A cat-fight on the Connecticut Supreme Court is now taking the shape of something like a constitutional crisis, thanks to the two knucklehealds chairing the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. They want the Justices to come testify about how work gets done on the Court, and how the Justices get along.Legislative Over-Reaching
Let's hope we do not get the government we deserve and that the Court has the sense to reject the invitation to testify.
It all started when the current acting chief justice wrote a letter to the Judiciary Committee complaining that the out-going chief had delayed publication of a controversial opinion. Why? One of the Justices voting in favor of the opinion had been nominated to be the new chief. Why publish the opinion right away if it would hurt the nominee, reasoned the out-going chief? (See, Connecticut Supreme Court Cat Fight, below.)
The former chief justice is William Sullivan. He has acknowledge manipulating the docket to help his favorite son become the new chief.
This is a discredit to the Court. It confirms the suspicion that the doing of justice is something other than dispassionate. In a moment, Oz has been exposed: Sullivan, the venal little man behind the veil manipulating levers in the service of something small and insignificant.
But this does not and should not require the Justices of the Court to testify before the Legislature. The very suggestion that they should do so is little more than Legislative arrogance.
The Connecticut Legislaure toppled a governor not long ago. No doubt the surge of power associated with this felt good. It might well gratify the ambition of some lawmakers to bloody the nose of the Court now, too.
This is not a crisis of constitutional dimension. No high crime or misdemeanor has been alleged. We have learned, simply, that a former chief justice can behave poorly. This should not become an occasion for Legislative aggrandizement.
May I suggest the following memo?
From: Court to Legislature
Re: Testimony of Justices
No, a thousand times no. Just what are you folks smoking over there?