When the decision to run for office is contemplated, the typical discussion is the amount of time needed to work as a legislator and the cost of doing so to the family finances. Many explain to family members a good deal of the time historically spent together would now be given to serving constituents. Most families are proud to be a part of the campaign and take special pride in the knowledge their family member is willing to sacrifice in order to serve others and help make government a true example of “for the people, by the people”.
But no family expects their newly elected relative to give up the very rights they swore to uphold for all , the rights guaranteed for all in order to serve the term they were elected to serve. Unfortunately, the newly elected speaker and the political party he is a member of have decided, being now the majority, that only those willing to give up those rights they swore to uphold can participate.
There is NO provision of the constitution that permits them to suddenly create a class of “not granted” rights, but that seems to make no difference. Perhaps they believe there is no one elected who has the guts to say “No” to those who would strip them of those rights. It’s “No” as a vote on the floor and it’s “No” to the idea that a political party has the authority, solely by virtue of being the majority party, to eliminate rights of those elected.
Will the minority party take their responsibility seriously and take the majority party to court to restore their rights or will they allow for the test case to pass them and soon, lose the right to speak in opposition? If they allow the majority party to take their rights, who is there to represent us and make sure our rights are not taken?
The NH Constitution is clear under RSA 17 E the joint legislative committee is allowed to establish policies but those policies must still comply with the constitution.
VIII. To establish policies regarding the use of the facilities under control of the legislature in the state house, the legislative office building, the Upham Walker house, parking garages and lots, and any future facility that may come under legislative management.
Article 22 states the House is able to “settle the rules” of proceedings in the House but again, those rules must still be constitutional:
[Art.] 22. [House to Elect Speaker and Officers, Settle Rules of Proceedings, and Punish Misconduct.] The House of Representatives shall choose their own Speaker, appoint their own officers, and settle the rules of proceedings in their own House
Article 37 does the same for the Senate but, again the rules must uphold the rights guaranteed in the NH Constitution:
[Art.] 37. [Senate to Elect Their Own Officers; Quorum.] The senate shall appoint their president and other officers, and determine their own rules of proceedings
The NH Constitution is clear, in both Natural Rights and Bearing of Arms
[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.
June 2, 1784,
Amended 1974 adding sentence to prohibit discrimination.
[Art.] 2-a. [The Bearing of Arms.] All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.
December 1, 1982
Will the minority party defend their own constitutional rights going all the way to the Supreme court? Or will they “lead” using the majority party as their example If they do not stand up to protect their constitutional rights, what does that mean for the rest of us?
Which of the following are you willing to give up next?
[Art.] 9. [No Hereditary Office or Place.] No office or place, whatsoever, in government, shall be hereditary the abilities and integrity requisite in all, not being transmissible to posterity or relations.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 12-a. [Power to Take Property Limited.] No part of a person’s property shall be taken by eminent domain and transferred, directly or indirectly, to another person if the taking is for the purpose of private development or other private use of the property.
November 7, 2006
[Art.] 19. [Searches and Seizures Regulated.] Every subject hath a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. Therefore, all warrants to search suspected places, or arrest a person for examination or trial in prosecutions for criminal matters, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order, in a warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure; and no warrant ought to be issued; but in cases* and with the formalities, prescribed by law.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 to change order of words.
[Art.] 22. [Free Speech; Liberty of the Press.] Free speech and Liberty of the press are essential to the security of Freedom in a State: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1968 to include free speech.
[Art.] 23. [Retrospective Laws Prohibited.] Retrospective laws are highly injurious, oppressive, and unjust. No such laws, therefore, should be made, either for the decision of civil causes, or the punishment of offenses.
June 2, 1784
Giving up one right encourages government to keep taking rights they find offensive to their wants. A population unable to defend itself is a population that will soon discover those busy governing have silenced any discourse by eliminating free speech. They will find government taking property, making retrospective laws and deciding elections are unnecessary and that heredity is a better way to lead the state to “success”.
The oath you swore to uphold either means something or it doesn’t. If you are willing to lead by showing you are willing to allow the majority party to take your rights, then you are not a leader, you are a follower.