House Republicans Question Constitutionality

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This evening, four members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ Republican Caucus hand delivered a letter to Governor Deval Patrick requesting that he seek an advisory opinion from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court before declaring legislation to fill Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat with an interim appointment an “emergency”.  Representatives Jeffrey Perry (R-Sandwich), Daniel Webster (R-Pembroke), Karyn Polito (R-Shrewsbury) and Lewis Evangelidis (R-Holden), who are also members of the Massachusetts Bar, were the signatories.  

The House members are concerned that today, the House of Representatives failed to reach the two-thirds majority required by the Massachusetts Constitution to enact an emergency preamble which would have allowed this law to take effect immediately.  These House members are concerned that the Legislature’s decision not to enact an emergency preamble, prior to the Governor exercising his power to declare that this bill constitutes an emergency under article 48 of the Massachusetts constitution, may be unconstitutional.  

Given increased public dissent over alleged political shenanigans on Beacon Hill concerning the changing of laws retroactively, Representatives Webster, Polito, Perry and Evangelidis welcomed the opportunity to reflect on this potentially volatile issue before declaring the act an emergency and appointing an interim Unites States Senator.  

As written in the letter delivered to the Governor, the House Republican members stated, “We are concerned that the Legislature’s decision not to enact an emergency preamble prior to you exercising emergency powers under Article 48 may be unconstitutional.”  

“If the Governor wants to be sure his appointment is legitimate, I believe it is prudent to receive the requested advisory opinion from our Supreme Judicial Court prior to making any appointment” said Representative Perry.

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