Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gregoire the Pretender takes office -- now what?

Today, Christine Gregoire took the oath of office as "governor" of Washington despite the fact that the legislature has not decided the contested election. (As a matter of fact, no one has decided the contested election; but the legislature is singled out here because it is their job to decide it.)

Since only a legitimately elected governor could become a legitimate new governor -- oath or no oath -- she should be known as Gregoire the Pretender until this election contest has been decided.

This presents a conundrum: If the evidence supports setting aside the election, then who would be governor pending the outcome of another election; and how would the court rule on the evidence and decide the case without usurping the power given to the legislature by the constitution?

Governor Locke's term of office, according to our constitution, was for a period of four years "and until his successor is elected and qualified."

Is Governor Locke still the governor?

He has probably already left town, thinking that his term of office expired with the inauguration of Gregoire the Pretender.

In his absence, is Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen the acting governor?

If the election is set aside after a trial of the facts by the judicial branch, does Locke go back into office, or does Owen assume the duties of the office of governor?

Suppose the court notices -- even though no party wants to make it an issue -- the legislature's unconstitutional avoidance of its duty to decide the contested election before issuing a certificate to Gregoire the Pretender. Would the court feel duty-bound to mandate a decision by the legislature? If it did, would the court have to rule that the certificate was void, thereby having no effect at all? If so, then Locke's term of office didn't end today.

What about any executive decisions made by Gregoire the Pretender in the meantime? Would they be null and void too?

Since there are no laws which send the matter to the courts for a trial of the facts followed by a report to the legislature, thereby enabling the legislature to decide the contested election without getting tied up in extended hearings, could the legislature enact such laws once the question is sent back to them by the court?

Article III, section 4 of the constitution states, in the case of a contested gubernatorial election: "Contested elections for such officers shall be decided by the legislature in such manner as shall be determined by law."

The Democrats twist the plain meaning of those words and argue that the statutes which authorize the courts to decide contested elections are the "law" which provides the "manner" in which the legislature "shall" decide such contested elections.

That is quite a creative reading of "shall be decided by the legislature."

Suppose the courts don't think it's wise to adopt such a creative construction of the constitution's words.

The legislature's refusal to comply with the state constitution has created a fascinating puzzle for people who enjoy working out puzzles.

For the rest of us, the Democrats in the Washington legislature have simply made a mess of things.

5 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Hi Micajah,
...hope I spelled that right! You advised me on Sound Politics to check yours out and I have. Thank you very much for the extended education. I am so scared that we won't get a revote. Do you think the postponement of the Rossi case is a bad sign? As AG for all those years I am quite sure that CG has all kinds of dirt on all kinds of folks for just such a situation as this. Why isn't the FBI or justice department investigating all of this? Is is transparently fraudulent, deliberate and easy enough to track down where the orders came from, though not for long.
Laura

January 12, 2005 7:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Micajah,
...hope I spelled that right! You advised me on Sound Politics to check yours out and I have. Thank you very much for the extended education. I am so scared that we won't get a revote. Do you think the postponement of the Rossi case is a bad sign? As AG for all those years I am quite sure that CG has all kinds of dirt on all kinds of folks for just such a situation as this. Why isn't the FBI or justice department investigating all of this? Is is transparently fraudulent, deliberate and easy enough to track down where the orders came from, though not for long.
Laura

January 12, 2005 7:59 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

Laura,

I doubt the postponement means much. There were new parties who joined the litigation today, and there was a new judge assigned to the case. Delaying the next hearing, which had been scheduled for this Friday, under those circumstances isn't unusual.

If anything, the GOP will probably benefit from a slight delay, since gathering the evidence and preparing to present it in court are huge tasks.

As for the federal authorities' involvement, I doubt they will be doing much. So long as things seem to be handled in a fair, orderly, and thorough basis by the state government, they don't have any good reason to jump in.

January 12, 2005 9:21 PM  
Blogger Baltman said...

Hello Micajah,

I saw your post on Soundplitics.com about my Commissar Gregoire stamps and covers. I have several listed on ebay now. I saw several show up at the rally. I think I will send one to Fraudoire just to irritate her!

Arunas

January 21, 2005 6:59 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

Arunas/Baltman,

I was hoping that you could get some printed in the form of postcards or notecards, so I could use them as stationery. Is there any chance of that?

January 22, 2005 8:04 PM  

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