The Repealer

The State of Kansas this year established the office of State Repealer. The Repealer’s job is to

  1. …investigate the system of governance of the State of Kansas including its laws, regulations, and other governing instruments to determine instances in which those laws, regulations, or other governing instruments are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous, or in conflict.
  2. … cause to be created at the earliest possible date a system for receiving public comment suggesting various laws, regulations, and other governing instruments to be considered for possible repeal by the Office of the Repealer.  This system shall include an online portal for the receipt of such public comment [here].
  3. …cause a recommendation for either outright repeal or for modification to be delivered to the originating body of such law, regulation, or other governing instrument [which meets the standard set forth in paragraph 1 above]…. The recommendation shall set forth with specificity the justification for the requested repeal or modification.  Any recommendation made by the … Repealer shall carry the full weight and force of this Administration.
  4. …implement a tracking system to follow the action taken by any originating body on any recommendation made by the State Repealer in order to prepare regular reports to the Office of the Governor regarding the progress of repeal or modification.

I wonder if the idea of a Repealer was stimulated by my proposal to establish a Keeper of the U.S. Constitution (go here and scroll down to Article VII). It is true that the Keeper of the Constitution, as I define the job, would have considerably more power than the Kansas Repealer; to wit:

A. Responsibility and Authority

1. The responsibility for ensuring that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches adhere to this Constitution in the exercise of their respective powers shall be vested in a Keeper of the Constitution. The Keeper may review acts of Congress, the executive branch, and judicial branch that have the effect of making law and appropriating monies. The term “making law” includes — but is not limited to — a legislative, executive, or judicial interpretation of an existing law or laws. Covered acts of the judicial branch include — but are not limited to — denials of appeals or writs of certiorari. The Keeper’s purview does not extend to the ratification of or amendments to this Constitution; the admission of States to the Union, or the secession of States from it; declarations of war; statutes, appropriations, regulations, or orders pertaining directly to the armed forces or intelligence services of the United States; or the employment of the armed forces or intelligence services of the United States. Nor does the Keeper’s purview extend to appointments made by or with the consent of the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.

2. The Keeper may revoke any act that lies within his purview, as defined in section A.1 of this Article VII, provided that the act occurred no more than one year before the date on which he nullifies it. The Keeper shall signify each revocation by informing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate, President of the United States, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of his decision and the reason(s) therefor. The Keeper shall, at the same time, issue a public notice of his decision and the reason(s) therefor.

3. The affected branch(es) of government shall, in each case, act promptly to implement the Keeper’s decision. Each implementing act shall be subject to review, as specified in sections A.1 and A.2 of this Article VII.

The establishment of the office of Repealer is, nevertheless, a step in the right direction. Perhaps the idea will spread, and perhaps a State’s constitution will be amended to give a Repealer the kind of authority that I would vest in the Keeper of the Constitution. That would be a bold and instructive experiment in governance.

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