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Constitutional, Parliamentary Issues (was Re: CFV: Non-free archive removal)

This reply is going to -project, since, not yet being a Debian
I oughtn't post to -vote.

John Goerzen wrote:
> Matthew Vernon <matthew@sel.cam.ac.uk> writes:
> >  > I really don't know, but as it's not mine and as I do not support it,
> >  > I don't think I should be calling for votes on it.
> >
> > AIUI, the GR and Ammendment both have to be voted on at the same time,
> > so your CFV has to refer to the Ammendment as well?
> As I said, I really don't know.  Sorry.

Even though the Constitution doesn't refer to Robert's Rules of Order,
and oughtn't, since ROR was designed for face-to-face parliamentary
bodies, the typical method is to vote on amendments first, then vote
on the primary question.  From the DC:

A.2. Calling for a vote

   1.The proposer or a sponsor of a motion or an amendment may call for
a vote,
     providing that the minimum discussion period (if any) has elapsed. 
   2.The proposer or a sponsor of a motion may call for a vote on any or
     all of the amendments individually or together; the proposer or
     of an amendment may call for a vote only on that amendment and

It's not the responsibility of John to call for votes from an amendment
he does not support.  The proposer of the amendment has not issued
a CFV.  Therefore, even though it passed its requisite discussion
period, it is not on the table.

About Craig's increasingly insulting and offensive protest about the
constitutionality of this CFV, to wit:

Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 29, 2000 at 10:32:03PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > The requisite discussion period having been entertained, ...
> your CFV is unconstitutional because nothing in the consitution allows
> the Social Contract or DFSG to be amended.

It's been pointed out plenty of times that the body of Developers
do have this power, according to the DC:

4. The Developers by way of General Resolution or election

4.1. Powers

Together, the Developers may:


   5.Issue nontechnical policy documents and statements.

But, apparently, it is still not clear.  It seems that Craig is
"hung up" on a issue of founding documents:

Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 05, 2000 at 05:56:37PM -0500, Adam Heath wrote:
> > On Wed, 5 Jul 2000, Steve Greenland wrote:
> > >     5.Issue nontechnical policy documents and statements.
> >
> > Issue, but doesn't say a thing about modifying preexisting documents and
> > statements.
> precisely. if we end up deciding that these founding documents may
> actually be changed, there's also the issue of HOW they may be changed.
> given that they are at least as important (far more so, IMO) than the
> constitution, ...

> lets sort that out and clarify the constitutional issues before
> proceeding with a vote which may be (and almost certainly is)
> constitutionally invalid.

It is not the "pre-existing" documents that make up Debian, but the
The contract between the members is the "Constitution".  Neither the
"Social Contract", which really is a misnomer (but I support it), nor
the DFSG
are specially protected by the DC.  These documents did not found
Debian, the people
who drafted them did.  The sentiments stated in them are subject to
as the membership changes.  These statements of policy are not
as is the DC, and therefore, _not_ "far more so".

The "Social Contract" is no more a contract than the Republican's
with America" some years ago.  There is no way for "the other party", so
speak, to ratify or sign it, nor is there any consideration exchanged in
It is a statement of policy -good policy, I might add-, nothing more or

I would vote against John's proposal if I were already a Developer, but
there's no denying that he has the Debian Constitutional right to make
the proposal that he has, and to call for a vote on it.
Bolan.Meek@wcom.com 972-729-5387
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