Constitution

Idaho Speaker’s Actions Open Him To Humiliation

The following is a lay opinion from the GUARDIAN.

Idaho House Speaker Lawrence Denney’s decision to file legal action in the Idaho Supreme Court against Secretary of State Ben Ysursa will probably lead to political and personal humiliation.

The speaker has overstepped his bounds in an effort to rid the redistricting commission of a member he deemed not loyal enough to Republican interests.

Denney and his lawyer, Christ T. Troupis have made a fundamental legal blunder–failure to consider the SEPARATION OF POWERS doctrine. Our system of government has LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, and JUDICIAL branches to create a “balance of power.”

Denney thinks he has appointed Dolores Crow to the reapportionment commission. He has not. He “nominated or designated” her, but the authority to convene the commission clearly lies with the Secretary of State. Same holds true for Republican party boss Norm Semanko. He suggested Randy Hansen be a member of the panel, but Semanko is without authority to appoint anyone.

The law requires the commission to file its report with the Secretary, not the legislature. In short it is his duty, not that of the legislative branch or a political party hack who has no official capacity in ANY government branch.

Since Denney and crew wrongly claim the authority to “appoint,” they certainly would have no authority to “dismiss” any members.

The law also prohibits any member from running for office for 5 years after serving. Lobbyists, and former legislators within two years of holding office are also banned from serving.

It would be counter intuitive to give a sitting politician the authority APPOINT or DISMISS any member to a redistricting panel. They can “suggest” but the authority to actually appoint members lies with the Secretary of State. Based on the opinion of the Attorney General, no one can fire or dismiss members–there is no provision in the law to do so.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I appreciate this lay opinion. Here is the statute regarding the Secretary of State’s powers .

    72-1501. Commission for reapportionment. (1) A commission for reapportionment shall be organized, upon the order of the secretary of state, …..

    The Speaker and President only designate representatives, not appoint according to state statute.

    72-1502. Members. The president pro tempore of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the minority leaders of the senate and the house of representatives shall each designate one (1) member of the commission…..

    Here is all the court documents filed since the redistricting started. http://redistricting.lls.edu/cases.php#ID

    I don’t know much about the actual redistricting, but it does appear this lawsuit appears to be two steps backwards. Denney filed an Affidavit in one of the related cases stating he did not agree the original commission should of been disbanded. He did recommend Crow for the second commission, but now wants her out. All the while spending taxpayer monies.

    I read an interesting speech by Davy Crockett regarding lawmakers spending other’s monies why hoarding there own. It applies perfectly in this situation.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/ellis1.html
    “Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

  2. Here is a link to the constitutional provision passed by the people back in the 90’s.

    http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/IC/ArtIIISect2.htm

    Moreover, the amendment was passed because the people wanted to remove the Legislature from the process of redistricting. The Speaker’s insane interpretation of the law would completely emasculate this core purpose.

    As an aside, I strongly disagree with this 6-person commission process. It has been a colossal mistake. Alas, I believe in the law, and until it is changed by the people, we must abide.

    I completely agree that this lawsuit is without any merit. It is, in my view, frivolous and sanctionable. I certainly hope not a dime of taxpayer money pays for its prosecution. The Speaker should be personally liable for this outrage.

  3. This reapportionment exercise has been a real fiasco and demonstration that government and efficiency should never be used in the same context.

    I am appalled at the petty politics involved.

  4. Good info from Clancy! (And from the Guardian, as usual.) Too bad most folks are too busy watching “American Idol” or updating their facebook to pay much attention to local political intrigue.

    Denney’s behavior isn’t too surprising; he likes to run the show.

    I’m somewhat disappointed that Troupis would be in his corner. He’s been a candidate for the Legislature himself, and I’ve met him. He’s always struck me as a small-government conservative, and you’d think he’d respect the notion of “balance of power.”

  5. Making the process as ineffective as possible is the end game of Semanko and company. They want the redistricting back in the legislature. One reason why Frasure was originally designated. He personally ground the first commission to a halt by bogging the commission down with trivial minutae of the process.

    This also guarantees a primary move to August which is favored by those in the GOP machine hell bent on purging and purifying the party of perceived RINOs and moderates.

  6. The statutory requirements of the Redistricting Commission are found in Title 72, Chapter 14: 72-1501 through 17-1508 and related statutes 34-301, 34-306, 34-307, 34-1901 and 67-205. In brief, only the Secretary of State can request the appointment of new commissioners from the “appointing authorities” if there are vacancies on the commission. This must be within 15 days of the request, or else the Idaho Supreme Court can make the appointments. There are NO VACANCIES on the Redistricting Commission. The Secretary of State has not requested new appointees. There are no provisions for removal of redistricting commissioners. NO politics are allowed regarding the commission or its important work. The lawsuit is FRIVOLOUS and should be dismissed outright by the Idaho Supreme Court “with good cause standing”, i.e. the LAW. The question of appointment/removal is MOOT. Any decision other than dismissal by the Idaho Supreme Court would be suspect and could be intrepreted as politically motivated. There’s a lot of work to be done in this state. Let’s not waste time on those who would do the state harm for purely hateful and egotistical reasons.

    Thank you.

    KTA

  7. Hmmmmm…Speaker Denney’s actions sound a lot like someone else I’m aware of. Let’s see…overstepping bounds…I just can’t put my finger on it.

  8. Appreciate this good information. Never understood how people tasked with making laws would then ignore them.

  9. This is without doubt the most cogent analysis (and I’ve waded through nearly a dozen in the MSM)of the current situation regarding the redistricting commission.

    Denny and Semanko appear so blinded by their hubris that they fail to see what their actions have created in the eyes of the general populace.

    It will be most interesting if Forrey and Cross show up at tomorrow’s meeting only to be told by Big Ben that their services are not required.

  10. Grumpy ole guy
    Jan 25, 2012, 5:14 pm

    Well, it really isn’t surprising, is it? The word Petty leaps to mind when thinking about either Denny or Semanko. These are not great minds or great men, they are usual and typical folks who are in positions which they seem to fell make their opinions superior to those who would follow the rule of law.
    Thank you Guardian, for once again reminding us of our own obligation to remain eternally vigilant against the petty opportunists who would grant themselves more than is deserved or appropriate.

  11. Unfortunately Muck Raker, the Idaho Republican voter actually supports Denny, Semanko, Hart, McGee and their shenanigans.

  12. Denney..Wants to run the show!
    He is the show!

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