Michigan Democrats, Michigan Republicans — August 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

UPDATED: Michigan Court of Appeals gives Republicans green light to ignore the Constitution


This is what happens when you vote Republican

Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled against Democratic legislators and dismissed a case around unconstitutional use by the GOP of the “immediate effect” rule. As has been widely reported, including by Rachel Maddow (video and my previous coverage HERE), Republicans in the House have been implementing “immediate effect” on newly passed bills without a roll call vote. A ridiculous number of bills have been passed with less than two-thirds of the legislators voting for it. However, they go ahead and call for a voice vote and then instantly gavel it as passed, even though they need two-thirds of the lawmakers’ votes for that to happen.

Today, the three members of the Court of Appeals that heard the case voted to send the case back to the lower court with an order that they dismiss it. Their justification is that they can’t tell the Legislature what to do and House rules allow for a voice vote.

Here’s what it looks like when Democrats try in vain to get a roll call vote (photos courtesy State Rep. Jeff Irwin):

They are, of course, routinely ignored.

House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel released this statement.

Today we were disappointed to learn that the Court of Appeals decided against the House Democrats’ lawsuit to ensure that the state Constitution is followed. The Court clearly didn’t hear our argument that with the support of one-fifth, or at least 22 members, the Constitution gives us the right to receive a record roll call vote. This request has been repeatedly denied. The ruling today essentially states that Courts cannot force the legislature to follow the constitution.

By disregarding the Constitutional provisions on immediate effect, House Republicans have implemented extreme and harmful policy changes on Michigan’s families, students and seniors. The Democrats will continue to speak out against these unprincipled actions of House Republicans.

This, my fellow Americans, is exactly what happens when you vote Republican. When they control everything, they can do anything. And they do. Even if it goes against their nearly religious worship of the constitution.

UPDATE: Representative Jeff Irwin released the following statement:

The Court of Appeals ruled against House Dems in our attempt to require the Republicans to follow Article 4, Section 18 of the Constitution. Amazingly, the Court of Appeals stated that because the majority can set the rules, they have the authority to set rules that nullify provisions of the Constitution.

The ruling is not unexpected; but the opinion is disappointing because it misrepresents our argument and because it so plainly endorses the idea that legislative rules can override Constitutional rules. Specifically: “The constitutional provisions at issue permit the manner in which they are applied to be determined by adoption of the rules of the House.”

[Photo credit: Chris Savage | Eclectablog]