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In ConservativeHome today, we have the excellent essay from MP David Davis on today’s debate on prisoner voting.  The facts of the cases that gave rise to this terrible decision are more appalling than I realized.  The first case was brought by a convicted murderer and the second one was from a rapist.  The result was typical:

The result is capitulation to the will of unelected judges in Strasbourg who are determined to expand their influence into areas of law which should not fall under their jurisdiction. When Britain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), it was to help prevent a repeat of the catastrophic devastation and unprecedented human suffering caused by the Second World War. With the full horrors of the Holocaust fresh in their memories, European governments met to enshrine in international law every citizen’s right to life and to liberty, to free speech and a fair trial. It was not about giving convicted prisoners the vote.

MP Davis cites history that Great Britain actually prevented “universal suffrage” from being a right to be enjoyed by all Europeans precisely to prevent the very thing the ECHR decided is a human right.  Davis reminds us the danger of allowing foreign, unelected courts to decide legal questions for sovereign nations:

Consequently, the Strasbourg Court has imposed judgments on Britain which would have astonished those who signed the Convention. It has created novel rights and re-written UK law. It has changed our law of negligence relating to the police, prevented our courts from deporting foreign killers on the grounds that it would harm their family life, and overruled our laws on how parents may discipline their own children.

Time to plug here, fighting for the rights of parents to raise and reasonably discipline the children for which they will stand before God in account of!  Do-gooders want to get the US under the thrall of the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child.  The result will be no spanking at all in the United States. It must not happen in the land of the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land (next to the Bible).

Back to the UK – Davis wants the UK to simply say:  We won’t do and we won’t pay.  There is no effective enforcement mechanism (That is why the UK courts ought to be stripped of jurisdiction to enforce the judgment of the ECHR.) and thus, it is just another unpaid judgment.  This is MP Davis’ peroration.  It ought to be as famous as “Give me liberty or give me death!”

So today will see a historic vote by Parliament to defend your rights. Parliament has a chance to draw a line in the sand, and to send a clear message to both the government and to Strasbourg. What is important is that the maximum possible number of MPs vote, to give the government the strongest possible card to play when it goes to Strasbourg to demand that the Court puts its own house in order.

Of course it is important that Britain observes its treaty obligations and upholds the rule of law. But in attempting to overrule British law on prisoner voting rights the unelected judges in Strasbourg have exceeded the limits of their authority. A decision of this nature is a matter for the British Parliament alone. That’s where prisoner voting will be debated today, and that’s where the final decision should be made.

Why can’t this MP be the next PM?  We will see what happens but maybe England is rising!


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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