Right on the Law

Great Britain’s High Court has ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May may not and can not trigger, on her own initiative, Article 50 and begin negotiations with the European Union about the mechanisms and details of Great Britain’s going out from the EU.  The Parliament must first vote in favor of invoking the Article.

Great Britain’s Supreme Court likely will hear an appeal of the ruling.  Upholding the High Court’s opinion likely will spell the end of Brexit for the near future and possibly permanently and the end of May’s government.  The former is because a majority of MPs want to stay in the EU and so can be expected to vote against invoking the Article.  The latter is because May (who opposed Brexit, also, but said she’d abide by the people’s vote) would be forced, if she’s a lady of her word, to seek a new set of MPs by dissolving her government and forcing early elections in an effort to get a collection of MPs more favorably disposed.

Likely, the High Court is right on the law.  The EU is a collection of treaties which Great Britain’s Parliament has ratified, and only the Parliament, not a popular referendum, can abrogate the treaties.  But the High Court is not right on law, and it’s not right on justice.

The people have spoken.  The courts may be bound by the letter of the law (though not as tightly so as American courts are, in theory at least), but the Parliament, if it must vote, would do well to remember that they work for the people, and so the MPs should vote accordingly rather than on the basis of their own petty opinions.

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