Monday, August 18, 2008

Climate change and the constitution

This is just too funny: a climate change troll is taking Labour MP's to court in an effort to injunct them from passing the ETS into law. His reason? Climate change is a lie, of course. But while he was collecting "evidence" from deniers, maybe he should have stopped and looked at the Bill of Rights Act 1688, which establishes the ground rules between Parliament and the courts:

That the freedome of speech and debates or proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parlyament.
This is the clause that establishes "Parliamentary privilege" and protects MPs from being sued for defamation for what they say in the House. But it also protects Parliamentary proceedings, which includes voting. As a result, the courts have consistently held that they cannot prevent legislation from being introduced or enacted. Targeting individual MPs won't change this. It's a Parliamentary vote, and so the courts can't constrain it in any way (and if they tried, it would be a contempt of the House).

Would a "written constitution" change this? Not really. Even in jurisdictions with constitutional sovereignty, the courts will only overturn a law after the fact. They will not intervene in legislative proceedings to prevent it from being passed. And that seems entirely appropriate.

(Hat tip: Hot Topic.