Thursday, June 06, 2013

Roll Over, Doggy

When looking for mendacious fawning upon the Liberal Democratic Party, the Yomiuri Shimbun rarely disappoints:
Electoral reform: Making it count / Should electoral zones be absolutely proportional to populations?

This is the second installment of a series.

There is growing mistrust between judicial and legislative circles over the value of a single vote based on the population represented by each lawmaker.

On March 26, the Okayama branch of the Hiroshima High Court ruled that the House of Representatives election last year, in which there was a vote-value disparity of up to 2.43 times, was "unconstitutional," and that election results for Okayama Constituency No. 2, where the vote-value disparity stood at 1.41 times, were "invalid."

Two weeks later on April 11, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Gen Nakatani made the following remarks at the lower house Commission on the Constitution:

"The Constitution leaves matters concerning electoral systems to laws. I think judgments regarding whether electoral systems are unconstitutional or constitutional should primarily be left to the Diet."

Article 47 of the Constitution stipulates, "Electoral districts, voting method and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both houses shall be fixed by law."

Nakatani's reference to the article indicated his hostility toward the judicial bodies over their infringement of the Diet's discretionary power.

Takashi Yamashita, an LDP lawmaker elected from Okayama Constituency No. 2, also cast doubt on the ruling, which if abided by would cause him to lose his seat.

"The idea of 'one vote for each person' is important. But if the principle were strictly applied, lawmakers would be concentrated in urban areas," Yamashita said...

First, nice use of the demeaning question marks around the judgments of the high courts. Very respectful.

Second, I guess Representative Yamashita understands the constitutional requirement that the members of the Diet be representatives of all the people (Ryogiin wa, zenkokumin no daihyo to suru) to mean "people as they have been or might be, but not as they are."

For having lawmakers representing the urban areas, where the people are, is unfair to the rural areas, where the people are not, right?

Third, Article 47 of the Constitution? That your winning hand, Yomiuri? Really?

Pull up a chair. Let us play a little round of jurisdiction poker.

Ok, let us lay down your card one more time.
Article 47. Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.
I am feeling generous today. I will give you a wild card.
Article 41. The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the State.
The highest organ of state power? Whew. That is good.

Now, what do I have in my hand?
Article 81. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort with power to determine the constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Oh, too bad. When the Supreme Court delivers its judgment, as it will later this year on the constitutionality of the December 2012 House of Representatives election, that judgment will be final. Whether the Supreme Court has the means of enforcing an unconstitutionality ruling, in the face of resistance from a House of Representatives determined to cling to power -- that I grant you is a question.

Does not the above article make you long to read the rest of the series? Well you can, at the Yomiuri's spiffy new English language site. (Link)

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