Friday, February 19, 2010

Monserrate Tries Getting Old Job Back While Avoiding Terms of His Sentencing

I'm not surprised by this. Former State Senator Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) is busy trying to sue his way back into the State Senate, but he's also ignoring the terms of his sentencing that required 250 hours of community service and blew off three court-mandated counseling sessions.

Monserrate has one set of rules for himself, all while hoping to impose a completely different set of rules on everyone else when he participated in the legislature. He was convicted of misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend, and the State Senate expelled him in a bipartisan vote (53-8). Monserrate now claims the State Senate doesn't have that power and that the civil rights of his constituents were violated by the Senate's actions.

A federal judge was not convinced of this and refused to block Monserrate's expulsion from the Senate, but Monserrate's lawyers (which includes the NYCLU) are expected to appeal.

The courts are not likely to side with Monserrate since the legislature has the right to police its own affairs and that we're addressing a political question here. That a special election is being held within 30 days mitigates the claim that Monserrate's constituents are somehow being deprived of their constitutional rights. Moreover, none of this precludes Monserrate from running in the special election - and should he run and win - it would present yet another sideshow circus for a legislature that has far more important issues to be dealing with - namely the huge budget deficit.

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