Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Madison Leftist Alderwoman: Committed to the Constitution, Unless I Disagree With It

Great catch from Rebecca Kontowicz, who noticed an irony in a story about an “Alder” on the Madison City Council, who is calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
Madison would become the first municipality in Wisconsin to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney under a resolution to be introduced to the City Council tonight.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, 6th District, will propose a resolution urging the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the administration, accusing it of “launching an illegal War of Aggression against Iraq without cause,” ordering “electronic surveillance of American citizens without seeking warrants” and “conspiring to commit the torture of prisoners” in violation of the Geneva Convention.

“I was required to swear an oath to the Constitution and to obey the law,” Rummel said. “I think we should hold all elected officials to the same standard. . . . It’s never too late to hold people accountable.”
Yes, it’s a matter of defending the Constitution!

But how does Rummel react when there is something in the Constitution that she doesn’t like?

We know because there is something in Wisconsin Constitution that she doesn’t like: a ban on gay marriage. When members of the City Council were sworn in back in in April, Rummel made it clear that she feels free to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution she will uphold.
The meeting began on a solemn note as Mayor Dave Cieslewicz asked the room to stand for a moment of silence to remember the people killed Monday at Virginia Tech.

Then, before detailing the agenda for his second term, Cieslewicz paused to explain why he signed a supplemental oath objecting to constitutional language he said was “blatantly discriminating against my fellow citizens that are gay and lesbian.”

Half of the council members joined him in signing the supplemental oath that read, “I take this oath of office today under protest to the passage of the constitutional amendment” banning gay marriage, which passed by state referendum in the fall. Signing it were Robbie Webber, Julia Kerr, Brian Solomon, Marsha Rummel, Brenda Konkel, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Tim Gruber, Mike Verveer, Zach Brandon and, later in the afternoon, Larry Palm.
So, it seems her committment to the (Wisconsin) Constitution is conditioned on her agreement with specific provisions.

Of course, one might argue that these Council members did not flatly say they would not enforce the Wisconsin Constitution as it stands.

Unfortunately, they came very very close.
The statement also says the oath-taker will “work to eliminate this section from the Constitution and work to prevent any discriminatory impacts from its application.”
The problem here is that the Amendment was intended to have a discriminatory impact. It was explicitly intended to favor man/woman relationships, which are the kind that can produce children. Concern for the welfare of children is the main (if not the sole) reason for traditional marriage.
UW-Madison political science professor Howard Schweber warned the addition would allow officials to “come perilously close to saying (that) in their duties they will ignore the law or alter the law when it conflicts with their personal principles.”
Of course, if it is “unjust” to ban gay marriage in the Wisconsin Constitution, it might be equally “unjust” to provide the full panoply of civil liberties protections to terrorists (real and suspected).

It seems that, for a lot of liberal and leftists, the Constitution (state or federal) is something to be used to attack partisan enemies. It’s not something binding on them.

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