Google Analytics

by Jay Gallagher

Friday, February 19, 2010

Judge refuses to block Monserrate ouster

A federal district court judge today refused to issue a stay to prevent Democrat Hiram Monserrate of Queens from being expelled from the Senate.
If the decision withstands a potential appeal or other potential challenges, it will mean that his Senate will remain vacant until a special election is held March 16. That means neither party - the 31 remaining Democrats and the 30 Republicans - will have enough votes to pass legislation without votes from the other side, making any significant actions unlikely for the next month.
Attorneys for Monserrate, whom the Senate voted 53-8 to oust on Feb. 9, argued that the Senate had no power to eject one of its own members - only voters can do that, they said. They also contended that Monserrate had been deprived of due process.
The Senate acted after the first-term senator was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend in December of 2008.
U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley agreed that voters should decide the issue, without the help of the courts, but that didn’t lead him to block Monserrate’s ouster.
“…The March 16 special election furthers the goals of Plaintiffs' current application to protect the voters of the 13th Senatorial District more effectively than judicial intervention," he said in his decision.
There was no immediate comment today from Monserrate, who has said in the past that he didn’t intend to run in the special election but would run for another term in November.
"While this Court concludes it has no legal basis to preliminarily enjoin the decision of the Senate, a 'fundamental principle of our representative democracy is, in (Alexander) Hamilton's words, 'that the people should choose whom they please to govern them,'" Pauley said in the decision.

No comments: