Dysfunctional legislatures supporting de facto private HOA second governments

 

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.”   James Madison.

In my prior commentaries[1] on Arizona’s constitutional question of “who controls public streets”, HB 2153, I spoke of “legitimate governments” and made it quite clear that a contractual, private de facto government — an HOA — cannot be held to be legitimate.   The homeowner associations government  is chartered not under the statutes and constitution that govern de jure, legitimate, public entities, but is chartered under corporation law. Where corporate law is applied in an uneven manner and subservient to the common laws of equitable servitudes.  And where servitude law has been upheld by the courts and recommended as the controlling body of law when in conflict with constitutional law. 

It appears my arguments, mainly borrowed from legal documents and constitutional scholars, against the private government HOA control of public streets has failed to bring legislative leaders to their senses.  Any actions not in support of, or failures to act in support of,  the supreme law of the land and the laws and Arizona Constitution does, in itself, raise questions of the legitimacy of our state government.  And of the consent and obedience in conscience to be bound by any such laws or “commands” of the legislature. In a very practical and real manner, it is a question of the legitimacy of the actions of the legislative leaders who are members of the majority party that controls the legislature in Arizona — the Republican Party. 

Constitutional scholar Randy Barnett speaks about legitimacy, consent to be governed, and obedience[2]: 

Only if it is legitimate can an existing constitutional system issue commands to the citizenry that bind individuals in conscience. Consent legitimates lawmaking only on the assumption that individuals have rights and there are things no person or group can do to them without violating their rights.  For a law is just, and therefore binding in conscience, if its restrictions are (1) necessary to protect the rights of others and (2) proper insofar as they do not violate the preexisting rights of the persons on whom they are imposed.

Though actual consent [100% consent of the governed] can justify restrictions on freedom, without actual consent [or majority rule], liberty must be strictly protected. In the absence of actual consent, a legitimate lawmaking process is one that provides adequate assurances that the laws it validates are just in this respect.

“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”  James Madison.

For an unspoken reason, the Senate leadership appears set on withholding HB 2153 from a vote by the people’s representatives.  Having already passed the House, I cannot envision any justification for holding this bill, for this willingness to abdicate legislative powers and authorities to private, contractual organizations. Organizations whose “constitution” obtains it power over the people within the subdivision, not by constitutional law, but by the common law of equitable servitudes.  This failure to hold a vote in the GOV committee sends the message, “who needs the Constitution”?  It is a repudiation of the Constitution that legislators are obligated to uphold.  It reveals a dysfunctional legislature, as we witness on the national level in Congress, reflecting a divisive ideology as author Brownstein describes in The Second Civil War[3]

The political system has evolved to a point where the vast majority of elected officials in each party feel comfortable only in advancing ideas acceptable to their core supporters. . . . The political system now rewards ideology over pragmatism. . . . What’s unusual now is that the political system is more polarized than the country. Rather than reducing the level of conflict [the legislature] increases it.

 
The Constitution does not permit a second, private, form of political government in America!

Let HB 2153 be heard in the GOV committee, and passed on to the full Senate!

References

1.  In general, see  HOA Private Government (http://starman.com/HOAGOV).  See also, Guest Opinion,  Government of the people, by the people, for the HOA, William M. Brown (internet commentary).

2.  Randy E. Barnett, Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (Princeton University Press, 2004).

3.  Ronald Brownstein, The Second Ciivl War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America (Penguin Books 2007).

 

 

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Published in: on April 5, 2010 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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