler and his Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, contracted with a private entrepreneur, Alfred Benson, to transport Americans seeking residence in Oregon. They were transported with government funds.

In sum, President Tyler engaged in significant acts of foreign relations without Congressional approval or oversight. If we in the 21st century, rather than those of Tyler’s 19th century, are to assert that these types of entreaties into formal resolution of policy issues and disputes are improper, we should have an understanding that we are imposing a new legal standard upon existing custom.

Lori Gayle Nuckolls

How Does America Participate In An International Legal Community?

How do we reconcile our commitment to our capitalist economy with the true underpayment of attorneys in America?  Capitalism possesses a theoretical basis in quality through competition. Yet, our private, corporate sector disavows its obligation to engage professional development through adequate and equal compensation. For, a great disparity exists between executive salaries and those of private sector attorneys, as to both in-house counsel and private law firms. This exists despite the fact that attorneys must attend graduate school at a younger age.

An argument posed by the corporate sector is that business persons, young and old, are paid more because they generate more business, more value added in a capitalist economy. Yet, the business sector must acknowledge that private sector attorneys are within a profession that lofts the overarching common law under which our world exists and under which corporate transactions and technological developments occur. The common law has existed from time immemorial and our modern world recognizes it in an international sphere.

A structural solution must be created that acknowledges that not only do young, private sector law firm attorneys not benefit from term-in-years employment agreements as do corporate employees. They, instead, work on an at-will basis with no employment security. Also, attorneys are governed by ethical codes imposed by law that result in the quality of thought we readily discern. This, in addition to inadequate compensation, creates anxiety and stress in a profession but for the quality of which we would not possess the talents and abilities upon which we rely.

The answer is to begin from the top with our multi-national corporations. These corporate entities employ law firms and pay far less in compensation for the legal services they receive than is acceptable. The stress and professional hardship incurred by law firm attorneys and staff must be mitigated by payment of higher legal retainers by corporations. In turn, government attorneys would also receive greater compensation. For, our society must realize that our taxes paid are necessary for life essentials. If higher taxes are required, so be it.  

The Economic Question, an Answer

Democratic government does not suggest limits on wealth in a capitalist economy. It suggests due compensation for work and labor, and the property produced. From the earnest of manual laborers to the highest of intellectuals and professionals the amount paid in compensation must achieve a balanced equation. All must be paid an amount sufficient to sustain their every work day.

With regard to the majority manual vocational class, America lives in an economy of two income households. Development in academic opportunities for women, schooling and childcare and commercial venues for purchasing our daily needs makes a two employee household sustainable with adequate incomes.

Similarly, with regard to the learned professions, specifically academics, the highest employees of federal and state government, and non-managerial employees of multinational corporations, such as general counsels and attorneys, a true disparity in compensation exists with that paid mid-level corporate managers without justification. The American economy is sufficiently developed so that there is no longer an argument that learned professionals not be paid a truly self-sustaining level of compensation.

Mid to senior federal and state employees, as well as law and medical school graduating students, should be paid a level of compensation that permits a balanced household budget. Currently, the salary levels paid mid-level corporate employees who do not possess an equal level of academic accomplishment or equal level of daily responsibility exceed the salary levels of those within the learned professions.

From church to social clubs, community involvements to entertainment, not to mention the day to day expenses of maintaining one’s position of employment, adequate compensation is necessary. It must be obtained by earnest development of the American economy. But, also and more importantly, we must philosophically accord parallel and equal value to our first year attorneys and physicians, our first year professors and teachers, and our federal and state executives and judges, as that accorded our mid-level corporate executives.

Lori Gayle Nuckolls

Judicial Review and the Separation of Powers

A balance of power among the governing authorities in America requires a new look. Not so much as to the three federal branches of government, but rather as to our principle of federalism and the relationship between our states and territories and the three federal branches of government.

So expansive a territory as the United States requires greater guidance from above through the equally as expansive federal system of government. Our Article III courts may readily provide an initial and comprehensive source of a consistent, uniform and ever more evolving body of governing law.

In doing so, both judges and attorneys should view the law in an imaginative and creative manner that makes the most of both precedent and our founding legal precepts. Courage to look beyond one’s jurisdiction for a supporting argument when proper and prudent provides efficiency and, more importantly, an improvement to the community in which we live by encouraging polite discussion and debate.

Citizens can discuss government and the Rule of Law over the tea and coffee cup. We do not have to wait until the throes of an election to analyze our society and government. Let’s get started.

Lori Gayle Nuckolls, Esq.

Should the Federal Government Pay Tuition for Higher Education to All for All?

This Story was originally published in October of 2017 and it discusses a subject matter of continued relevance. For, in an increasingly more complex society and government how do we maintain a democracy if each of our residents and citizens are not able to understand our world.

Admission to American colleges and graduate schools is duly regulated by several nongovernmental organizations, notably, entities such as The College Board, the Educational Testing Service and the American Bar Association. And, our secondary and elementary schools are similarly reviewed and ranked as to merit, both within political subdivisions and across the nation, by educators, journalists and governing officials.

Would an assumption of tuition payments for all American college and graduate programs by the Federal government undermine current private governance by those currently governing and affiliated with America’s private schools of higher education? Would it undermine the aura and efficacy of local history and culture within our publicly owned and governed colleges and universities?

Perhaps, the objectivity of the nongovernmental organizations responsible for admissions testing and school ranking in American higher education already provides and requires obligatory accuracy and fairness as to merit and quality across the nation in a way that state, local and private control of funding currently may not affect. Private and state decision-making in higher education must currently yield to duly enacted legislation and promulgated regulation, and a replacement of the monetary source for tuition, from the student, parent and or school to the Federal government, could not transcend present governmental procedures. Our schools would, in every respect, remain fully self-governing and retain due and fair competition.

The question then is whether Federal tuition runs only to the public good and public interest, and if the American economy can afford to pay the tuition of all college and university students? There seems to currently be neither an economic necessity nor an economic value in requiring students and parents, as the recipients of the goods and services of American colleges and universities, to make the tuition payments, when the ultimate beneficiary of educated Americans is America. Educated Americans determine America’s reputation and goodwill and the relative efficacy and value of its democratic government. In doing so, the American public receives goods and services provided by those who do not earn the true value of the service they provide over the course of their careers.

Salaries of ordinary citizens and residents barely pay living expenses, no less do these salaries provide for college tuition. And, it is hoped that American families contain more than one child. College graduates and licensed professionals earn less than professional athletes and corporate executives. Our governing officials, doctors and lawyers provide more to keep America sane and rational than do CEOs, pitchers and quarterbacks. How can CEOs and athletes work day-to-day without professionals and government officials overhead. And, non-managerial employees and traditional small business men and women, who would receive college tuition for their children, would still benefit from American capitalism. Students and graduates of the long existing 2-year colleges, who receive learning in the technical arts and vocations, would certainly provide more to the public good as interns during school years in subjects related to their studies than as employees of those within their community who offer the highest pay in part-time employment regardless of the task.

A parent’s future payment of tuition to American colleges and universities is a for-profit incentive in the American and international marketplace. Currently, parents look to a child’s academic achievement, and the competitiveness of admission to America’s colleges and graduate schools, as an incentive for business success. Federal tuition would lessen stresses unrelated to achievement, regardless of parental income. And, the once thought long entrenched competitive advantage of students attending private elementary and secondary schools, is, now, rarely a concern, for advances in teaching, curriculum and college recruiting have provided economies of scale within local governing political subdivisions, and create a just capitalism in education.

If America’s professionals and college graduates are deemed, as our governing principles intend, to grow and raise children who make the most of our academic institutions, how do these professionals provide for their children’s tuition, even in two professional households, and even if with only one child? How does such a family pay for its children’s college and graduate school attendance, even if they are, themselves, among the American socio-economic elite? And, are not these very children of American professionals and college graduates socially obligated, themselves, by our social contract as citizens and residents, to not squander what has been provided to them by their parents and secondary school educators?

The centuries-old legal principle of discerning the merit and value of prospective legal and or governmental reform, as I profess to personally coin and denominate: “experimentation among the States,” may be in order. For, it provides that, if not all Americans are ready for a proposed reform, one State, or a few, in the Federal Union might enact a variation upon the proposed reform, for review and evaluation by citizens and judges. Today, governmental payment of tuition to public colleges and universities, especially as recently announced in the State of New York, may provide a basis for Federal reform, especially by our current President and noted businessman Donald Trump. For, President Trump professes a belief in the economic competition, efficiency and small government that Federal tuition payments to all American schools of higher education would provide. This may be achieved by President Trump from now through the inauguration of his successor in 2025!

Lori Gayle Nuckolls

The Modern Democracy and The American Common Law

How do we reconcile traditional English common law principles of certainty and predictability in the law with American principles of fair and just judicial review at law and equity? Our American system of three branches of separate powers accords with the adversarial legal system of seeking impartial and objective judicial opinions. Neither the President nor the legislature imparts undue influence over the judiciary.

May we continue to ensure this unique type of good government in light of the size of the American population in current times resulting from, among many causes: modern technology and an increase in residential land ownership?  With greater access to education and information throughout the states and territories, the informal and unintended influence of the majority upon government is much greater than at the time of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

This debate requires a renewed inquiry into the dual purposes of American law in both resolving adversarial conflicts and in guaranteeing that the law achieves agreed upon social ends. Our community incrementally overtime determines our “ideas” and our “truths.”

 In this way, our Judge-made law fills the niches left by statute and executive policy (or one might say agency regulation).  The common law in America is derived from the public. From this our judges glean.

Society and Government?

How do we conquer the less than deserved value attributed to certain American professions, e.g., attorneys, physicians, and academics? What is the role of government and what is the role of the marketplace economy? Fair and just compensation for the value of the services provided is necessary to achieve American principles of a democratic society and government. We cannot believe that this absence of economic efficiency and economic equilibrium results from a  marketplace which will eventually find its own price. Perhaps, America should enact mandatory price-fixing and salary allocation for the learned professions to reflect costs and expenses incurred, both in academic preparation and as practitioners.  Professionals in government and the private sector represent a level of marketplace value that should be accorded value coextensive with that of business executives.

Democratic capitalism requires that corporate America self-govern in order to avoid governmental regulation, deemed more burdensome than  innovation. We must accord market value and  provide economic incentive to encourage the goods and services upon which society relies, our life necessities. Government is our primary necessity, democratic government. Without competitive economics, an economic barrier-to-entry exists and ordinary Americans cannot afford to serve as managers of our democratic republic.

Structural reform should begin with an increase in the salaries of governmental officials and learned professionals to equal that of mid-level, international corporate executives. For, the degree of productivity and quality of these two sectors of the economy could be no less than equal. In doing this, Americans, young and old, will be encouraged to more greatly participate in society and government. Productivity and achievement would bring value to the business community,  governmental subdivisions, and academic institutions.

This is justice and fairness in distributive economics. Competitive markets are guided by government toward equilibrium and this requires greater guidance in professional compensation.

Lori Gayle Nuckolls, Esq.

Featured

Á La Citizens United, Should Corporations Exercise Influence Commensurate With A Vote?

          One may understand why there are those who find the debate regarding Citizens United  troublesome regardless of whether one supports or does not support the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court allowing corporations to contribute to political campaigns. One question that arises is whether corporations are to be permitted virtually unrestricted and unfettered rights of political participation?  Do  corporations impose upon  the constitutional right to privacy, as an essential attribute of intangible property and a life-sustaining characteristic upon which individuals depend, when they participate in elections?

          Corporations do not possess a quality, property or characteristic as the sense of privacy that goes to innate, subconscious, free and unencumbered human thought and choice. Self-governance and self-sustainability, in behest of self-governance, are the founding requisites of a democratic republic. This right and privilege of every individual is founded upon the existence of personal integrity and privacy. If corporations are equal yet not so dependent upon a guarantee of this form of privacy, may American citizens maintain their privacy and freedom to participate without imposition? The state chartered corporation is a creature of statute that lacks the intuitive sense of  whether its thoughts and actions challenge its very survival and existence. Corporations exist absent the psyche. And, if corporations argue that business entities possess rights of property and privacy, American commercial law has long protected commercial confidentiality and intangible property interests through securities regulation, patent and copyright law, contract law among many.

         Historically, tradition provides the premise and understanding that modern corporations do not vote. So it difficult to justify and to establish the right of corporations to offer publicly disclosed campaign contributions similar in public influence and public suasion to a vote, if not to the election count. More essentially, around the globe, in history the ancient family and the ancient corporation were similarly governed as one corporeal entity, patriarchically, without the recognition of individual form. The Corporation sole was the pater, aggregated one with others.  Corporations and families have generational existence, in perpetuity, yet individuals do not, both historically and in the modern era. Says Sir Henry Sumner Maine: “Corporations never die, and accordingly primitive law considers the entities with which it deals, i. e. the patriarchal or family groups, as perpetual and inextinguishable. “ (Maine’s Ancient Laws, Chap. V. Disintegration of the Family).

          In discussing the historical transition, Maine states:

“Nor is it difficult to see  what is the tie between man  and man which replaces by degrees those forms  of reciprocity in rights and duties which have their  origin in the Family. It is contract. Starting  as from one terminus of history from a condition of society in which all the relations of Persons are summed up in the relation of the Family, we seem to have steadily moved towards a phase of social order in which all these relations arise from the free agreement of Individuals.”(Maine’s Ancient Laws, Chap. V. Disintegration of the Family).  For Maine, the Family and  the Corporation were both Groups, led patriarchically. There have come to be replaced by the Social Contract of one individual to another.

          One must observe the analogy of Maine with the Syllabus of the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United, 556 U.S. 310, quoting Syllabus at 2(a):

“(a) Although the First Amendment provides that ‘Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,’ §441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. It is a ban notwithstanding the fact that a PAC created by a corporation can still speak, for a PAC is a separate association from the corporation. Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people—political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction ‘furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.’ WRTL, 551 U. S., at 464.” Yet, is the Corporate contribution or Corporate PAC too great a legal fiction in the modern era to compete with human life forms in the expression of political opinion?

          For, the Corporate PAC is  twice removed from the individual shareholder or corporate employee relative to the individuals of the Corporation sole  comprising the Corporation aggregate.  In Maine’s lengthy language:

“English lawyers classify corporations as Corporations aggregate and Corporations sole. A Corporation aggregate is a true corporation, but a Corporation sole is an individual, being a member of a series of individuals, who is invested by a fiction with the qualities of a Corporation. I need hardly cite the King or the Parson of a Parish as instances of Corporations sole. The capacity or office is here considered apart from the particular person who from time to time may occupy it, and, this capacity being perpetual, the series of individuals who fill it are clothed with the leading attribute of Corporations—Perpetuity Now in the older theory of Roman Law the individual bore to the family precisely the same relation which in the rationale of English jurisprudence a Corporation sole bears to a Corporation aggregate. The derivation and association of ideas are exactly the same. In fact, if we say to ourselves that for purposes of Roman Testamentary Jurisprudence each individual citizen was a Corporation sole, we shall not only realize the full conception of an inheritance, but have constantly at command the clue to the assumption in which it originated. It is an axiom with us that the King never dies, being a Corporation sole.” (Maine, Ancient Laws, Chap. VII Corporations Sole).

          As the purpose of the public recognition of and grant of existence to corporations is premised upon public interest principles of encouraging specialization and expertise in corporate productivity that transcends generations and is duly and ever more increasingly regulated and reviewed by both government and the public, what is the rationale or public interest in permitting corporations to exercise a constitutional right it cannot do via human means in its acknowledged name and form? If the concern is that traditional corporate subterfuge would encourage greater underhandedness than publicly communicated opinion as currently permitted by Citizens United and governmentally regulated Lobbyists, then, there may be no recourse than time. In the future, the development of regulation that would permit corporations to achieve ends now sought through political expression would end competition with voters and still permit voter review of corporate conduct through representative government.

 

Lori Gayle Nuckolls, Esq.

The Purpose of a Constitution

The primary goals of American criminal law are, in an order most severely an exercise of state power and authority: (1) revenge, (2) retribution, (3) deterrence, (4) restitution and (5) rehabilitation. One must, thus, conclude that our country imposes a “moral law” upon all within its boundaries which sets forth absolute proscriptions and imposes certain duties and obligations. (Kant, Immanuel. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, Preface.) Yet, these specific purposes and principles underlying American criminal law are not literally found in either the constitution of any state or of our nation. Rather, these constitutions set forth many more abstract principles and purposes, to establish a rule of, and by, law in behest of general good government, justice and the common weal.

This November election, a proposed amendment of the Ohio constitution, which dates, in its present form, from as early as 1851, would provide credit for time served if an inmate agrees to participate in rehabilitation and guidance. Only those convicted for possession and or use and not sale of a controlled substance would be eligible.  This amendment would also revise the Ohio constitution to prohibit the criminalization of mere possession and or use at a level of severity accorded the treat of felony crimes, and, instead, deem mere possession and or use within the classification of misdemeanor.

The purpose of this and other specific provisions requested in the amendment would constitutionalize the governing principle that mere possession and use of illegal drugs, without the intent to sell, is a crime only against oneself and without the motive to profit from the criminal acts and self-flagellation of others. The premise is that the public good and public interest do not benefit from strict penal treatment based upon public motives of revenge or retribution. Rather, the public good is better served when those found only in use or possession are guided toward rehabilitative reform and a form of social inclusion not premised upon drug use.

One would deem these thoughts to be the moral philosophy or moral principles of the amendment, Issue 1 in Ohio on November 6th. But, should such specific purposes and principles rise to the level of a part of a state constitution?

Some suggest that the proper drafting and interpretation of a constitution should remain derived from the meaning of its original text at the time of adoption.  Some suggest that the interpretation and amendment should view the original text in our current era; that, the three branches of government should serve the public good by empirically revising a constitution’s text and principles to reflect subsequent human facts and events. An empirical view distinguishes from the a priori view of originalists.  Both views utilize wisdom and judgment.

Our nation upon its founding, and later the State of Ohio, constituted a democratic republic. Yet, constitutional amendments, state and federal, have made America more representative and more democratic. America once resembled the world of the Lords, Barons, landed gentry and serfs of Europe, when inheritance determined one’s whispering in the ear of the divine right monarch. On November 6, 2018, one need not own an interest, in any form, in real property in order to cast a ballot.

Then, should our view of state constitutions change? Our representatives are still our representatives. Yet, they are no longer per se, by virtue of social and economic class alone, the only ones among us with sufficient access to education and information to properly effectuate the duties and responsibilities of an elected official in our three branches of state government.

Should and must state constitutions provide greater and more specific guidance to our state legislators, should the constitutions “pull on the reins?” In modern times, not all state legislatures are comprised by America’s natural aristocracy, as the founding principle of American government envisioned and still required by Sir Edmund Burke. The great distribution of residents and commerce over the breadth of the American states and territories is so great that there are not enough formally educated natural aristocrats to go around. State Representatives are diverse, and their districts are more self-governing and self-sustaining than in the times of land baron dominance. They are no longer elected from rural areas without academic resources needed for participation in state government.  

Consequently, our complex society requires that even the most educated among us must look to theories of specialization and expertise. Our three branches of government, state and federal, rely upon career legal counsel and formal substantive divisions in each branch.

In returning to Issue one, should the Ohio constitution be more responsive to the changes in our society since its founding? Are the proposed revisions of Ohio law needed to guide a state legislature whose members will forever be less well versed than practitioners?  Or, with greater funding to provide additional legal counsel and substantive personnel, could the Ohio General Assembly readily delineate a similar program, itself, with fair review by its diverse representatives as provided in a democratic republic? In modern times, what is the purpose of a democratic constitution and what should it contain?

Lori Gayle Nuckolls, Esq.