by Max Brantley
The Tweet this morning from Sen. Michael Lamoureux caught my attention because I didn't know the Senate president pro-tem got to appoint someone to the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which oversees judicial conduct.
Ted Thomas, by the way, is a former legislator. He is also employed as a political campaign consultant and judicial candidates need political consultants. But that's another matter.
The relevant part of state law says this about appointments to the Commission.
Three (3) members shall be lawyers admitted to practice in Arkansas who are not judges or former or retired judges, one (1) of whom shall be appointed by the Attorney General, one (1) by the President of the Senate, and one (1) by the Speaker of the House;
The Constitution makes the lieutenant governor president of the Senate. That's about the only job the office has, to preside over the Senate. A pro-tem is elected from membership to fill in. That's where Lamoureux comes in.
If Lamoureux really did appoint Ted Thomas, we have the makings of a TV sit-com. Because somebody appointed by Lt. Gov. Mark Darr already holds the seat for a lawyer named by the president of the Senate. That would be Thomas Fowler of Jonesboro, appointed by Darr to a six-year term in June 2012.
I've sent a question to Lamoureux about this. He's hitting the law books. Now.
UPDATE from Sen. Lamoureux:
On JDDC, I think you are right but asking staff to review, and find out why I have it in my packet of appointments.
UPDATE II: To my suspicion that there's more at work here politically than meets the eye, Lamoureux says no.
It isn't very interesting
Ann Cornwell [Senate chief of staff] makes me a sheet
I think when she saw president of sen., she mistakenly thought it was me
I called Ted today to see if he could accept
I am actually glad u caught it before it went any farther
Cornwell is junketing today, so I can't ask her further. I confess to some confusion about how something would pop up to alert Cornwell to an opening that won't exist for five years and which has always been filled by the "president of the Senate," a term of Constitutional law that I'd think she understood to mean the lieutenant governor after her long years at the Senate.