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Unconstitutionally Ours

This mysteriously was nowhere to be found in the Sun, but the O’Malley administration got cut off at the pass yesterday by the courts:

A Maryland judge yesterday issued a temporary restraining order against Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration, saying the governor acted unconstitutionally in signing an executive order to unionize child care workers.

The order by Judge Dexter M. Thompson Jr. of the Circuit Court for Cecil County bars Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, from enforcing the executive order he signed last month.

“Continuing to enforce the provisions of … the executive order would result in immediate, substantial and irreparable harm to the plaintiffs,” wrote Judge Thompson. The judge stated he made the ruling because the executive order breeches the separation of powers as detailed in the state constitution and because the independent child care workers should not have a union negotiator forced upon them as a result of the order.

Delegate Michael D. Smigiel Sr., Eastern Shore Republican and an attorney, argued the case.

Mr. Smigiel said he brought the case before the court because the executive branch has been “usurping” the powers of the General Assembly.

“It is a victory for the legislative process and following the [Maryland] Constitution,” he also said.

Mr. O’Malley quietly signed two executive orders last month, allowing in-home health care workers and child care providers to form unions.

Mr. Smigiel and others then questioned the constitutionality of the move, saying the governor made an “end-run” around the Assembly by signing the orders.

I’m sure that the same liberals who assail the Bush Administration for allegedly violating the separation of powers between the branches will now chastise the court for not allowing O’Malley to do whatever he wants to do.

Of course, I have no idea what possessed the O’Malley Administration to go around the General Assembly in the first place. I mean, what gives the Executive Branch the unilateral authority to decide who does and does not get to be unionized? Why does he get to decide, and not the people’s elected representatives?

Can you imagine if Governor Ehrlich had unilaterally declared Maryland to be a “right-to-work” state? Organized labor would have descended on Annapolis like you wouldn’t believe, protesting and filing suit after suit after suit?

If child care workers should get the right to unionize (and I’m not saying they shouldn’t) then it needs to be decided in the General Assembly. No matter how strong the Executive Branch is in Maryland, Governor O’Malley is not “The Decider” on issues like this. Perhaps his administration will now respect the separation of powers put forth in our state Constitution….

(Crossposted)






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