Rejecting Amendment A

2008 Ballot Initiatives ==> Rejecting Amendment A => Supporting Amendment B => Supporting Amendment D => Rejecting Amendment E

Let me start off by saying that Constitutional Amendment A does not have anything sinister or devious in it. In fact, there is very little in it to raise objections about. My primary objection is rooted in my position on constitutionally based governments in which I prefer to reject any amendment to the established law unless I see good reason for the change – in other words, I default to opposition where constitutional amendments are concerned.

This amendment would clarify the specifics of succession in the office of Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The specifics themselves are fairly mundane, but the situation being addressed is one that hopefully and probably will never occur. (Davis Didjeridu reminds me that a vacancy can happen for less than tragic reasons – such as federal appointment – making this situation more common than I had been thinking.) In the event that one of those vacancies did occur, common sense should allow the succession to happen seamlessly even without these specified specifics being added to the State Constitution.

There is one place where I have a specific objection to the amendment. In the section dealing with the succession of the Lieutenant Governor, it specifies that the Governor must receive the consent of the Senate for the person they would appoint to fill the vacancy. This appears to violate the separation of powers considering that the Governor, when running for office, needs no consent from the Senate when picking a running mate. I see no reason that selecting a replacement should have tighter safeguards than the original selection.

In summary, there is little to recommend this change, and more to discourage it. I won’t be overly concerned if it does pass, but I believe that not making such a change is the better choice.

6 comments for “Rejecting Amendment A

  1. Davis Didjeridu
    October 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    If you remember, this situation (at least some of them) you wonder about every occurring has occured, in 2004. During the 2004 legislative session, one Republican lawmaker (I can’t remember if was Bramble, Stephenson, Shurtleff or someone else, but they were Republican) publicly stated that Governor Walker was only an acting Governor, and that should limit her powers.
    I am not saying that I support the amendment, but it is grounded in recent history.

  2. October 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Perhaps a better amendment would be to specify the powers of an “acting-Governor.” (In keeping with this amendment, that would be to state that the acting governor has the full authority of a governor.)

  3. October 6, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Davis is correct that there was a constitutional question as to whether Gov. Walker was actually the governor or just acting in that position. This same question originally came up more than a century ago. It’s high time we fix the problem.

    You might be right, however, that this amendment might not be the best way to fix it, but I don’t have a problem with the stipulation of senate approval of the new LG should the LG become gov.

    We actually vote for the LG. You can argue that this office simply goes along with voting for gov, as does the VP office when voting for pres. However, the running mate in each instance has been at least fully vetted and approved by the party. There has been some process of public (although not general) involvement in the matter.

    Somebody that represents the people, outside of the new gov, ought to have some say in who the new LG can be. After all, this person could be the next gov. Heck, if something happened to the new gov, the new LG could become gov five minutes after taking office.

    Having the senate approve the new LG would work the same as does the US Constitution for approving a new VP, as when Ford and Rockefeller each became VP. I think there’s some prudence in doing it this way.

  4. October 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Reach,

    You make a good point about the vetting that takes place in the selection of running mates. I think I would prefer a less technical approach to fixing the problem such as simply stipulating (as I said above) that the acting governor has the full powers of Governor during their term in office. I do like the way this amendment stipulates what constitutes that term.

  5. October 6, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    When the governor (to be) originally picks a running mate, we all vote, and if we don’t think the running mate would do a good job, we might consider voting for the other ticket.

    With an appointment, we wouldn’t have that kind of a voice. I’m not saying that the senate should have to give consent, but it is something to think about.

    Otherwise, I agree that there’s no reason to tinker with the state constitution.

  6. October 6, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Well said Allie.

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