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Monday, December 1, 2008

My JudCom Crystal Ball

As much as a lot of people wish the LNC would deliberate publicly on the Angela Keaton "discipline" issue before LNC actually meets to publicly deliberate on it, we are unlikely to know a lot more about this matter until San Diego.   One of the few things we know is that the LNC (including Mary Ruwart) voted 11-0-2 (with three absences) to say "that Angela Keaton should resign for having disclosed material in executive session".  We also know that an LNC majority was crafting a motion, later withdrawn, to require Angela to either apologize for the breach or lose her seat.  So the big questions here seem to be

1) what has Angela done that could lead 12 members of LNC to require her to apologize to keep her seat?
2) is there anything Angela has done that she would be willing to apologize for to keep her seat?
3) would any four on the Judicial Committee overturn a 2/3 vote by LNC that Angela must apologize or lose her seat?

JudCom consists of Ruth Bennett (Chair), David Nolan, Nick Sarwark, Allen Hacker, Tom Stevens, Travis Nicks, and Joe Cobb.  Only four of them would be required to overturn an ultimatum to Angela (or five if the other side dared to try to deny quorum).  Bennett and Nolan have been harsh critics of the current LP leadership team, and Bennett and Keaton are both prominent in the LP Women's Caucus.  Cobb is a prominent radical-leaning economist and was a senior adviser in the Kubby campaign, which had split opinions over the wisdom of e.g. LNC inviting Ron Paul to run for our nomination.  Hacker is a very independent thinker who tends to get criticized by the same folks who don't like the LNC's leadership.  Sarwark is an incredibly sharp young attorney who is widely respected by both radicals and moderates. (Full disclosure: I might be starting a Draft Sarwark For 2020 committee.)  All of what I know about LPCO Chair Travis Nicks is from the panel discussion in Denver in which he congenially disagreed with David Nolan on the need for a detailed radical platform.  All I know of Stevens is from the calls for his JudCom resignation on account of his campaign for President as the nominee of the "Objectivist Party" that he founded in February.

Although our bylaws are silent on what criteria JudCom should use in reviewing a suspension, I'd be surprised if any kind of ideological or factional loyalty among JudCom members would lead them to substitute their own judgment for that of 12 LNC members on what constitutes "cause" for suspension of an at-large member.  But if the passions in evidence in the peanut gallery are any measure, then it's always possible that an indignant JudCom majority could overturn an ultimatum to Keaton on grounds that aren't purely formal (i.e. were the rules followed?) but rather substantive (was a reasonable "cause" identified?).

If I were Angela trying to put together a JudCom majority to second-guess this LNC, I'd look to Bennett, Nolan, Stevens, maybe Cobb, perhaps Sarwark.