George Phillies: Massachusetts Stand on Oregon Issue

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The long history of this saga has been documented extensively on IPR. The reader looking for some history can start here and here.

Esteemed Colleagues!

As a state chair of an affiliated state party, I have a direct interest
in how affiliation issues are handled.

Years ago, the LNC Executive Decision came to conclusions about the
Oregon affiliate, based on the facts available to them at that time.

After a long series of events that we all know, the Judicial Committee
ruling overturning those findings has in turn been overturned, so the
findings are again valid.

However, the rulings as made are problematic. For example, there is
currently no Oregon faction chaired by Mr. Reeves.

In any event, based on the facts as they are now known and in place, the
National Chair has ruled that the Oregon affiliate is the Libertarian
Party of Oregon as once chaired by Mr. Wagner. These are not the same
as the facts that were known and in place years ago, so there is no
reason for the ruling to be the same.

One of the LNC ExComm decisions of years ago, which the LNC Judicial
Committee in its most recent ruling confirmed, was that the LNC ExComm
actually had the power to make the ruling that it did.

No matter which faction is the actual affiliate party, as a separate
issue the current JudComm rulings confirm that the LNC ExComm had and
therefore still has the power to make the decision. In particular,it has
the power to make a fresh decision.

The LNC ExComm has met repeatedly since the Judicial Committee made its
recent ruling. It has surely been aware of the National Chair’s
position on the identity of the valid affiliate. It has made no effort
to overturn the Chair’s ruling.

At this level, silence implies consent. The LNC ExComm has consented to
the chair’s ruling, so the LNC ExComm now consents that the LPO — the
Wagner faction — is the current affiliate. The Judicial Committee has
already ruled by upholding the old ExComm rulings that the ExComm is
entitled to make this decision. The ExComm has again decided, and the
Judicial Committee is bound by its own past decision to uphold the
current ExComm action.

Furthermore, the Oregon matter has been brought before the LNC, which is
entitled to overrule the Executive Committee. A motion to transfer
recognition to the Epstein faction was made. The LNC did not accept the
motion. By this action they left in place the Chair’s decision, thus
overturning the decision of the prior ExComm.

The Judicial Committee should therefore inform Mr. Epstein that if he
wishes recognition for his faction as our Oregon State affiliate, he
should go to the LNC and ask them under its ByLaws to take the necessary
actions to recognize his group.

The Judicial Committee should also ask itself whether or not ExComm
decisions persist beyond the end of that Executive Committee’s term, at
least in the absence of specific LNC action authorizing them, e.g., to
take out a long-term loan. That is, whatever the ExComm may hve ruled
years ago, does that ruling have any current effect.

George Phillies
State Chair, Massachusetts

 

George Phillies is currently the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts, and ran for the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination in 2008. He publishes LibertyforAmerica .

17 thoughts on “George Phillies: Massachusetts Stand on Oregon Issue

  1. George Phillies

    In short, the Judicial Committee has ruled that the ExComm (and therefore the LNC) can decide which group is the affiliate. Therefore, they can decide, and just like the Judicial Committee, they can change their minds.

    In fact, they have decided, choosing the Wagner group as their affiliate.

  2. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Your explanation makes good sense, George, not that “sense” is always something that has been considered in this whole issue.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    A defective analysis, insofar as it relies on a non-existent Judicial Committee ruling.

    The alleged ruling was not one that the Judicial Committee had any authority to make. Therefore it was not a ruling as such, merely a collection of statements with no real world effect. It was of even less actual import than if, while meeting in real life, the Judicial Committee had ordered pizza and memorialized the toppings in its minutes.

    Rulings without authority on behalf of plaintiffs without standing should be ignored, not relied upon.

  4. George Phillies

    The ruling is manifestly real. Many of us have copies of it. Whether it was wise, or foolish, or will go down with Dred Scott is a separate matter, but it is quite real.

    Furthermore, it has the positive effect of hoisting the Reeves faction and their supporters on the Judicial Committee by their own petard. Because they have ruled that the ExComm action of years ago is valid, a position that I hope will be overturned in the end, there can be no complaint if the ExComm or the entire LNC revisits the matter and takes a new stand, as they have done.

  5. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I communicated this to George upon reading…

    That was very clever, I am duly impressed. I do not agree with all of the reasoning (i.e. I don’t believe that LNC excomm decision of yore in fact did what the JC says it did), but taking the reasoning as true, you have truly hoisted the JC on their own petard since they appear to have accepted it. Well done. Bravo.

  6. Dave Terry

    Mr. Phillies, you appear to be suffering from a case of logical and historical
    disorientation.

    You wrote;
    1.) “However, the rulings as made are problematic. For example, there is
    currently no Oregon faction chaired by Mr. Reeves.

    2.) “the National Chair has ruled that the Oregon affiliate is the Libertarian
    Party of Oregon as once chaired by Mr. Wagner.

    3.) “No matter which faction is the actual affiliate party, as a separate
    issue the current JudComm rulings confirm that the LNC ExComm had and
    therefore still has the power to make the decision”

    4.) Perhaps you can explain how, if neither of the “factions (ie. the one
    formerly chaired by Mr. Reeves and the one formerlly chaired Mr. Wagner
    presently exist – how can ANY decision by the Chair be relevant. He has
    merely endorsed the Wagner “coup d’etat”.

    5.) “The LNC ExComm has met repeatedly since the Judicial Committee made its
    recent ruling. It has surely been aware of the National Chair’s position on the
    identity of the valid affiliate. It has made no effort to overturn the Chair’s ruling.*****

    *****[Historical Parallel: “Andrew Jackson vs Cherokee Nation & USSC!)
    Remember from your reading of the Constitution that Article III set up the Supreme Court and
    gave that court the power to hear all cases “arising under this Constitution” (Art. III, Sec. 2). In
    two cases commonly combined and called the Cherokee Cases decided in 1831 and 1832, the
    Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokees were a “domestic dependent nation” and as such could
    not be forced by a state to give up their lands unwillingly. In other words, the Supreme Court
    recognized the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. President Jackson famously said about
    Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling: “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce
    it. Under the Constitution, who enforces the laws? The President not the Supreme Court.”

    Should we begin to address the Chairman as Mr. President or Mr. Jackson —-

    or should we send in the Oregon Militia???

    Jackson essentially said that he would not enforce the Court’s decision and he did not.
    Despite their efforts to work through the courts and the courts’ support of their position, the
    Cherokees were forcibly removed from their home. In 1838 a reluctant U.S. Army of 7,000
    rounded up the Cherokees and drove them west along what became known as the “Trail of
    Tears.” As many as 4,000 of the 16,000 Cherokees died along the way.

  7. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Dave Terry, I cannot believe you are actually likening the ridiculous ongoing attempt to thwart the will of the members of the Libertarian Party of Oregon to the monstrous and deadly Trail of Tears.

    This may indeed be the most absurd comment of the entire saga.

  8. Andy Craig

    Even aside from the gross hyperbole, the analogy doesn’t fit. The Supreme Court didn’t rule that it was up to Andrew Jackson to decide whether or not to forcibly remove the Cherokee. The Judicial Committee did rule that the Executive Committee, subject to being over-ruled by the full LNC, has the power to decide who the legitimate Oregon affiliate is. And so they have. Or at least, that’s the argument Phillies is making. And I think that’s probably how it will pan out. The JC can’t simultaneously rule the LNC/EC has a power the JC doesn’t, and order them how to use it.

  9. George Phillies

    Given that the chair of the Judicial Committee is a litigant in the lawsuit on the side of the Reeves faction, and their friends managed to elect a supporting majority on the Judicial Committee, and that the Chair did not recuse himself from acting on the issue, it is a good bet that the Judicial Committee will again come down on the side of the Reeves faction. Note that the original ruling does specify the Reeves faction, and the Judicial Committee had to claim that this meant the Epstein faction.

    I predict on the basis of no information beyond the record that the Chair will leave the status quo in place until the LNC acts and passes a motion to change things.

    If the Reeves faction attains a majority on the LNC vote, which is at least possible under the circumstances, we are probably out $100,000 give or take for Oregon ballot access.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The ruling is manifestly real. Many of us have copies of it. Whether it was wise, or foolish, or will go down with Dred Scott is a separate matter, but it is quite real.”

    Well, yes, the “ruling” exists. But it is not a “ruling,” because it does not lie within the Judicial Committee’s authority to rule on what it claims to be ruling on.

    If the East Armpit, New Jersey Soil and Water Conservation Board issued a “ruling” on whether or not the US Senate properly ratified the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, nobody would give it any attention as a “ruling,” although it might perhaps receive some minor attention as a “raving.”

    Instead of trying to parse some kind of rational outcome from this fake “ruling,” we should ignore it — and encourage the LNC to do likewise, especially to the extent of the chair ruling any motions based on it out of order, as such motions certainly would be.

  11. paulie

    I predict on the basis of no information beyond the record that the Chair will leave the status quo in place until the LNC acts and passes a motion to change things.

    If the Reeves faction attains a majority on the LNC vote, which is at least possible under the circumstances, we are probably out $100,000 give or take for Oregon ballot access.

    Correct, and that’s just for starters. There will be a domino effect.

  12. Lars D. H. Hedbor

    Thank you for your cogent analysis and support, George.

    Here in Oregon, we’re mostly just weary of the Burke/Carling/Reeves/Epstein gang’s relentless nonsense, and are far more focused on moving forward, running candidates in more elections than ever, and advancing the cause of liberty than we are on petty power struggles.

    All Libertarians in Oregon are welcome to join in to help us accomplish those goals.

    Lars D. H. Hedbor,
    Chair, Libertarian Party of Oregon

  13. Wes Wagner

    My original argument regarding constructive disaffiliation that was well taken by the previous judicial committee is the only one that is compatible with the law.

    The relationship between the two organizations is owned by the respective organizations and is not based on the individual people who hold custody of the offices associated with that organization.

    No amount of desires to make declaration of who should be custodians of those offices from afar will alter objective reality in the eyes of the law.

    This entire circus has done nothing but prove that a majority of individuals involved and making decisions about representation in the national LP are unfit to administer any office of trust given the choices made in representatives and the fruits of those decisions.

    Is this really the libertarian party offer to the people of this country? This freak show?

    You deserve to lose until you clean your own house.

  14. paulie

    No amount of desires to make declaration of who should be custodians of those offices from afar will alter objective reality in the eyes of the law.

    The real bottom line for quite some time.

  15. Mike Shipley

    I don’t know which disgusts me more, the fact that this is still happening, or the idea that there are people this crazed for power who see a libertarian party as a way to achieve it. Were they to gain a majority, and elected office, their acts of state would look nothing like minimum government, maximum freedom and individual liberty for all. It would look like a self-serving, corrupt institution of dominance … Sound familiar?

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