Tea Party organizers in North Dakota go to court today in their attempted recall of four-term Sen. Kent Conrad. Oral arguments were heard this morning in the North Dakota Supreme Court in the case of RecallND v. Jaegar arising out of the refusal by North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaegar to begin the recall process upon the proper filing by The Committee to Recall Senator Conrad. The Committee is seeking a court order to allow the recall process to proceed.
The issue of recall of United States Senators is now before two state Supreme Courts, as oral argument was heard in May before the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding the attempted recall of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez.
The law in nine states provides for the right of citizens to recall members of Congress. These include Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. These nine states are represented by 12 incumbent Democrat Senators who are not already up for election this year.
Voter anger that could lead to such recall of members of Congress has been generated by the elitist, antidemocratic attitude of the current Congressional majorities. Despite overwhelming public opposition to the government takeover of health care, Congressional leaders insisted that they know best and went ahead and passed it anyway. They responded to dissenting constituents with name-calling, labeling them yahoos, Nazis and tea baggers.
This attitude has not been limited to health care. We have seen the same attitude on other issues, from global warming regulation, to taxes, government spending, deficits, federal debt, energy policy, welfare, corporate bailouts, and beyond. Too many of our Congressional "representatives" seem unwilling to listen to the views of the public, insisting that they already know it all. They threaten to plow ahead and dump legislative disasters on the country, daring us to try to clean it up later.
What this shows is that our Congressional representatives can no longer be trusted with 2-6 years in office without the ongoing democratic accountability provided by the right of recall. States without recall for members of Congress can change their laws to adopt it. In states with the right to initiative, this can be done by a vote of the people after circulating petitions to put the change on the ballot.
For more on the recall process, see www.recallcongressnow.org