Saturday, February 28, 2009

Will Bishop and Chaffetz stand against Utah's Fourth?

Most of you who have been following the quest for Utah to get that 4th seat that was so narrowly denied to it in 2000 are also aware that the bill in Congress that would give Utah its extra seat is a debatable constitutional issue.

Now that the Senate has passed a bill that gives Utah another seat, DC a seat, and forces DC to end its restrictive gun laws, passage of a DC-for-Utah bill seems inevitable and since Obama was a co-sponsor, it will become law in the next few months. All of this means a constitutional challenge will occur in the next few months as well, and the issue will go before the U.S. Supreme Court perhaps as soon as October, who will have to decide whether the part of the Constitution that basically allows the Congress to do whatever it wants with the District of Columbia trumps the part of the Constitution about the make-up of the House (that is, its members have to be from States).

But in the law, and especially in Chief Justice Roberts' jurisprudence, anyone challenging the facial constitutionality of a bill must have standing and the issue must be ripe. Now for those of you who didn't go to law school, that means there needs to be a real party in interest whose injury is real and would almost immediately harm the party seeking to overturn the challenged law. So a U.S. Senator does not have standing, nor your average voter in any state or protectorate other than D.C. and Utah (under Roberts' other case law, but who says you have to be consistent versus politically expedient?). No, it would have to be a member of the U.S House whose vote is being diluted by 2/437ths (I am not good with fractions) due to two more members being added to the House. And since everyone except me thinks it will be a wash partisan wise (i.e. 1 GOPer from Utah, 1 Dem from DC), the national political parties also don't have standing.

So that leaves U.S. House Republicans that voted against the bill. And strategically, it is best to have the lead Plaintiffs be not someone like Minority Leader John Boehner from Ohio, but Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz from Utah, so that it doesn't look like big states against Utah and DC. The question is, are these two men ready to be the poster boys of a cause to reduce the potential voting power of their state? Do they want to be the ones that will tell voters in Utah that Utahns really only need them and Jim Matheson to represent them in the House, and that they should just wait until 2012 like good children? Good luck on running statewide when a senate seat opens up or Huntsman steps down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More on that box

So I am in line for security here at the airport and occured to me
that I didn't finish my thought on Buttars. It defies belief that GOP
senators thought that Buttars would refrain from making outrageously
homophobic comments (the kind that gets you national attention),
especially given the push for the Common Ground Initative.

They knew or should have known this blow up was going to occur, so it
leads me to believe Waddoups et al wanted it to happen. To distract
the public from massive cuts and payback to the teacher's union.

Otherwise, it makes no sense. And good for McCoy for calling their bluff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Can't keep crazy in a box

OK, so I couldn't resist posting about Utah State Sen. Chris Buttars after I read the latest article by SL Tirbune Reporter Robert Gehrke. It explains why Sen. Buttars was babbling on and on about free speech:
Senate leaders disciplined Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, not for anti-gay comments he made in a recent interview, but because he violated a deal with leadership that he not talk about gay issues, a senator said Saturday.
The irony here is Buttars didn't need to talk about "them gays," thus far, every single one of the Common Ground Initiative bills have gone down in flames, despite the fact that they are popular with Utahns and Utah's popular governor.

Perhaps Buttars is his own worst enemy, and one of these very reasonable and moderate proposals will have renewed life in the legislature. Although I think that sadly the most popular things to do in the legislature is a) whatever ex-Speaker Curtis likes b) cut budgets c) bash teh gay and d) give the gun lobby whatever it wants.
"It [Buttars being stripped of his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee] happened, not because he said a lot of things wrong, but because he decided to be the spokesman [on gay issues] again," [Sen. Howard] Stephenson [(R-Draper)] said.
"I think the bulk of people in Utah agree with 90 percent of what he said," Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, said on Stephenson's radio show.
That right there is the problem with this whole thing in a nutshell: they agree with Buttars, but he is a dristraction from their agenda. That and Sen. Stephenson has his own radio show. Gee, I wonder who has the advantage in that primary or general election.