Proposed by Bastion, seconded by Casinea.
- Autumn 383YE
- Non-standard costs apply as detailed here.
- 30 wains of weirwood
- 60 wains of white granite
- 180 crowns in labour costs
- 20 thrones in upkeep
- 30 wains of white granite, 15 wains of weirwood after Autumn Equinox 383YE.
- 180 crowns provided by the Heirs of Lepidus after Autumn Equinox 383YE.
- Once completed this commission will be overseen by the title Lepidean Librarian appointed by the Highborn National Assembly.
There was significant discussion among the Constitutional Court with regards to the decision to assign the true liao the civil service predict will be produced by the commission via the judgement of Rewarding. This was not one of the methods outlined in the original opportunity; however after considerable debate this return to the previous historical method of assigning true liao was judged to be neither unconstitutional, nor technically a deviation from a well worn path - merely one that had not been used since the time of Empress Teleri.
A number of priests have contacted the constitutional court and pointed out that there are several significant issues with this method of assigning the true liao. The court accepts these concerns, but indicates that these are not constitutional problems nor legal problems faced by the civil service in implementing it. In response to an inquiry by Cardinal de Coeurdefer, Magistrate Abraham has publicized the following additional guidance:
On this occasion, the method of allocation selected by the Imperial Senate was not one of the constitutionally valid options originally presented by the civil service. In theory this is not an issue; it is difficult for any briefing to delimit all possible constitutional solutions to a problem. Something is not intrinsically unconstitutional simply because it has not yet been ruled to be constitutional. But it does ensure that the motion will need additional scrutiny.
To compound matters, the senator who raised the motion opted not to have it scrutinized before the vote. Regrettably in recent times we have seen fewer senators presenting motions to the court for scrutiny before raising them as motions. That is perfectly fine for motions with no constitutional implications but it does not bode well if a motion is problematic.
Legally the position is clear – the Court will pass judgement on the motion after it has been considered by the Senate. But in practical terms it puts us in a undesirable position if a motion has already passed but the Court judges it must be struck down. That creates an invidious consequence wherein the Court appears to be denying the will of the Senate. This is less than ideal to put it mildly.
Being frank, Leontes the Scribe has expressed the view on more than one occasion that any senator who raises a constitutionally novel motion without first putting it through scrutiny has elected to follow this route precisely because they suspect that their motion will not pass scrutiny. Rather than get our assistance in this matter, he thinks they are deliberately calling our bluff. A suspicious mind such as his might suspect that they believe that the best way to force us to approve an unconstitutional motion is to dare us to reject it after the Senate has expressed it's will.
A senator's intentions are of no legal consequence to our work, but they can have an impact on the scrutiny that follows. In such situations, the Court will take all the time the process provides to consider every possible ramification of a motion – to see if we can identify what possible nefarious consequences have been buried in its wording. Hence the protracted scrutiny and ensuing discussion of this motion.
That scrutiny quickly identified potential shortcomings in the chosen method for distribution of the liao. It was the universally agreed view of the court that a judgement of rewarding is not an ideal mechanism for the allocation of something so important. Significant problems are envisaged with the chosen method of implementation should competing judgements be submitted. What happens if two different judgements pass, each attempting to reward a different citizen with the precious liao at the same summit? What happens if a judgement passes with a small number of votes in favour before a second judgement with a much larger number of supporters passes?
The current guidance for the Judgement of Rewarding states that “If multiple rewards are upheld at the same time then allocation starts with the earliest judgement raised until the Fund is empty or all endowments have been disbursed.” Following this precedent – which we must in good faith assume that our senators have carefully and meticulously considered as part of their motion – then the very first judgement that is submitted for the Synod's consideration which successfully passes will receive the single dose of liao available – and all other attempts will fail regardless of how many votes they receive.
One might expect that the priests of the Imperial Synod would want to use the opportunity presented by the summit to discuss amongst themselves who might be most worthy to receive the true liao before a judgement was submitted. However with the law as written, it seems likely that some considerable advantage will accrue to whichever recipient's judgement of rewarding is submitted first. We foresee a risk that this approach could lead to situations where the Imperial Synod is not satisfied that the citizen being rewarded was their first choice with the concomitant unhappiness that that outcome might bring.
This was discussed at great length, with a number of similar risks being explored. It is worth stating that the dose of true liao will become the legal property of the priest who raises the judgement - not the citizen named in the judgement. I was of the view that the motion should be ruled unconstitutional on this basis – that it would lead to a great degree of unhappiness for all concerned and bring the Synod and the civil service into disrepute from the conflict that ensues. However my colleagues persuaded me that the motion is not intrinsically unconstitutional simply because it may lead to undesired consequences. It may well be that the issues we foresee never arise – but whatever does happen, a process is not intrinsically unconstitutional simply because it could lead to outcomes that cause outrage.
The final argument was that the guidance published for the Judgement of Rewarding is explicitly written to cover only judgements involving money. This restriction exists in part because the civil service have ruled that it is too complex for them to deal with the myriad of different resources that they would otherwise be required to handle. In effect the civil service can only support the use of the Judgement to distribute the Synod's money. Leontes wished to reject the motion because it clearly violates the existing guidance around the use of the Judgement of Rewarding.
That argument was settled by the fact that historical precedent exists for the use of the Judgement in this way. Indeed, it is possible that the true liao was the only thing distributed in this manner at that time (we don't know since the records are incomplete). In theory historical precedent is not binding in legal rulings – since bad precedent is no basis for good law. In practice, it does carry some weight, and particularly in situations where it is clear that citizens have attempted to guide themselves to create well-worded motions by following historically acceptable constitutional paths.
One thing I would note is that if anyone intends to amend the motion in some way, the Court anticipate potential issues in trying to change the practice for the Judgement of Rewarding to better handle the distribution of true liao. Any changes that fix the anticipated problems, at the cost of making the release of Synod funds through a judgement of rewarding more difficult or challenging are likely to be rejected.Magistrate Abraham