The Red Queen wants to extend her reign

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Red.queenThe Red Queen, Governor Jan Brewer, once again has decided that the Arizona Constitution simply does not apply to her, because her court jester tells her so.

The Red Queen's publicist, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services (remember how Howie ran a series of publicity posts masquerading as "news" reports for Brewer's crappy book, "Scorpions for Breakfast") floated a trial balloon today for extending the reign of his beloved Red Queen. Arizona Gov. Brewer, team defend option to run again – East Valley Tribune:

She’s not out printing up bumper stickers and buttons — at least not yet.

But Gov. Jan Brewer wants everyone to know that she believes she could legally seek another full four-year term in office in 2014 if that’s what she decides to do, regardless of the 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment on term limits.

Her contention is based on a legal opinion crafted for her by Joe Kanefield when he was her chief legal counsel.

Kanefield, now an attorney in private practice, acknowledged the Arizona Constitution says statewide elected officials can serve only two consecutive terms. And it says that calculation “shall include any part of a term served.”

But Kanefield says the time Brewer spent finishing out Janet Napolitano’s term in 2009 and 2010 does not count toward her two-term limit. He said the clock started running when Brewer took office in January 2011 after winning the 2010 race. [Because… he says so.]

“Several people have talked to me about that,” Brewer said Tuesday of a 2014 race. While the governor said she’s made no decision, “it’s very interesting the way that certain people interpret the law and the constitution, if you will.”

* * *

Kanefield said he believes those who crafted the 1992 ballot measure put in the provision about part of a term counting toward a full term to keep politicians from “gaming” the system, resigning right before the end of their second term in a bid to remain in office.

Uh-Huh. What the Red Queen's court jester believes is irrelevant. The people who drafted the constitutional provision are still alive, I believe. Ask them. There would also have been a ballot publicity pamphlet sent to voters in 1992 that explained the purpose of the constitutional provision. But did the Red Queen's publicist seek out the drafters of the measure or research the ballot publicity pamphlet? Noooo.

The political gossip rag The Yellow Sheet Report (subscription required) actually did do a little research into the constitutional provision that the Red Queen's publicist did not. In a post entitled "Are We Still Talking About This?," The Yellow Sheet Report states:

[T]he 1992 voter publicity pamphlet includes a Legislative Council analysis that says the purpose is to limit a person to no more than eight years in an executive office. Were Brewer to run for and win election to a second full term, she will have served 10 years in office by the end of the term.

Moreover:

[M]ost observers say there is zero confusion about the constitutional term limit language, as Article V Section 1defines terms as lasting four years and specifically mentions partial terms: “No member of the executive department shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms…. No member of the executive department after serving the maximum number of terms, which shall include any part of a term served, may serve in the same office until out of office for no less than one full term.

The Arizona Constitution, Article V, Section 1 provides

Term limits on executive department and state officers; term lengths; election; residence and office at seat of government; duties:

(Version amended by 1992 Proposition 107)

Section 1. A. The executive department shall consist of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction, each of whom shall hold office for a term of four years beginning on the first Monday of January, 1971 next after the regular general election in 1970. No member of the executive department shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms. This limitation on the number of terms of consecutive service shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993. No member of the executive department after serving the maximum number of terms, which shall include any part of a term served, may serve in the same office until out of office for no less than one full term.

The key language is "any part of a term served," which could be a single day. Partial terms are the result of succession to office upon the death or resignation of an office holder — not "gaming the system" by resigning before the end of a second term to run for a third term as Kanefield speculates. That is just nuts. This is clearly not what the drafters had in mind.

If the drafters of Prop. 107 in 1992 had intended Brewer's interpretation, they would have used the language of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on term limits, ratified in 1951, which allows for up to 10 years in office:

1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

The Red Queen should knock off this silly nonsense. She is a "lame duck" governor and there is no way she can spin her way out of it.

Brewer should follow the example set by Governor Jane D. Hull, who succeeded to the office of governor after J. Fife Symington III was convicted of criminal charges and disqualified from office in 1997. Hull was elected Governor to a term of her own in 1998. She briefly toyed with the idea of challenging this constitutional provision as I recall, but elected not to run in 2002.

One response to “The Red Queen wants to extend her reign

  1. Where do I go to file suit against this creepy woman if she does attempt to run for office again? The only thing keeping me from going berserk over her behavior is the knowledge that she is GONE in two years. “Termed out” is such a joyous word.