We’re not going to do a big long thing about this, but yesterday I noted that this attempt to steal a march on the Louisiana legislature’s proper function of drawing up the state’s congressional map by Gov. John Bel Edwards and Democrat partisan hack federal judge Shelly Dick has got to carry some political consequences to it.
My suggestion was that members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation file articles of impeachment against Dick. It’s fine to wait until the Fifth Circuit throws out her decision that the Legislature’s congressional map was unconstitutional, a decision which has very little support in current federal law, but there have to be political recriminations for Dick’s overtly political act of not just overturning the congressional map but also attempting to intimidate the Louisiana legislature into voiding its appeal by passing a map with two safe Democrat seats per her instruction.
She threatened to put House Speaker Clay Schexnayder in jail. That’s beyond the pale. It’s too bad Schexnayder didn’t call her bluff and dare her to do it.
When Dick threatened to hold him in contempt for not following her order to pass a 4-2 congressional map, Schexnayder could have made himself a shoo-in to get elected Lt. Governor next year if he’d said something like this…
“Judge, I am the Speaker of the House of the Legislature of the great State of Louisiana. I do my job with pride and I take it very seriously. As such I am very aware of my responsibilities – and my rights. Those responsibilities and rights do NOT include ordering my colleagues in the House to pass bills contrary to their public will.
“That is what you are demanding that I do, and I refuse. Categorically.
“We’ve passed a congressional map which is constitutional. Our attorneys, and those of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, are in agreement that it is constitutional. We are supremely confident that your superiors at the Fifth Circuit will agree with us.
“And therefore, until our appeal of your decision, which we believe is errant and not the product of impartial jurisprudence, is heard, I won’t move any 4-2 congressional map. My colleagues are adamant that to do so would be against the interests of their constituents and we don’t believe such a map could be constitutional under current federal law.
“And if you want to say that puts me in contempt of your court, then my response is ‘do your worst.’ If you think it’s in your best interest to have your marshal drag me away, then do it. And we’ll see what happens next.”
That he didn’t do it isn’t damning. Dick was so far out of line in even suggesting she’d find Schexnayder in contempt that it would have taken almost anyone by surprise.
But now that we’re in a position where Dick will take it upon herself to attempt to impose a congressional map on Louisiana which has no public support, and it’s clear she and Edwards are in cahoots to produce this result, the recriminations are necessary.
How to get at a federal judge with political ramifications is difficult, beyond the impeachment.
But how to get at a governor is easier.
John Bel Edwards ought to be impeached for a whole bunch of reasons. The illegal imposition of COVID lockdowns on the people of this state after his emergency declaration was lawfully voided by a House petition is one. The Ronald Greene cover-up is another. And this business with the congressional map, if it’s proven he’s conspired with Dick to do it, would be a third. There are more.
But to get to the impeachment, as the Greene case is the most dynamic of Edwards’ liabilities, he needs to be examined by the legislative special committee investigating the cover-up of Greene’s killing by the State Police. That was supposed to happen June 16, but it didn’t because of the special session Edwards called over the congressional map.
It was a mistake not to demand Edwards testify on June 16. In fact, Schexnayder should have declared he’d testify in front of the Committee of the Whole.
Instead the whole show was put on ice.
Well, that has to change. Schexnayder needs to have that committee, which is run by his lieutenant, Rep. Tanner Magee, issue a subpoena to Edwards forthwith to testify to that committee. And furthermore, the committee needs to be bolstered. It should appoint a Special Counsel, someone who’s a seasoned and quite ruthless prosecutor, for the examination.
And Edwards ought to be given the third degree of third degrees.
There is zero percentage in being submissive to this governor given the manifest abuses of power piling up during his tenure. Edwards’ testimony is the next thing on the agenda. Move it forward.