The Beauty of Ballot Initiatives

In the run up to the 2006 elections I talked about Ballot initiatives on key issues in states. These are great to get your core voters out as well as to fix things locally, usually preferrable to federal methods because that behemoth bureaucracy tends to fumble a lot.

The Beauty of Ballot Initiatives

Our country is a wonderful experiment — constitutionally provisioned to allow fifty separate states and governments to work in concert, but at the same time hold separate laws. After several years of liberal constitutional interpretations, some see no purpose to state laws that differ from federal. I say pish on that. The passengers on flight 93 didn’t call out for federal help and if they had it wouldn’t have been there. We shouldn’t expect all immigration problems to be solved by the Feds either.

Well-crafted state laws hold the high ground in bulk of decided cases across our land, but the operative words are “well-crafted”.  This is clearly demonstrated by the numbers, here’s a comparison from Wikipedia:

About 91% of people in prison at any given time got there via state rather than federal court convictions, including 99% of people on death row. Federal courts disproportionately handle white collar crimes, immigration related crimes and drug offenses (these crimes make up about 70% of the federal docket, but just 19% of the state court criminal docket). A large share of the violent crimes prosecuted in federal courts arise on Indian Reservations or federal property.

The trend is similar in civil cases. For example, in Colorado, in 2002, roughly 97% of all civil cases were filed in state courts and 89% of the cases filed in federal court were bankruptcies. In Colorado, in 2002, there were 79 civil trials in federal court (41 jury and 38 non-jury), and 5950 civil trials in state court (300 jury and 5650 non-jury).

So many more than 80 percent of cases are clearly decided by the relevant state laws. Of those carried to federal courts in the greater bulk of cases the state law stands. So state and local laws are still extremely important to the functioning of our great nation. In many cases, where federal law fails, state law prevails. If the feds don’t explicity take the power then that power does belong to the various states.

With that in mind there are several issues on the table of concern to conservatives at present, and it would be great to get ballot initiatives, propositions, and proposals on the ballots across the country. These would help get disheartened conservatives to the polls this November, and help ensure that we maintain control of the Senate and House.

Here are a few suggestions, and I would wager that one or another are of import to your state:

  1. Stricter restrictions of emminent domain, better definitions of “public good”, and well crafted tightening of the takings clause of the constitution. Our property rights are under attack, and it’s time to stop that.
  2. Immigration: while many localities refuse to support federal law because there is no federal incentive to do so, in the long term they harm themselves by importing poverty. It’s time to make sure that law enforcement agencies either enforce federal legislation on immigration, or tighten legislation for your state.
  3. Maybe you are a border state or city and think you need better fences than the Feds are providing?
  4. Enabling legislation for citizen groups to assist local authorities in case of emergency, and for illegal immigration processing. The daunting task of deportation isn’t getting the illegal arrested or deported, it’s the grueling work of processing the papers that make people declare it impossible to rid ourselves of the 8-12 million illegals in country right now. The minute men would probably be willing to help with that paperwork.
  5. Civil Defense used to do a great job until Carter got rid of them. The aftermath of Katrina tells you that you better not be fully dependent on the Feds in emergencies. Community defense corps, militias, or deputized volunteer emergency aid groups might be an idea whose time has come again.

We are six months out from mid-term elections, and over the past three months we severely disheartened many of our voters. If we hope to win in November then we better get cracking with some well-crafted initiatives.

After writing all of this I popped over to Jerry Pournelle’s site to catch up on sane reading for the week, and saw that we are well in agreement: Jerry Pournelle Wednesday view for some other excellent suggestions:

We all know how to control the borders. Just Do It. Allocate $1 million/mile/year to be paid to the local county sheriff for use in border control. Add $10 million/year for each border city. Now levy a $1000 fine (not ruinous, but discouraging) for employing an illegal immigrant for more than five days, and pay half of that to whomever turned in the employer to the local sheriff. The other half goes to the sheriff’s office. Add a Federal bonus for each sheriff, interior or border, say $1000 per illegal immigrant apprehended and delivered to the Federal authorities. Local sheriffs who don’t want to catch immigrants just for being immigrants will at least have a way to deal with crime coming to their attention. The whole thing won’t cost $20 billion a year, far less than the savings in social service. The result will be that apprehension of those currently here will be adjusted to local sentiments — counties where no one much cares will not have vigorous enforcement, but will have a way to cut down on criminal and gang activities; the borders will be closed effectively; citizens hiring someone at the local Home Depot won’t face the fines; and the attractiveness of crossing the border will diminish.

Of course this won’t be done.  — Jerry Pournelle

More on why you really need to go to the polls from Right Wing Nuthouse.