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                               CFJ 1087

     "The last sentence of Rule 1766 prevents the remainder of that
      rule from granting additional votes."

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Judge:       Morendil
Judgement:   FALSE

Justices:    Steve (S), elJefe (C), Jester (pro-C)
Decision:    SUSTAIN

Eligible:    Chuck, Crito, elJefe, Harlequin, Jester, Kolja A., Michael,
             Murphy, Oerjan, Sherlock, Steve, Time Agent

Ineligible:  Morendil (Judge)
Caller:      Antimatter
Barred:      Blob, General Chaos, Swann
On request:
On hold:


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History:

  Called by Antimatter, 7 Mar 1998 14:19:49 +0000
  **Dice rolls: Gen. Chaos, Morendil
  Assigned to Morendil, 9 Mar 1998 23:53:09 +0000
  Judged FALSE, 19 Mar 1998 10:49:50 +0100
  Appeal of Judgement:
    by Morendil, 19 Mar 1998 10:49:50 +0100
    by Crito, 19 Mar 1998 13:36:29 -0500
    by Antimatter, 23 Mar 1998 20:33:05 +0000
    Assigned to Steve, elJefe, and Jester, 24 Mar 1998 09:57:32 +0000
    Sustained by elJefe, 24 Mar 1998 17:59:57 +0000
    Sustained by Steve, 25 Mar 1998 13:35:54 +1100
    Sustained by Jester, Mon, 30 Mar 1998 20:52:30 +1000
    Decisions published, Thu, 2 Apr 1998 12:27:55 +0100 (BST)

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Caller's Arguments:

The last sentence of rule 1766 states that 'This provision shall not
increase the maximum number of votes that are permitted to be cast by
that Player.' The previous sentence states '... then that Player may
cast two additional votes on that Proposal beyond what e is otherwise
entitled to cast.' I argue that the first sentence would, in fact,
raise the maximum number of votes above what it would otherwise be
(two), and thus the second sentence renders that null.

Rule 206 says that 'Each Voting Entity has two votes on a proposal,
unless another Rule says otherwise.' This clearly establishes a
maximum number of legal votes. The second sentence of that paragraph
says 'However, no such Entity shall have more than five votes on any
Proposal, regardless of what any other Rule may say to the contrary.'
This establishes a second maximum on the number of votes which may
legally cast, such that the maximum equates to 'two, plus any granted
by other rules, or five, whichever is lower'.

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Evidence supplied by Caller:

Rule 206/10 (Power=2)
Voting Entities and Votes

      A Voting Entity is an Entity which is generally authorized by
      the Rules to cast a vote or votes on a Proposal, although other
      Rules may withdraw this authorization from a Voting Entity in
      specific circumstances without that Entity thereby ceasing to be
      a Voting Entity. No Entity is permitted to vote on a Proposal
      unless it is a Voting Entity, and only those Entities designated
      by the Rules to be Voting Entities are Voting Entities. Players
      and Groups are Voting Entities.

      Each Voting Entity has two votes on a Proposal, unless another
      Rule says otherwise. However, no such Entity shall have more
      than five votes on any Proposal, regardless of what any other
      Rule may say to the contrary.

Rule 1766/0 (Power=1)
The Officer's Vote

      If a particular Proposal amends the duties or description of a
      particular Office, and a Player holds that Office in normal
      fashion, and that Player is not the same Player who Proposed the
      Proposal, then that Player may cast two additional votes on that
      Proposal beyond what e is otherwise entitled to cast.  This
      shall not increase the maximum number of votes that are
      permitted to be cast by that Player.


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Judge's Argument:

I'm still not satisfied with my own reasoning on this, nor with
the arguments that have been offered, pro or con. I therefore return
a decision of FALSE, on the grounds that Rule 1660 does succeed in
granting additional Votes, despite being afflicted with essentially
the same wording as 1766; however, I also call for the Appeal of my
own Judgement, thereby kicking it up to the higher Court. I will
present a fuller version of my analysis of 206, 1766 and 1660 in that
capacity, hopefully made more cogent by conferring with my fellow
Justices.

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Decision of the Clerk of the Courts:  SUSTAIN

This CFJ turns on the final sentence of Rule 1766:
                                                         This
      shall not increase the maximum number of votes that are
      permitted to be cast by that Player.

A natural interpretation is that "maximum number of votes that are
permitted" is used to distinguish this usage from the ordinary phrase
"number of votes that are permitted".  This respects the fact that
under the current Rules, the "number of votes" permitted may vary
according to circumstances, but never beyond an absolute "maximum
number of votes" set by Rule 206, namely five votes.

The caller would have the "maximum number of votes" refer to the
number of votes permitted unless otherwise modified by the Rule,
namely two votes, and concludes that the Rule awards no extra votes.

I find that the Rule is at worst ambiguous on this detail. The
Caller's interpretation may be a possible one, but he presents no
argument that it is the _only_ possible one.  Indeed, the existence of
the "natural" interpretation above vitiates any such argument.  But
for the sake of argument let us say that there are two possible
interpretations.  Then we are permitted to consider other factors like
Game Custom and common sense.

The caller's preferred meaning does violence to common sense.  He
would see Rule 1766 as saying "This Rule gives the Officer two votes
beyond his normal limit.  This Rule does not give the Officer any
votes beyond his normal limit."  This is not a sensible
interpretation, and the common interpretation recently of the voters
(their "common sense", in fact) was that the Rule did indeed grant the
Officers extra voting power.

Game Custom is also clear: this Rule has been applied before, in
Proposal 3686.  Further, the Speaker's Vote (Rule 1660), with similar
language, has operated unchallenged since October 1996.

Finally, past judgements have affirmed the ancient principle that if
there are two readings of a Rule, one which is meaningful and one
which deprives the Rule of meaning, the meaningful one is to be
preferred.  In this case, the caller's interpretation deprives the
Rule of meaning, and the one where "maximum" refers to "five votes" is
the preferred reading.

I stress that this is not the same as the Kudo Transfer CFJ (long
ago), where common sense and long Game Custom bowed to the text of the
Rule.  The text of a Rule is supreme when it is consistent and clear,
but when it is not then Game Custom etc. may be used to clarify its
meaning. (Rule 217)

One nagging question: if the natural reading is correct, why does that
last sentence appear at all?  The argument goes that it could just as
well be left out, since the Rule would lose any conflict with Rule
206.

I see it as making sense in a historical context. In the original
Ruleset, a Rule conflicting with an Immutable Rule would be entirely
invalid (this is also true in other Nomics like FRC).  Thus some of us
have the generally good habit of adding conditions to a Rule which
keep it from any appearance of conflict with high-precedence Rules.
The last sentence of Rule 1766 appears as just such an attempt.

I sustain Morendil's Judgement.

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Decision of the Speaker:  SUSTAIN

I am satisfied to join this Judgement, since it encapsulates my own
reasoning about the case.

> Reasons and arguments:

> This CFJ turns on the final sentence of Rule 1766:

>      This shall not increase the maximum number of votes that are
>      permitted to be cast by that Player.

> A natural interpretation is that "maximum number of votes that are
> permitted" is used to distinguish this usage from the ordinary
> phrase "number of votes that are permitted".  This respects the fact
> that under the current Rules, the "number of votes" permitted may
> vary according to circumstances, but never beyond an absolute
> "maximum number of votes" set by Rule 206, namely five votes.

This makes it sound as though R206 explicitly refers to a maximum
number of votes, which it does not.  One has to do a little
interpretative work to conclude that the maximum referred to by R1766
and by R1660 is this five-vote limit.  Nevertheless, I agree that this
is what it refers to.


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Decision of Justice Jester:

I hereby announce that I sustain Morendil's judgement in CFJ 1087.

The other appeal judges will probably give a detailed explanation of
the decision so I won't reiterate their discussion. Suffice to say
that I concur with them.

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