Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Importance of Ophelia Ford's Ouster

Inside Baseball

This is a new column by Matthew White from the Tennessee Political Blog called Inside Baseball (for reasons unknown to me). In any event, it's the first thing I've read from a credible source of the real implications of the Senate vote last week to void the election of Ophelia Ford.

Basically, the state legislature has to stand up to the Federal Courts, and for this reason alone, the precedence has been set now that our state elected leaders have a true separation of powers as opposed to the court system intervening when there is a dispute amongst the political factions.

Very interesting reading, and I have quoted below for your convenience so you really don't have link to the article by White. However, if you do, he also handicaps the 23rd Senate District race (Jim Bryson's seat). Oh yes, I agree with White also on the fact that Ophelia Ford has gained so much publicity over her challenge, that she is a shoe-in if she would just shut up and get back to Memphis and plan for the next election.

"The State Senate finally voided Ophelia Ford's election to that body in a convincing bipartisan vote. This is an important moment in Tennessee political history and not for the reasons you might think, namely the Ford family finally getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

A federal judge blocked a similar vote in January despite the Senate's explicit constitutional authority to overturn the election. It is important for the Tennessee Legislature to stand up to federal courts that have been governing the state by fiat. It has happened with prisons, education, healthcare, children's services and election law, among others. There are few agencies of state government that aren't under some form of federal court order. If federal courts want to stand in the way of the legislature's legitimate constitutional functions, then let them enforce the order.

More important than that is the dilution of votes that are attendant to voter fraud. People who go to the trouble to cast an informed ballot deserve to have their full vote counted. When an illegal vote is cast, by a living person or otherwise, every other vote is cheapened. If we are to have 'one man/woman, one vote' as we should, only living, breathing residents of the district should have their votes counted.

Ophelia Ford has not seen the last of the State Senate. If she's smart, she'll drop this charade and win her election - honestly - in November and continue on in the family business.