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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 08:52:55PM +0100, Andreas Barth wrote:
> * Wouter Verhelst (wouter@debian.org) [081229 15:36]:
> > - 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.

So the constitutional court (and not the President or King) is the body who
decides whether a law is or is not constitutional; apart from the assumption
bit (which was a minor point anyway), what you say does not significantly
contradict what I said.

> > - 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.)

Exactly, that's what I had in mind. Perhaps the TC could indeed be this
body; but whether or not it is, what I think is most important is that
members of this body are assigned either by GR vote, or by the
delegation from the DPL, so that the developers at large have some
indirect say over how the constitution is interpreted. OTOH, it
shouldn't be possible for all members to be replaced in one go, since
else that would undermine stability of interpretation, which is never a
good thing.

I'm not even saying that the secretary can't be part of such a body; the most
important part, really, is that I think recent history has shown no
single person should alone be responsible for interpreting a document as
important as our constitution.

<Lo-lan-do> Home is where you have to wash the dishes.
  -- #debian-devel, Freenode, 2004-09-22

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