From the office of Del. Rick Impallaria:
Today, Wednesday, March 31, 2010, Delegate Don Dwyer introduced impeachment charges against the Attorney General of the State of Maryland, Douglas F. Gansler. Delegate Dwyer, before the entire body of the House of Delegates, read out clearly and concisely the authority of the body to bring impeachment charges against a constitutionally elected Officer of the State and also clearly laid out the reasons why Mr. Gansler should be impeached by the House of Delegates. To be absolutely clear about what impeachment means, it is similar to a Grand Jury looking at the facts of a case and voting that the case should be sent to trial. The House acts as a Grand Jury, and the Senate acts as the prosecuting body, which would render a final judgment of innocence or guilt, and determine what the proper punishment should be.
In my opinion, Delegate Dwyer has acted properly and in a professional manner to defend the State Constitution, to defend the legal authority of the General Assembly, and to protect the separation of powers as they have been set forth in the Constitution.
Mr. Gansler testified in favor of gay marriage legislation, a position that his office should not have taken, as it is the Attorney General’s job to interpret law, not to be part of the process of making law. When his position in defense of gay marriage was rejected, or not acted upon, by the General Assembly, Mr. Gansler took it upon himself to override the authority of the General Assembly, to override the authority granted him by the Constitution, and, overturning the opinion of a former Attorney General, writing an opinion which said Maryland must immediately recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
Whether you support gay marriage or believe marriage is between a man and woman, that issue alone has little importance in the matter of the impeachment before us. The question is, in this willful disregard of the Constitution by Mr. Gansler, did he act inappropriately and neglect his Constitutional responsibilities and strip away the Constitutional authorities granted to the General Assembly to make and pass laws?
As if this situation is not serious enough, once the question of impeachment was raised, Mr. Gansler then wrote a second opinion that he himself was unimpeachable and that the General Assembly had no authority to take such action against him. When one man declares that he has the authority to make law above the authority of the Constitution, and then follows by saying that no one has the authority to object, or to take him to task, he clearly moves upon a system which is losing its Constitutional authority and moving toward dictatorship.
I, along with 30 other members, stood up in support of moving for impeachment. Unfortunately, in violation of the Constitution, Speaker Busch refused to allow a vote to be taken on the impeachment and moved that the matter be taken before the House Judiciary Committee, denying to those members who do not sit on the Judiciary Committee, the right and opportunity to fully participate in the impeachment process, denying the citizens of the State of Maryland their full Constitutional rights under this process, and further stripping the duly elected members of the General Assembly and the people that they represent, of their authority to carry out a legal and proper impeachment according to the Constitution. The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., has such a long history of championing criminals at the expense of law abiding citizens, that I do not have the time to go into detail.
I am providing you with a shortened version of Delegate Dwyer’s reasons and Constitutional authorities for bringing this impeachment action. If you would like a full copy of it, please contact me at 410-841-3334 and we will be happy to send it to you. If you would like to communicate with Delegate Dwyer, you can reach him at 410-841-3407. Speaker Busch can be reached at 410-841-3800 and Delegate Vallario’s number is 410-841-3488.
At least it’s nice to know that there are 30 members of the House who still support our Constitution.
Excerpts from Delegate Dwyer’s Motion for Impeachment.
Dear Colleagues, I would like to address the authority from which I speak and address you today. In order to do so, I had asked that copies of the Maryland Constitution and the House Rules be distributed to your desks. Unfortunately, that was not permitted by the Speaker.
The authority for my actions today is as follows:
House Rules page 69 – Regarding a Right to Petition
Declaration of Rights under Article 13 Regarding a Redress of Grievance
Article I, Section 9 of the Maryland Constitution Regarding Oath Requirements
Article 1, Section 11 of the Maryland Constitution Regarding a Violating the Oath of Office
Article 3, Section 26 of the Maryland Constitution Regarding Impeachment
Article 8 of the Declaration of Rights Regarding the Separation of Powers
Article V, Section 3 of the Maryland Constitution Regarding the Attorney General’s Authority
Right to Petition
Page 71 of House Rules referencing Declaration of Rights, Article 13 states: “That every man hath a right to petition the Legislature for the redress of grievances in a peaceable and orderly manner.” I argue that I intend to bring a redress of grievance and that the vehicle for the grievance is a House Simple Resolution that is yet to come.
Page 23 of the House Rules, under Rule 25 RESOLUTIONS states: (3) A resolution reflecting an independent action of the House authorized by these Rules, or by the Constitution or other applicable law, shall be introduced as a House Simple Resolution. Clearly, impeachment is an independent action of the House authorized by these Rules, and by the Constitution.
Authority to Impeach
Since we are bound by the State Constitution and the rules of the House, I would like to first refer to page 80 in the House Rules under IMPEACHMENT states: “The House of Delegates shall have the sole power to impeachment in all cases; but a majority of all the members elected must concur in the impeachment. All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate, and when sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath, or affirmation, to do justice according to the law and evidence; but no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Senators elected.”
Ironically, this is the exact language of Article 3 Section 26 of the Maryland Constitution. Please note that the House Rules clearly provide for the authority of the House to bring impeachment charges in ALL cases. There are no exclusions in the House Rules pertaining to the Attorney General.
The office of the Attorney General has written that the Attorney General may not be removed by Impeachment by the legislature. Yet, on August 23, 1973, at the request of Governor Marvin Mandel, then Attorney General Francis Burch wrote: “There is considerable authority that all high state officers i.e., those whose offices have been provided for in the State Constitution or who have been elected to office by the people at large, may be removed by impeachment.”
The following are just some of the cases supporting the Attorney General’s finding:
Kirby v. Henderson, 124, N.W. 767, 770 (Iowa 1910)
Ralston v. Blain, 370 P. 2d 415, 417 (Kansas 1962)
Atty. Gen. v. Tufts, 131 N.E. 573, 574 (Mass. 1921)
This is consistent with the writing of Mr. Dan Friedman who is counsel to the General Assembly. In his book The Maryland State Constitution – A Reference Guide where on page 104 he states, “The Attorney General of Maryland relying on extensive out of state authority, has opined that any officer elected by the people at large or whose office is created by the state Constitution is subject to impeachment under 26.”
Article 3 Section 26 states, “The House of Delegates shall have the sole power of impeachment in all cases” and provided for the Charge of Impeachment to be brought before the House.
Article 5 Section 1 of the State Constitution provides for the removal of the Attorney General in the Senate when the Senate is seated for that purpose under Oath. It is under the authority of the Senate to be seated for the purpose of a trial, that the Senate becomes the court of Law, only for the purpose of convicting or acquitting the elected official charged by the House.