2005 Erni v. Talossa (UC)

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Din el Cort Pü Inalt


14 September 2005/XXVI

Brief of the ruling

Opinion of the Court delivered by
Senior Justice Lauriéir


In this case petitioner Weston J. Erni, through a brief filed by his attorney, has asked the Cort to find every naturalization declared in the Kingdom of Talossa by the current government between February 15, 2005 and September 7, 2005 null and void. This Cort rejects that request, and upholds all the naturalizations declared by the Government between these dates. In the brief filed on his behalf (which—the filing of a brief by a non-Talossan attorney on a Talossan's client's behalf—by the way, the Cort finds perfectly Organic), Erni sought four remedies (see the brief for details). The relief sought in all four instances is denied.
In answering the question before us—a question, the form of which we largely accepted from the petitioner, is: does "consultation" in the Talossan context imply consent; that is, more specifically, are the Immigration Minister and the Government required to get the consent of the Opposition Leader before granting or refusing a prospective citizen Talossan citizenship?—we used a three-part test. That test—which combines both a respect for Talossan jurisprudential practice and tradition with appropriate Anglo-American jurisprudential principles—and our findings based on it are discussed here.

I. The Plain Language Test
If laws are to be followed, their meaning must be plain—or at least plain enough to most competent readers. By every definition of "consultation" known to this Cort—including the definitions cited by the petitioner from Black's Law Dictionary and from Ballentine's Law Dictionary and excepting only the idiosyncratic definition expounded by the petitioner in relation to the ratification process of the Organic Law—the term does not imply consent. There is a word for consent. There is a word for consult. They do not mean the same thing.
It is possible, of course, for a term of general parlance to acquire a more specialized, arcane meaning—a meaning that could even invert popular understanding. This Cort, however, does not find that Talossan history or tradition lend support to the argument that "consultation" in a Talossan context had acquired a unique Talossan meaning. Furthermore, it is not clear that the use of "consultation" in regard to the unique circumstance of ratifying the Organic Law is sufficient to fix the Talossan meaning of the term.
Therefore, the Government did not have to—under current law—secure the positive consent of any other parties before granting citizenship to prospective citizens.

II. Talossan Tradition Test
For better and for worse, the test of tradition is often a paramount jurisprudential principle in Talossa. In the Talossan context, tradition encompasses practice. And practice, in the Talossan context, is all too frequently defined by what one can get away with without triggering any objections. This is both a strength and a weakness of our system.
In this case—as far as the Cort can determine—the current Prime Minister and his Government, with the active encouragement of King Robert I and the indifference (for the most part) of a number of other high-ranking Talossan officials, rapidly processed a number of prospective citizenship applications.
The fact that, despite publishing the naturalizations of a number of the citizens in question, no timely objection was publicly made, indicates that the Talossan "powers-that-be" were satisfied with how naturalizations were proceeding.
Therefore, in deference to the well-established Talossan tradition of deferring to how Talossans let things slide, this Cort cannot find against the Government in terms of Talossan tradition
It may be reasonably pointed out that, in fact, there has been a rather strenuous Talossan objection to the Government's conduct in these naturalization matters. That is true. But the objection was filed long after most of the citizenship applications were processed and right before an election. Both the lateness of the objection and its proximity to the election undercut—in the view of the Cort—the purity of the objection. The Cort is more impressed by timely passion, timely argument, timely objection.

III. Legislative Intent Test
With the passage into law of The Immigration Reform, Take Whatever Act, the Kingdom of Talossa wholeheartedly embraced an immigration process designed to expedite the transition of applicants for citizenship into citizens. When, upon reflection, that expedited process was found wanting by the Cosa and a new law was adopted—the Talossan Immigration Act of 2005—that required (once again) prospective citizens to furnish an essay about "what Talossa means to them"—the portion of the law dealing with consent was not changed.
To the Cort, this change—which left intact the language about "consultation"—indicates that Talossan legislators wanted to see more details from prospective citizens, not a new and higher level of consent from various Talossan parties involved in granting citizenship.
Therefore, once again, the Government seems to the Cort to have not misinterpreted Talossan law.

While this Cort rejects the petitioner's arguments in this case, it wants to put the Government on notice that it intends to closely monitor the conduct of the upcoming election—and will feel quite full of righteous justice in contesting any and all suspect ballots. The Cort is also excited to acknowledge its wide-ranging injunction powers—powers it almost itches to exercise.