Republicans are furious that House Speaker Davy Carter, a Republican, voted this morning against suspending the rules so that the Legislative Council could take up Sen. Jason Rapert’s resolution in support of Amendment 83, overturned by Judge Chris Piazza, which mandates discrimination against gay couples. He endeavors to explain.
“I believe in our constitution and our system of government. Whether or not our state’s constitutional amendment runs afoul of the United States Constitution is a question for our highest court. Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”
Carter is a lawyer. He understands how the law works. Of course, Rapert, too, knows better. But he’s a rank demagogue. Rapert intended to intimidate the Arkansas Supreme Court. Intimidation is a core principle of GOP politics. You almost bet they were happy with today’s temporary procedural setback. They immediately set out to demonize the entire Democratic Party for the outcome, rather than peashooting at the handful of Democrats, all electorally safe, who were brave enough to oppose them. Several Democrats joined the Republicans on the meaningless resolution. Their thanks was being labeled with the same queer-loving brand.
The resolution was meaningless and factually inaccurate. Voters don’t have the ability to override judicial constitutional review, as Rapert suggests.
Much as I appreciate Carter’s vote today, he doesn’t have clean hands. He’s voted for both legislation and overrides of legislation that he knew wouldn’t withstand constitutional scrutiny in the courts. And those votes had far greater meaning than today’s empty Rapert gesture. See the current imposition of Voter ID rules that are keeping poor, elderly and minority voters away from the polls.