January 5, 2007

CLT moves ahead with Board of Bar Overseers complaint

Citizens for Limited Taxation has requested a complaint form from the Office of the Bar Counsel so that we may file a complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers concerning the refusal of 34 legislators to uphold the state Constitution.

Last weekend, we sent letters to the 42 lawyer-legislators who had voted to recess the Constitutional Convention until January 2, reminding them of their sworn constitutional duty to vote on the initiative petitions for constitutional amendments that had been properly placed on the Constitutional Convention agenda.

They had already been reminded of this duty the previous week by the Supreme Judicial Court; we wanted to alert them that if they ignored the Court we would file a complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers, noting that they had violated their oaths as both legislators and lawyers to uphold the Constitution.

Fortunately, one of the initiative petitions, concerning gay marriage, was taken up by the ConCon and the required roll call was taken. Unfortunately, the other initiative petition, concerning health care, was not taken up when the Legislature refused to release it from Committee for the vote.

Of those legislators who voted against discharge, 34 are listed in the Massachusetts Political Almanac as lawyers, or as having graduated from a law school.

We plan to include in our complaint the actions of Governor Deval Patrick, also a lawyer, who urged legislators to violate both their legislative and lawyer oaths, then himself took another oath as governor yesterday to uphold the Constitution. Though he was addressing the marriage amendment, his contempt for the Constitution may have led to the defeat, without proper process, of the health care amendment.

CLT has no position on either the marriage or the health care amendments. Our concern is Article 48 of the Constitution, which is used by citizens from across the political spectrum and is endangered by the actions of the governor and 34 legislators.


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