| Universal Triumvirate v. Ehtya
|Supreme Court: 1/11/14 - 2/5/14|
|Full Case Name||Universal Triumvirate v. Aaron Ehtya|
|A law cannot be overturned by the courts due to a mishap in private procedure in another government branch; the banning of weapons technology and ownership is unconstitutional; a ban on the sale of such technology is constitutional.|
|Majority Opinion||Esteemi Evantsu|
|First Nation Consulting v. The Universal Triumvirate|
The government passed an extension to the Weapons Exchange Prevention Act on January 5, 2014 that banned the ownership and development of weapons and weapon technology (previously it was only forbidden to sell it). Moments after the new law was added to the books, General Defense, a company owned by Aaron Ehtya (who was also an Administrator), issued a statement (made by Aaron Ehtya on behalf of the company) that openly announced that Aaron and General Defense would violate this new law because he believed that "the government's ban of ownership or development is unconstitutional and unjust". This violation would be considered a Class III Felony and Aaron Ehtya openly stated that, "Until you arrest me and a court orders me to stop, we'll be continuing the development of new technology and I will continue conducting studies on the technology we already own." Chief Attorney Stenbach gave Aaron an ultimatum asking he cease what he was doing within a reasonable time frame and Aaron asked that he be arrested as he would not stop. At about 12:20 AM ET, Chief Attorney Stenbach sent Aaron Ehtya a letter of arrest.
Chief Attorney Stenbach filed three charges against Aaron Ehtya: one count of weapon ownership and two counts of weapon development. Aaron Ehtya fully acknowledged that he possessed such technology and that he was in violation of the law but stated that, "I believe in the rule of law, the rule of just law," in defiance to the law. He went on to state, "What right does this government, one based fundamentally on freedom, have to take my property and decide what I can and cannot do within my own life with my own property?" Mr. Ehtya plead not guilty to every charge because "I do not believe one can be guilty to a law that is itself an abomination to constitutional rights."
After opening statement and pleas, the Triumvirate called forward Head of Intelligence Ascencia, who answered a variety of questions with regards to weapons technology that Mr. Ehtya currently possessed. Finally, Chief Attorney Stenbach asked Ascencia, "Would the Triumvirate be monumentally safer if private weapon ownership was banned?" to which Ascencia replied, "No." This prompted intense reaction, as Ascencia had advocated against private utilization of technology like this and was they key testimony for the prosecution. Ascencia gave a lengthy response to clarify his statement, one which is key information in weapons banning, cited many times after this particular case and ended by stating, "As much as I am against private ownership and ownership by anyone overall, I cannot contest with every single piece of knowledge I have, which after years of experience and work in this field, indicates that there is no difference in safety between banning private ownership and allowing it."
After this testimony, the prosecution, at a loss, having had their star witness provide information that harmed their argument, rested. Aaron Ehtya submitted the official record of the Administration on the bill to the case to make an argument that the Speaker (Carlson Tyler) had defied the Procedural Rules of the Administrative Branch, which stated that, "At least one day of consideration must be granted for any measure before a floor vote that would elicit moderate controversy unless otherwise noted." However, the record stated:
- Jan. 5: Executive Branch passed. Liaison delivers to Speaker. (1:43 PM)
- Jan. 5: Speaker agrees to table bill. (2:20 PM)
- Jan. 5: Speaker puts bill up for vote (2:22 PM)
- Jan. 5: Speaker announces passage of the bill 3:3, Speaker breaking even vote (9:29 PM)
- Jan. 5: Major Executive amends text of the original to reflect the amendment (9:57 PM)
Ehtya made the argument that, as this was clearly a bill that elicited significant controversy, the court should overturn it due to the fact that the Speaker failed to assign appropriate time for consideration/debate/deliberation for it. The response from the prosecution in regards to such was, "I have no comment suffice to say that a procedural mishap in the Administration is not justification for repealing a passed law. If the Administration is unhappy with the procedure, it can change the rules or it can enforce them and punish the speaker for failing to uphold them. It is not a matter for the courts."
Then each party proceeded to make their closing arguments.
Should the law be overturned due to the missteps in Administrative procedure?
- "...The court believes the power to define what is appropriate lies not with the court, but with the individual branch. Should the Administration, in its power to define and determine those rules, believe that the Speaker was in violation of procedure, it is their responsibility to reprimand him and seek to revise the rules for clarity if need be. Though the Speaker's actions do raise an eyebrow, there is no legal justification to state that this court can fairly rule a law unconstitutional by the means of a minor procedural mistake in one branch of the government, especially when no one fought the procedure at the time of the Administration's deliberation on the matter. "
Is ban on technology development and ownership unconstitutional?
- "The court possesses the opinion that the banning of technology (be it weapon or otherwise) development and ownership within the Triumvirate is unconstitutional."
- "The government is forbidden to seize property from an individual or private institution, that should be made clear in both this case and in the prior precedent, and it is for this reason that the court is ruling that the section of the Weapon Exchange Prevention Act that was recently added to indicate that ownership or development of this technology is unconstitutional."
Is the government ban of sale unconstitutional?
- "...The ban on sale is not unconstitutional as the government is permitted to regulate commerce (which the Constitution directly states)."
The court found Aaron Ehtya not guilty of all charges on the basis of unconstitutionality. The court also demanded that the Department of Justice pay Aaron Ehtya 15 tri as reparation for the case.
Written by Chief Justice Esteemi:
On the subject of weapon ownership, development, and sale carried within this trial, taking into due consideration the ruling of FNC vs. The Universal Triumvirate, the court possesses the opinion that the banning of technology (be it weapon or otherwise) development and ownership within the Triumvirate is unconstitutional.
As this court has ruled, previously in First Nation Consulting vs. The Universal Triumvirate, and as former Justice Crown stated in that case, the law as unconstitutional as it was "the taking of property by the government and beyond constitutional standards." Though they referred to a tax in that case, the court upholds that precedent as it has a profound constitutional backing. Furthermore, there was no compelling reason for the government to ban weapon ownership and development at the time of passage, nor did the government have the power to seize existing technology, indicating an extraordinary overreach in government authority. The government is forbidden to seize property from an individual or private institution, that should be made clear in both this case and in the prior precedent, and it is for this reason that the court is ruling that the section of the Weapon Exchange Prevention Act that was recently added to indicate that ownership or development of this technology is unconstitutional. However, the ban on sale is not unconstitutional as the government is permitted to regulate commerce (which the Constitution directly states). If this court were to take the side of the law and find Aaron Ehtya guilty, it would set a terrible message that the government can seize property from its citizens and hinder development within the Triumvirate. Regardless of the subject matter, be it technology such as it is here, or writings, publications, or labor, the government may not seize it from the rightful owner without due process of law, as in, in order to punish for a legitimate crime committed (e.g. should an individual attack the Triumvirate with a weapon and be found guilty by the due process of law, it would be appropriate for the court to punish them by removing their ownership as part of what fine they may have to pay).
This court must also address the nature of jurisdiction, which was brought forth in this trial. Mr. Ehtya's actions are within the jurisdiction of the Triumvirate as he utilized Triumvirate sites, contacts within the Triumvirate, technology made available by the Triumvirate and its inner-community, and was done under the domain of General Defense (a company registered within the Triumvirate).
With regards to the argument posed that the inappropriate procedure in the Administration should render the law illegitimate, this court must disagree on the basis that such a matter is not the court's prerogative. The Constitution grants that, "The Administrative Branch may determine the Rules of its Proceedings," and it is for that reason that the court believes the power to define what is appropriate lies not with the court, but with the individual branch. Should the Administration, in its power to define and determine those rules, believe that the Speaker was in violation of procedure, it is their responsibility to reprimand him and seek to revise the rules for clarity if need be. Though the Speaker's actions do raise an eyebrow, there is no legal justification to state that this court can fairly rule a law unconstitutional by the means of a minor procedural mistake in one branch of the government, especially when no one fought the procedure at the time of the Administration's deliberation on the matter.
With all of that in mind, the court instructs that the unconstitutional sections of the Weapons Exchange Prevention Act be annulled, that Mr. Ehtya be unheeded in pursuing development and continuing to possess ownership, and requests that the government take more careful thought before depriving the rights of citizens to their own property.