by Dan Lucas
Oregon Democrats are continuing to show their willingness to abuse power and to pick and choose when to follow laws and the constitution. Last month the Oregon Attorney General decided that she wouldn’t fulfill her oath to uphold the Oregon Constitution by defending Article XV, Section 5a — the definition of marriage.
It was far from an isolated incident. In the 2012 race for State Labor Commissioner, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown moved the election from May to November, a move that happened to favor fellow Democrat Brad Avakian. The move was widely criticized in the media and went directly against legislative counsel, who found that the law clearly requires that the election for labor commissioner be held in May.
Governor Kitzhaber is blocking any death penalty executions, ignoring the law as well as the will of Oregon voters. The Oregon Attorney General is at odds with federal drug laws, and even accepted several hundred thousand dollars from the marijuana lobby for her campaign.
The Oregon University System violated Oregon’s firearms preemption law, and only stopped violating the law after being sued and having the courts rule against them. Last December, the Oregon Legislature’s legal counsel found that Gov. Kitzhaber and the Oregon Insurance Commissioner violated state law by their moves to circumvent Obamacare, to mitigate problems with the disastrous roll out.
Another recent example was the attempt to legislate a ballot title. Last year the Oregon Legislature approved driver cards for people who are in the country illegally.
Following the law and the prescribed process, opponents collected the signatures to put it on the ballot to let the voters decide. The process moved through the Oregon Attorney General and then to the Oregon Supreme Court Justices.
Then, in an attempt to usurp the Attorney General and Oregon Supreme Court, Oregon House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Tina Kotek passed HB 4054. The bill would have rewritten the ballot title, voided the work of the Attorney General and terminated the review by the Oregon Supreme Court.
The Oregonian Editorial Board called the vote for HB 4054 “an act of mass lunacy,” and said that they were jettisoning their principles and rigging the ballot. Fortunately saner heads prevailed in the Senate and the bill died in committee. Although they were stopped, Oregon House Democrats had again demonstrated a willingness to abuse power and to pick and choose when to follow laws and the constitution.
Democrats haven’t always had the iron grip on Oregon that they have now. Sometime in the future the political pendulum will inevitably swing, and Republicans will be back in control. Now that Democrats have set these precedents, will they be OK with Republicans picking and choosing when to follow laws and the constitution? How will they feel when something they care about is changed without a fair and legal process?
Will they be OK with a Republican Governor just deciding to end state funding of abortions? Dropping the requirement for a concealed handgun license and allowing constitutional carry like Arizona? Ending enforcement of environmental regulations in the forests?
There are reasons we have a constitution and laws, and one of those reasons is to protect the rights of all Oregonians — not just those currently in the voting majority. It is something Oregon Democrats would do well to remember before the shoe is on the other foot.
To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com