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Thursday, February 03, 2005

2008: Time for Direct Elections in United States.

(03-Feb-05 blog-usa op_ed) title:

2008: Time for Direct Elections to be Held in United States.

Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776,
America has not really had a free & fair democratic election.

In particular, presidential and vice-presidential ones. This isn't
to say, or imply, that American's aren't free, or democratically.

It is, however, an analysis that elections held under a code of
an electoral-college styled-method of second-votes, isn't any
way, shape, or form -- a democratic method of direct election.

And it has been that way for 228 years now. American's are
now ready, after all those years of electoral-college-review,
to step-out into the voting arena & cast a ballot for a directly
elected president and/or vice-president of just their choosing.

And this would only be, or become, problematic to those now
in office otherwise - or may now have conflict-of-interests for.

If America is now to be the democratic model for freedom,
liberty and elections -- then it needs to start here with the
office of the president and congress. And maybe a judicial.

This would mean easier access to voting for all citizens. As
naturalized, or a natural born. How about even our capital?

All elections would thus become under federal regulation as
a right, that would be under state mandated laws of equality.

All votes would have a legal, as mandated, method of recount
both in the original method(s) and/or -- especially by a paper.

Differences in accounting of voting tallies, or totals, would be
subject to automatic recounts and/or the actual count verified.

Voter ID's would become necessary, or required, but with even
a library-card able to be used by individuals that be as subject.

When, or if, a felon removes any voting right at the end of the
sentence tenue, the voting rights would thus be automatically
restored upon completion of sentence, without an application.

Voting registration would be automatic, one time, at birth and
subject to begin at the age of eighteen, with no renewal, just as
an address update, and a verification, for county/tax matters.

In order to maximize the opportunity for anyone to vote, then
all elections should be held on a weekend, or thus by a holiday.

Real reform would likewise be required for candidate spending
levels and/or independents having equal & fair access to all of
the ballots and/or any debates. No exceptions, or as any limit
by numbers. Democracy does not mandate just for a two-party
system of elected officials, nor does the Constitution write such.


"Bush Plan to Limit Class Action Suits Moving Fast"

[re:] Jesse J. Holland The Associated Press 02-03-2005

Efforts to curb class action lawsuits advanced Thursday
as backers of legislation pushed by the Bush administration
and the business community foiled initial attempts to alter a
carefully crafted compromise.

The Senate Judiciary Committee left intact language that
would send many class action lawsuits from state courts
into federal court, despite an attempt by Democrats to use
the bill as a vehicle to raise federal judges' pay.

The committee approved the overall bill on a 13-5 vote, and
the Republican-controlled Senate will take it up next week.

Supporters will try to get the legislation to a GOP-dominated
House that has agreed to support the bill if...not substantially

"We have a very sensitive agreement with the House of
Representatives on this bill, and if there are amendments
it may jeopardize the acquiescence of the House on our bill,"
said Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Senators who support the bill say greedy lawyers make more
money from class action lawsuits than the actual victims and
that attorneys sometimes threaten companies with lawsuits
just to extort quick financial settlements.

"That system is broken and it needs fixing," said Sen.
Tom Carper, D-Del. "There are too many instances
where consumers are getting very little or nothing from
their settlements, while companies are not being forced
to change the way they do business."

Supporters already are pressing senators to leave the bill
alone, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have agreed
to not support major amendments.

And House Republican leaders will make sure the
legislation receives a warm welcome there if it is not
substantially changed, lawmakers said Wednesday.

But just in case something happens to the Senate
compromise, House Republicans reintroduced their
own bill Wednesday, which they say is tougher than
the Senate version.

"If the Senate compromise agreement falls though,
then the House is ready to move forward with its
legislation," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Opponents of the bill, which would shunt the majority
of class action suits to federal instead of state courts,
said it was aimed at helping businesses escape
multimillion-dollar judgments for their wrongdoing
and would hurt lawyers trying to litigate those cases.

"It benefits the special interests, but I don't see how it
benefits the citizens of individual states,'' said Sen. Patrick
Leahy of Vermont, D-Vt., who tried to get the committee
to add the judges' pay provision.

Federal courts are assumed to be less likely to issue
multimillion-dollar verdicts against big corporations.

Opponents have acknowledged that the legislation will likely
be approved by Congress this year, despite their complaints.

"This is a bad idea whose time has apparently come," said
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del.

Under the Senate proposal, class action lawsuits in which the
primary defendant and more than one-third of the plaintiffs
were from the same state would still be heard in state court.

But if fewer than one-third of the plaintiffs were from the
same state as the primary defendant, the case would go to
federal court.

Also, at least $5 million would have to be at stake for a class
action lawsuit to be heard in federal court.

Under that configuration, it has more than enough support to
beat a filibuster in the Senate, with Democrats such as Carper,
Charles Schumer of New York and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin
serving as sponsors.

The House legislation is retroactive, which means it would
knock into federal court every pending case that meets
criteria set by the legislation.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said the retroactively provision
would prevent trial lawyers from rushing into court to try to
beat the effective date of the legislation.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. [FAIR USE]