CACR 28: “Like a College Student Naming a Committee of His Drinking Buddies to Grade His Finals”

House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s attack on the judiciary continues unabated. Last week, O’Brien testified in favor of CACR 28, a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant the legislature final authority to determine the constitutionality of legislative acts.

In an earlier diary, Rep. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole) succinctly describes the amendment’s impact:

This CACR would do away with the courts traditional role of protector of the constitutional rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. … This is a very dangerous piece of legislation.

Writing about a similar bill in Oklahoma, Julie DelCour has a more waggish analysis:

[L]awmakers could write a law and then appoint a body to review its constitutionality. Sweet! It’d be like a college student naming an ad hoc committee of his drinking buddies to grade his finals.

DelCour goes on to give credit where credit is due by noting the Sooner State has no monopoly on “half-baked, half-cocked and half-arsed” legislation.

While Shortey’s plan to eliminate judicial review by our highest court is a bad idea, it is not an original one. … The New Hampshire Legislature … will try for the third time to eliminate its high court’s power of judicial review so it can take over that function itself.

As one observer put it, “The next thing you know, New Hampshire lawmakers will be reciting the Magna Carta while brandishing guns. All perfectly legal when you are judge and jury.”


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  • Lucy Weber

    At least they are paying attention in Oklahoma!

  • pberch

    the legislature subsequently decided to abolish elections, who or what body could overrule that decision?

  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    …and not much respect is due in this case, how could ANY American who went through grade school to learn the purpose and value of the check-and-balances of the three branches of our government possibly even think of introducing such a bill?

    And even if they didn’t go to school, or if they skipped a lot of classes, which is an obvious possibility, history has taught us many examples of why those checks are so important in a democracy.  

    When I first heard about this amendment, I had to go to the Legislative WEBSITE to read it myelf.  Not being in the House right now I don’t track everything, and I thought a reporter just got it wrong.  How could anyone be so silly or stupid, ignorant and just plain crazy, I thought.

    But there it is, in clear writing — to their credit the sponsors aren’t trying to hide their intent.  They want absolute power, absolutely.

    And there’s something corrupting about that.

    • Brian K

      If this actually passed,it wouldn’t inevitably end up in the SCOTUS? ;^D  

  • Lucy Weber

    To my astonishment, the Judiciary committee voted to recommend ITL, by a vote of 10 to 6.

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