Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meta-EE and The Constitution Part 5: Sixth and Seventh Amendments

Amendment VI:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII:
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
When Higgs talks about regime uncertainty, the threat to the exchange relationship flows from armies of discretion-endowed bureaucrats, from political elites unbound by credible, predictable rules. A deeper reading hints at demand effects: sovereigns blessed by their constituents to meddle saps firms the ability to plan for the long haul.

The indefinite detention of terror suspects hither and yon, the emergence of drone assassination, the spectre of drone policing (the Dub-MOE gave me an under-over of a year from now, and I'm in for a buck), the pending menace of omnibus regulatory juggernauts voted on first, parsed by legislators later all speak to the public choice arguments underpinning these two safeguards against a powerful, aggressive prosecutory apparatus.

Mad King George wielded the crown's courts like a cudgel, flogging truculent colonists with kangaroo trials, gaol languishment and star chamber browbeating. Compare that with executive orders, kill lists, and warrantless detention.

At its best, government is a sheepdog that culls be-fleeced wolves from the herd. The scope of euvoluntary exchange suffers when that dog turns vicious. To the extent that the 6th and 7th Amendments tether the cur that squats in the District, they support EE. I think it's worth examining how badly these tethers have been worn in recent years.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?