Jan Brewer put out word yesterday that she will soon announce what she will do about last week’s supreme court decision striking down her attempted removal of Colleen Mathis. This morning Paul Davenport reported that Brewer wants a more detailed explanation of the court’s decision. I say, let them give her one as soon as she can articulate her own reasons for the ouster.
So, I guess this announcement will be scheduled for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (a brilliant media strategy). Odds are vanishingly small that her response will be “I believe in the constitutional rule of law and respect the court’s decision.”
There are a couple of “damn the torpedoes” scenarios involving a second attempt to remove Mathis, or even the other two Democratic members. Re-firing Mathis wouldn’t be totally unprecedented for the legislature: there were times Janet Napolitano would veto bills from the lege, only to see the identical bill passed again. The real comedy was that legislators would actually be shocked that she would veto the same bill a second time.
The more likely scenario, although not lacking hubris, is this ballot referral proposal. This was first put forward by Frank Antenori before the vote to oust Mathis. The Antenori plan is simple: refer the constitutional amendment that created the IRC to the ballot. Oh, and by the way, refer it to the ballot during the Republicans-only presidential primary at the end of February.
Yep, if there is anything that will keep this from looking like it’s a partisan exercise, it’s scheduling it for the one day when you are guaranteed no Democrat or independent has a reason to vote.
I’ve talked to a couple of legislators about this, and they think it will happen (it’s gotta happen soon because of the 90 day requirement for referenda). For one, they have already alienated everyone they are going to alienate on this issue, so what do they have to lose? Also, they are pretty set on this course; it’s a locomotive (emphasis on the “loco”) that can’t change direction once it’s on a track. They have neither the incentive or desire to stop now.
There are a few problems, of course.
One is cost. The primary will already cost $3.4 million. Printing up more ballots and opening it up for more voters will cost an additional $5 million. It leaves me to wonder how many organ transplants that would pay for.
And here is a big one: here is a major change in our election laws purposely scheduled for an election that will have minimal minority turnout. Several observers I talked to are sure that the DOJ would get involved for this reason, and possibly enjoin the state from going through with it.
Okay, let’s say we have this election. Who is to say even Republican voters, once you get outside of hard core activists, are that thrilled about ditching the IRC? Polling numbers quoted in the Yellow Sheet say no, but with the proviso that there hasn’t been a pro-repeal campaign yet. Well, if their messaging around the Mathis putsch is any indication, their persuasive powers on this issue are a bit lacking. To recap: from Andy Biggs “L’etat c’est moi” and from la Cervecera, well, I’m not really sure. Not the sort of rhetoric that will move hundreds of thousands of voters.
Okay, let’s suppose for a second that this gambit works and 106 is ditched. The IRC will be long done with their work by then. Do legislators, most of whom will be running either for legislature or congress and would like a vague idea where the lines are, really want to spend the entire month of March re-starting this silliness?
Another poorly thought out plan from the legislature. Any surprise there?