Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ethics, Retroactivity and Amann

Retroactivity in the ethics bill may be out of sight – It did not play a part in the bills offered for consideration to the legislature – but it definitely is not out of mind. Speaker of the House Jim Amann, who has indicated he might want to run for governor on the Democrat ticket, says he has no problem with retroactivity, “and I'm surprised with some people in that building who do.”

The people who have surprised Amann probably are addicted to the rule of law, which holds a man cannot be guilty of breaking a law that did not exist when action for which he is being retroactively punished was committed.

A refresher course in the political thought of the founders might budge him from his astounding misinterpretation of the rule of law that undergirds all Western laws. In "Alice In Wonderland," the Queen of Hearts is seen to be no respecter of the rule of law: “First the verdict,” she cries, “then the trial.”

Amann dispenses even with the trial and finds men guilty retrospectively of having broken future laws, an improvement on tyranny that is breathtaking to behold in a man who wants to be governor.

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