Note: and tomorrow is the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss; we’ll be recording it. From the NH Constitution:
[Art.] 31. [Meetings of Legislature, for What Purposes.] The Legislature shall assemble for the redress of public grievances and for making such laws as the public good may require.
[Art.] 32. [Rights of Assembly, Instruction, and Petition.] The People have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble and consult upon the common good, give instructions to their Representatives, and to request of the legislative body, by way of petition or remonstrance, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.
Well, as you folks know, we have been following the case of Dan Richard who has been trying to use the NH Constitution’s instrument for Citizens to seek Redress of Grievances: a Remonstrance. But first with NH Speaker of the House Shurtleff (D) and NH Senate President Soucy (D), and now with latest election, Packard and Morse respectively, it seems like the NH Legislature is trying to quash any effort by Mr. Richard to literally have his day in court to force Packard and Morse to respond to the Remonstrances he has put in.
At his Writ of Mandamus (“an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official’s discretion; used only when all other judicial remedies fail”) hearing (Wednesday, 4/14), the lawyers for the House and Senate filed for a Motion to Dismiss.
In other words, just make it “go away” – we don’t need any Citizen complaining about us – even if the Constitution tells us to do. So, if you wish to listen to the hearing, take a gander:
Now, what is basically their (NH House Counsel Jim Cianci and NH Senate Counsel Richard Lehmann) grounds for dismissal – a change in House / Senate rules that basically state that no longer do they have to route a Remonstrance (after making sure that the members of the House/Senate know about it) to the correct Committee to be handled (sorta like a bill, but not – it’s a Remonstrance that mandates a response), they can just “file it” and make it disappear.
The old Rule (#51) makes it clear that the first order of business each day was to handle citizen petition – of which a Remonstrance is a special kind – and then reports and other activities:
The speaker shall call for petitions from members of the House. The petitions having been presented and disposed of, reports, first from the standing and then from the select committees, shall be called for and disposed of. And the above business shall be done in no other part of the day, except by permission of the House.
The newly defined Rule #4 and #18 do away with that “shall” and allows the House to “round file it”:
4. Referral of bills, etc., to committees. The Speaker shall refer all bills, resolutions, memorials, accounts and other matters coming before the House to the appropriate committees, unless otherwise ordered by the House. The Speaker may refer the same jointly to two committees or to a special committee.
18. Petitions. Before any petition is received and read, the substance of the petition shall be in concise form, the name of the member(s) presenting it shall be recorded on the petition and a summary of the substance of the petition shall be printed in the House Calendar. The Clerk of the House shall state the substance of the petition in summary and a copy shall be placed on file with the House Clerk.
E.g., no action has to be taken. And it also violates the NH Supreme Court’s ruling in the John Burt versus the NH Speaker of the House that said that House rules do NOT overrule the “mandatories” (“SHALL“) when the Democrats made the House Rule to strip concealed carry in the House chamber and gallery.
Imagine that – the House and Senate saying that the NH Constitution doesn’t matter or apply to them! Good times, good times…..
Anyways, Cianci’s and Lehmann’s brief to tell the Court to tell Mr. Richard to just go away and let us Big Boys handle things is here. And get this circular logic that seems to be their primary reason:
This Court should not be concerned that ruling against the Plaintiff here will hollow out the substantive protections of Part I, Art. 32. The Plaintiff retains the right to continue to seek relief from the General Court, and further, the Plaintiff cannot face retaliation for engaging in the exercise of these rights.
Translation – don’t worry about Richard’s Rights under the Constitution – he can keep on seeking redress as many times as he want and we won’t retaliate against him. We’re just not gonna answer him. Over and over again. And then they yammer about how “open” they are on how bills are handled – not to worry, Judge!
Except this isn’t a bill – it’s a Remonstrance; see that sleight of hand? MAKE that puppy disappear! I’m not a lawyer but that was just too easy to spot even for me!
So, here is their pleading to dismiss the Write of Mandamus:Dan Richard – Defendants’ Memorandum of Law
Now, Dan’s vocation is as a truck driver; you know, just a normal blue collar guy. You all know from reading his previous postings here, he has done his homework, he created his own “book work”, he’s learned the Constitution, and he’s learned to play the game. Go ahead, read their writing and now read his clock-cleaner here (Dan Richard – Motion to Dismiss Merrimack Rev 3 Short).
Or, if you really want to learn about the “legal gore to hit the legal floor” future, try this more in depth one here (Dan Richard – Objection to Motion to Dismiss Rev 1 Long).
Yes, both are wonky and involved written in legalese. But it shows that one person can make a difference given the interest, motivation, and anger that his Elected Representatives aren’t acting like Public Servants but more like Public Masters.
Seems to be a theme, lately, doesn’t it? We can no longer be complacent – and complicit – in our own demise as a Republic.