In April (see here), I blamed the Democrats for failing to act on Constitutional Reform and losing any voice in the revision of the Alabama Constitution. I wrote:
After years of having majorities sufficient to pass authentic constitutional reform in Alabama, but failing to address the issue at all, Alabama Democrats are to blame thank for whatever emerges as our new constitution. According to this article, the Alabama Republicans, seeing the strategic importance of constitutional reform, are quickly moving to seize control this issue.
The prospects for rational and deeply-considered revisions looked bleak back then.
Representatives and Senators from Prattville, Mobile, Auburn, Daphne, Homewood, and St.Clair County: now that is diversity of Alabama for you? Where is the black belt’s voice? Where is urban Alabama’s representative? For that matter: where is rural Alabama’s influence? These representatives will produce a constitution ideal for their respective constituents: affluent, white suburbia.
We can only hope that the internal backbiting, purity-tests, and power-jockeying within the Republican Party will cause some opening for reason. Maybe Gov. Bentley, his puny three appointees, and Rep. DeMarco can, at least, be a temporary roadblock against he juggernaut of the super-majority, 11 appointees from the Riley/Hubbard/Marsh/ Bradley Byrne faction of the Party.
Robert Bentley has now made his appointments. These appointments do not exactly bring balance to the Commission for which I had hoped. While former Governor Albert Brewer has been a long-time champion for constitutional reform, the other two appointments certainly counter-balance the wisdom he might bring to the commission. The remaining two:
- “Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka . . . is currently President of the Wetumpka Tea Party.”
- “Vicki Drummond, of Jasper, is an active member of the Alabama Policy Institute and the Heritage Foundation.”
Bentley said in a statement. “Vicki Drummond and Becky Gerritson have a dedicated passion and vision for exploring the need to reform the Alabama constitution.”
Governor, when have these ladies shown this “dedicated passion and vision” for constitutional reform? In what forum? Usually constitutional reform has not been a high priority of many Tea Party groups.
(UPDATE: according to Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman for Bentley, this Tea Party President and the API/Heritage Foundation activist have “an appreciation for what government should and should not do in the daily life of everyday Alabamians.”)
But it gets better.
Senator March named his appointees as well. He named
- Carolyn McKinstry, a survivor of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963;
- Matthew Lembke, an attorney at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. A appellate attorney with impressive credentials yet a member of the Federalist Society and typically represents major corporations. For instance, he “defended textile manufacturer in an environmental action alleging tresspass and nuisance claims relating to discharge of textile wastewater into a public lake. On appeal from a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and rendered judgment in favor of the defendant textile manufacturer.”
- Jim Pratt, a Birmingham attorney, president of the Alabama State Bar and past president of the Alabama Association for Justice, a group representing trial lawyers.
- Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham;
- Democratic pollster John Anzalone
- Balch and Bingham attorney Greg Butrus, a registered lobbyist for Alabama Power.
A registered lobbyist? In the words of Keyshawn Johnson: “C’mon Man!”
Does this list look “inclusive and reflect the racial, gender, economic and geographic diversity of Alabama” and the Senate resolution demands?
Members from Rural Alabama? Zero. (Okay: one if you count Governor Albert Brewer being Morgan County.)
African-Americans Members? One out of 16 or (6.25%) while African-American represent 26% of the population in Alabama.
Female Members? Four (25%) while the lady folk represent 51% of the population generally.
White suburbia and corporations? I will let you count.
If this Commission reflects the “diversity” of Alabama, then Alabama is one big white, suburban enclave with as many registered lobbyists as there are African-Americans.
Thanks again, Democratic Majorities of years past.