By BOB BIRD
Recently the mainstream media has become interested in the 2022 decennial vote, “Shall there be a constitutional convention?” Lately, the Radical Left (which always presents itself as “mainstream”), has become quite worried about the so-called “con-con.”
They have admitted as such with a loud and firm opposition to a “Yes” vote, as seen by a resolution within the state’s Democratic Party.
Personally, I hope their worries are well-founded. A constitutional convention, if it was controlled by an authentic representation of the people, would likely modify the current over-praised “model constitution” of the state’s 1955 convention towards a more conservative direction.
If the PFD is “constitutionalized”, as many think is the top priority for a constitutional convention call, it would certainly be welcome. But overlooked is the far more troubling aspect of the Judicial Council, for without it, we would continue with the false paradigm, currently believed because of constitutional ignorance, that “the constitution means whatever the supreme courts says.”
Had we ever been granted a true conservative governor who understood that the judiciary is intentionally designed to be the weakest of the so-called “three co-equal branches of government”, we never would have had half of the crises the courts have created.
This is because, even foregoing anything said about limited judicial powers in The Federalist Papers, our own state constitution says, “The jurisdiction of the courts shall be prescribed by law.” But it now practically means, “The jurisdiction of the legislature shall only be permitted when approved by the judiciary.”
We really shouldn’t need to write it into the constitution, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it proclaim what now appears on the Alaskan Independent Party’s website. Its own “model constitution” was written over a decade ago by conservative Republicans, AIP members, and non-affiliated sympathizers. Any Alaskan can find it at www.akip.org. Not meant to be anything but a template to stimulate discussion, one section regarding the Judicial Branch reads thus:
“[The judiciary] is to be the least influential of all branches of government … and is to adjudicate only between contending parties … Its decisions will be only as effective as the willingness of the Governor … to enforce any decision … The executive will reserve the right to review any and all decisions in regards to conformity to natural, constitutional, statutory and common law.
Any interpretation of this constitution, or the statutes written by the legislature, shall be merely their own, and applicatory only to the contending parties upon executive concurrence, and not to the legislature, executive or the people.
The executive shall also have the power of interpretation by refusal to enforce a law or judicial decision …”
There would also always be the ability by the legislature to curtail an unreasonable or tyrannical executive. The scenarios are endless and subject only to personal imagination in this regard. But the use of impeachment has for too long been a reluctant tool, reserved in Alaska for merely old-fashioned corruption, rather than constitution overreach. And while the Congress has been shown to use impeachment as a political weapon, in 1868, 2020, and 2021, we must accept that neither governments nor constitutions can possibly be perfect.
I omit 1998, for Clinton’s impeachment involved perjury, not politics.
The Legislature needs to work out beforehand an agreeable statute for the selection of con-con delegates. If they are to be chosen through the normal method of campaigning, the majority will be representative of liberal, corporate, and leftist interests. If chosen by the precinct method, whereby something akin to a “town hall meeting” takes place, a more authentic voice of the people would be possible.
As things stand right now, if we actually had an executive and legislature with correct constitutional awareness, and a spine to go with it, the only remedial work that would need to be done, would be to address federal overreach into our de-facto “rump” statehood.
To put it briefly, most federal properties are arguably unconstitutional. Released from the Lower 48 Green Lobby control over our resources, Alaska might begin to stabilize its economy from the “boom-and-bust” syndrome — and develop its own food security.
But the federal government has always done its best to avoid that. One need only look at our history to prove it.
Bob Bird is chair of the Alaskan Independence Party and the host of a talk show, the Bird’s Eye View on KSRM radio, Kenai.