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Souter: “….In the end the Democratic process will not do”
I remember reading this quote from this Supreme Court Justice and thinking this was a miss-quote or that I had heard it out of context... What did he mean the democratic process will not do?! This is America bub, we are about the “Democratic process” – We the people and all that.. How the hell did you get on the Supreme Court?!!
I don’t remember the exact date of that quote but it is clear, in the intervening years, that this quote was not taken out of context. The elite have found a way to remove themselves from Democratic process and remove themselves from the reach of the Hoi Polloi. I am still not sure of all the mechanisms that keep them beyond our reach – but one of them surely is our ignorance. Oh well, maybe this self-governance stuff was really getting kind of old anyway I guess..
In so many places and in so many ways those that lead us seem to be beyond our reach. The latest example, in a small way comparatively, is this Frazier guy. I mention him because he is emblematic of so many of these dips we have on the BOT and even of the President of the University. These guys are not serving us, but we make a mistake to think they aren’t serving someone. So who is it?
While we were sleeping, it became much more important for “our betters” to serve a power structure that is far more important than us: The “Cultural Elite” - Lenin referred to capturing the “Commanding Heights” of the culture and holding sway as a result far beyond your numbers..
The Cultural Elite - this is the group Frazier and others on our BOT are currying favor with. These are the elite ranks these individuals want to rub elbows with…And quite frankly, the Cultural Elite have already passed judgment on Penn State.
So it doesn’t matter that very significant new information has come to light in terms of the depths of the corruption at the NCAA, the total lack of any discernible process by this corrupt organization, the serious questions brought to light about the Freeh Report…. Saturday Night Live, after all has already done that skit. The New York Times, et al, has already served it’s judgment. It’s well past time to move on.
We want a new accounting based on these new facts and we want justice to be served. We want these facts soberly looked at now that the sensationalism has subsided to a mild roar, but Frazier has bigger fish to fry. You brought him to the dance, and thanks for the ride and all that, but over there is that Dreamy guy and it time for him to move on..
Time for us to rid ourselves of the Frazier’s in our midst. Let’s use the Democratic process.
This post was edited by RRR56 13 months ago
I saw the topic "don't be afraid to clean. House" I got a little scared as I thought maybe my wife opened an account. My wife has used these exact words before just not about bot or anything psu related.
Very interesting comment.
Democracy should not work when the majority wants to do something unconstitutional, immoral or unethical.
As an extreme example, Do you think that the democratic process should work, if the majority of the citizens want to kill all citizens of an ethnic minority ( Kurds / Serbia / Shia / Sunni as an example)? I think not.
However, in the current situation where our elected BOT is not performing to our expectations, and we want to vote them out, this is the perfect forum for democracy to work the way it is supposed to.
Mech Engr here
Trock - Hilarious. Sorry for the scare!
Fritz - I agree with your comments. That is what the Supreme Court is for; to be a check against the Legislature (the democratic voice of the people) when basic rights as defined in the Constitution have been infringed. It seems to me this statement by Souter, however, referred to the general idea that the modern society was just too complicated for the normal schmo to circumnavigate and they (our betters) were just going to have to take reins from us..
The BOT is hardly a democracy. If all the BOT were up for re-election annually we would be in a different place than we are today
RRR56, those are thoughtful and intelligent comments IMHO. I think you are right. Frazier is serving a different master. He cares for his reputation in the elite crowd. I wish we could vote him out. But in a democratic society, these are the forums in which the public can form and mobilize. Collectively, we have a broad set of talents and relationship at our disposal. Hopefully, we can use them for the good.
"You can take bowl games and you can take external things from people, but you can't take a warrior's heart."
fullback - thanks for the compliment. These forums are a place were we can have a big impact on the BOT make up just by making sure we indentify those who are not friends of Penn State though they call themselves trustees. We should make it clear to anyone wanting our "trust" - as in trustee - that they're going to earn it from here on out.
The original BOT charter was last updated in 1935. The concept of having farmers and mostly governor appointees run a large state university seems antiquated and designed for political mischief (T.I.P.=This is Pennsylvania). The structure with the Executive Committee steam rolling their agenda with mandatory unanimous votes and preventing any comment from the token members seems.....undemocratic.
The fastest way to reform this mess is to void the charter and start over. Current members should be prevented from returning to the BOT unless elected.
The new charter should reduce the BOT to 21 members (MSU has 8) , all voted on by Alumni. One governor appointed non-voting member would be plenty. Eliminate the Exec Committee and try majority rules. Give democracy a chance. I would prefer complete anarchy to the current situation.
This current BOT will never change and should not even be involved in any reform discussions as they have failed at governance the last 20 years.
Please contact your state representative and urge them to restructure all the state university BOT charters to improve the safety of our citizens, students while decreasing waste and corruption.
My comment was complaint. Your comment has the ring of someone who knows the issues. Great suggestions.
You completely missed Judge Souter's point.
Here it is by example.
If all the members of your gated community were also a government unit ( borough, township etc.) They cannot simply hold a very "democratic" election and ban all Catholics, Blacks or registered Democrats from buying a house in their community. Violate the constitution.
The constitution DOES allow for "ignoring" the democratic process if the results abridge any guaranteed rights of citizens. I.E the voters in New York cannot simply vote to exclude political speech, gun ownership,groups from meeting etc. The Supreme court has the right to overturn their laws...rightly so.
We are a Constitutional Republic.
A Constitutional Republic is a state where the officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens.
A Constitutional Republic is the current form of government in the United States. However in recent years, many people have criticized the federal government for moving away from a Constitutional Republic, as defined by the Constitution, and towards a pure democracy.
TeamLaw.org defines a Constitutional Republic as follows:
A Republic, by definition, has two principle elements. First, it is controlled by Law; therefore, it does not control Law. Second, it recognizes the private independent sovereign nature of each person (man or woman) of competent age and capacity; therefore, a Republic must be representative in its nature.
A Republic recognizes Law is unchangeable, or at least that it can only be changed by a higher source than government. In a Republic the concept of “collective sovereignty” cannot exist, except with recognition that the State or nation, as a body of sovereigns, can speak through one elected voice; though that one voice can never lawfully interfere with the private rights of the individual sovereigns.
“A Constitutional Republic” is a government created and controlled, at least, by the Law of a Constitution. The Constitution of the United States of America was, in Law, a foundation based on the Bible, the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. Those documents recognize man’s sovereignty, the divine nature of man’s creation and man’s divine right to Life, Liberty, the means of acquiring and possessing Property, and the pursuit of happiness.
Limits On Government
The purpose of a Constitutional Republic is to place limits on the tyranny of the majority. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:
If, on the other hand, a legislative power could be so constituted as to represent the majority without necessarily being the slave of its passions, an executive so as to retain a proper share of authority, and a judiciary so as to remain independent of the other two powers, a government would be formed which would still be democratic while incurring scarcely any risk of tyranny.
The United States Constitution has many protections against the "tyranny of the majority." Specifically, it protects the Unalienable rights of the People from an overreaching government. For example:
Congress cannot establish a religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof -- Amendment 1
Congress cannot prohibit free speech -- Amendment 1
Congress cannot infringe on the right to keep and bear arms -- Amendment 2
Senators must be elected by the States, not the people -- annulled by Amendment 17
Presidents must be elected by the Electoral College, not directly by the population
habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except during invasion or rebellion -- Article 1, Section 9
No direct tax shall be placed on the people without apportionment -- Article 1, Section 9 - annulled by Amendment 16
Anything not explicitly permitted to Congress by the Constitution is reserved for the States or the People -- Amendment 10
Someone once said that the US Constitution poses no threat to our current form of government. It’s fairly obvious that there are many in our midst that look at the Constitution as an obstacle; – pull it out when it supports your opinion - put it away when it doesn’t - Read this right extremely elastically and this one extremely narrowly. I am not sure what form of government we are becoming – but it’s pretty clear we are changing. Your review of the particulars of what our Constitutional Republic should be was interesting however.
About this time some busy-body comes on here and tell us to “stop talking about politics!”, so I’ll just go back to my main lament: That so many of these clowns – in Government, the BOT, the NCAA – you name it, seem to be more and more beyond our reach of any accountability.
I think the bylaws are partially controlled by the legislature. There is a movement to fix some of the nepotism on the board, so all voting members get elected. The Gov, the secretaries of ED, Natural Resources and AG will be on board, but non voting members, Ag members will be voted by societies and other industry members by outside societies as I recall.
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