This week in Statehouse Motion: Spring Cleansing Version

Right to left – everything on the left in this window is important: Google Docs and Sheets, tabs that are necessary for daily work, that sort of thing.

Okay here goes.

Far left tab: Ah, yes, the GOP controlled West Virginia Legislators are trying to change the state’s constitution so that lawmakers can successfully carry out the type of coup it did not withdraw in 2018.

This is both weed and based on a political event that was esoteric at the time and in ancient history.

But considering that I covered a long time ago Republicans’ attempt to oust Democratic judges and replace them with GOP candidates, you are in good hands.

But why would the GOP-controlled legislature want this when they dragged their feet on state election deadlines and allowed the Republican governor to simply appoint the successors himself?

Beginning of August 2018, Republicans in the legislature eventually got through to 14 impeachment proceedings against all four remaining judges, and the entire House met the day before August 14 to consider the matter. Legislature approved 11 of the articles (mostly partisan), but the Senate (also controlled by the GOP) had yet to go through a process. By waiting until August for the trial to begin, the Republican legislature essentially guaranteed that impeachment would not be completed in time for voters to select alternate judges. And if the Senate had voted to remove the remaining three judges, replacement GOP candidates would have served on the bench for two years before facing the electorate.

Remember, before this entire debacle, the Democrats had a three-to-two majority in the Supreme Court.

But just in case you think this is anything but a brazen Republican attempt to usurp an entire branch of government through GOP appointments, consider the following:

And why should you take timely steps to remove allegedly corrupt judges when you can slow down your role and carry out a Supreme Court coup instead?

Anyway, in a surprising step on the morning of August 14, 2018, Democratic Justice Robin Davis announced her resignation just in time to trigger a special election to replace them in November.

The crucial timing of their maneuver helped temper – but not circumvent – the Republican legislature’s plan to fill the entire court with GOP appointees.

The drama lasted for months.

T.Chicken judge Margaret Workman and Allen Loughry, as well as current Justice Beth Walker, have been indicted in the state Senate. Loughry resigned in November 2018 after found guilty on some of the 54 charges above. Republican Justice Walker was acquitted but censored by the Senate. Democrat Workman filed a lawsuit in October to dismiss the case. Obviously, since it is quite confused for Supreme Court justices to rule on a case that will affect their own ability to stay in the bank, five district court justices have been temporarily raised to hear the case. They decided with 5: 0 that the house had made a mistake in accepting the impeachment order and thereby essentially violated the whole matter of the separation of powers. The GOP-led Senate tried nonetheless to continue the impeachment process against the Democrat, but the judiciary that ran the matter failed to show (the court ruling effectively banned him from participating). None of the other judges were on trial. And the Republicans in the legislature have been salty since then.

Okay, finally back to that annoying tab.

The article that piqued my interest enough to get tabbed is about an amendment to the state constitution proposed by the GOP-controlled legislature.

House Joint Resolution 2 expressly prohibits any West Virginia court from intervening in impeachment proceedings.

Despite the fact that there are some fairly obvious problems of separation of powers associated with such a proposal, the proposed amendment has been passed by Parliament and is awaiting action from the Senate.
If the Senate passes it by a two-thirds majority before lawmakers adjourn on April 10, West Virginia voters will vote on it in the November 2022 election.

In short, because the Republicans at the State House got sloppy in their eagerness to play impeachment of Supreme Court justices for the benefit of their own party (remember, the court was 3-2 Democratic when this started), want they permanently seize the power of an entire branch of government.

Something to remember when the GOP yells about democratic efforts to expand federal courts, which, by the way, is extremely legal and would hardly require an amendment to the US Constitution.

… As I found out on my next open tab, the YouTube page with this week’s episode of Daily Kos’ The Brief, which I was a surprising guest co-host on my first day off vacation.

But it was fun, and I learned things, and because I am, I’ve managed to find a state legislative angle on DC statehood.

That conveniently brings me to my next tab, an article on various pieces of legislation discussing the merits (and the passing of resolutions for and against) Washington, DC in order to become an actual state.

Which, by the way, it should.

To raise awareness, increase understanding, and build support for statehood, organizers have encouraged lawmakers across the country to incorporate resolutions into their legislatures that encourage Congress to make DC a state.
Republicans, unable to get past two other Democratic members of the U.S. Senate to consider underlying issues of fundamental fairness, democracy and taxation without representation, racial justice and self-determination, are pushing for their own statehood resolutions in various legislations.

The first legislative push against statehood reportedly came from South Dakota (a state with a population barely surpassing the DCs), where the resolution sponsor cited fears that two DC Senators would “dilute” his state’s power in the Chamber.
Meanwhile in a hearing on ArizonaGOP MP Kevin Payne had words for district residents who want a voice in Congress:

If you want representatives, move. That’s what they made Mayflower for.


By last month, Democrats in six states had passed statehood resolutions.

Of course, none of these resolutions for or against the creation of a state in Washington, DC, have any legal force whatsoever.

But the fact that they are even considered is fairly new and speaks to the sudden importance of the subject.

Okay, next tab …

The GOP controlled Arkansas Legislators passed a near-complete ban on abortion in the state (and the governor signed the law). The law only allows abortions to save the mother’s life. There are no exceptions for fetuses conceived by rape or incest.

And the next tab … oh hey, it’s a different one Arkansas History.

A sitting Arkansas state senator has left the Republican Party because of its continued allegiance to former President Trump. Now independent Senator Jim Hendren, who was particularly appalled by Trump-sponsored violence in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, is the nephew of current Republican governor Asa Hutchinson, which is a nice touch here.

Conveniently, my next tab is the story posted this week about the growing influence of right-wing extremism in state legislatures.

It is certainly not the first piece on this subject. And it does a good job of treating familiar (to you, the learned consumers of this letter) lawmakers who have become the standard bearers of Republicanism with Trump flavor.

Like our old buddy Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

You recall, Mike Shirkey first feigned outrage over the violence in the Capitol on Jan. 6 and then met privately with one of the organizers of the earlier exercise riot in the Michigan Capitol to discuss the poor “visual” of the situation.

The Mike Shirkey, who publicly teamed up with members of violent militias and spoke at one of their rallies.

The Mike Shirkey, who was caught on video claiming the Capitol riot was a “hoax” staged to make Trump supporters look bad.

The Mike Shirkey, who is arguably the most powerful Republican in Michigan.

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