Joss Delage

Retiring a Federal law

24 posts in this topic

Hi,

How are US laws retired? E.g., if there was a large number of congressmen (or if the president) wanting to retire SOx, how would they go about it?

Thanks,

JD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

How are US laws retired? E.g., if there was a large number of congressmen (or if the president) wanting to retire SOx, how would they go about it?

Thanks,

JD

Not sure what you mean by SOx, but laws don't retire, they are repealed or there is a provision in the law stating that it will be effective for a certain time period.

Today's liberals typically ignore laws they don't want to enforce or use the judicial system to create laws without a legislative process. Many laws are overturned on judicial review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

How are US laws retired? E.g., if there was a large number of congressmen (or if the president) wanting to retire SOx, how would they go about it?

Thanks,

JD

Not sure what you mean by SOx, but laws don't retire, they are repealed or there is a provision in the law stating that it will be effective for a certain time period.

Today's liberals typically ignore laws they don't want to enforce or use the judicial system to create laws without a legislative process. Many laws are overturned on judicial review.

I think SOx is sarbanes-oxley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laws are repealed by filing a bill to pass a law repealing it through the same process as any other bill. Very few laws are ever revoked and it is much more difficult to repeal a law than to stop it from passing initially.

Sometimes controversial laws can be minimized by Congress reducing appropriations for their implemenation.

Laws sometimes have a date for renewal specified in the original legislation, but this is usually ignored. As long as Congress keeps funding it through the appropriations process the enabling legislation continues to be authorized and continues to be enforced. This has been the case with the Endangered Species Act, for example, which was due for reauthorization in the 1990s. It is too controversial to either repeal or renew, so Congress just keeps funding it as implicit approval.

Federal laws are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which state how an agency interprets what Congress passed. The CFR changes in accordance with the agenda of the White House, which can allow agencies to rewrite regulations. The CFR sometimes authorizes agency action that was never included in or intended by the original enabling legislation and these provisions can sometimes be overturned, depending on whether the President's appointees to run the agencies are sympathetic to the agency's political agenda. Federal agencies also choose selectively how intensely to interpret their mandate and enforce regulations in accordance with their own political and ideological ambitions and those of political appointees nominally in charge of the agencies.

Rescinding laws and interpretations through the courts are much more difficult (and expensive) because of ambiguities in the enabling legislation and broad legal precedents granting agencies wide discretionary powers under non-objective law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are US laws retired?

I've thought for a long time that laws should have an automatic expiration date, with the maximum being some relatively short time (a few years). Then they would have to be passed again to still be in effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are US laws retired?

I've thought for a long time that laws should have an automatic expiration date, with the maximum being some relatively short time (a few years). Then they would have to be passed again to still be in effect.

If Congress were willing to pass such a reform it wouldn't be needed. They won't because the mentality in Congress is the cause of the problems, so why would they reform themselves?

One way to put the current situation is this: you can't retire a law; even if a law expires, at best it only becomes a "law emeritus" and keeps right on acting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are US laws retired?

I've thought for a long time that laws should have an automatic expiration date, with the maximum being some relatively short time (a few years). Then they would have to be passed again to still be in effect.

I sympathize with this view very much. In a country in which laws were aimed at protecting individual rights, this wouldn't be necessary. Laws aimed at things other than individual rights are not objectively laws but edicts for mob rule with legalized theft as its goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are US laws retired?

I've thought for a long time that laws should have an automatic expiration date, with the maximum being some relatively short time (a few years). Then they would have to be passed again to still be in effect.

I sympathize with this view very much. In a country in which laws were aimed at protecting individual rights, this wouldn't be necessary. Laws aimed at things other than individual rights are not objectively laws but edicts for mob rule with legalized theft as its goal.

Then why not go all the way and just say that such laws shouldn't be passed at all as the proper alternative? What does it accomplish to say that a government with no interest in objective law should make its bad laws temporary? Since they want the mob rule laws they pass what possible meaning does it have to recommend that they make them "temporary"? It is neither a proper form of government to pass "temporary" non-objective laws nor is such a desire a practical means of dealing with the kind of laws they do routinely pass. If there were any hope of making them temporary they would know enough and be motivated to not pass them at all. Laws are passed as they are as a result of political power struggles and chicanery to put such laws in place; it makes no sense to wish the propnents would limit themselves by a "principle" of doing it only temporarily! There are few enough means in reality to affect outcomes in Congress without wishing for principles like temporary improper laws.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, have you noticed that the one "temporary" law we did get in recent decades was the Bush tax cut? The statists were willing to make that one temporary only because they couldn't stop it completely at the time but could make it easier to kill later by not having to make the death an explicitly acknowledged "tax increase" in new legislation (which they will now be doing to go beyond that increase). So that's what the principle of "temporary" law got us the one time it was invoked :lol: . I don't know of any other "temporary" law that has been actually treated as temporary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the idea of time-limited laws wouldn't be bad even in a fully rational society. Reason is not a guarantee of being correct and the mistake of a bad law, given the pervasive power of government, is worse than not having a law in place that should exist. It would not be a bad thing to have most of a legislature's time be spent on reviewing and re-passing (or dropping) old laws - it would do a lot to keep them out of trouble i.e. cooking up new and probably unnecessary laws and provide a repeated review of a law with new eyes/minds. Nobody is going to have rational doubt that a law against murder should stand, but they should doubt many other ones. I find it highly questionable that a fully free society *needs* a full time legislature in the first place. (Judicial and executive, yes, because they are more concrete specific applications of justice, supposedly.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the idea of time-limited laws wouldn't be bad even in a fully rational society. Reason is not a guarantee of being correct and the mistake of a bad law, given the pervasive power of government, is worse than not having a law in place that should exist. It would not be a bad thing to have most of a legislature's time be spent on reviewing and re-passing (or dropping) old laws - it would do a lot to keep them out of trouble i.e. cooking up new and probably unnecessary laws and provide a repeated review of a law with new eyes/minds. Nobody is going to have rational doubt that a law against murder should stand, but they should doubt many other ones. I find it highly questionable that a fully free society *needs* a full time legislature in the first place. (Judicial and executive, yes, because they are more concrete specific applications of justice, supposedly.)

It would take a full time legislature working over time for decades even in a free society to clean up and unravel the current mess.

Legislative review is a good principle, but it wouldn't help what we have now. Who will review the reviewers? Congress already has oversight subcommittees that are useless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the idea of time-limited laws wouldn't be bad even in a fully rational society. Reason is not a guarantee of being correct and the mistake of a bad law, given the pervasive power of government, is worse than not having a law in place that should exist. It would not be a bad thing to have most of a legislature's time be spent on reviewing and re-passing (or dropping) old laws - it would do a lot to keep them out of trouble i.e. cooking up new and probably unnecessary laws and provide a repeated review of a law with new eyes/minds. Nobody is going to have rational doubt that a law against murder should stand,

Don't be so sure. Obama recently stopped the trial of the accused bomber of the USS Cole and had the charges dismissed, allegedly so that he could be tried under Obama's Justice Department rules.

but they should doubt many other ones. I find it highly questionable that a fully free society *needs* a full time legislature in the first place. (Judicial and executive, yes, because they are more concrete specific applications of justice, supposedly.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joss, I know you are in France, but the book Dependent on D.C.: The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of Ordinary Americans, by Charlotte A. Twight, gives an indepth look at how laws get passed and how the government makes it difficult to "retire" or even fight against them. I would also offer that I doubt you or I could get a law "retired" at this point as I think the government has become so corrupt that it will take a new beginning to change things. For example, in 2002 there were almost 5,000 federal laws passed which added more than 70,000 pages to the already amazingly large federal register. Where will you get the money to fight these people? And if you can get one law dropped it will most likely be replaced by thousands more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all. I was just interested in how laws are (actively) retired. It seems it takes a law to retire a law, which to some extent makes sense. I have no illusion this is something that can be done at an individual level.

I agree on the proposition that laws should be limited in time. One side benefit is that you would find Congress spending most of their time working on old laws instead of new ones.

ewv - I'm not sure the mess would ever need to be disentangled. All it would take is laws retiring previous ones, and then you'd start drafting & passing a very few new (objective) laws. What would take forever is to *fix* existing laws, but that's not the way to do it, I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ewv - I'm not sure the mess would ever need to be disentangled. All it would take is laws retiring previous ones, and then you'd start drafting & passing a very few new (objective) laws. What would take forever is to *fix* existing laws, but that's not the way to do it, I think.

If there were a revolution and complete overthrow of the government then all the laws would be gone. Such a revolution in the forseeable future would be a disaster and impose more terror and a worse form of government than we have now.

In any reasonable process of reform many laws would have to be phased out in order to minimize further injustices in a situation in which ideal solutions do not exist because of previous damaging actions with unavoidable consequences -- and there would be delays even to that as it would take time to eliminate bad influences throughout an improving society. The whole country is not going to abruptly overthrow centuries of corrupt ideas overnight and suddenly endorse and try to implement Ayn Rand's ideal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ewv - I'm not sure the mess would ever need to be disentangled. All it would take is laws retiring previous ones, and then you'd start drafting & passing a very few new (objective) laws. What would take forever is to *fix* existing laws, but that's not the way to do it, I think.

If there were a revolution and complete overthrow of the government then all the laws would be gone. Such a revolution in the forseeable future would be a disaster and impose more terror and a worse form of government than we have now.

In any reasonable process of reform many laws would have to be phased out in order to minimize further injustices in a situation in which ideal solutions do not exist because of previous damaging actions with unavoidable consequences -- and there would be delays even to that as it would take time to eliminate bad influences throughout an improving society. The whole country is not going to abruptly overthrow centuries of corrupt ideas overnight and suddenly endorse and try to implement Ayn Rand's ideal.

So what is your solution? How may I ask are we supposed to get rid of hundreds of thousands of regulations and laws before we die? I do not have centuries (unless longevity researchers pick up the pace) to have things turn around before I enjoy freedom. If I remember correctly, you have stated that "Washington is full of corrupt people," and I agree. So, how are you going to get around those corrupt people? These are the same people that have control over the education system that controls what is taught, when it is taught, while pulling many other strings behind a curtain that most do not even notice. These people use rhetorical language and even blatantly lie when needed to get their bills passed. And these same corrupt people are producing tons of new followers to their irrational ideas with no end in sight. These people make King George look like a virtuous man, but still we calmly sit and wait for freedom as we are subtly forced into a deeper slavery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ewv - I'm not sure the mess would ever need to be disentangled. All it would take is laws retiring previous ones, and then you'd start drafting & passing a very few new (objective) laws. What would take forever is to *fix* existing laws, but that's not the way to do it, I think.

If there were a revolution and complete overthrow of the government then all the laws would be gone. Such a revolution in the forseeable future would be a disaster and impose more terror and a worse form of government than we have now.

In any reasonable process of reform many laws would have to be phased out in order to minimize further injustices in a situation in which ideal solutions do not exist because of previous damaging actions with unavoidable consequences -- and there would be delays even to that as it would take time to eliminate bad influences throughout an improving society. The whole country is not going to abruptly overthrow centuries of corrupt ideas overnight and suddenly endorse and try to implement Ayn Rand's ideal.

So what is your solution? How may I ask are we supposed to get rid of hundreds of thousands of regulations and laws before we die? I do not have centuries (unless longevity researchers pick up the pace) to have things turn around before I enjoy freedom. If I remember correctly, you have stated that "Washington is full of corrupt people," and I agree. So, how are you going to get around those corrupt people? These are the same people that have control over the education system that controls what is taught, when it is taught, while pulling many other strings behind a curtain that most do not even notice. These people use rhetorical language and even blatantly lie when needed to get their bills passed. And these same corrupt people are producing tons of new followers to their irrational ideas with no end in sight. These people make King George look like a virtuous man, but still we calmly sit and wait for freedom as we are subtly forced into a deeper slavery.

It won't end in your lifetime. It will take a massive cultural change that cannot happen overnight. If you want personal freedom you will have to find it the best you can by choosing where and under what circumstances you try to live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...] In any reasonable process of reform many laws would have to be phased out in order to minimize further injustices in a situation in which ideal solutions do not exist because of previous damaging actions with unavoidable consequences -- and there would be delays even to that as it would take time to eliminate bad influences throughout an improving society.

Improving situations can quickly revert to bad ones without good contingency plans, thorough and skillful communication to reinforce reasons to refract away from a densely-regulated situation. The immediate response to legal reform is non-objective law stakeholders filing suit to argue the civic or legislative bodies do not have the authority to eliminate or phase out controls and an circuit/appellate court can order the enforcement of abandoned bylaws and regs. Many have not chosen the propagation of Objectivism as their Central Purpose. Each of us can create changes and each small activity to exemplify that the moral is practical does count, otherwise we would already be at the stage of total disaster. But changes are not the same thing as progress.

The technology exists to create maps of the relative freedoms and rights recognized in different parts of the U.S. and the world and to create geographical updates of which rights are under attack, where they are being fought for, the likelihood of success and forecast immediate and long-term consequences specific to that geographical area. I have thought that an entrepreneur or an organization such as ARI could create a futures of rights index. A is A but people will have differing views, incomplete information and optimism or pessimism that would generate many trades. The funds could be used for a penetrating spread of Objectivism which, unlike cockamany notions that have greater access to funds and fluidity in meaning, cannot be done by force or faith. Visual and emotional appeal of Objectivism combined with technological tools (without losing content or meaning) would help on an emergency timescale to slow the decay. I am not in favour of fighting for what is right acontextually, which becomes amoral. I am stating this possibility as a means of fighting for time to choose where and obtain the means to do those things which make life an end in itself.

The independence commonly found in Objectivists is an excellent quality to achieve some things, but there are few good applied philosophers (as opposed to theoreticians) who are working with others with common or similar goals for cultural and legal change. In no other philosophy put into action are variability in shared values and false beliefs in one's correctness in thought and/or action more destructive. Only those tuned to reality at all times will be the ones effecting any significant progress and therefore live life fully themselves, as opposed to merely effecting change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It won't end in your lifetime. It will take a massive cultural change that cannot happen overnight. If you want personal freedom you will have to find it the best you can by choosing where and under what circumstances you try to live.

I do not see why it cannot. The government took control of education in 1958 and look what they have been able to accomplish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If there were a revolution and complete overthrow of the government then all the laws would be gone. Such a revolution in the forseeable future would be a disaster and impose more terror and a worse form of government than we have now.

What would Patrick Henry say? Do you say this only because you think there are not enough people who want a proper form of government (and therefore the replacement government would be less free) or because you think that any revolution, even by freedom-loving individuals, would be a net loss?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It won't end in your lifetime. It will take a massive cultural change that cannot happen overnight. If you want personal freedom you will have to find it the best you can by choosing where and under what circumstances you try to live.

I do not see why it cannot. The government took control of education in 1958 and look what they have been able to accomplish.

Government took control of education in the early to mid 1800s, which took about 50 years after the founding of the country. It was made possible by activists operating under the already entrenched influences of the European intellectual climate and the legacy of earlier American religious domination in education contrary to the founding political principles of the nation. There isn't anything in particular about education in 1958 that caused the problems we have now. Atlas Shrugged had already been published, clearly describing an existing damaged culture. Fifty years later it is much worse despite the warning, but it is not new.

But what if it had all started by a government takeover of education in 1958? What would you do to get it back from the government that monopolizes education now? You have to overcome both the coercive monopoly built into law and cultural expectations as well as the destructive ideas themselves that are taught and believed, spanning several generations in the current population. You can't overcome all that -- plus the much longer foundations that in fact led to it -- in just one or two generations. Your frustration with what is to you so obvious will not change that. Change can only happen through specific means and it takes a long time for basic premises to propagate and for enough knowledgeable people to go out into the world and implement them to the extent that they are allowed to. The world of the future will be fortunate if that is still possible at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ewv, I agree that the transformation of schooling/education took place during the time frame you mention. I also know that U.S. public schools were molded on the forced schooling in Prussia. And that the objective of the Prussian government was to separate children from their families in order to shape them for service to the state. John T. Gatto gives his readers a good understanding of how this all began in his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, and here is a glimpse:

"A small number of very passionate American ideological leaders including Horace Mann of Massachusetts, Calvin Stowe of Ohio, Barnas Sears of Connectivut, and other visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century, fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency they saw there, attributed the well-regulated, machine-like society to its educational system, and campaigned relentlessly upon returning home to bring the Prussina vision to these shores....So at the behest of Horace Mann and other leading citizens, without any national debate or discussion, we adopted Prussian schooling or rather, most had it imposed upon them....The one- and two-room schoolhouses, highly efficient as academic transmitters, breeders of self-reliance and independence, intimately related to their communities, almost exclusively female-led and largely un-administered, had to be put to death."

And later:

"Prussian policy-makers had learned by experimentation that is was easier to apply behavior-shaping techniques to children who knew very little and were only modestly literate than it was to shape those young people who had been trained early in thinking techniques. Froebel's "kindergarten" with its early removal of the child's parents and culture from the scend, and its replacement of serious learning with songs, games, pictures and organized group activites was remarkably effective in delivering compliant material to the State."

But is was not until 1958 that the federal government passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) and later in 1965 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It is these two acts that gave the federal government almost full control over who educates young minds and what goes in their minds.

With that said, I still do not understand why you think these things cannot be overcome, although at this point I am not certain how they can be overcome either. But if we look at what a couple of irrational people have been able to accomplish I do not see why we cannot fight back and win.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ewv, I agree that the transformation of schooling/education took place during the time frame you mention...

But is was not until 1958 that the federal government passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) and later in 1965 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It is these two acts that gave the federal government almost full control over who educates young minds and what goes in their minds.

With that said, I still do not understand why you think these things cannot be overcome, although at this point I am not certain how they can be overcome either. But if we look at what a couple of irrational people have been able to accomplish I do not see why we cannot fight back and win.

I don't think the Federal government does have "full control over who educates young minds and what goes in their minds" even today. But they didn't need that with the state near-monopolistic control for over a century and a half in parallel with the propagation of bad philosophies. Federal intrusion is only making a very long process worse with more corruption; it didn't change the nature of the education much from what it was evolving into anyway. It's not true that 1958 marks the beginning of a period whose length limits what we need to duplicate to reverse it.

The dominance of education through government control also does not mean that only government control needs to be reversed or even that it is the major factor. The whole content and method of teaching needs to be replaced, and getting past its government enforcement is only one necessary aspect of that. The entrenched content of the ideas is the most fundamental and is what led to the original political takeover in the early 1800s. They didn't pull that off in a vacuum. We don't have such an established philosophical base to work with, and we have the additional problem of the means of contending with government monopoly entrenching the status quo. The original takeover didn't have that to contend with either.

The implication is that you can't look, out of context, at something the Federal government did in 1958 and conclude that it represents the time frame needed to reverse it. There are several generations simultaneously corrupted with bad ideas and ignorance that cannot be swept away any time soon even with the best alternative ideas. The youngest of those generations have also largely lost much of the implicit American sense of life that helped in the past. Even if it were somehow possible to instantaneously replace contemporary education with the equivalent of the "Van Damme Academy" today, the dominant culture would not change in time to bring about a complete cultural and political revolution for individualism in our lifetime. Whether it is still possible at all remains to be seen. All you can do is try. The last 50 years since the publication of Atlas Shrugged illustrates how slow this process is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These quote seems fitting to this subject:

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?" James Madison

Another fitting quote:

"...ruling power ought to govern by declared and received laws, and not by extemporary dictates and undetermined resolutions."

Later:

if the legislators violate the "...breach of trust they forfeit the power...and it devolves to the people, who have the right to resume their original liberty." John Locke

We do not have to "retire" all laws, federal or otherwise. If things get as bad as is possible, then discarding all the arbitrary and keeping just the fundamentals that protect rights/freedom could be a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites