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Tanner Andrews

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Tanner Andrews

It has long been observed that the opposite of pro is con. From that, the opposite of progress seems obvious. You have heard that before, but I am a person of limited imagination and originality.

As a result, rather than making up something good, I often just pick up news items or things from government edicts. And once again, I am going to wimp out and do that.

Congress has what they call “must-pass” legislation. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is one of those yearly things where they pile in a lot of stuff. By a lot, I mean well over a thousand pages. In fact, they exceed 4,000 pages. Presumably some of it is the appropriation of a sum of money for the Pentagon.

It gets that way because Congress critters load these must-pass bills with lots of extra stuff that would not pass if it had to endure public scrutiny. Honestly, do you know anyone likely to read a 4,408-page bill? And do you think that your congressman actually read it before voting on it?

This year’s NDAA is named after James M. Inhoff. Dig through to Page 2,540, and you find a part that is named after Daniel Anderl. And the description of that part sounds almost reasonable, especially with some suspension of disbelief.

Congress fulminates about an attack on a judge’s family. Generally speaking, that is considered a bad thing. In many states there are even laws against it.

The problem is that the Anderl Act gets pretty silly after the recitations. It makes all sorts of information secret, starting at Page 2,544, Line 19.

Where judges, families and friends live, learn and work are all considered secret.

Does a judge live within his own jurisdiction? It is a secret. Was the judge’s spouse recently hired by a firm to lobby an issue before the court? It is a secret.

Did the judge’s child just get the high-cost courthouse catering contract? It is a secret.

Who owns the house with all the limousine service? It is a secret.

But, you know what is really silly? Most of us expect that when we go to court to see a judge, it will be in a known location. But now, in a sign that perhaps Congress was not really thinking — the location of that courthouse is an official secret.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.

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