House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s attack on the judiciary continues unabated. Last week, O’Brien testified in favor of CACR 28, a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant the legislature final authority to determine the constitutionality of legislative acts.
Rep. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole) succinctly describes the amendment’s impact:
This CACR would do away with the courts traditional role of protector of the constitutional rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. … This is a very dangerous piece of legislation.
Writing about a similar bill in Oklahoma, Julie DelCour has a more waggish analysis:
[L]awmakers could write a law and then appoint a body to review its constitutionality. Sweet! It’d be like a college student naming an ad hoc committee of his drinking buddies to grade his finals.
DelCour goes on to give credit where credit is due by noting the Sooner State has no monopoly on “half-baked, half-cocked and half-arsed” legislation.
While Shortey’s plan to eliminate judicial review by our highest court is a bad idea, it is not an original one. … The New Hampshire Legislature … will try for the third time to eliminate its high court’s power of judicial review so it can take over that function itself.
As one observer put it, “The next thing you know, New Hampshire lawmakers will be reciting the Magna Carta while brandishing guns. All perfectly legal when you are judge and jury.”