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25 March 2010

Impeachment! It's Like A Bad Episode Of Seinfeld Under The Gold Dome

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Morty got impeached over some trumped-up charges? Something like that is happening at the state Capitol these days.

Citing the need to waste time and tax dollars, Republican state lawmakers began looking into the possibility of impeaching Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D - Georgia) for his refusal to file suit against the newly enacted health care law.

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R - Georgia) and the state's GOP congressional delegation called on Attorney General Baker to join thirteen other state attorneys general across the nation in challenging the new health care law's constitutionality.

"I am today renewing my December request to the Attorney General that he join other states in reviewing the constitutionality of this travesty. My office has already begun to review any and all legal options to challenge this legislation," Perdue said in a news release Monday.

"The Democrats' health care bill is nothing less than an unmitigated attack on individual freedom, choices, and the quality of health care in this nation," said Congressman Tom Price (R - Georgia). "Families in Georgia deserve to have their constitutional rights protected against a federal government that is imposing its will through new mandates."

Price chairs the Republican Study Committee, a group of over 115 congressional Republicans organized for the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Attorney General Baker responded to Price and Perdue thusly:

Based upon my understanding of the current Act, I am unaware of any constitutional infirmities and do not think it would be prudent, legally or fiscally, to pursue such litigation. I must therefore respectfully decline your request.

While I understand that the new law is the subject of ongoing debate here in Georgia and around the nation, I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States. Considering our state's current severe budgetary crisis, with vital services like education and law enforcement being cut deeply, I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit.

In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers' hard-earned money in the process.

Galloway, Jim (2010-3-24). Thurbert Baker's answer to Sonny Perdue: Health care lawsuit a waste of money. Political Insider. Retrieved on 2010-3-25.

According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution political insider Jim Galloway, Baker's response prompted a group of GOP state legislators to consider articles of impeachment against the Attorney General [Galloway, Jim (2010-3-24). An 'impeach Thurbert Baker' movement?. Political Insider. Retrieved on 2010-3-25.].

Georgia, much like most states in the union, is facing a sizable budget deficit [McCaffrey, Shannon (2010-1-8). At Georgia Capitol, 2010 Looks Bleak. ABC News. Retrieved on 2010-3-25.]. Our unemployment rate has exceeded the national average for 29 straight months. Our Republican-controlled legislature suffers from a significant lack of ethics [McCaffrey, Shannon (2009-12-3). Georgia House Speaker Out After Attempted Suicide, Alleged Affair. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2010-3-25.]. And our roads are becoming increasingly clogged. Still the Republicans want to spend their time --excuse me, the people's time and the people's money-- on impeachment.

For the past few days, I've heard the GOP castigate Democrats for allegedly subverting the will of the people by passing the health care law. Yet here the Republicans are, in Georgia, contemplating the removal of an elected official (Baker was first elected attorney general in 1998, and won re-election in 2002 & 2006 garnering 55.6% and 57.2% of the vote respectively) for not getting the people of Georgia involved in a frivolous and money-burning lawsuit.

Talk about a case of do as I say and not as I Perdue.