Partisanship arrives in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Partisanship arrives in Arkansas

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Gov. Mike Beebe said today in an interview on the Arkansas Radio Network that he thought voters would punish legislators who emulated Washington and acted in an overtly partisan way in the Arkansas legislature.

I think that theory will be tested.

Illustration: Most Republicans, led by minority leader John Burris, tried to block the seating of Democrat Leslee Post from District 83 yesterday. They want to seat Republican Tom Fite, who was removed from the ballot by Judge Collins Kilgore in a lawsuit challenging Fite's eligibility. Fite likely would have won, but that's immaterial. Republicans contend courts have no power over who sits in the legislature. That theory turns the law on its head, of course. Courts may interpret the state Constitution and prohibit its violation. Fite's ineligibility was clear. He was convicted in federal court — on a guilty plea — of Medicaid bribery. The Constitution says:

No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this State.

Fite was properly removed. Don't try to convince John Burris and 28 other Republicans. They are so partisan that they'd prefer to seat a convicted briber who defrauded the Medicaid program over a Democrat.


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