18153Re: [tips_and_tricks] Re: Uncle Sam is foreign
- Dec 12, 2010
The Jurisdiction Over Federal Areas Within The States paper Bob Gregory posted I got in hard copy years ago & it's a very good paper to study. I wouldn't call it "definitive" as to every situation & in the introductory portion, the paper states that, ". . . the extent of jurisdictional control which the [federal] Government may have over land can and does vary to an almost infinite number of degrees between exclusive legislative jurisdiction and a proprietorial interest only." Nonetheless, the paper is an excellent study into the different aspects of State & federal jurisdiction, including how they often overlap.
Another excellent resource is the Constitution, Annotated, available from several sources, including:
I have the entire 1992 edition in .pdf, but the links above also include supplements since then with newer case law. The Annotated version is far more than just the Constitution itself; after each section is a discussion on the meaning & application of specific provisions, including citations of every single relevant U.S. supreme court decision. In other words, every "legal precedent" ruling from the U.S. supreme court which directly affects any given provision is discussed or listed after the section it applies to.
Countless arguments abound about what the Constitution ought to mean, how different people have "interpreted" the Constitution or any provision in it, but the only determinations which matter are those spelled out in supreme court rulings, right or wrong. Annotated versions of State & federal statutes are available too (in law libraries) & when you've got a case to deal with & want to use an argument someone else has used or is telling you will work, the only smart thing to do is to throw their opinions & yours out the window, then go see if that argument has been raised to the legal precedent level before, and if it has, what the end result was.
There are many arguments which started out with some validity but have been presented so poorly so many times that they're useless now - most of that coming from taking valid points of law out of context & mixing them in with someone's "interpretation" of what the law says / means. But once you know how the courts are likely to rule on any given argument, you can revise your argument with "legal precedent" case law which backs up your position. You can bet your opponent will be looking up case law to back up his arguments & if you don't take the time to research yours, you've lost the case before it even gets started.
Periodically you may come across a situation which has not been adjudicated by the courts, I know I have. There you have the possibility of getting a "legal precedent" set in your favor which will affect everyone else in a similar situation too, if the case goes high enough up the procedural ladder to get an appellate court ruling - lower court rulings don't set a precedent. If you get into such a situation, you want to look for all legal precedent decisions which come close to covering your issue, but actually don't, framing your argument in such a way that the cases you cite leave the door open for you to demand a ruling in your favor on the specific point(s) you make that haven't been addressed directly before.
Point being that no court is the least bit interested in any legal theory / opinion / interpretation you or I have, but you can steer the court (or administrative agency) towards the ruling you want by showing how higher courts have already dealt with the issues, or if they haven't, how they've dealt with similar issues & are likely to rule on this one. Pro Se people lose all the time because their arguments are based on legal theory & they have not researched any case law to see if their arguments have been raised before - you can be about 99% sure they have been.
Don't be "Polly Parrot", simply repeating arguments you've heard or seen others make but have never researched on your own. See how Jurisdiction Over Federal Areas Within The States, relevant sections of the Constitution, Annotated & Annotated versions of statutes apply to your situation 1st, then going by the case law you find, see if any particular argument you're thinking about making will fly. Whether you agree with how the courts have ruled or not is irrelevant & if the argument you make has been shot down before, it'll get shot down again.
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