State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi ruled in favor of David Paterson this afternoon, declaring that when the governor calls a “special session,” every member of the 62-person State Senate must present him- or herself at the same time — not, he noted, in the Democrat-Republican shifts with which they’ve been handling the situation thus far. “You have a unique opportunity as elected officials to take the high road; do the right thing for the greater good,” Teresi said, according to Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News. “Otherwise there are those citizens of the public who would conclude, if they have not already concluded, that these members have placed their own interests ahead of all other citizens of this state to the benefit of their own personal and selfish interests, and that those same people may also conclude and define that conduct as rude, inconsiderate and egotistical.” (Who could “those people” possibly be?) Of course, lawyers for both Democrats and Republicans immediately vowed to appeal this ruling, and when they do so, the decision will be suspended until a higher court addresses it.
So now, essentially, what Republicans and Democrats are doing is fighting, with all their legal might, to avoid actually having to sit down with one another in a big room together. Let’s play the pros and cons of having them all meet at once.
• A power-sharing agreement could be discussed.
• If it was discussed, it would be done so openly, and not between leaders of both warring factions behind closed doors. Everyone could have a say.
• Maybe even someone could turn on the video feed, so voters could see exactly the kind of deal-making that goes on. You know, how they do it in a democracy.
• If an agreement was reached, the Assembly might actually agree to reconvene so that some bills could actually be passed.
• Paterson would probably agree to stop trying to prevent the Senate from being paid.
• Mayoral control of schools, which expires tomorrow, could be addressed and resolved.
• So could the many other bills that need to be passed by tomorrow, including but not limited to: New York City’s adjusted sales tax, which is needed to balance the city budget; a bill to renew federal support for special education; and a bill to allow the city to continue to sell bonds to raise money.
• They could put to rest the contentious issues of vacancy decontrol and gay marriage.
• They could stop making the Empire State look like a fool in front of the rest of the nation.
• The State Senate might actually have to show up and do some work this summer.
Remind us, again, why we aren’t highly paid lawyers?