Friday, 3 April 2009
Sarah Palin bends the rules
Sarah Palin sent the following letter to Sen Gary Stevens, president of the Alaska Senate, regarding the appointment of Tim Grussendorf to the seat left vacant by Kim Elton when he moved on to Washington DC:
"Dear Senator Stevens:
On March 31, I nominated, under AS 15.40.320, Mr. Tim Grussendorf to fill the vacant senate seat for senate district B. On the following day, April 1, I received an unsigned memo from “Alaska Senate Democrats” to Senator Gary Stevens that the nomination of Tim Grussendorf, “did not achieve the needed support to be seated.” The memo also stated that “Today the nine Senate Democrats met to discuss Governor Palin’s nomination.” Based on various news reports, it is our understanding that the meeting of Senate Democrats took place behind closed doors.
The Alaska Constitution provides that “Each [house of the legislature] is the judge of the . . . qualifications of its members. . . .” Alaska Const. art. II, sec. 12. The Department of Law has opined that “confirmation by a political caucus is probably a legally deficient procedure. The confirmation procedure set out in existing law appears to conflict with the Alaska Constitution.” 1987 Inf. Op. Att’y Gen. 2 (Sept. 21; 663-88-0107).
Accordingly, the closed-door action taken by a minority of the Alaska Senate is without legal effect. Until the Alaska Senate takes action consistent with the Alaska Constitution, my appointment of Mr. Grussendorf remains in effect.
I respectfully request that the entire Alaska Senate consider my nomination of Mr. Grussendorf in open session, in the same fashion as the legislature would consider any other appointment subject to confirmation. The people of Alaska and Juneau are entitled to a public confirmation process that is consistent with the Alaska Constitution."
She cites cited a 1987 legal opinion that challenges the constitutionality of the state law that sets out how lawmakers should confirm an appointee to an open legislative seat.
As it stands, the state law says the person "shall be a member of the same political party as that which nominated the predecessor in office, and shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature who are members of the same political party which nominated the predecessor in office and of the same house as was the predecessor in office."
I find it really rich that she's challenging state law by claiming that it doesn't comply with the Alaska Constitution. In 2007 Sarah Palin appointed one of her Wasilla Bible Church cronies, Wes Keller, to a vacant Republican seat in the House of Representatives in exactly the way prescribed by the law she's now challenging.
Sarah Palin has no problems acting in ways that breach the US Constitution. Mixing state and religion, for example...
Article on ADN
State and religion
Religiongate part 1
Religiongate part 2