No Respect For Laws – Troubling

by Robert B. Charles – October 12, 2023

The self-impressed California Governor, Gavin Newsom, appointed a longtime Maryland inhabitant and resident, Laphonza Butler, to replace the longtime California inhabitant and late Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Although sworn in now, this appointment is remarkable, as it utterly disrespects the Constitution.

In a time when much is made of following the law, and many who make the “much” do not follow it, this is a salutary example of not following the Constitution – and yet, Newsom’s violation has no remedy, as the Founders never imagined it.

To be clear, the governor had power to appoint a replacement for a deceased senator, and was able to pick from any political pool he wished, make whatever statement he wished. She is a black, lesbian, female who calls Maryland home.

But that last bit is the point worth special notice, because picking a non-inhabitant is not what the Founders had in mind; to assure a state was properly represented by an appointee with interests of other inhabitants, they effectively forbade it.

Ratified in 1788, coming into effect in 1789, the Constitution directed state legislatures to pick US Senators, and set forth just three requirements. They needed to be over 30, a US citizen for nine years, and “inhabitant” of the state they were appointed to serve, specifically “when elected.”

The rub is that, using common sense and a bit of legal inference, the Founders would have expected a senator appointed to replace an elected “inhabitant” also to be an “inhabitant” when appointed and sworn in. Laphonza is not.

Quite obviously, this Maryland inhabitant and resident, a distinction without a difference, is not a California inhabitant. She was an advisor to the Harris campaign, more a liability than qualification, but has long lived in Maryland.

This progressive leader of “Emily’s List” was sworn in, and the issue is effectively moot, but the real issue is the attitude that Democrats – of whom Newsom is a leading example as California’s governor – have toward the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution, and toward rule of law generally.

In short, at the same time a Democrat governor in New Mexico, Michele Grisham, tried to outlaw a citizen’s right to “bear arms,” and while federal and state prosecutors are misinterpreting laws to prosecute and gag a presidential candidate they do not like, we have another governor ignoring the Constitution.

The lesson is short and sweet. You either respect the rule of law, letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution and statue laws, or you do not.

Increasingly, the sense one has – from local, through state, to the federal level – is that respect for the Constitution, and laws generally, is slipping. That alone is reason for concern.

From Biden to Newsom to Grisham, Democrat leaders seem more self-impressed than impressed with the sanctity of laws, a prophetic, troubling fact.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.