Marianas Variety

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    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:32:40A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Not ignoring

A READER of Marianas Variety’s Nov. 7 edition posted a question online regarding my letters to the editor, “Abolish Article XII or Not?” 

This is a constitutional amendment issue. Defeat it, leave it, or modify it. And my intention is to sense the direction and the strength of the community’s preference, and the degree of sensitivity of that controversial constitutional issue, by looking at posted comments on the issue.

Also, by conversing with groups or individuals at gatherings, like luncheons, picnics, etc., to feel the tone of the conversations and to figure out where the conversation is heading. I feel that the tone could reveal the prevailing feeling of the day.

So, if a constitutional amendment is needed, how strong would the community’s, Legislature’s, and the governor’s feelings and responses would be on that?

For a constitutional amendment the Legislature could compromise or collaborates with the governor for a “Legislative Check.” A legislative check is when the Legislature, in collaboration with the governor, introduces a replacement law or an amendment to the original law to counter or invalidate a specific court decision. Controversial court decisions can be made obsolete by the introduction of a replacement law, or by amending the law to invalidate the decision.

However, if the court is interpreting the Constitution, then it’s a “hands-off.” The court has the power to interpret the law, which is the principle of judicial review. But the Legislature in collaboration with the governor, could come back and propose a constitutional amendment to combat the court interpretation or a judicial review and make such obsolete. Is that possible?

Of course, it is, e.g., many amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Also, our H.L.I. 18-1. The court is to decide what the law is, and not to decide what it should be.

The reader’s question, then, was a trailer to portion of my statement, “Are we doing something to prevent the non-NMDs from cracking the barrier?” The reader asks, “How do you do that?” Well, through legislative check. Or through community education. The constituency could pressure the Legislature not to introduce an “initiative” to touch Article XII.

And the courts should stay within constitutional boundary. They’re to support the Constitution and the Covenant, and not to amend or revise them. That’s subverting our Constitution instead of supporting it, and usurping our constituency’s power to make a choice, otherwise it would be the court negating the plebiscite or the “initiative.”

I see the courts are tearing down our Covenant and our Constitution case by case, e.g., Tudela v. Tudela, Davis v. Commonwealth Electon Commission, etc.

The reader’s question is a “toughie” because of the unpredictability of people’s behavior by swaying their opinions, and because of the several other “contra” factors working against the Article XII proponents, such as courts, the non-NMD, a check on blood quantum, U.S. citizen children who may, one day, want to own land here, and may upend the Constitution to do that. And the federal court said they could vote (see Davis v. Commonwealth Election Commission).

Our Supreme Court said non-NMDs could own land here (see Tudela v. Tudela [Haruko]). Does our Constitution allow that? How about a constitutional amendment on that “Haruko” case?

One issue solved, H.L.I. 18-1. My understanding of this “initiative” is if an NMD person adopts a child who does not have a trace of NMD blood, then that child is not an NMD, thus, cannot own land here by virtue of being a former non-NMD.

A reverse case I’m aware of is the adoption of an NMD child by non-NMD parents. I think our adoption law says that the status of the adopted child latches on to the status of the adoptive parents.

Lightly said, that NMD child morphs into a non-NMD. Well, the answer is a bit verbose, but I hope I have answered Taotaoisla’s question, “How do you do that.” Primarily, through Legislative Check for a pre-emptive action to be initiated by a strong community blocking response.

RUDY M. SABLAN
Garapan, Saipan