Friday, July 22, 2011

Chairman Wendy's Folly

I wanted to get something up about the recent setback Harford County Democrats faced in their court battle challenging the membership of the county’s redistricting commission, which the Harford County Council created by a 5-2 vote in February.
For those of you who don’t remember, the county’s charter requires that a political party garner at least 15 percent of the vote in the last county election for its partisans to be guaranteed a voice in the redistricting process.  The Democrats, who did not run candidates in three of the county’s six council districts or for the council presidency, failed to reach that threshold. The GOP-dominated council exercised its legal right to exclude Democrats from the commission’s membership.
As an aside, Prince George’s County has a similar charter requirement, and the county’s moribund GOP met the same fate. But you don’t hear them whining about it.
Anyway, a judge rejected the Democrats’ argument. Wendy Sawyer, chairman of the Harford Democratic Party, then offered this tasty comment to the Baltimore Sun: “‘The judge encouraged us to appeal,’ Sawyer said after the hearing. ‘He has offered to expedite it for us because he knows we are under the gun with the deadline. He made it plain that he understands our plight but he is constrained from making a new law.’"
Did the hapless Chairman Wendy say what I think she said? She’s admitting that the Democrats want to simply “make a new law” through judicial fiat because they themselves failed to follow the law approved by the citizens of Harford County? And, now that one judge has turned her down, is she now pinning her hopes on finding some appellate judge with no such qualms about abrogating the will of the people?

The reason the judge rejected your court challenge, Chairman Wendy, is that you guys don’t have a leg to stand on, judicially speaking. By not fielding candidates in every councilmanic race, you left yourselves vulnerable to this situation. And you have no one to blame but yourselves.
Former Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, D. C. once had to run for reelection as a write-in candidate because his own campaign screwed up the process of getting his name on the ballot. To his credit, he owned the mistake, ran a write-in campaign, and won. This time, Harford Democrats will also have to cope with the consequences of their own mistakes.
Failure to follow the rules does not give you the right to improvise a more favorable one.

No comments:

Post a Comment