Laws are written in a language a lot like the old computer programming language COBOL: it looks kind of like English, but you can only read it about 1% as fast. Laws are full of if-then-else statements and subroutines that can't be read, only debugged. Of course, real programming languages are far more structured and easier-to-follow than legislative language.
A commenter points out that Hugh Hewitt has been heroically trying to debug the draft Kennedy-Bush immigration bill:
- tommy said...
By the way, immigration opponents might want to check out Hugh Hewitt's reading of a purported draft of the bill over at Townhall.com
Reading The Fine Print, Part 1: Does The First Exception Swallow The Triggers Whole?
Reading the Fine Print: Part 2: Title I -- Who's Blowing All That Smoke?
Reading The Fine Print, Part 3: Title II: Send Lawyers, Clerks, Judges, And Background Checks
Reading The Fine Print, Part 4: A Huge New Tax On Business
Reading The Fine Print, Part 5: No Illiterate Nonimmigrants
Reading The Fine Print, Part 6: And The Grand Total Is?
Reading The Fine Print, Part 7: "There's Been A Slight Change In Your Job Description"
Reading The Fine Print, Part 8: Humbug And Common Sense
There is probably more analysis on the way from Hewitt.
Hewitt points out that the bill starts off on Page 1, Paragraph 1 with a daunting cross-reference to exceptions to the celebrated "triggers" on p. 260. I tried to follow the logic of it, but my brain soon overheated.
Nobody is going to be able to make sense out of what this law will actually do without weeks of study and debate. And yet, the current schedule absolutely does not allow responsible review by Senators.
The 326 page Kennedy-Bush immigration plan is scheduled for the crucial cloture Senate vote for 5:30 PM EDT on Monday. (Senator Jeff Sessions [R-AL], who did such fine work against the last bill, is scheduled to speak just before the vote.) If it survives that vote, just 50% of the Senate (plus Dick Cheney) can pass it.
From there it would go to the House, where Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel have been making noises about wanting 60-70 GOP House members to join the Democrats to provide political cover in passing it. But, what if they decide they don't actually care about that much cover, and that President Bush's backing and signature on the bill is enough cover? The Speaker of the House can typically whip her party's members into line, while individual Senators are more ornery.
Then it would likely go to a Conference Committee of Senators and House members picked by the committee chairs in both houses (both Democrats) to hash out differences between the Senate and House versions. There, I suspect that Senator Kennedy would work his all-night magic again.
And then to President Bush's desk for signature. He has already endorsed it. And then enforcement and certification of the "triggers" would be up to President Bush's minions.
Thus, the Monday cloture vote appears to be the key. But, where is the Main Stream Media editorializing against a rush to judgment on 326 pages of who-knows-what? In reality, the MSM want the issue to be taken care of in a hurry behind closed doors, because otherwise. if public debate were encouraged, it would be "divisive." And in a republic, we aren't supposed to have political divisions over legislation determining the future of the country, now are we? We are supposed to delegate that to famously wise men like Senator Kennedy and President Bush with their long records of outstanding judgment, while we peons can worry about more important matters like Paris Hilton's jail sentence.