Venezuela becomes a dictatorship

God damn. Back when Chavez was trying to help the poor that was one thing, but they have really fucked things up down there.

Wait a sec, the judiciary seized power instead of the executive?

Huh… way to go, judges!

That description doesn’t seem accurate. This seems very bad.

Now, that is an activist judiciary.

So instead of a loyal opposition, it’ll be the loyal dissent?

I wonder what Oliver Stone thinks of all this.

I’m sure the power to do that is clearly visible in the penumbras and emanations of the Venezuelan constitution.

Finally, they have no opposition to putting Sean Penn on all the money. It’s not worth anything but It’s Oscar nominated.

A little more detail on what the ruling said. Three candidates were allegedly elected in the most recent national elections. The court ruled the elections had been fraudulent and those candidates could not take their seats in the assembly. The majority of the assembly disputed this ruling and allowed the three candidates to join the assembly. The court’s recent ruling is that the assembly is in contempt of a valid court order and the authority of the assembly is therefore invalid. The court is taking the duties of the assembly upon itself in order that those duties will be carried out in a legal fashion.

For how long?

Repeat after me.

It can’t happen here.
It can’t happen here.
It can’t hap…

I’m guessing until the court feels it should hand back power. So indefinitely.

Or, more realistically, until the current regime is overthrown.

Realistically, I don’t think this could happen here. Our institutions are a lot more fixed than Venezuela’s are. Their current constitution is only eighteen years old.

If the Supreme Court tried to abolish Congress in this country, people would just ignore the decision. If the Justices tried to issue orders, they wouldn’t be obeyed.

All of that is fine until that last part. If they are in contempt and invalid, then the first priority is to create an assembly that is valid. You don’t respond to a constitutional crisis by continuing the crisis.

That is what makes it a coup. That said, as bad as Venezuela is right now, I’m not surprised that a coup was possible.

The court has reversed its order and returned power to the National Assembly. This followed widespread protests against the ruling both internationally and domestically (including from some of President Maduro’s supporters).

The opposition is saying this doesn’t go far enough. They say that Maduro has packed the court with judges who follow his orders and uses them to nullify the legislature by routinely having the court overturn any laws which he doesn’t agree with.

Approaching Godwin there, aren’t we?

Once again… Venezuela has a very western, democratic, rights-laden constitution… with a trapdoor. Any time a national constitution includes an “…unless we say otherwise…” clause, as nearly all but the US’s do, you can list rights and principles for thousands of pages and they’re just bumwad.

IIRC, Chavez rewrote the constitution a few years back.

I was attempting to present the court’s point of view in a neutral manner.

Personally, I think the ruling was wrong. I’ll readily concede I’m not familiar with Venezuelan law and its precedents. I’ll go further and admit my knowledge of civil law systems is pretty weak. (And many would argue my knowledge of common law systems is the same.)

But I feel that as a general matter, a court should attempt to address a specific problem with a solution that’s narrowly tailored to the problem. In this case, the supposed problem was three legislators who weren’t entitled to their seats. Closing down the entire assembly was an excessive solution to this problem.

That’s something of an exaggeration. Chavez certainly pushed for a new constitution but he didn’t dictate it.

Chavez was elected in 1998 and took office in February 1999. He then called for a convention to rewrite the constitution and put that proposal up for a national vote in April 1999. The proposal passed and membership of the group who would write the new constitution was elected in July 1999. This group wrote a new constitution and it was put to a general vote in December 1999 and approved. So it was a democratic process.