Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing Bad Laws?

April 9, 2013 -

Last week we asked you "Should lawmakers be penalized for passing patently unconstitutional legislation?" And here are the results of that poll. Exactly 652 votes were cast, with the majority of voters saying that the cost of bad legislation should come out of lawmakers' pockets. 15 percent of votes went to giving lawmakers jail time for passing laws found not legal under the U.S. Constitution, 14 percent said they should be fired, and 13 percent think they should be voted out of office (or that people should vote against them if they don't like the laws they pass).

Thanks to everyone that voted in last week's poll. Andrew and Zachary will be discussing the last two polls in the next episode of the Super Podcast Action Committee, which will go live later this week.

 


Comments

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

Good thing we don't run the country, then.  Step back from our situation just a bit, guys, and imagine how this would play out in the case of an industry a bit more hateable, like the oil industry.  Do you want lawmakers to be too scared to even bring up legislation about something an oil company is doing wrong, for fear that they will get screwed by this law, and have to pay the surely exorbitant court costs that an oil company is capable of running up?  You can say "oh, that's not very likely" all you want, but realistically, who would take such a chance?  This would just be one more way for those with gobs of money to exert pressure and influence on lawmakers.  Vote out the shmucks.  Get the word out to people so they can help you vote out the shmucks.  That's the way it has to work.

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

I am trying to figure out what kind of oil industry law Congress would pass that would be a clear violation of the Constitution. Nothing comes to mind.

But as I said in the previous article, you can set such a law up so that there is a certain number of factors that have to exist in order for this to kick in. Such as:

  1. A successful constitutional challenge.
  2. A reasonable expectation that the lawmakers knew or should have known the law was unconstitutional. This could come from prior legal precedent. 

Given time, we could probably come up with a couple more that would make it more fair and less chilling.

As for voting out the "schmucks", I would love to do that, but the majority of voters have short memories and tunnel vision. Trying to explain to them that the person they are voting for is a hater of the constitution or an ignorant baffoon just doesn't work that well.

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

And I'm saying, "clear" can seem pretty damn vague when you're the one sticking out your neck.  The possibility of getting screwed by this law, no matter how slim you try to make it, represents a risk I doubt many lawmakers would have the stones to take.

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

Compared to the complete lack of restraint in lawmakers today, I would personally take the chilled lawmaker any day. A lawmaker who is afraid to write legislation out of fear of backlash, is one less lawmaker writing bad laws that do more harm than good.

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

We don't even have to bring in the possibility of big companies buying out the judges to find problems with the proposal. Consider the impact such legislation would have on a vote on legislation along the lines of North Carolina's "screw the First Amendment, we can have an official state religion if we want to" idiocy cascade. Vote yes, and you're going to eat a financial penalty because seriously. Vote no, and you're begging for a bunch of "Congressman Insert Name Here wants to eat the baby Jesus" campaign ads.

Re: Poll Results: Should Lawmakers Be Punished for Passing ...

Good example.  That is the general problem with the whole 'looser pays court costs' idea of how to reduce 'frivolous' laws or lawsuits... all it really does is make it even harder for people without deep pockets to take risks, while for the wealthy it is just the cost of doing buisness.

 
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