constitutional

All posts tagged constitutional

Austria’s Constitutional Court ordered a repeat of the country’s divisive presidential election after allowing a challenge by the nationalist Freedom Party, whose candidate narrowly lost a May 22 runoff.

The anti-immigration Freedom Party had filed the complaint alleging vote-counting irregularities after its candidate, Norbert Hofer, lost the May 22 runoff to Alexander Van der Bellen by slightly more than 30,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast.

“The challenge is granted,” chief justice Gerhart Holzinger said in announcing the verdict in Vienna on Friday. “In layman’s terms, that means that the entire runoff has to be repeated throughout all of Austria.”

The unprecedented nullification of a national election risks further deepening divisions exposed by the close result and the acrimonious campaign that preceded it. After Green Party-backed Van der Bellen foiled Hofer’s bid to become the first populist head of state in western Europe since World War II, the Freedom Party may now point to the verdict as evidence that the political establishment tried to deny Hofer victory.

The Interior Ministry has said the runoff would probably take place in the fall. Two rounds of earlier voting for the mostly ceremonial post bared Austria’s political divide over migration and relations with the European Union, and the repeat is likely to produce more of the same.

Absentee Ballots

The court faulted the handling of absentee ballots in many districts, saying rules had been broken. In line with similar court rulings in the past, proof of ballot manipulation wasn’t required and the Freedom Party didn’t claim any.

Support for Van der Bellen is less than 1 percentage point ahead of Hofer’s and within the margin of error, according to a June 11 Gallup poll published by the Oesterreich daily newspaper.

Support for the Freedom Party, which rose above 30 percent in opinion polls during the refugee crisis last year, hasn’t changed significantly since the presidential election and its challenge. About 33 percent would vote for the party nationwide, making it the biggest force ahead of the governing Social Democrats with 25 percent, pollster OGM found in a survey published in Kurier newspaper on June 19.

The Freedom Party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, has focused complaints on absentee ballots. About 760,000 Austrians mailed in ballots or dropped them off in precincts ahead of election day or in different polling stations. Van der Bellen had a clear edge over Hofer among those voters.

‘Unbearable’ Sloppiness

Witnesses produced evidence of widespread ignorance of rules for how those absentee ballots are to be counted, combined with equally widespread false testimony by election officials or volunteers who had signed statements saying all rules were observed.

Officials from several districts told the court they had been bending the rules for years to speed up counting. On the other hand, a majority of districts was able to count the ballots without violating the law.

Those practices exposed an “unbearable degree of sloppiness,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said last week.

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The speaker of the House is the first constitutional officer mentioned in the American Constitution, well before the president. In Article 1, Section 5, the Constitution says “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker.” The Speaker is thus a hugely important and prestigious figure in American life. So why would John Boehner, who wept copiously when he realized on Election Eve 2010 that he was soon to achieve this incredible honor, a lifetime dream, leave in the middle of a term and give it all up?
There is an immediate answer. Boehner has struggled since he became speaker with an unruly party caucus—a growing collection of Republican lawmakers who are, to put it gently, not interested in the pragmatic realities of policy making in a system of divided and overlapping powers. For the past five years, Boehner has tried to keep his team in check, often giving members leeway to pursue reckless tactics and radical policies, only to rein them in by turning to Democrats for votes after their efforts had turned catastrophic. But that approach was no longer working.

Related Story

John Boehner’s Last Deal
Trying to show that Republicans could govern responsibly, without another government shutdown or debt-ceiling showdown, he faced a nearly unprecedented motion from his own ranks to vacate the speakership, with a strong chance that he would be ousted from the post unless Democrats—at a price—bailed him out. That would have left him in a weakened and embattled state for a miserable 15 months remaining in the 114th Congress. The day after the high point of his tenure—the appearance of the Pope at his side for a joint session of Congress—he decided it was no longer worth it.
There is a bigger backstory. Since 1994, when Newt Gingrich led his party tribe from 40 years of wandering in the desert of the minority to the promised land of House majority, Republicans have become more stridently anti-government and anti-Washington. They have also, when in the majority, become less interested in trying to find policy solutions across party lines. Their desire to act like a parliamentary majority, maintaining rigid discipline and working only internally, became known as the “Hastert Rule” under Gingrich’s successor.
Perfect party discipline continued when Republicans, in the minority, faced Barack Obama in his first two years—unity that translated into reflexive …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More

A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.
Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.
“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”
Loesch denied knowledge of the plants, court records say.
Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.
Carver argued that growing marijuana is protected by Missouri’s new farming rights amendment, which Missouri voters narrowly passed in an August referendum. Of nearly 1 million votes cast, the amendment passed by a margin of 2,376 votes.
The amendment enshrined the right to farm in the state constitution, saying the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices “shall not be infringed.” It was prompted by rural legislators who said farm culture needed protection from environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Missouri was the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.
“The amendment prohibits the Legislature from declaring what can and cannot be grown in Missouri,” Carver wrote in his motion for dismissal.
Loesch’s lawyer wrote that state laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana violate the state and U.S. constitutions and are “vague in that a reasonable person cannot tell and is not given clear notice as to what is prohibited and what is permitted” by law.
The amendment was passed after Loesch was charged. But her attorney says the language of the amendment makes it clear it is not establishing a new right but clarifying an existing right, so it should apply retroactively to Loesch.
Loesch pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in February 2013.
The case has been continued several times since then. A hearing in the case is set for May 13.
Loesch also has pending misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a law enforcement officer. She has previous …Read More