Steve G.

Endorsement: Tom Knapp for LP Judicial Committee

In Candidate Endorsement, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics on May 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I would normally write an endorsement, but in this particular case my endorsement is based more on the person and their principles, than on my knowledge of the office sought.  For that reason, I will let the candidate tell you why he should have your support.  From an email written by Tom Knapp:

I’ve served on the party’s Judicial Committee once (from 2002-2004). This year, I’m seeking election to that committee once again. I request your support and your vote.

I understand if you’re not excited. The Judicial Committee elections are almost an afterthought, coming after the “exciting stuff” — presidential and vice-presidential nominations and LNC elections. We dispensed with electing a Judicial Committee altogether in 2000 after a quorum call and sine die adjournment of the convention in Anaheim. The world did not end.

And, frankly, I can’t remember the last time the Judicial Committee had to swing into action — I’m pretty sure it was in the late 1980s, before I joined the party. The Judicial Committee is an appellate body. It acts only when an action of the National Committee or the national convention is sent to it for review under specific rules (which you can find out more about in the bylaws).

So, if you’re still reading, you probably have two questions: Why is this committee important, and why should I vote for Tom Knapp to sit on it?

The Judicial Committee is important because it functions as the LP’s “Supreme Court.” Its job is to review actions of the national committee on appeal by a percentage of the party’s membership (for regular actions), or by suspended committee members or disaffiliated state parties. It may also be called upon to review actions of the national convention as they relate to the Statement of Principles (and can be overruled by that convention in its findings). It’s to the party’s credit that the Judicial Committee is so seldom called into action — but it’s a necessary party institution.

As to why I am qualified, well, I meet the bylaws qualifications (I’m a party member). Beyond that, I pledge that if a matter is brought before the committee for review, I will adhere to a “strict constructionist” interpretation of the bylaws: They say what they mean and they mean what they say. If overwhelming evidence that an “original intent” trumps my own “strict construction,” I’ll give that evidence due consideration. I will vote in accordance with that “strict construction,” as possibly modified by evidence of “original intent,” and I will do so without regard to whether or not my vote gores anyone’s ideological ox — my own included. Finally, I will recuse myself from any appeal to the Judicial Committee which represents a personal conflict of interest.

I believe that service on the Judicial Committee requires personal honesty, respect for truth and fact, and a willingness to apply the party’s rules impartially. I leave it to you to judge whether or not I possess those qualities in sufficient measure to properly discharge the duties I’m asking to be given.

  1. Tom will have my support.

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