Will the NH High Court Allow Fully Remote Legislative Sessions or Do They Violate the Constitution? - Granite Grok

Will the NH High Court Allow Fully Remote Legislative Sessions or Do They Violate the Constitution?

NH State House

If you missed it, in late September, Democrat leadership advanced a motion, rammed through might be a better turn of phrase, to request an opinion of the State’s High Court. Mother May I go to a full remote session without violating Part II, Article 20 of the NH Constitution (achieving a quorum). Problem? Plenty of them.

Republicans attempted to point out that numerous other parts of the State Constitution might negate a legal move to remote lawmaking. Still, Democrats blocked every effort to make that simple, sensible ask.

 

Would holding a session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives remotely, either wholly or in part, whereby a quorum could be determined electronically, violate any article of the New Hampshire Constitution?

 

If you are concerned about violating the Constitution, should you not be concerned with all of it, not just one small sliver?

Not if you are a Democrat who finds the document to be an inconvenient barrier to your agenda. The very purpose for which it was written, if you forgot.

Only 17 Democrats (among the majority party) agreed with Republicans, so the Court is pondering the matter presented by Dem Leadership with oral arguments scheduled for later this week. At which point, the question will be raised about the question itself and its lack of completeness because the real question is not whether remote sessions violate Part II, Article 20. It is whether they are constitutional at all, given the scoop of limitations placed on such a move by other articles ignored by New Hampshire Democrats.

  • The Legislature shall assemble for the redress of public grievances and for making such laws as the public good may require.´ (emphasis supplied), N.H. CONST. pt. I, art. 31.
  • The senate and house shall assemble biennially on the first Wednesday of December for organizational purposes in even-numbered years, and shall assemble annually on the first Wednesday following the first Tuesday in January, and at such other times as they may judge necessary;…´ (emphasis supplied), N.H. CONST. pt. II, art. 3.
  • The doors of the galleries, of each House of the Legislature, shall be kept open to all persons who behave decently, except when the welfare of the state, in the opinion of either branch, shall require secrecy.´ (emphasis supplied) N.H. CONST. pt. II, art. 8.
  • No member of the House of Representatives, or Senate shall be arrested, or held to bail, on mesne process, during his going to, returning from, or attendance upon, the Court.´ (emphasis supplied), N.H. CONST. pt. II, art. 21

 

Another problem buttresses the suggestion that the Legisalture is not just bound but should meet physically. Remote session is technologically impractical and limiting. We have 400 state reps. No zoom meeting will allow all of them to appear on a screen at any given time. Whose reps will go unwatched or unnoticed?

Large portions of the state have no broadband access. Remote sessions would, by default, deprive these residents of their 9once?) constitutionally protected access to the business of the General court.

Access to committee hearings and public comment would be significantly compromised, as would the publics’ ability to watchdog their reps as is their right and privilege.

You can read all the motions here, but at its simplest, the Democrat majority would like to deprive New Hampshire citizens of exercising their constitutional rights.

No one should be surprised by this. That is the fines distillation of their entire political agenda.

But will the court agree? There’s no way to know the answer to that. The presumption is that those in favor of remote session will insist that public health threats demand exceptions even if they are not necessarily constitutional.

Judges are not less human when it comes to the mass-media campaign to scare everyone into giving up their liberties. Lower New Hampshire courts have found fear trumps rights.

Since April, that has been the rule in the Granite State when we predicted that the only curve anyone was interested in flattening was a rise (or return) to personal or individual liberty. The right to choose and take risks.

But several other State’s high Courts have found emergency Orders that deprive constitutional rights, well, unconstitutional. Ours should find this unconstitutional as well. But just in case, there is a way you, everyday citizen, can protect your constitutional rights. Vote for Republicans on November 3rd.

Yes, It’s really that simple.