Georgia lawmakers have called for the impeachment of state Attorney General Thurbert Baker for his refusal to join 14 other state attorneys general in suing the federal government over the health care reform bill passed by Congress last month.
The resolution to impeach Baker, a Democrat, came from Republican state Rep. Mark Hatfield and was joined by 30 sponsors, all Republican, who have accused Baker of “a very serious breach of trust with the people of Georgia.”
Hatfield said the Georgia constitution requires Baker to follow Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue’s act of challenging the Democratic-backed health care bill.
“I cannot in good conscience file a lawsuit against the United States that I believe has little or no chance of success and will undoubtedly consume significant state resources in a time of severe budgetary crisis,” Baker wrote in a letter to the governor on March 24, according to The New York Times.
Perdue plans to appoint a special attorney general to launch a pro bono lawsuit against Baker on behalf of the state.
Baker is running for governor while Perdue, Georgia’s governor since 2003, is term-limited and will exit the office following November’s election.
Baker told the Associated Press that he is "disappointed that the legislature would respond this way” and decided against a countersuit because the state does not have a “viable legal claim.”?
“If the legislature chooses this route, I look forward to have a very public legal debate about this issue," Baker told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Hatfield said impeachment of Baker is appropriate because the attorney general neglected “his constitutional duty to the office to which he was elected.”?
The resolution to impeach Baker must first pass the Georgia House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a 105-74 majority, not including one independent member. A trial would then commence in the state Senate, where two-thirds of its 56 senators must vote in favor of impeachment. However, Republicans do not hold a two-thirds majority in that chamber, with a 34-21 advantage, not including one seat which is currently vacant.
House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, said he opposes Hatfield’s proposal.?
"Impeachment doesn't serve the people of Georgians,” Ralston said, according to BlackAmericaWeb.com. “I do wish the attorney general would remember that his client is the people of Georgia, not the Obama administration, but I don't think impeachment is the answer.”