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LP Delaware Withdraws From Region 5, Appeals “Constructive Disaffiliation” To LP Judicial Committee

Since early October 2021, two groups have each claimed to be the only legitimate Libertarian Party of Delaware; one chaired by Will McVay, the other by Bill Hinds.

On 06 October 2021 one group a letter to the LNC stating in part:

“It is of the utmost importance that the (LNC) recognize that the Libertarian Party of Delaware is still under the leadership of the duly elected Chair, Bill Hinds. . . . We understand that there is  . . . a separate group which claims the State Board title. Under the direction of Will McVay, Kent County L ibertarian Party Chair, LPD social media and financial assets have been stolen . . .  for the purpose of wholesale consolidation of party power in the hands of a few.”

The full (40 page) letter to the LNC can be read HERE.

05 December 2021 the Libertarian National Committee passed the following Resolution:

“WHEREAS, Article 5 Paragraph 3 of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party require that the Libertarian National Committee only recognize one state-level affiliate party in any one state;

“WHEREAS, Article 5 Paragraph 5 of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party prevents the abridgement of the autonomy of the affiliate parties;

“IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, the National Committee of the Libertarian Party takes the following actions:

“1. The National Committee will continue all support activities, data sharing, and other services for and with both of the claimed chairs of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, subject to the limitations of the law and campaign finance regulations regarding such information, and the requirements of the Non-Disclosure Agreement for access to such information;

“2. The National Committee encourages a general membership meeting to be held to determine which leadership is the rightful leadership of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, with participation both open to and limited to all those who meet the criteria to be a member, under the definition of “membership” as defined in the Articles of Association and Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Delaware as of the 2021 annual convention of the Libertarian Party of Delaware;

“3. Upon the completion of the general meeting of the membership, the National Committee shall recognize that leadership which is recognized by the body of that general meeting and, upon majority vote of the National Committee, shall consider the matter resolved and return to normal relations with the Libertarian Party of Delaware;

“4. If there are competing general meetings or conventions, the National Committee shall recognize the convention or general meeting of the membership with the greatest number of those who qualify as members, using the definition of “membership” as defined in the Articles of Association and Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Delaware as of the 2021 annual convention of the Libertarian Party of Delaware;

“5. Upon resolution, the National Committee shall enforce the provisions of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party, Article 5 Paragraph 1.”

Earlier today the LNC’s Resolution, was appealed with the following email to the chair of the LP Judicial Committee:

“Dr. Ruwart,

“Attached please find the Judicial Committee Appeal of the LNC’s Constructive Disaffiliation of the Libertarian Party of Delaware on December 5th, 2021.  It was adopted unanimously by the State Board of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, including a majority of the Board members elected at the June 2021 Convention remaining on the Board on October 1st, when these issues began.

“Please note also that included in this motion was the withdrawal of the Libertarian Party of Delaware from Region 5.

“We appreciate your attention to this matter.

“Will McVay, State Chair, Libertarian Party of Delaware”

The Requested Rulings from Judicial Committee are:

“The LNC resolution . . . should be voided in its entirety.

“. . . the claimed election of Otto Dassing . . . should be voided or

“the LPD should be permitted to withdraw from Region 5. . . . ”

The full Appeal of the LNC to the Judicial Committee can be found HERE.

The LP Delaware group with Bill Hinds “as the rightful and duly elected Chair; Amy LePore, the rightful and duly elected Vice-Chair; Dave Casey, one of the two duly elected LP of New Castle County representatives; and Dylan Griffith, the second duly elected LP of New Castle County representative” have a petition to the LNC asking for:

“the LNC’s affirmation of the LPDE affiliate led by the duly elected board, given the threats we face from hostile actors who are attempting to disenfranchise us. We understand this request to be reasonable and within the scope of the LP bylaws, because similar recognition was provided in a letter by the LNC to the LPDE in 2018. We urge you to represent the party of principle by recognizing and affirming the duly elected board of LPDE and respecting the outcome of any investigations and disciplinary measures taken by the Libertarians in Delaware.”

The petition can be found in full HERE.

The LP Delaware website is HERE.

A petition supporting the appeal to the LP Judicial Committee can be found HERE.

IPR readers with additional information regarding the events which led to the Petition and Appeal to the Judicial Committee, the LNC Resolution, and the Petition to the LNC are encouraged to post same in the comments below.

About Post Author

Joseph Buchman

Joe is a retired, formerly tenured professor of marketing and finance with a passion for adventure travel, chasing total solar eclipses, and Burning Man. He is a long-time volunteer with the Sundance Film Festival, former Chair of the Utah Libertarian Party, former Chair of the LP Platform Committee, and former Chair and three-term member of the LP's financial Audit Committee. Joe and Cindy have raised four highly successful children, several cats, and yet have generally failed miserably with every houseplant ever gifted to them.

44 Comments

  1. Will McVay Will McVay December 9, 2021

    We were forced to remove several of our elected Board members due to actions which seemed designed to allow them to pull a Jiletta Jarvis maneuver and run off with the party’s assets after voting them under their control.

    The removals were done in accordance with the bylaws, but they are refusing to accept the result and have run to the LNC for help stealing the party back.

    They won’t succeed.

    PS, love the lightning. We may have to adopt that as our new logo.

  2. Jim Jim December 9, 2021

    Hinds is claiming to have a board with only four people on it?

  3. Jim Jim December 9, 2021

    I don’t see how a minority of the state party comittee (Hinds) can claim to take the affiliate status away from the majority of the state party committee (McVay).

  4. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    The appeal is worth reading, if for nothing else than this single sentence:

    “As was recently stated, ‘Bylaws > Drama’ . . . Vermin Supreme concurring. That is precisely right.”

    Well done Mr. Supreme!

  5. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    Just added the following to the end of the article:

    A petition supporting the appeal to the LP Judicial Committee can be found HERE.

  6. Andy Andy December 10, 2021

    It sounded to me like one faction in the LP of DE used a shady tactic, calling a meeting, but intentionally burying it on a Facebook post that most of the members never saw, and then using that meeting to remove duly elected state committee members. This was another coup, similar to what happened in New Hampshire.

  7. Carol Moore/Secession.net Carol Moore/Secession.net December 10, 2021

    The New Hampshire “Coup” was one not very confidant person (with largely anonymous supporters) with bylaws not supporting the action. LP DE was a bunch of know activists with a perhaps overly confidant leader who really knows his bylaws stuff.

    It would help if the LP DE people were not themselves obnoxious take over artists who defend “blood and soil” terminology and would NEVER criticize the bigots in party cause don’t want Mike Heise to get mad at them and toss them from the caucus.

    See this letter I – who have lived in Delaware from March 2020 – wrote to LNC about the issue the week before the LNC meeting Boston. Several pages of text; SEVEN pages of often OUTRAGEOUS crap from Mises Caucus leaders and members showing why iibertarians must toss the offenders to the curb and welcome only those real libertarians who don’t want to offend Ludwig von Mises memory by being part of the caucus. https://drive.google.com/file/d/13bOlRqpG93_6X7RbVlq68rKj293n9pVL/view?usp=sharing

    El Duce politics not a very stable ground for success in libertarian politics.

    AND THUS:
    MisesCaucusEXPOSED.net coming in January.

    * https://twitter.com/MisesExposed up and getting organized for media spamming

    * Shortest and best of 3 videos up at youtube channel of same name
    https://youtu.be/UNqfEO-GA3Y

    I finally realized their very logo looks like the tiki torches at Charlottesville alt-right protest 2017, as I put at end of shortest video above.

    Email me stuff – to add to 1500 odd items I already have. Will put up good rants and investigatory pieces too. misescaucusexposed@gmail.com

  8. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    Will McVay @ December 9, 2021 at 22:08

    wrote: “PS, love the lightning. We may have to adopt that as our new logo.”

    Thanks. Did it in an old program I still use, Corel PhotoImpact X3.

  9. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    As LPD’s appeal points out, the objection to notice for the first meeting really doesn’t matter. All of the absent members (Hinds, etc.) could have attended and voted no and the result would have been the same. And they were invited to attend and vote at a repeat meeting with sufficient notice and refused to show up. It also wouldn’t have made any difference at that one, though. McVay has had the Board majority behind him and Hinds didn’t.

    If the whole case for Hinds is built on that allegedly defective notice, but that didn’t affect the outcome and it was corrected anyway, I don’t see what case he has. There are only four former Board members backing Hinds, and a quorum is five. Even if everything McVay and the Board have done was rolled back and undone, you’re still just back to square one with the exact same anti-Hinds Board majority able to do it all again.

  10. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes December 10, 2021

    The Libertarian party fiddles while Rome burns.

  11. Guess Guess December 10, 2021

    Jim,

    The bigger issue is not who is on the board, although that’s an issue. Normally, removing an elected member of the board is a process that requires a supermajority and takes some time, with charges presented, and perhaps a judicial committee to hear an appeal. As I understand it, the bare majority of the committee passed bylaws changes, also without adequate notice, to short circuit all that.

    The party members also have rights when the board members abuse their authority, such as calling a new convention, a judicial appeal in states that have a judicial committee, and so on. But the bare majority of the LPD committee also took care of all that, by redefining party membership to exclude those who disagree with their faction or tactics.

    By way of analogy, suppose a bare majority of the LNC decided they could just change bylaws, and then dissolved the judicial committee, voted a large minority of the LNC off the board using the new simple majority rule to do so, and then redefined party membership to exclude those who would do something about it by way of special convention or at the next regular convention. If this is not the same thing that happened here, how is it different?

  12. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    The LPD board majority didn’t “just decide” to change the bylaws in the same way as if the LNC tried to rewrite the national bylaws; that was the procedure as it existed and nobody’s disputed that. Might be an odd procedure, abnormal compared to how it works in most states, but that’s what they had. And nothing allows the national party to overrule that.

  13. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    Probably unrelated, but Delaware is an outlier on this for their state constitution, too. It’s the only state where the legislature (albeit by supermajority) can amend the constitution without it going to the voters for a referendum.

    LPD’s rules as they stood allowed the Board to amend the bylaws. Hinds hasn’t disputed that.

  14. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    Here’s the relevant part of the old LPD bylaws:

    These By-Laws may be amended in either of two ways:
    A. A simple majority vote of members present (quorum required) at a meeting of the State
    Board as long as notice of proposed changes was made at least 30 days in advance.
    B. A simple majority vote of members present at a State Convention as long as notice of
    proposed changes was made at least 30 days in advance.

    And the part of the old Articles of Association re: notice.

    Many actions described in these Articles of Association and the accompanying By-Laws require
    notice of that pending action be provided to members. Any one of the following methods shall
    constitute proper notice:
    1. Posting on the LPD Facebook page
    2. Posting to the LPD Facebook group
    3. Posting on the LPD webpage

  15. Guess Guess December 10, 2021

    Perhaps people from both sides in the Delaware dispute should be invited here to share their perspectives?

  16. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    They were and did at the LNC meeting on November 21, which went well past midnight before both recognizing Hinds and disaffiliating Delaware both failed.

  17. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    Hinds hasn’t made clear anywhere, unless I missed it: is he saying McVay and the rest of the Board majority have somehow vacated their seats? If so, what’s his argument for that and how is it any different from what Jilletta Jarvis claimed in NH? If not, what difference does any of this make? Even accepting Hinds’ entire argument, if McVay et al haven’t been somehow removed, they’re just back to where they started: with an anti-Hinds majority on the Board, and bylaws that allow a simply majority of the Board to amend the bylaws, including the part of the bylaws laying out the removal procedure.

    The LNC hasn’t made this clear, either. Are they calling a meeting to decide only the four disputed Board seats, or is this meeting allowed to remove and replace the entire Board?

  18. Guess Guess December 10, 2021

    That’s why I suggested they be invited here, so they can answer your questions directly, and those of others. It’s true that they were invited to an LNC meeting, but that was limited in time, so there was limited opportunity to ask questions, and perhaps none by people not on the LNC. The fact that both sides were invited by one group, in one format, doesn’t mean they can’t or should not also be invited here, since they are being discussed here.

  19. Guess Guess December 10, 2021

    Jim, out of curiosity, did you read the documents at the two links I posted above? I am not saying that they should or should not change your mind, I’m just curious whether you read them.

  20. Jim Jim December 10, 2021

    Guess– Yes, I did.

    It nowhere clearly states Hinds position on the question of if McVay and the other Board majority members have somehow vacated their seats. The fact that the county resolutions cited urges them to “resign” suggests they are not arguing the seats are already vacated.

    I’d welcome Hinds or anybody else from his group to come here, or wherever, and clearly answer the question: who is he claiming are the current Board members of LPD? The same nine members they had when he was still Chair, or only himself and the three other removed members?

  21. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    Guess @ December 10, 2021 at 15:28

    wrote:

    “Here is the perspective of the other faction. I am providing it here only because I don’t see it anywhere in the article above”

    Happy to update to be (more) fair. I tried to keep it short with links to the long arguments by each side.

    The article does contain this:

    “The LP Delaware group with Bill Hinds “as the rightful and duly elected Chair; Amy LePore, the rightful and duly elected Vice-Chair; Dave Casey, one of the two duly elected LP of New Castle County representatives; and Dylan Griffith, the second duly elected LP of New Castle County representative” have a petition to the LNC asking for:

    “the LNC’s affirmation of the LPDE affiliate led by the duly elected board, given the threats we face from hostile actors who are attempting to disenfranchise us. We understand this request to be reasonable and within the scope of the LP bylaws, because similar recognition was provided in a letter by the LNC to the LPDE in 2018. We urge you to represent the party of principle by recognizing and affirming the duly elected board of LPDE and respecting the outcome of any investigations and disciplinary measures taken by the Libertarians in Delaware.”

    The petition can be found in full HERE.

  22. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    Also, Guess, thanks for adding information in the Comments.

    In my experience that is what creates much, if not most of the value of IPR – reader’s comments.

    And unlike various social media sites, IPR is keyword searchable, archived by the wayback machine, and a useful way of preserving history.

    I hope.

    Joe

  23. Guess Guess December 10, 2021

    Thank you. I would recommend adding the two links I posted at 15:28 and 16:16 above to the body of the article. Of course, that’s up to you. I realize this is just a hobby, not a job for you, so I’m not trying to make a lot of demands on your time. I see Mr. MCVAY already commented above, so if you or others reading know how to get a hold of Mr. HINDS or others allied with him, I would recommend inviting them, as well.

    I don’t want to come off as a partisan for one side or the other, and in fact I’m not, so I think the people who are, would be better to present their own arguments themselves, and answering questions, if they are willing. Thank you as usual for your coverage. I’m learning more, and hope to learn more still. At this time I have not formed a firm opinion about which side I view as being in the right here, if any.

  24. Joseph Buchman Joseph Buchman Post author | December 10, 2021

    Guess @ December 10, 2021 at 20:38

    “I would recommend adding the two links I posted”

    I added the first one. It’s getting fairly cluttered. I think the second is best in the comments. You could, as it’s reasonably short (not 40 pages!) cut and paste the full text into the comments if you want.

    Also, just FYI, I tried downloading the PDF so it could be stored on the IPR site (which I like to do as external links generally break over time), but the PDF does not appear to be downloadable?? Also tried shortening the link you posted for it by deleting everything after the ? in the URL, but that broke the link as well.

    Anyone know why?

    Still learning my way around WordPress

    Joe

  25. Steve Newton Steve Newton December 11, 2021

    Hi!

    I’m the guy who wrote and posted the original notice for the motion that changed the LPD bylaws. As time permits (this is, unfortunately, a working weekend for me in real life), I will be willing to respond to any questions anyone has, with the following understanding:

    I am a longtime LPD member (who, like a lot of us, has seen my passion and involvement ebb and flow over the years), I am a former New Castle County LPD Chair and member of the State Board, but I have not been so since about 2014. I am not currently a member of the State Board (nor do I aspire to become one), so what I know of those meetings is primarily what has been posted and discussed on discord and social media in Delaware, plus a few private communications.

    I will be happy not only, however, to detail what was done (and why I believe it was legal under the peculiarities of our existing bylaws), and more importantly WHY it was done and to correct some of the myths being propagated (like the one about the current LPD board “disfranchising” 2,000 members, which did not happen).

    I will be as open and respectful as possible, as long as you understand that I am older, cranky most days (cause everything hurts), and tend to curse a lot. I have also lost the ability somewhere along the line to be diplomatic about confronting those I believe are bad actors. (But, on the other hand, nothing anybody could say here would hurt me personally, so there’s that.)

  26. Guess Guess December 11, 2021

    Mr. Newton,

    Thank you for making yourself available here. Off the top of my head the only question I have for you or anyone on your side is: does your understanding of what was or was not allowed under your state party’s bylaws informed by a study of Robert’s Rules as well, or were you looking at only the bylaws as a stand alone document? I guess that brings up a few more: 1) Is Roberts Rules in fact your parliamentary authority, or whatever that is called? 2) Did you read the other side’s “brief” or whatever you want to call it? If so, where are they misinterpreting Roberts Rules, if indeed Roberts Rules apply?

    I don’t have contact information for anyone from the other faction, so I can’t invite them here. I don’t know if you are on speaking terms with any of them and willing to invite them, or if you are willing to share their contact info so someone else can do so. But I’d like to hear from them as well, if possible. That is of course if they are willing to talk to an audience that is not composed of any kind of decisionmakers on the matter. Again, I appreciate your willingness to do so,

  27. Jim Jim December 11, 2021

    Not to interject too much because I know you want to hear from Steve, but since it’s relevant: your question came up in the Nov 21 LNC meeting (which I think is on YouTube). McVay’s argument was that the LPD Bylaws provide a specific notice procedure and so that overrides the default rules in Roberts. Hinds argued the default rules in Roberts still apply in addition to the procedure in the Bylaws.

    LNC’s parliamentarian Richard Brown was on the call and the question was put to him; he agreed with McVay that LPD Bylaws notice procedure supplants any default rules in Roberts.

  28. Steve Newton Steve Newton December 11, 2021

    I have been using Robert’s Rules for years. They apply to the meeting itself, not the notice, at least as far as I understand it. I have to admit that in LP settings and in other professional settings I have seen Robert’s both used as a practical guide and as sort of a totem fetish by a lot of people who would elevate it to nearly Biblical authority. For better or worse, I tend to be a pragmatist, and would argue that in any conflict between the bylaws and Roberts, the bylaws prevail.

    I have glanced several times at the brief, but I kind of get stopped whenever I get to the part where they characterize the majority of the State Board as a “rogue faction” and their own minority as the “legitimate” State Board. To me their insistence on putting all the onus on Will McVay being some kind of dictator when it was in fact a majority of the State Board (rightly or wrongly) that voted to change the bylaws and then remove them from office. I’ve known all but one of those five people for a long time, and I know that none of them took this decision lightly.

    I can’t help you with contacting anybody from the Mises faction, as I had long since ceased to be on speaking terms with them after their attempt to disfranchise me in my own county affiliate and to create new bylaws of their own to remove a sitting State Board member last winter. It’s funny (or not) that none of that made it into their dossier.

    It has also escaped general knowledge that there were four Mises Caucus members on the State Board, and only three of them were removed by this action. The other one waited several weeks to resign his position there and formally attach himself to the complainant group. To me that is also interesting.

  29. Steve Newton Steve Newton December 11, 2021

    While I am waiting for my other comment to clear moderation, I thought I would address the issue of exploiting “holes” in the bylaws. I’m a historian by profession and a labor contract negotiator through years of practice, and it’s a pretty well established principle that once any document is written and passed into “law” it is the words left on the paper and not the “spirit” or “intent” of those who wrote it that matters.

    The Feild decisions in the Supreme Court during the 1880s exploited what was probably an errant slip of the pen in the 14th Amendment in guaranteeing due process to “persons” rather than “citizens” (as the prior to two sentence had done). This was a loophole that Feild drove the extant concept of “corporate personhood” through to guarantee corporations due process rights on par with actual biological people.

    In the late 1790s, opposing President Adams’ nativist immigration policies, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison took language intended to kill the slave trade in twenty years, stood it on its head, and in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions argued that Congress did not have (and could not have) control of national immigration until after 1808 at the earliest.

    We perennially go through questions of whether this party or that will try to “pack” the Supreme Court because the (not so) infallible Framers forgot to set a number of Justices in the Constitution. In fact, they botched the Judicial section so badly that most of our Federal court system runs off the Judiciary Act of 1789, not the Constitution, and the power of Judicial review wasn’t even crested/asserted until 1803. (Although a close reading of Madison’s diaries suggests that they did intend the court have that power. Argh, intent again!)

    Most arguments today (on both sides) of the 2nd Amendment rely on using a modern definition of “well-regulated” to mean something it did not in the late 1700s (it literally meant “well-drilled”; look it up in both the Federalist Papers and extant military texts of the day). But, as Jefferson said, “The Earth belongs to the living” and he expected every generation to re-define the terms and the arguments.

    Don’t even get me started on how Gouvernor Morris almost managed to convert the grant of powers to Congress from specific to general by trying to slide in a semi-colon in place of a paragraph in a key sentence. He got caught, but if he hadn’t the Framers would have been stuck with the words on the page.

    You work with the documents and the structures that you have in front of you. Besides, after the crap they pulled when they were taking over the New Castle County affiliate, and were next trying to pull on the State Board, our Mises Caucus “friends” have very little room to talk about exploiting bylaws.

  30. Andy Andy December 11, 2021

    Steve Newton said: “But, as Jefferson said, “The Earth belongs to the living” and he expected every generation to re-define the terms and the arguments.”

    “On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  31. Steve Newton Steve Newton December 11, 2021

    Jefferson wrote “the Earth belongs to the living” in 1789; he wrote the second quotation in 1823, when he had long retired from public life. In between, as I have noted, he co-authored the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and stretched the interpretation to the breaking point (albeit not as far as the LNC) to purchase the Louisiana Territory. I’ll take Jefferson’s statements from the time of the Constitution and his actions during his career over something written much later.

  32. Jim Jim December 11, 2021

    “It’s funny (or not) that none of that made it into their dossier.”

    That’s because LPD’s appeal to the Judicial Committee focuses on making a legal argument and explaining how they followed the applicable rules, with only a cursory summary of the drama to provide necessary context, whereas the Hinds petitions are mostly focused on why they don’t like Will McVay.

  33. Steve Newton Steve Newton December 11, 2021

    I know why it’s not in the LPD appeal; the LPD is appealing the processual overreach by the LPD in its constructive disaffiliation and the Region 5 representative’s appalling decision not to honor the LPD’s vote for an alternate representative BEFORE the LPD had ruled on the case — at which time therefore there was no doubt that the LPD (not having been sanctioned yet) had the right to vote.

    I was being sarcastic about the dossier provided by the Mises Caucus faction; of course they don’t address the things they were doing that led to the bylaws change.

    Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the LNC didn’t seem any too interested in that, either, though you’d think it would have been germane.

  34. Jim Jim December 12, 2021

    Supposedly the Hinds group had its “general membership meeting” today. Must have been a dud because they’re not saying much about it and haven’t rushed to the LNC to claim victory.

    And here is the Hinds group’s claimed minutes for their Q4 Board meeting. It only claims to have 4 Board members. (A quorum is five).

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/lpofdelaware/posts/3125314091123367/

  35. George Phillies George Phillies December 12, 2021

    December 11 reads to be a Board meeting to address the member petition for a general meeting, not the general meeting itself.

    Attendance of all (alleged) members) must be a quorum.

  36. Jim Jim December 12, 2021

    To be clear, their fake board meeting was on Dec 6. Their “membership meeting” was yesterday.

    Four would be a quorum if there are only four members left, but they haven’t advanced any theory for why the other five aren’t still on the board or have somehow been removed.

  37. Jared Jared December 14, 2021

    Steve: “[I]t’s a pretty well established principle that once any document is written and passed into ‘law’ it is the words left on the paper and not the ‘spirit’ or ‘intent’ of those who wrote it that matters,” and, quoting Thomas Jefferson in 1790: “The Earth belongs to the living.”

    Andy, quoting Jefferson in 1823: “On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

    While Jefferson isn’t exactly known for his consistency, I think he was getting at a basically textualist (original meaning, not what we’d call original intent) doctrine of legal interpretation. The law must be understood as saying what the text meant in the social and historical context in which it was adopted.

    In the letter quoted, he was criticizing the Federalists to William Johnson, the lone fairly reliable Jeffersonian Republican dissenter on the Supreme Court, recognizing—as even Madison did, quite honorably—that the Constitution never would’ve been adopted had it been interpreted by the States in a way that coincided with the majority opinions handed down by the Federalist-dominated Marshall Court.

    While the law’s meaning isn’t restricted to whatever its authors had in mind, neither does it mean whatever we’d like it to mean to suit our purposes or whatever meaning we can twist out of it anachronistically. It means what its adopters and original audience reasonably believed it to be saying. We must stick to the text, so speculation about authorial intent is out of bounds, but we aren’t going hogwild straining the semantic range of all words and phrases used in order to conjure up excuses for political power grabs. The language is public. It can be applied in circumstances the framers did not intend and could not have imagined, but the language’s meaning is historically situated in a particular time and place to a particular social group.

  38. Jim Jim December 14, 2021

    Under any theory of original meaning, or original intent, or even current until-now understanding, the LNC’s actions violate the Bylaws. It’s really kind of shocking how blatantly. The LNC would be violating the bylaws even if Hinds and not McVay were correct about who’s the LPD Board.

  39. Carol Moore/Secession.net Carol Moore/Secession.net December 20, 2021

    I just noticed there was a petition. So this is more a symbolic effort since many libertarians have to know there is a petition and sign it. Should the LNC disaffilate the original LPDE, then it is easy to appeal without a petition.

  40. George Phillies George Phillies December 23, 2021

    Meanwhile the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts (LAMA, the LPUS affiliate) is facing the issue that a quarter of the members have filed for a special convention, to be held in the next month or two, to elect a new State Committee. Having written or edited a fair piece of the state association Constitution and Bylaws, it appears to me that the unhappy people have all their ducks in a row and can compel the convention to meet. The convention can indeed replace the State Committee.

    The unhappy people are a mixture of Mises Caucus supporters, local candidates not supported by the State Association, and people who do not approve of the way that LAMA has conducted its affairs in recent years.

    An exacerbating issue is that the State Committee passed a code of conduct and used it to expel an Association member. Apparently the expelled person used an impolite word to refer to a State Committee member.

    A more serious exacerbating situation is that much of the loud opposition to the special convention, at least on Facebook, comes from a paid LNC Staff Member (who does live in the state) who is said to be acting with the blessings of the National Committee.

    The long thread on the matter is at Massachusetts Libertarians on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/14620149922 Look for Peter Everett’s parable of the stolen truck.

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