Daily Archives: December 17, 2015

The right to recall

At yesterday’s Senate Rules Committee hearing, one of the main arguments against suspending the Predator Senator, Norm McAllister, was that suspension would unfairly deprive his constituents of full representation.

Which is a good argument if you ignore, oh, y’know, morality and stuff. It’s an argument that may very well result in a court ruling in McAllister’s favor. A constituent who doesn’t mind being represented by a self-admitted sexual predator can say, “Look, by population Franklin County deserves two Senators, and until McAllister’s suspension is lifted we only have one.”

There are, on the other hand, the interests of constituents who don’t want to be represented by a felon-in-waiting. They have no recourse whatsoever until the next election, because Vermont is one of 14 states with no provision for recalling elected officials.

No matter what those officials might do.

Let’s say, purely hypothetically, choosing a name out of thin air, Dick Mazza runs into the Senate chamber wielding a pickaxe and starts hackin’ and slashin’. After he’s been subdued and taken away in handcuffs and the blood is washed off the walls, furnishings, and light fixtures, the Senate meets to consider what to do.

And decides it can’t do anything until the criminal case is resolved. Congratulations, good people of the Grand Isle district! Like it or not, you shall be represented by an *alleged* axe murderer until the next election! Provisions shall be made for Senator Mazza to participate in committee meetings, floor debates and Senate votes by video feed from his jail cell.

Yes, outlandish, I know. But what are the alternatives under the present system?

Continue reading

Cloudy and very windy with a good chance of mayhem

The Senate Rules Committee did its level best to banish Norm McAllister to legislative limbo, but the Predator Senator shows little indication he’s willing to play along. After the Committee voted 3-2 to suspend him until his criminal case is over, McAllister said “I do not intend to go quietly,” and threatened a court battle over the move, either by himself or by constituents who support him. So what happens if the Senate votes to remove him on January 5, and McAllister or his allies convince a judge to stay the suspension while the lawsuit wends its way through the courts?

Well, then, he toddles right back to his desk on the Senate floor and sits there like a turd in the punchbowl. And your tax dollars will be at work, defending the Senate against the suit.

And it might lose. Legal opinions are split on the legality of suspension.

Continue reading