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  1. #21
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    On the Michigan ballot yesterday, there was a proposition to take the vote away from people who where convicted of a crime involving lying, extortion, bribery, and various manners of dishonesty involving money or influence.... but only if the person was an elected official at the time the crime was committed. If I recall, it also remanded the vote for a period of 20 years, not for life. I'm a little hazy on the details, and I don't have the time to look it up just now because I have to get my science lab homework done.

    It passed by a wide margin. Does anyone see anything wrong with this law, on the surface?
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  2. #22
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    The below is a brief, but reasonably accurate description of the history of "blue laws" in this country:
    >snip<

    As we can all plainly see "blue laws" forced no one to attend church.
    "Plainly see"? Nothing in the quoted passage you present refutes the fact that some blue laws did in fact require church attendance. You didn't look very far. Try Jamestown, Virginia around 1610 to 1619 for an example.
    "All persons whatsoever upon the Sabbath days shall frequent divine service and sermons both forenoon and afternoon." -- Excerpted from Proceedings of the First Assembly of Virginia, 1619

  3. #23
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Galendir View Post
    "Plainly see"? Nothing in the quoted passage you present refutes the fact that some blue laws did in fact require church attendance. You didn't look very far. Try Jamestown, Virginia around 1610 to 1619 for an example.
    "All persons whatsoever upon the Sabbath days shall frequent divine service and sermons both forenoon and afternoon." -- Excerpted from Proceedings of the First Assembly of Virginia, 1619
    That law predated the US Constitution and it's clause for Freedom of Religion by some 180 years. Just sayin'...
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  4. #24
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Ok, when we start introducing such felonies, then be scared. Cars that can go 1000 mph on the highway would pose a danger too. Should we ban highways? We can come up with all sorts of hypothetical "what-if" types of situations. To me, such hypothetical scenarios are no reason to base policy when they they are as far-fetched as the one you mentioned.
    Its got nothing to do with my example. Here is an example we actually have.

    Anyone convicted of drug sales or significant possession has committed a felony and if never allowed to vote it virtually guarantees that most supporters of changing drug laws are unable to vote to have them repealed. If such laws are unjust they are self ensuring so long as enforcement is effective. Any potentially unjust law that results in a felony makes those most familiar with its injustice unable to actually vote to change it. Its a system that can easily serve tyrant and injustice.

    Laws like those against murder theft or assault are in no danger of being overturned based on the votes of felons alone and to be honest I doubt many murderers or thieves would even support overturning such laws so long as they are not currently incarcerated as they don't really want to suffer from those crimes themselves.

    By your sort of logic (results over system) a benevolent dictator is a perfectly reasonable way to run a country. After all he's doing the best for people and most people support him, never mind the danger he may not always be so benevolent.
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  5. #25
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Its got nothing to do with my example. Here is an example we actually have.

    Anyone convicted of drug sales or significant possession has committed a felony and if never allowed to vote it virtually guarantees that most supporters of changing drug laws are unable to vote to have them repealed. If such laws are unjust they are self ensuring so long as enforcement is effective. Any potentially unjust law that results in a felony makes those most familiar with its injustice unable to actually vote to change it. Its a system that can easily serve tyrant and injustice.

    Laws like those against murder theft or assault are in no danger of being overturned based on the votes of felons alone and to be honest I doubt many murderers or thieves would even support overturning such laws so long as they are not currently incarcerated as they don't really want to suffer from those crimes themselves.

    By your sort of logic (results over system) a benevolent dictator is a perfectly reasonable way to run a country. After all he's doing the best for people and most people support him, never mind the danger he may not always be so benevolent.
    First, the laws are not made by benevolent dictator, but by the people who elect representatives. Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that criminals would take a softer stand against laws aimed at punishing criminal behavior? Again, I made the very simple and straightforward analogy regarding criminals and guns. Are we violating an ex-felon's rights by refusing him license to buy a gun? When one becomes a felon (which is someone who has done more than a mere misdemeanor) they lose some rights. One of those rights for certain types of felons is the right to vote and participate in our democratic process. It should also be noted that felons do not lose the right to vote in every state. So, I guess if a felon is worried about voting, he can move to a state where committing a crime does not effect this.

    Second, in regards to your comment about a benevolent dictatorship.. I am gonna store this in the memory banks. As someone who frequently sides with the government's right to make decisions for its citizens, I'm sure I'll get to bring this up in the future.
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  6. #26
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Galendir View Post
    "Plainly see"? Nothing in the quoted passage you present refutes the fact that some blue laws did in fact require church attendance. You didn't look very far. Try Jamestown, Virginia around 1610 to 1619 for an example.
    "All persons whatsoever upon the Sabbath days shall frequent divine service and sermons both forenoon and afternoon." -- Excerpted from Proceedings of the First Assembly of Virginia, 1619

    First of all, the article submitted characterized itself as a full and complete, although cursory description of what the "blue laws" were. It did not include a reference to any law requiring unbelievers to attend Sunday or any other day church services, which was the issue, as I recall.

    Second, in the 1600's the intent of colonization as specified in each of the colonies' charters included both evangelism and the living out of the Christian faith. A couple of examples should suffice here, and if you want more information I recommend David Barton's excellent survey of the Christian nature of our founding history, "Original Intent":

    "Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith...[we] combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for...furtherance of the ends aforesaid." (excerpt "Mayflower Compact", ibid, p. 83)
    "[O]ur said people...be so religiously,k peaceably, and civilly governed [that] their good life and orderly conversation may win and incite the natives of...[that] country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Savior of mankind, and the Christian faith, which...is the principal end of this plantation [colony]" (Massachusetts charter, 1629; ibid p. 83)
    One last quote from Barton's book to seal the deal, so to speak:

    "Originally, a charter provided adequate civil government for most colonies. However, as population increased, so did the need for more elaborate governments. It was this need which resulted in the 'Fundamental Orders of Connecticut' - not only the first constitituion written in the United States, but also the direct antecedent of our current federal Constitution. (John Fiske, The Beginnings of New England; 1898; pp. 127-128). The 'Fundamental Orders' explained why that document had been created:

    [W]ell knowing when a people are gathered together, the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people, there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God (The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut; Hartford, Silas, Andrus; 1822; p. 2)

    That constitution next declared the colonists' deisre to:

    [E]nter into combination and confederation together to maintain and perserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess...which, according to the truth of the said Gospel, is now practiced amongst us. (ibid; p. 2)"
    This point needs to be made clear. The purpose of a blue law was to restrict the Sunday activities of the non-believer to those that did not pose a public affront to Christian faith and praxis on Sundays, not to force the believer into church. You want to argue blue laws required church attendance by pointing to the law in Jamestown where there were no non-believers at the time, all the colonists having "signed on", so to speak, to the Jamestown charter that clearly identifies the colony as exclusively Christian. Your argument thus significantly changes the purpse of, and thus the definition of a "blue law", and only on that shifted semantic does your argument have any force.

    I have no good reason to follow you in your remarkably expanded re-definition of "blue law", and therefore no good reason to accept your objection. If you have any evidence that a "blue law", as commonly understood, ever required a non-believer to attend religious services on Sunday, I invite you to present it. Your above fails as that evidence.

    ---------- Post added at 02:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:57 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Its got nothing to do with my example. Here is an example we actually have.

    Anyone convicted of drug sales or significant possession has committed a felony and if never allowed to vote it virtually guarantees that most supporters of changing drug laws are unable to vote to have them repealed. If such laws are unjust they are self ensuring so long as enforcement is effective. Any potentially unjust law that results in a felony makes those most familiar with its injustice unable to actually vote to change it. Its a system that can easily serve tyrant and injustice.
    You seem to be viewing "felon" as a class of citizen in the "system" of government that is basically a demoncracy (let's not get bogged down quibbling over the difference between a rebublic and a pure democracy to no point), and claiming that the "system" is rigged against the felon so as to become, or to have a real potential to become "tyrannical" toward that class of citizen.

    I'm having trouble finding a point here. Any democratic system of government is going to be "tyrannical" toward some group of citizens in catering to the group we like to refer to as the "majority". This is a given, and while I don't think it's the basis of your argument for not stripping voting rights from felons, it should be brought out into the "cone of light" so we can dismiss it, instead of letting it loiter around at the edge of shadow surronding that cone.

    What I do think you're relying on as an unexpressed premise is also patently untrue, and that is that you think somehow this group of citizens called "felons" has some potential to become the majority in this country, and thus to have their otherwise ability to decide issues twarted by being stripped of their vote. But isn't that a bit absurd? If felons ever become a majority their inability to vote will be the least of everyone else's concerns!

    Try looking at stripping felons' right to vote as the more humane way of crippling or branding them in society. Under sharia law the felon's hand is cut off, or they are killed. In other, more advanced societies, felons are branded or tatooed. The point is they are marked by society forever as felons, so that everyday they have a reminder that they are felons, and that society will not tolerate felons.

    We, because we are a very advanced and humane society, symbolically cut the hands off felons; the hand they would have raised to vote.

    ---------- Post added at 04:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    On the Michigan ballot yesterday, there was a proposition to take the vote away from people who where convicted of a crime involving lying, extortion, bribery, and various manners of dishonesty involving money or influence.... but only if the person was an elected official at the time the crime was committed. If I recall, it also remanded the vote for a period of 20 years, not for life. I'm a little hazy on the details, and I don't have the time to look it up just now because I have to get my science lab homework done.

    It passed by a wide margin. Does anyone see anything wrong with this law, on the surface?
    As long as the crime was classified as a "felony", no.

  7. #27
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    First, the laws are not made by benevolent dictator, but by the people who elect representatives. Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that criminals would take a softer stand against laws aimed at punishing criminal behavior?
    Yes it would, and if so much of the population is criminal that that constitutes a controlling voting block, well that is a sign that our criminal laws are probably quite draconian.

    Again, I made the very simple and straightforward analogy regarding criminals and guns. Are we violating an ex-felon's rights by refusing him license to buy a gun?
    Yes. But I am not arguing about rights here so much as political protections and counter balancing. If you have a means of disenfranchisement that is controlled by the legislature you give the legislator the defacto power to decide who can vote by passing laws putting people into disenfranchisement. I think it is potentially dangerous.

    When one becomes a felon (which is someone who has done more than a mere misdemeanor) they lose some rights.
    Yes they do.

    One of those rights for certain types of felons is the right to vote and participate in our democratic process. It should also be noted that felons do not lose the right to vote in every state. So, I guess if a felon is worried about voting, he can move to a state where committing a crime does not effect this.
    Yes, that is an option. I'm saying that its a bad idea to take their right to vote after they are out of the legal system. I've explained why. Do you honestly think if we let felons vote that we will legalize murder or theft?

    Second, in regards to your comment about a benevolent dictatorship.. I am gonna store this in the memory banks. As someone who frequently sides with the government's right to make decisions for its citizens, I'm sure I'll get to bring this up in the future.
    I am not fond of the government making decisions for its citizens, you only have that perception because I feel citizenship comes with certain basic obligations such as paying for the state apparatus which some seem to feel is a great hardship.

    I will say that truly benevolent dictatorship could well be the best form of government possible, but it is just as Utopian as pure socialism or anarchy since no perfect dictator will ever likely exist. I used to run my guild as a benevolent dictator....

    Rule #1. I make all the rules.
    Rule #2. I reserve the right to kick you out.

    And that was it for rules. Absolute authority used to preserve absolute freedom.
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  8. #28
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    Re: Taking away felons right to vote is unconstitutional

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I used to run my guild as a benevolent dictator....

    Rule #1. I make all the rules.
    Rule #2. I reserve the right to kick you out.

    And that was it for rules. Absolute authority used to preserve absolute freedom.
    You're joking right? How could you possbily so confuse what liberty means as to think it can be perserved by what utterly destroys it?

 

 
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