i·ro·ny (ī′rə-nē, ī′ər-) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.
Michigan House Speaker Cotter just lost a round in the Courser/Gamrat felony criminal case preliminaries. Ingham County District Court 54-A Judge Hugh B. Clarke Jr. ruled Friday it would be “patently unfair” for Gamrat’s and Courser’s attorneys to not have an opportunity to question Cotter in their defense:
“Without answers to these questions, the Court cannot adequately balance the rights of the Defendants against the right of the Speaker to be free from being compelled to testify,” the order states.
“To make this decision, the Court believes an in camera hearing with counsel for the Defendants, Speaker Cotter and his attorney is warranted. This procedure would allow the court to properly balance the interests of the Defendants against the privilege sought to be accorded Speaker Cotter.”
“AN ACT to provide immunity from civil action to members of the legislature of this state for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; to prohibit members of the legislature of this state from being made parties to contested cases or other administrative proceedings for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; and to provide for certain exemptions from subpoenas.”
MCL 4.553 Subpoena as to statements made by legislator Sec. 3.
A member of the legislature shall not be subject to a subpoena for any matter involving statements made by the legislator pursuant to his or her duty as a legislator.
The issue here will be that the legal action against Courser and Gamrat in Ingham County District Court 54-A is a criminal action, specifically a felony action, not a civil action. Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity under a statute which pertains to civil actions, not criminal actions. Michigan’s legislators have no constitutional or statutory relief from subpoenae in felony matters.
Inside Michigan Politics ranks its most conservative and most liberal legislators, and guess what?
Susan Demas, not exactly known for sympathy to conservative causes must be having fun.
Recently editing the Inside Michigan Politics scoring of conservative and liberal state representatives, she gets to shame Republicans with their own rhetoric, and as a bonus, can gloat over the self inflicted loss of true conservative voting in the Michigan house. Her report:
Inside Michigan Politics has compiled the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal and Most Conservative” members of the House of Representatives for 2015. The rankings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes this year.
“Most Conservative” winners Courser and Gamrat both notched 4.8% liberal voting records. Following them is Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) with a 7.1% liberal record. Reps. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and Lana Theis (R-Brighton) tied for third by posting 10.7% liberal voting records.
A reminder BTW, that such ‘diehard’ conservatives Glenn, Runestad, and Theis all voted yea on the expulsion of Gamrat, and the expected expulsion of Courser prompted him to resign prior to expulsion. Gosh, they could have used a vote or two of support on HB4736, as each voted correctly to deny the government beast more of our kibble.
Recall by constituents would have been a more appropriate option in the Todd and Cindy debacle.
In the hours leading up to what finally happened, deals were likely made that will hardly resonate later as good policy decisions. “get your merry caucus of non voting dems to do their job, and I’ll make sure you get …,” the highly probable statement from house speaker Kevin Cotter to house minority leader Tim Greimel. Greimel apparently held out for the ‘investigation’ carrot as well. Democrat Floor Leader Singh implied this after Roll Call 295, when he motioned to send the entire matter back to committee.
The House Democrats wanted – and got – more than just a couple of scalps. Their blackmail was effective because all of our representatives were bone tired after 13 plus hours of ‘Rule 32’ imprisonment and ready to go home for the weekend. A Michigan State Police investigation of this sorry situation will almost certainly embarrass House leadership far more than the behaviors of Representatives Courser and Gamrat. They made mistakes, but weren’t sufficiently connected or protected politically to extract themselves once exposed.
Apologies NOT accepted.
Gamrat believed she and her lawyer and all involved understood that it would be ‘censure, not expulsion’ if she prostrated herself in a very public mea culpa. Three hours of intense discussions between her, the House Majority counsel, and her own attorney fleshed out what she considered conditional admittance. According to Gamrat, Hassan Beydoun, Majority Counsel, told her “we can control our side ..” when sealing the ostensible censure deal.
Gamrat says the House leadership did not want to go all the way through removal. Leadership did not want to own an expulsion, which would encourage voters to examine other Lansing shenanigans. Approached multiple times by different legislators and implored to resign, Cindy Gamrat refused. She says the pressure was beyond intense. Gamrat’s resolve held all the way out to 4 AM when it became clear that the House leadership could not, or would not ‘control their side’.