Our supreme court spoke last week on one of its biggest cases in years (gracefully waiting until after the November elections) and ruled the Bevin-GOP attempt to revise our broken state pension system was illegal. No surprises here as it was obvious to anyone who understood the English language the legislature had violated its own rules as well as the state Constitution; in the way it passed the “reform” bill.
What was a surprise: the unanimous decision against the Bevin- GOP approach. Unanimous. Judges of both parties and of varying judicial views all held the way it was done was wrong. (Implications for other bills---and there are many—passed the same way will probably be raised soon and cause new cases.)
Another minor surprise, the court did NOT go into the pension reform itself, as many had hoped, but ruled narrowly, as courts are inclined to do, that the method used was wrong. Unfortunately this means IF a new legislature gets it right this time, a later case—sure to be filed—(with more expense and delay) would be needed to get our worst-in-the-nation-pension system changed. The court could have saved us all a lot of grief if it had gone into the reforms themselves.
Of course Gov. Bevin and his legislative allies were disappointed. They had worked long and hard to make changes, but they had also been warned they were going about it the wrong way.
So what was their reaction?
Just as President Trump’s—when he gets a court ruling he doesn’t like—blame the judges.
Bevin, who is not a lawyer, might (might) be excused, though he should, as every citizen should, understand the Rule of Law. But for top GOP legislative leaders to react by suggesting “we need to rein in the judges” is really discouraging. They know better and their words are just one more GOP attempt to damage our system of governing; words and actions echoed by at least 2 other state legislatures under GOP control that voted recently to strip powers from governors when the elections brought in a Democrat. This shows bad faith in our system, and likely will be overturned, in time, at considerable cost to those states who don’t have extra money lying around these days.
More and more our governor and state government seems to be becoming little Donalds.
It’ discouraging to see the President constantly disparaging our system of checks and balances, of three branches of government—each with its role to play, to make America work. With each new disparagement our Democracy falters, at a time we can least afford it. Elected officials have a responsibility to improve our system, not actively work to tear it down. I hope our voters will remember.
One last word: there is no excuse, ever, at any time and for any reason, for any party or person to shut down our government.
I'm just sayin'...