NM governor declared herself above the United States Constitution

Do governors have the authority to suspend parts of the federal constitution? Legally, the answer is absolutely not. Four new lawsuits filed in federal court from New Mexico will likely result in a reversal of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s absurd declaration that the Second Amendment does not apply in her state during a temporary “emergency” she declared unilaterally.

What about the political answer to such a declaration, apparently without any consultation of the state legislature, let alone the US Constitution? Governors operate under authority granted by both the federal and state constitutions, not the other way around. A personal order to suspend either or both are acts of tyranny, especially through the time-worn, banana-republic construct of a declared “emergency.”

Governors take oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution — but so do state legislators. Will they take the action appropriate to their oaths when it comes to Lujan Grisham? At least two legislators have called to do so.

State representatives Stefani Lord (R – Sandia Park) and John Block (R – Alamogordo) are now calling for her impeachment, claiming the order is an infringement on New Mexicans’ Second Amendment right.

“We made an oath, which is a promise that we swear that we’re going to uphold the Constitution, the rights of New Mexicans, and she threw that right out the window,” said Rep. Lord.

“I was completely shocked and taken by surprise that she would do such a gross overreach and completely violate the constitution,” said Rep. Lord.

“Our governor, she called for open season on law-abiding citizens by subverting the state and federal constitutions and laws of our state, and that’s something that needs to be remedied immediately,” said Rep. Block.

This isn’t just an infringement on Second Amendment rights, although it certainly is that as well. States and governors infringe on these rights all the time via poorly written legislation and regulatory edicts, most of which is intentionally defective but is used to virtue-signal allies and paint courts as obstructionist. In regard to respect for the Constitution, those are bad enough, but federal courts and judicial review are sufficient to deal with those minor insults.

Suspending the federal constitution is another matter entirely. In the first place, no governor has the authority to suspend the US Constitution; not even presidents have that authority. Governors also do not have authority to suspend state constitutions, and certainly not without the cooperation of the legislature. Lujan Grisham arrogated power she does not have, and indeed that no one has, to impose her own rule by decree on New Mexico without even a by-your-leave from the other two co-equal branches of New Mexico’s government, let alone the authority to countermand the federal constitution that binds the other 49 states.

Will the next emergency suspend New Mexico’s elections of constitutional officers? Will Lujan Grisham’s next emergency ‘force’ her to prorogue the state legislature and rule by decree? The state legislature should not wait to find out, nor should they wait for federal courts to rescue them in this instance.

Over the last 25 years, we have unfortunately cheapened impeachment somewhat, but this is precisely the situation for which the removal authority was created. Impeachment and removal is the guarantee that the people have through their representatives to ensure that tyrants will not be allowed to remain in office. It certainly applies to corrupt executive officials and those who abuse their power in lesser ways, but impeachment and removal is the only tool we have to guard against tyrants, especially those who use “emergencies” to suspend constitutions. Federal courts can vacate the orders of a self-appointed tyrant eventually, but they cannot remove a tyrant from office.

The question now is … will they? New Mexico’s legislature is controlled by Democrats in both chambers, both by nearly veto-proof supermajorities: 27/15 in the state Senate and 44/25 in the state House. Their state constitution mirrors the federal impeachment/removal process, requiring a simple majority in the lower chamber for impeachment and two-thirds in the upper chamber for conviction and removal.

Based on these  numbers, a little more than a third of Democrats in the state House would have to vote for impeachment and a little more than half of the Democrats in the upper chamber would have to agree to removal. With those figures in mind, it seems unlikely that Lujan Grisham will have to look for another job soon. However, these Democrat legislators will have to recognize that Lujan Grisham’s actions undermined their own institution, and indeed their authority altogether. They cannot run and hide from that under some pretense that this is some kind of partisan fight; Grisham made herself into a dictator on her own.

Unlike other recent impeachments, the case for removal is prima facie. Lujan Grisham didn’t just make an inappropriate phone call, lie about sex in the office, or make cash by using her office. Lujan Grisham declared herself above the Constitution and indeed above the state legislature and betrayed her oath of office as well as all of the citizens of New Mexico.

Democrats now have to choose between party and Republic. Lujan Grisham’s offense goes directly to the heart of representative democracy and constitutional order. Will these legislators put their party above the Constitution and their own oaths of office as well, and turn the Democrat Party into the Tyranny Party?

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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