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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

* Wouter Verhelst (wouter@debian.org) [081229 15:36]:
> On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 09:47:36AM +0100, Patrick Schoenfeld wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 09:28:27AM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > > No. The constitution doesn't say that the secretary's job is to interpret
> > > the DFSG and decide if the 3:1 majority requirement applies. And the job
> > > of the secretary (contrary to the job of most delegates and debian
> > > packagers) is expressly defined by the constitution.
> > 
> > Its not neccessary to interpret the DFSG in order to set majority
> > requirements.
> Nowhere in the constitution is it said that the DFSG is law, and that it
> cannot be overridden. Nowhere in the constitution is it said that the
> social contract is law, and that it cannot be overridden.
> I'm not saying we should just thump them out, but a temporary compromise
> is not necessarily a change of our principles.
> So, yes, that does require interpretation.

I need to say that I agree that ignoring a document should need the same
majority as changing it. I don't think that's the major issue with the
majority requirements of the GR. (For a deeper look why I agree to that,
consider either the recent US history, or the years 1933ff in Germany, and
at least for Germany, the constitution rules learned from that.)

I think that the major issue with this vote is that Proposals A, B, D and E
all are "only" weighting and interpreting the current SC, but some of them
needs 3:1 majority while others don't.

Proposals C and F however modify (or put aside) the DFSG, so the
3:1-majority there seems sensible.

> - In a country, the body that decides whether a law is or is not
>   unconstitutional, can only do so when a citizen explicitly asks it to
>   do so. In the absence of such a question, each and every law is
>   assumed to be constitutional.

Actually, in many countries the President (or King) can decide to not sign
a law if it seems unconstitutional. That happened with the current
President in Germany twice (and that's BTW next to the only political power
he has). In Germany the parliament can then decide to go to the
constitutional court to get a final ruling on the case.

> - In a country, the body that decides on constitutionality is usually a
>   court of law that is built up of more than one judge. In Debian, the
>   body that decides on constitutionality is just one person.

The problem isn't that the secretary has the first call - but IMHO there
should be an instance of appeal like the TC (though this isn't technical,
but we have a body there that could be used - as you proposed). In case
nobody disagrees too much with the decision by the secretary, we can go on
as well. (And perhaps requiring Q developers for an appeal.)


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