How to Fire Federal Officials

Discussion in 'Politics' started by statusquobuster, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. statusquobuster
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    statusquobuster BANNED

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    Americans Deserve Recall Power

    Joel S. Hirschhorn

    Nothing is more powerful in a democracy than fed up citizens lawfully yanking public officials out of their jobs. Considering all the frustration and anger about government that is too big, expensive, corrupt and dysfunctional, it is wise to consider how much better American democracy would be if citizens could recall members of Congress, the President and even Supreme Court Justices. In a world moving at faster and faster speeds why wait for the usual ways to fix government, especially when none of them seem to work?

    Fearful politicians have given citizens in relatively few states and local governments the right to recall government officials. A most memorable and recent recall was the governor of California, Gray Davis, in 2003.

    Direct voting to recall government officials is a prime example of direct democracy. The action may be called a recall election or a recall referendum. It is needed when representative democracy fails the public. Which most Americans definitely think is the case for Congress.

    Only eighteen states allow recall of state officials. Specific grounds for recall are required in only eight states. Eleven states allow recall of judicial officials. In at least 29 states (some sources place this number at 36), recall elections may be held in local jurisdictions. Three-fourths of recall actions in the US are at the city council or school board level.

    Here are some other recent successful recalls.

    1983 recall efforts of two Michigan state senators
    1988 recall of Oregon state legislator
    1995 recall of two California Assembly members
    2002 recall of mayor of Flint, Michigan.
    2002 recall of multiple Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, elected county officials
    2003 recall of Wisconsin State Senator
    2005 recall of mayor of Spokane, Washington.
    2006 recall of mayor of Roosevelt, New Jersey

    In 1988, Arizona voters filed enough signatures to trigger a recall election for Governor Evan Mecham, but he was impeached by the state's House of Representatives before the date of the scheduled recall election.

    In some places the successor to a recalled official is elected at the same time, others in a special election afterwards and in others by appointment.

    Right now there is no way to recall federal officials. Don’t you think it is time to change this? If you do, then understand that there must be a constitutional amendment and clearly Congress will never propose such an amendment.

    What is the alternative? The Founders gave us the path to such reform. They gave us the option in Article V of a convention of state delegates that has the same power as Congress to propose constitutional amendments. Learn about it at Friends of the Article V Convention website, and learn why Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and give us the convention that over 700 applications from all 50 states have asked for.

    Recall should be seen as a serious alternative to voting federal incumbents out of office. This has never worked to any significant degree for a host of reasons, despite serious attempts to vote out congressional incumbents. Prime among them is that once in office members of Congress become addicted to power and corrupted by money used to stay in office.

    What about term limits? This sounds good, but here too many people once in office may do things that the public condemns while still within their allowed terms. Better to have them fearful of being recalled rather than not being reelected. Also note that impeachment and criminal prosecution are difficult legal processes to remove an official from office. Usually it is incompetence, dishonesty and nonresponsiveness to constituents that angers people.

    There is probably more discussion now about constitutional amendments than in a very long time. But, oddly, those who seek true reforms seem oblivious to the enormous power of the recall option. Think about it. We the people should have the sovereign right to fire federal officials, especially members of Congress, but even the President and Supreme Court Justices. That way they are more likely to respect the Constitution and really listen to we the people, rather than the corporate and other special interests that feed them big money so they can keep telling us big lies. If we don’t get the power to fire bad government officials, then future generations will pay a very, very high price.

    Don’t be a constitutional hypocrite. Support using the Article V convention option. Let your members of Congress know that you want one. Let everyone know you support having the recall option for federal officials. If all government officials work for us, then we need the constitutional right to fire them. If you want to take back your country from the rich and powerful, then recall power is needed. Power to the people!

    [Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.]
  2. kyzr
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    kyzr VIP Member

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    You should have started a poll with this topic. I'd vote yes.
  3. Madeline
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    I'm confused. Is there some reason impeachment is not sufficient? Are you suggesting some sort of popular Vote of No Confidence?

    BTW, who are "federal officials"? Federal judges are appointed (for life), not elected...and legislators are already subject to impeachment. I'm not entirely sure how one removes a federal judge when there has been no violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. I think that was the point...to place these people apart from the political life so they are free to rule as they see fit.

  4. Brubricker
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    Brubricker Member

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    Boy, that sure solved their problems.
  5. Immanuel
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    Immanuel Senior Member

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    1) Welcome to USMB.

    2) I think impeachment is a process brought about by Congress on the President. It does not give the citizenry the power to enact an impeachment proceeding.

    3) I'd have to see the details of how it would work, but if it were an election type recall, I could possibly feel comfortable with such an idea. If it were a trial type thing, such as an impeachment hearing, I would have a problem because then we would have our elected officials constantly having to defend themselves in court and we'd get nothing done... hmmmmm! Maybe....

    Immie
  6. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member

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    I disagree.

    Terms are defined by the constitution for a reason.
  7. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    How to Fire Federal Officials

    Gasoline would work pretty well.

    Manure stinks horribly when it burns though.
  8. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 VIP Member

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    How to Fire Federal Officials

    With a match?
  9. Flopper
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    Flopper Silver Member

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    This is an interesting proposal. How could it be implemented?
  10. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Recalls bother me a bit as it forces politicians to be in campaign mode thier whole term. Sometimes they need to be able to make an unpopular decison for the good of the whole.
  11. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Yep a very good point especially considering the power of the political pundit media.
  12. bodecea
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    bodecea Gold Member

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    How'd that replacement for Grey Davis work out?


    BTW...good luck with that amendment...:lol:
  13. Immanuel
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    Immanuel Senior Member

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    I hate to say it, but I too think you are right.

    It would be nice if we had some way to weed out the bad apples... and before all you libs start saying "the ballot box", that doesn't work because the vast majority of incumbents are in for as long as they want the office regardless of whether or not they serve their constituents and they know it so they can tell y'all to F' off and they go about their own business screwing you and no one seems to care.

    Immie
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  14. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    What we need to figure out is how to convince people that automatically voting for your incumbent is not always a good idea. Alot of congresspeople run unopposed. This is the effect of a 2 party system at a federal level. Even if a republican is a NY republican (liberal by the national standard) people in a liberal NY district will not vote for them because they see them as part of the national party. And local machine politics here in NY make trying to primary an incumbent really hard.
  15. GilbertArizona
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    I believe that elections are sufficient means citizens have in dealing with the removal of the President and those in Congress. Where I wouldn't mind seeing it implemented on a federal basis would be with the Supreme Court, whose power to limit our freedoms any way it seems fit goes unchecked.
  16. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Gold Member

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    Perhaps they need to explain why these 'unpopular decisions' are so good for the whole. If people are so stupid as to what is good for them, why allow them to vote in the first place.
  17. bodecea
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    bodecea Gold Member

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    If you can prove that that is what the Supreme Court is doing, there is always the impeachment process. However, I suspect that most that complain about the Court limiting our freedoms are simply complaining about decisions they don't like.
  18. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Remember that the sepraration of powers was designed to create a brake on rapid change. If things really go to hell the house can be swapped out in 2 years, the presidency 4, the whole senate in 6. Only the courts has the 10-30 year tenure and are deisgned to prevent any radical rapid change (rapid meaning less than 5 years or so)

    And there is a mechanism for getting around the court, the amendment process.
  19. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    actually, there is no tenure for a supreme court justice. it's a lifetime appointment. i assume you mean in terms of the realistic possible term?

    and i'm afraid i'm not convinced that electoral terms has anything to do with separation of powers or preventing some type of radical change. the constitution itself does that in other ways, such as the arduous requirements for amendment and the establishment of treason as the only criminal act set forth in the constitution.

    separation of powers was designed so, theoretically, the executive could not stomp on the other two branches and neither of them could stomp on the other two. it was more a checks and balances type of thing.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  20. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    yeah i was going for de facto tenure not de jure.

    I think the terms set forth in the constitution do lend to a way to slow down change. If they didnt want it that way why not have the whole goverment up for election every 2/4/6/10 years like a parlimentarian system?

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