On Nov. 8, over 2 million people – 54 percent of state voters – chose Justice-elect Mike Morgan, defeating the Republican incumbent and changing the balance of the state Supreme Court from 4-3 Republicans to 4-3 Democrats.
Once the election results were known, however, out floated an idea, a way for the Republicans to regain control of the court: add two additional justices, appointed by the sitting governor.
While such a change is legal, this constitutional authority was never conceived of as an end-run around election results. The political calculation here is transparent: It’s a clear attempt to orchestrate an “election correction.” Now, faced with a threatened lawsuit and growing public outcry, individual senators and representatives are scurrying to deny paternity, and even knowledge, of this shameful scenario.
Congratulations go to Republican Sen. Jeff Tarte: He had had the courage to call it “one of the stupidest ideas (he’s) ever heard of.”
Meanwhile, our governor and legislative leaders choose to remain silent; no other Republican member that I’m aware of has had the courage to defend the will of the voters.
So for all the claims of protecting the sanctity of the electoral process and being sure that every vote counts, the state’s Republican leaders demonstrate that, in fact, they are perfectly willing to trample the democratic process, subvert the will of the people, and ignore election outcomes when the results don’t go their way. It’s a cynical political move and a breathtaking assault on democracy.
Kate Douglas Torrey