Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mississippi: Hood Asks for Reconsideration

The Sun Herald reports Attorney General Jim Hood will ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to "reconsider its ruling" regarding the validity of former Gov. Haley Barbour's late-term pardons. He (Hood) is correct to do so. It is not likely, however, that a court so prone to error will be amenable to self-correction. One would be more likely to hear a full, complete, unqualified, unequivocal acceptance of guilt and apology from an elected official!

In essence, the Court ruled that, while the Constitution of the State is controlling, it (the Court) can have no say so as to whether or not the actions of another branch are consistent with that document. In the Court's mind, to do so would violate the separation of powers doctrine. The result is the awkward emergence of a kind of eerie, pre- Marbury v. Madison, "political questions" doctrine, which was all the rage, with many, in the early 1800s.

Hood's filing simply argues the Court's position is understandably unique - for this century - and that the separation of powers doctrine does not prevent courts from constitutional review of the behavior of other branches of government.

Section 124 of the Mississippi Constitution says "no pardon shall be granted" by the governor until the convicted felon applying for the pardon publishes notice of that application for 30 days in a newspaper in or near the county where the crime was committed. Hood noted several ads were not run and sought recourse for the constitutional violation with the State's Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Court appears closed for business. Read more here

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