We haven’t a strong opinion either way regarding the state allowing a “friends and family” type to officiate at weddings. The track records for lasting marriages performed by a man of the cloth vs. a justice of the peace might be interesting to compare.
What we do object to, as reported in staffer Dave Solomon’s Union Leader story earlier this week, is another example of the state Senate attempting to win in committees what it cannot achieve through the open legislative process.
This time it was the rather serious matter of who gets to sit on the state Supreme Court. The state Constitution and state law are clear on the issue. Justices are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Executive Council.
Justices are forced to step down at age 70, a constitutional requirement from 200 years ago when life spans were shorter. We think it ought to be amended.
But Senate Democrats apparently decided to address the issue by changing the age, to 75, in a statute that allows for retired justices to temporarily fill court vacancies.
They did this not by offering a separate bill that could be scrutinized and vetted in the open. They did it not by giving it public hearings. Instead, they tried to flimflam it through as an amendment to the “friends and family” wedding bill.
When that bill reached a House-Senate conference, House members rightly objected to this “non-germane” addition. Senate conferees agreed to withdraw their little trick, but then reneged. As a result, the “friends and family” legislation died.
Earlier, state Sen. Sharon Carson had called out the Democrats.
“This complete abandonment of the process is unacceptable and should never have been allowed to happen.”
Unfortunately, it seems to be happening more and more with Democrats running the state Senate.