So the state’s Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the Legislature violated Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution when it failed to vote up-or-down on an amendment to ban same-sex marriage (and a bunch of other amendments, too) — but there’s nothing anyone can do about it other than elect new legislators.
I have an observation and a question.
Observation: It’s called the separation of powers, folks.
Question: Here’s what has puzzled me from the beginning. Let’s say Senate president Robert Travaglini is presiding over the constitutional convention. A member rises. Travaglini recognizes her. The member then files a motion for a recess. At this point, what is Travaglini supposed to do? Rule the motion out of order?
And what if he lets the motion go forward? Does each individual member have a constitutional duty to vote against the motion?
Regardless of the SJC’s ruling today, Article 48 is deeply flawed if it carries a constitutional obligation for the Legislature to violate its own internal customs and rules.