Okay, the ability of Gov. David Paterson to appoint a lieutenant-governor is of questionable constitutional authority, though it seems to be less open and shut then it seemed a week ago to this non-authority. But as constitutional authority Bruce Ackerman has argued, many of the greatest constitutional innovations in American history, starting with the 1787 Philadelphia convention itself, the 14th amendment, and the legislative agenda of the New Deal, were all of questionable constitutional legitimacy. But the point was, when you’re facing a constitutional crisis, you deal, find the loophole, expand it to get a coach and four through it, and go from there.
Look, New York State is a genuine constitutional crisis, the jokers in the senate seem unable to conduct the people’s business, and the “negotiations” that have been going on for weeks are particularly laughable, and clearly are revolving around the perquisites of the most power-grubbing members of a remarkably power-grubbing bunch.
Paterson is properly taking power away from the senate in an effort to be able to break ties. The Oliver Wendell Holmeses and William Brennans in the state senate, Republican and Democrat alike, are screaming foul, that Paterson’s eminently reasonable decision runs afoul of some constitutional arcane. Screw ‘em. You can include Andrew Cuomo’s preemptive legal opinion (who the hell asked him?) that Paterson has no power to name a lieutenant-governor in my anathematization. (Not for the first time in his career, Andy Cuomo has allowed his gubernatorial ambitions to commandeer his better judgment. Down boy.) I hope a judge promptly rules that exigent circumstances call for exigent solutions, and Paterson’s naming Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor stands. I’m no big fan of Richard Ravitch, but he’s just the sort of quasi-impartial eminense grise goo-goo power broker who has been around forever, and is just the sort of person he should have chosen.
I think that Paterson has been a real disappointment as governor, but this is by far the best thing he has done since his sudden elevation last year. The members of the senate have completely forfeited the trust of New Yorkers, and the right to disentangle their squabble themselves. The only power that can possibly resolve this in a way that doesn’t reward these bastards is the governor. We need a strong, courageous executive branch to rescue our traduced state from the morass of the state senate. I hope every New Yorker supports Paterson’s constitutional innovation. One good coup deserves another. This is one of the best days of executive power exerting itself in a power vacuum in New York since the heyday of Leisler’s Rebellion in 1688.