March 17, 2008

The Mire We're In

Justin Katz

If you haven't already read it, the final installment of Kenneth Payne's review of how Rhode Island reached its current state of political mire. One key thing to remember, as wrangling over budgets and state government action continues:

The General Assembly's powers are plenary and unlimited, except as those powers are restricted by the U.S. and the Rhode Island constitutions. As the historian and lawyer Patrick T. Conley put it in 1999, the executive and legislative branches are "neither separate nor equal."

Sometimes one gets the impression that the only reason dead voters let the Republicans win the governor's seat is to secure a scapegoat.

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But we're not in 1999 anymore . . . since Pat wrote that phrase, Rhode Island has amended its Constitution to remove appointive power from the General Assembly and repose it with the Governor.

This was the heart of the separation of powers issue about which Conley was writing (the context was the appointment of members of the now-defunct Lottery Commission).

Posted by: brassband at March 17, 2008 9:32 PM

Is that growing support for the idea of not fielding a gubernatorial candidate this year so the Republican's can't get blamed for the final death throes?

Posted by: Greg at March 17, 2008 9:32 PM

This year?

Posted by: brassband at March 17, 2008 10:07 PM

"This year" = This upcoming election cycle. Although I wish it was, Dip$&@* Don's term isn't up this year.

Posted by: Greg at March 18, 2008 7:37 AM

I agree with Greg. We should not field a governor but concentrate on the legislature. One third of the House (and their are a few incipient suburban Democrats ready to bolt) can stop a budget cold. 100 hundred years of Republican governors with veto proof democrat majorities cannot.

Posted by: Mike at March 18, 2008 8:39 PM
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