Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What Should Have Happened w/ Husted's Residency

I was reading a follow-up on the Husted Residency Debacle over at Third Base Politics and saw this bit in the Ohio Supreme Court's decision...
Of note, the section that does allow a board to cancel someone’s registration has several other requirements [such as sending a notice to the address and not receiving a response] that no one bothered to follow.
...that sparked an idea about what should have happened:

Somebody should have sent that cancellation notice to Husted's Kettering address and see if he ever bothered to check his mail. According to the Dayton Daily News (and other outlets) reporting, Husted had piles of newspapers on the front porch. One wonders what he did with his mail. Was it forwarded to Upper Arlington? Did it sit in the box all that time?

Jenny Brunner seriously bothched this thing, but in the end it doesn't matter because the issue isn't going to go away just because the GOP-dominated Ohio Supreme Court wrote a witty decision.

Another point I want to get in to is this bit:
“First, the secretary of state erred in concluding that Section 3, Article II of the Ohio Constitution is inapplicable.” The residency exception for state legislators in the Constitution applies in this case. Give credit to the Ohio GOP and Jason Mauk for being all over this from the moment Brunner announced her decision. One would think that if non-lawyers get it, a former judge would too.
Let me be clear about one thing right up front on this...residency does not mean "where a person lives" in the eyes of the law. That much is evident. This is the part where I believe Husted does stay within the letter of the law and why he ultimately prevails in the court. It has been my position that Husted has violated the spirit of the law and that by making this case so prominent, he encourages other state legislators to move to Columbus and not live in their districts. Now, that might be great for Columbus, but it isn't good for Ohio.

Lastly, this bit is worth taking a look at too:
“Whether it's a decision by a Democratic Secretary of State or an all-Republican Supreme Court, someone will question the motivation behind such a decision.”

What Brunner wants to say is “the stupid Republicans on the stupid Supreme Court get the last say. They’re playing politics too. I wasn’t wrong, I just wasn’t the one with the last word.”

She can’t say this because she’s a lawyer. Insulting the judiciary (e.g., the Supreme Court) can get you disciplined or disbarred. She knows she has to accept whatever they say and not blast them like she would a decision from Bill Harris or Mary Taylor.
Note the usage of the "all-Republican Supreme Court" bit...we'll be hearing lots more about that thanks to Jon Husted...

And I like that the 3BP author realizes that the all-Republican Supreme Court was "just playing politics too." Because they were. And that is a shame.

Final thought... Clearly, we need to fix this law. I believe it was the intention of the framers of our state constitution that Ohio's legislators live in their districts and not merely own property that they drop by and visit a few times a quarter.