Thursday, July 09, 2009

Accidental Governor Illegally Appoints Lieutenant Governor

When Eliot Spitzer was busted with hookers last year people figured his replacement might restore some integrity and decency to the governor's office. My, how we were wrong. In the past 16 months the State of New York has descended into absurd farce, with David Paterson finally going off the cliff now by illegally "appointing" a Lieutenant Governor in an effort to break a stalemate in the state senate.
Gov. Paterson yesterday put New York on a course to become a banana republic, with an unelected governor (himself), an unelected lieutenant governor (Richard Ravitch) and an unelected state comptroller (Tom DiNapoli), who, under pressure from Paterson, has refused to give elected senators their pay.

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, c'mon up -- to Albany!

Maybe now we know why Paterson flunked the bar exam after three years at Hofstra Law School.

Paterson's unprecedented move -- in defiance of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and 230 years of state history -- is mind-boggling in its implications for democracy, not to mention the monthlong Senate stalemate where a hoped-for settlement may be scuttled by his action.

If Paterson, Eliot Spitzer's politically convenient running mate as lieutenant governor, gets his way, New Yorkers could have a team of unelected and therefore unaccountable executives serving through Dec. 31, 2010 -- with enormous powers of spending, policy making and appointments.
When two Democrats switched over last month I thought the GOP was way out of line and said so. If you thought it was a circus then, this is far worse.

Does Paterson have any clue about the state constitution and the line of succession? He has to realize this will be challeneged in court and he'll wind up looking even weaker. As Fred Dicker notes, this is the kind of nonsense one would expect from Hugo Chavez, not in the United States. Then again, Democrats seem awfully fond of Chavez so it should be no surprise they act like him.

Never thought I'd say this, but I'm almost nostalgic for the days of Mario Cuomo, a man I detested politically but who at least knew the law.
New York's Constitution says the succession goes from governor to lieutenant governor and, when there is no lieutenant governor, to the elected Senate president and the elected Assembly speaker.

Paterson is taking his unprecedented action in the face of an unequivocal finding by Cuomo, New York's only elected statewide official, that such an action is unconstitutional.

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