|There is a legal doctrine named “void for vagueness”. Examples of the application of this doctrine can be found here, but in essence it states that “All laws should receive a sensible construction. General terms should be so limited in their application as not to lead to injustice, oppression, or an absurd consequence. It will always be presumed that the legislature intended exceptions to its language which would avoid results of this character. The reason of the law in such cases should prevail over its letter.” [Rector, Etc., Of Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457; 12 S.Ct. 511 (1892)]
You may ask yourselves what it is that I am referring to which invokes the doctrine, void for vagueness? I have constructed an Article for the Illinois Constitution which addresses the issue of legislative clarity, authority, and organization. I don’t know how many of you have taken the time to peruse the Illinois Compiled Statutes, but I honestly doubt there is “sensible construction” which is discernable to a man of “common intelligence”. For example, a search of the Illinois Vehicle Code for the word “resident”, produces this result:
(625 ILCS 5/1‑173) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1‑173)
Another example of “Persons” as defined in “The statute on statutes” reads:
(5 ILCS 70/1.05) (from Ch. 1, par. 1006)
Notice how there are three different references for state, State, and State of Illinois. If you are a “natural person” who “resides” in a lowercase state, then you are deemed to also “reside” in “this State”. In other words, it may be saying, “If you live here, you shall be deemed to live Here.” However, subsections (b) and (c) seem able to say exactly what they mean. If a copartnership is located in the State of Illinois, then such shall be deemed to be a resident of the State of Illinois. Is there a difference between state and State? How come subsection (a) doesn’t say, “Every natural peson who resides in the State of Illinois shall be deemed a resident of the State of Illinois?” If the State of Illinois apparently does not pertain to “natural persons”, and state or State so, what is a state?
(625 ILCS 5/1‑195) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1‑195)
Is this definition meaning to say that a state is a state, as well as a territory or possession of the United States…., or is it saying that a state is a state of the United States, or a territory of the United States, or a possession of the United States…..? Is Illinois a state of the United States? No. The United States is ONLY the federal government comprised of the area of Washington, D.C., as well as federal territories, possessions, and enclaves located within the states. The union of 50 states is named the united States of America. The federal government is the government of the united States. The word “of” means owing its source or origination to, deriving its power or origin to. Illinois is not a consequence of the federal government, the federal government was created by an act between the states. When the word “United States” is used it applies only to the federal government and not the state governments. This is why murder is not identified as a crime in the United States Code. Murder of a particular officer of the United States within United States or federal jurisdiction is a crime under the United States Code, but murder of a free man or woman is not a crime cognizable under federal law. Let’s look at the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” and “possession of the United States”. If we look to the United States Codes, we can find one definition which is illustrating:
TITLE 26 > Subtitle F > CHAPTER 79 > § 7701 (d) Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Here are a few other examples of definitions found in the United States Code:
(9) United States
(c) Includes and including
(30) United States person
Another example states: (5 ILCS 70/1.14) (from Ch. 1, par. 1015)
What this definition is saying is that a State, when applied to different parts of the United States… What are the different parts of the United States? Well, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Trust, possessions and enclaves located within the several states which have been ceded to the United States government for carrying into effect the enumerated powers found in the Constitution of the United States of America. The parts of the United States I just listed are what is being referred to in “several territories”. So, the word State, when applied to the several territories, and the District of Columbia, and enclaves, and possessions, may be construed to include the District of Columbia and the several territories. You should pay particular attention to what is not being said, as well as what is being said. It does NOT say that, “State”, when applied to the several states, or the 50 states….. which is what would be required for that definition to apply to Illinois, or any of the other 49 states.
In the pursuit of thoroughness, I feel it necessary to also investigate the definition of “person”. I do this for obvious reasons. You may be thinking, “Who doesn’t know what a person is?” Well, possibly many of you. We saw an example of “natural person” above, but what is a person generally? Here is one example:
(h) “Person” includes any natural person, partnership, association, joint venture, trust, governmental entity, public or private corporation, health facility or other legal entity. (410 ILCS 305/3) (from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 7303)
I highlight “other legal entity” because people are NOT legal entities. Legal entities exist by way of acts of law, as in corporations or other legally formed bodies. Used in the context above, the phrase “natural person” applies to a man or woman who has taken a position involving some form of legal duty, thereby being required to act in the execution of that office, position, or duty. For a good example of the multiple uses of “person”, read this case here. After reading that case, read the information on this site for an interesting understanding of what a person, resident, individual…and so forth mean when used in statutes.
“Very interesting” you may say. So what? If you are satisfied with the role government has cast you in then no problem. However, if you would like to go back to the “crazy times” where people did not have to check the statutes, codes, and regulations before doing many of the day-to-day things of life without worrying if you need a permit, license, or may have to produce papers along the way, then I recommend a Constitutional article that avoids all of the aforegoing confusion and word-play. This will not prevent those who choose to adopt state-directed personas, but for the rest who prefer a simpler, freer life, I recommend the following language for a Constitutional Article addressing Legislative Clarity, Authority, and Organization. This article attempts to address the most common pitfalls of statutory construction that lends misinterpretation and misperception to many readings of the statutes.
Legislative Clarity, Authority, and Organization
All the laws of Illinois, which are general in nature, and passed by the Legislature, and which may apply to the People, shall be written only in the common language of the day, and shall not define any word(s) or phrases in any way whatsoever except in cases where such word(s) or phrases import more than one meaning, thus necessitating definition for the sake of clarity. Such laws shall state also the specific intent of the Legislature, the specific objects of the legislation, and the authority being exercised pursuant to the specific provision found in the Illinois Constitution.
The laws of Illinois shall be arranged according to the nature of the law and be clearly identified as being either mala in se, mala prohibita, administrative, contractual, admiralty/maritime, chancery, or equity. any law originating under any such nature shall declare its nature, as well as the intent of the legislature.
Laws which are mala in se shall be identified, charged, and prosecuted in accordance with the Common Law.
Laws which are mala prohibita shall find their authority only in the statutes, and be used to identify a crime, correct an existing deficiency, amend an existing deficiency, or otherwise expand the applicability of to address changing times, as governed by the Common Law.
Any form, contract, agreement, license, or other act finding its origin in any law, statute, code, regulation, rule, or ordinance shall clearly state and specify which jurisdictional nexus attaches as a result of any People(s) engaging in such.
All the laws of Illinois shall use the following words in accordance only with the following reserved definitions.
People or Peoples – Any and all natural-born, flesh and blood, male or female, sentient beings in their natural state, and claiming no political status other than Citizenship, which may be claimed or exercised as a result of their birth within a political jurisdiction. Citizen or citizen shall originate as a result of sovereign birthright or privilege of political status; the former being Capitalized, and the latter being lower-case. The word inhabitant may be used interchangeably with the words People or Peoples.
Person or Persons – Any and all incorporeal, fictitious, artificial, legal entities which find their origin in an act, or under the authority of the general government, the legislative, administrative, or judicial branch of Illinois. These words may also apply to People who have claimed a political status such as citizen. When used to identify People claiming the political status of citizen, the words person or persons shall be lower-case, and when referring to Sovereign People, shall be capitalized.
Individual or Individuals – Shall be used only to identify a singular People or Person, used immediately preceding People or Person, and only when the words Peoples or Persons would not provide clear definition or specificity.
Resident (all derivatives and tenses) – Shall apply only to incorporeal, fictitious, artificial, legal entities.
Domicile – Shall apply only to People or Peoples. The word Inhabit may be used interchangeably with domicile.