Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adam Clayton Monserrate?

City Room posted yesterday on the case of Adam Clayton Powell-and speculated about the precedent that it might have set in regards to one Hiram Monserrate: "As legal scholars and state legislators debate the constitutionality of expelling Hiram Monserrate from the State Senate last week, there is a similar case worth noting, both for the legal precedent it established and the political lessons it holds."

What makes the case both legally and politically interesting-and relevant to Monserrate-is that it marked a rare time when the courts have interceded against another branch of government in a matter that pertained to how the legislature governed itself: "The case, which made its way to the United States Supreme Court, was decided in Mr. Powell’s favor in 1969, allowing him to return. The court ruled that the House of Representatives did not have the authority to exclude Mr. Powell in part because, as his lawyers had argued in court, the congressman met the qualifications for holding office spelled out in the Constitution."

All of which will goes to dramatize the significance of Thursday's court hearing for the expelled state senator. Does the expulsion action of the state senate rise to the same constitutional levels that led SCOTUS to tell Congress to let ACP back in? We'll find out soon enough.