Your morning jolt: The complications of impeaching Thurbert Baker

Crucial details – a name would be handy, for instance – are missing, but rumors are swirling that Friday could see an attempt by House members to impeach Attorney General Thurbert Baker for his refusal to join a legal challenge to the new federal health care law.

PeachPundit says a piece of paper is floating around with 30 names on it.

We’ll add some background to the mix: On Wednesday, a spokesman insisted that Gov. Sonny Perdue harbored no ill will toward Baker, a Democratic candidate for governor. Said Bert Brantley:

“We asked him to participate and go with us, and he has not chosen to do that. And that’s fine. That’s his — he’s been the attorney general for a long time. He certainly knows his stuff. He’s also a candidate for governor. And so we know there are multiple things that he’s thinking about, looking at. And that’s fine.”

Perdue and former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich have a joint press conference this morning. The governor is likely to announce that he’ll pursue a legal challenge on his own.

Secondly, any attempt to impeach Baker would eat up much of the crucial 30th day of business in the House. And that could affect another lengthy, previously scheduled debate on the creation of Milton County.

Impeachment also requires a simple majority vote in the House, and a two-thirds vote by the Senate. The numbers argue futility.

In Washington, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer voiced concern Thursday over warnings of violent reprisals against members of Congress who voted for landmark health care legislation, saying the threats are being taken “very seriously.”

Ten House members are reportedly receiving beefed-up protection. We’re assured that U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, who had a nasty encounter with a tea party crowd on Saturday, was not among them.

Wednesday was not a good day for Gov. Sonny Perdue. As my AJC colleague Nancy Badertscher notes:

The Georgia House handed Gov. Sonny Perdue a major defeat Wednesday, rejecting his proposal to merge the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The 108-59 vote against his plan followed more than an hour of heated debate on the floor.

Advocates for the change argued that it would eliminate unnecessary duplication of bureaucracy and help streamline operations. Critics said it would create a giant agency and might not save money.

Tom Baxter of InsiderAdvantage adds these tidbits:

This bill had not attracted much attention before last week, when WSB-TV reported that the governor’s office put pressure on the state Pardons and Paroles Foundation – which is not a part of state government – to fire lobbyist Wendy Clifton, who had been hired to work against the measure.

Legislators were also informed through e-mails of a transition team which had been working on the proposed consolidation even before the bill was introduced, and opponents complained of other strong-arm tactics. Opponents in the hall even passed around a photograph of a car already marked with the emblem of the newly combined department.

That wasn’t the worst for the governor. Travis Fain of the Macon Telegraph picked up signals that Perdue’s transportation initiative may be falling apart:

[T]he House and Senate both re-appointed conference committees for a couple of pieces of transportation legislation: House Resolution 206 and House Bill 277. Those were the vehicles for last year’s version of a transportation funding plan, which then Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson seemed to put on hold at the end of the session.

If the House and Senate are getting ready to fire that conference committee back up, that means they don’t think the governor’s transportation bill is going anywhere.

The Georgia Hospital Association’s acquiescence to the bed tax? It came with some serious strings, according to my colleague Aaron Sheinin:

As part of an agreement struck between lawmakers and the state’s hospitals for the medical centers to accept a new tax on patient revenue for the next three years, lawmakers have agreed to protect hospitals from “bills harmful to hospitals” for three years, according to a copy of a memo obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Late Wednesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue issued a writ setting May 11 as the date for a special election to fill the state Senate seat of David Adelman of Decatur. Adelman was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. ambassador to Singapore.

Jason Carter, grandson of the former president, and attorney Thomas Stubbs have already spent months campaigning for the seat.

Another possible reason for Ralph Reed’s decision to opt out of the 7th District congressional race? It may have interfered with his book tour — for a sequel to last year’s “Dark Horse.” Here’s the promo that Reed sent out last night:

And finally, former Hawks star Dominique Wilkins has a photo op at the state Capitol this afternoon with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other state legislators. Wilkins will be named Georgia’s diabetes ambassador.

Lawmakers are currently debating bills – one pitched by the governor – to permit Georgians to buy health insurance policies from insurance companies in other states. Critics say the measures would allow insurance companies circumvent coverage now mandated by the state – for such diseases as, say, diabetes.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

199 comments Add your comment

James

March 25th, 2010
9:49 am

“Perdue and former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich have a joint press conference this morning.”

*face palm*

Morrus

March 25th, 2010
9:51 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

The Snark

March 25th, 2010
9:51 am

Here’s a challenge for all you people calling for Thurbert Baker’s head:

Mark your calendars for March 24, 2011. That’s a year from now. On that day, if no court in the land has accepted any part of the constitutional challenges now being made to the healthcare bill, then every one of you will owe Baker an apology for accusing him of politics when he was just doing his job. If the courts have struck it down, then Baker will owe you an apology.

Fair?

bart

March 25th, 2010
9:51 am

Thank God Baker has the guts to stand up to the ignorant rednecks running this state. He is the only one in Atlanta who is exhibiting any leadership. Why waste taxpayer money on a lawsuit that has little or no chance of going anywhere. Let’s use that money to keep from furloughing teachers.

about time

March 25th, 2010
9:52 am

From Jay Bookmans column: (The amendment was sponsored by state Sen. Judson Hill, who three years earlier had introduced legislation that would have — wait for it — forced Georgians to buy health insurance, even giving state officials the power to garnish wages of those who refused. At the time, Hill attributed the legislation to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is now one of the sternest critics of “Obamacare”. In other words, mandated health insurance was a good idea until it became part of the Democratic health-reform bill, at which point it became unconstitutional and the most dire threat to American liberty since General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.)
These Republican legislators have lost their mind. Pure politics without regard for the welfare of the citizens of Georia.

AngryVoter

March 25th, 2010
10:01 am

Impeachment is not something that should be done over a political disagreement. Baker did not commit malfeasance. Anyone who wastes time, money or energy on impeachment for this should themselves be thrown from office. Those people obviously do not understand politics, governing or wasting taxpayer money.

Tony

March 25th, 2010
10:05 am

Get the Republicans Out. There making our once great state an embarassment.

bart

March 25th, 2010
10:06 am

About Time, you are so correct. There is much in this legislation that Republicans were pushing until it became part of the Democratic health bill. They are not only ignorant but they are hypocrites of the worst order.

Andre

March 25th, 2010
10:07 am

Impeach Baker? Impeach Purdue, Republicans and Democrats both have a severe dislike of Purdue!

Jim

March 25th, 2010
10:08 am

Thank God for Attorney General Baker. Most of us do not want the state to sue to take away our health care rights. Why do Republicans want to side with big insurance companies and not with the people? Why Republicans want to restore the big insurance companies right to deny me because of a pre-existing condition? Why do Republicans want insurance companies to be able to cancel my coverage if I get sick?

James

March 25th, 2010
10:09 am

“If the country today were to move to the left, Newt would sense it before it started happening and lead the way.” – Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 1970s.

http://www.realchange.org/gingrich.htm

Mr. Baker good job

March 25th, 2010
10:09 am

He is doing the job of the A.G. of this state.The law is higher than politics. Thank you Mr, Baker!

Jon

March 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Oh, Sonny…never change. Just get out of office ASAP.

Th

March 25th, 2010
10:12 am

Jim, are you going to ask Perdue why he doesn’t just prove the Republicans can write a better health care plan instead of spending all that money on a law suit? The law that passed has an opt out written and inserted by Ron Wyden from Oregon that any state that thinks they can do as well as Obamacare can opt out and do their own plan. Maybe Newt can take it national.

Chuck

March 25th, 2010
10:12 am

You can’t impeach an Attorney General just because he made a decision you don’t agree with. Politicians have made a lot of decisions that many people don’t agree with. Should we impeach all of them for that?

AG Baker was elected to his office by Georgia voters the same way Gov. Perdue was.

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

March 25th, 2010
10:17 am

Impeachment talk is a waste. That said, Baker’s chances to be a force in the Governor’s race just went down the toilet. This November will be a butt-kicking of epic proportions for the Dem’s in this state.

Georgia will either join another state in a suit or else hire counsel with more qualifications than Baker ON A PRO BONO basis. Maybe their suit will demand the Fed Gov’t force everyone in all 50 states to buy peanuts and peaches even if they don’t want them.

Shawn

March 25th, 2010
10:17 am

These Republicans are really looking HORRIBLE these days. To impeach someone just because they don’t agree with you is simply CHILDISH. They keep saying “This is what Georgians want” I’d like to know what Georgians have they asked because they didn’t ask me nor anyone in my family. So who are they asking, Republicans???? Smh…these people could care LESS about this bill…could have been a bill on free parking in the country & they STILL wouldn’t have passed it because the man in office is NOT one of them…he’s not republican & he’s not white. God bless the Democrats & President Obama. You shouldn’t be faced with such disrespect for doing your job.

MiltonMan

March 25th, 2010
10:17 am

Purdue & the repubs are the only one playing politics??? Baker is merely a puppet for the Demorats here in Georgia. He will lose mightly to King Rat in the primary.

Tony, GA was once great but has been trashed by the repubs??? Please explain this with specific examples. Barnes did nothing while he was in office & got thrown out. Purdue won re-election; something that Barnes could not do – even the teachers turned vs. him.

With the Winners

March 25th, 2010
10:20 am

What’s up with all the angry Republicans?
They lost!
Did Peyton Manning try to punch Drew Brees
in the nose after the Super Bowl?
No, he walked off the field.
Get to the lockers, Republicans!
The American People don’t like sore losers.

JustMe

March 25th, 2010
10:21 am

There is really nothing Sonny can do since the amendment to opt out of the healthcare bill failed in Georgia.

Georgia had its chance to opt out and granted the amendment didn’t pass because it was supported by mostly Democrats they still had their chance and they failed.

You can blame the Democrats all you want, but the Republicans are in control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives here in Georgia and ultimately it is their responsibility.

JustMe

March 25th, 2010
10:22 am

Perdue may have won re-election, but if he were running again he wouldn’t.

lin

March 25th, 2010
10:27 am

thats usa and state govts for you. back bitters and stabbers and can not agree on anything. why bother having a us govt or state govt its waste of time and money. we put these people in office so then we can remove them also. lets stop voting for a name read up on the person before you vote. i feel lot these people do not have proper educations to be in office. let the public vote in new rules etc. course then their be same problem back bitters and stabbers. usa is gone downhill where all govt. is concerned. its due with who gets most votes for being liked not who gets most votes for job well done. 2 yrs is long enough for any person to hold office from president all way down the line in usa and state politics. course we could put them all on those big ocean liners and drift them out to sea and let them settle their differences lol. people are led astray buy the policial govts. if i spelled anything wrong blame the govt! have good day life goes on with its ups and downs

Morons

March 25th, 2010
10:27 am

A little advice for Mr. Baker: If you want to get elected in this state, you might want to get on board.

Jim,
It is unfortunate that you feel the way you do. If insurance companies covered all pre-existing conditions, all of our rates would shoot through the roof!! Not to mention MY employer (a small business) would find it much easier to let me and others go because of the taxes levied upon him. Healthcare is NOT a right!! It is just selfish of anyone who would put the burden of cost for this legislation on their children. It is irresponsible. Let me put it into perspective for you. We were one of the only countries that did not have socialized medicine. We went from a NEWLY founded country to the GREATEST country in the world in 200 YEARS!!!! Not once having socialized healthcare. People came from all over the world to see our doctors. Now ask yourself, “Why are we the best country in the world?” Because of CAPITALISM and FREE MARKET ECONOMICS. And I will be da**** if I am going to let Obama, aka. Mr. Handout tell me I have to buy health insurance.
One final note: Do you happen to know who is not subject to this legislation (To put it simply, who will NOT be taxed and forced to buy insurance)? The people who wrote the bill, along with the President. So this change is good enough for us common folk, but Mr. Pres. and Nancy (the Devil) Pelosi aren’t subject to the rule of law. That should tell you a little something about this Pile of Garbage that has been shoved down our throats.

chc4

March 25th, 2010
10:28 am

Democrats are complete and total idiots. Makes perfect sense that Obama is their leader.

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

March 25th, 2010
10:29 am

You people in the tickle pile all giddy about the HC legislation will be the first ones squeeling like little piggies when more and more cuts are made in the state’s budget in order to comply w/ this legislation. Just like the college students jumping up and down about money cuts. People footing the bill only have so much money and the state can’t print money like Washington.

Puddin Tain

March 25th, 2010
10:29 am

I have been waiting for the leader of the Republican Party to step up and calm things down. And then I remembered there IS no leader of the Republican Party. Unless you count Rush Limbaugh, who, by the way promised to leave the country if Health Care Reform passed. Last time I checked, he was still here and spouting venom.

RetiredSoldier

March 25th, 2010
10:30 am

Snark-

Fair if you agree the invasion of Iraq was not unconstitutional.

Fair?

lmno

March 25th, 2010
10:33 am

pathetic

Repubican congress passes a trillion dollar medicine give-away for all seniors in 2006. They do NOTHING to fund it. No tax increases. Nothing.

Free drugs for all seniors and nothing to pay for it.

Not a peep was spoken from those that are now up in arms in outrage.

WHY?

Brian

March 25th, 2010
10:33 am

“Thank God for Attorney General Baker. Most of us do not want the state to sue to take away our health care rights.” Jim @ 10:08 am

There is no right to Health Care. Look it up, the US Constitution, big document on display in Washington. Can’t miss it, its in a big white building in a big glass case. If your not sure what it means, ask one the middle school field trips there, I bet they know it better than you do Jim.

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:36 am

Morons (how fitting): So. We don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Rather, we let people die. Is that correct? Are we a better country because we let the “weak” die and the strong (rich) live? It’s nice to think we are the best country in the world, but those are just words. We have the most advanced healthcare system in the world. However, we only make it available to the the most fortunate among us. Is that truly greatness?

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

March 25th, 2010
10:36 am

The Republican Party doesn’t want to “calm things down”…they want to keep this in the publics view so everyone can hopefully open their eyes and digest what has been forced upon them. Get a job and pay for your own insurance…..I don’t have any more money to hand out.

retiredds

March 25th, 2010
10:39 am

If this legislature and the governor can’t pass a reasonable transportation bill in this session they ought not to be thrown out of office. They should RESIGN for failure to enact one of the two most important bills this session: transportation funding and the water issues. And I say further that if they can’t, or won’t, pass meaningful transportation legislation they have failed GA and its citizens miserably.

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:40 am

Chc4…wow…what a thoughtful and interesting comment. That must have really taxed your brain, eh? Your ability to clearly and effectively state your case is simply amazing. That is the kind of message that is so very helpful during these difficult times.

ATL

March 25th, 2010
10:41 am

Perhaps Sonny can Impeach his fellow republicans in the State Legislature– they won’t do anything he says either….

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:42 am

ZZZzzzz…Violence is not the answer. Not in the world’s leading democracy. If you have to threaten people to get your way…you are, by definition, wrong.

RetiredSoldier

March 25th, 2010
10:44 am

Puddin-

What democratic leader stepped up and calmed down the anti-Bush crowd. No one is the answer, ye without sin cast the first stone.

Kevin

March 25th, 2010
10:44 am

I voted for Thurbert Baker twice for Attorney General. Today, I wouldn’t vote for him to be dog catcher. However, he is doing the right thing by not wasting our tax dollars suing about something that is obviously constitutional. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it unconstitutional. What amazes me is that the Patriot Act had provisions that totally ignored the constitution and took away our rights as Americans in the name of safety. Where was the out rage then? This is all just polical grand standing and to be honest it is just ignorant.

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:44 am

Brian…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Pretty tough to manage if you have a chronic disease. Check it out, dude.

David

March 25th, 2010
10:45 am

This is what happen when all the kids started getting trophies….you lost your canidate was an idoit great american but an idoit. Now you go around saying this aint the change you voted for. We know because your canidate lost.

WAW

March 25th, 2010
10:45 am

In the Civil War, the South lost over 100 years ago. Many Georgians fought for the Union, “one nation”. If the Corporate Republican wants to go at it again, this is one Georgian (born and raised) who will once again stand for the the Union. Sonny and the Flagger Republicans can sue all they want but not with tax money (but then Sonny has made enough on the side as Governor and the Georgia Bankers Association have enough to foot the bill).

MiltonMan

March 25th, 2010
10:47 am

retire, what exactly did Barnes do for transportation when he was in office. Let’s summarize:

(1) Used eminent domain to throw people out of their houses who were unfortunate to live in the propsed Northern Arc. How is that project doing?
(2) Siphoned off monies from the GA 400 Toll Authority for Atlantic Station. Real ethical there.

Let’s see who the Demorats got running for Gov. King Rat Barnes (not him again) & AG Baker. I wish that Sonny could run again.

MiltonMan

March 25th, 2010
10:50 am

Kevin, oh yes the Patriot Act. The same Patriot Act that Obozo just extended for another year??? Fuuny to see the Demorats blaming the repubs on this & the wars. Obozo said he would have us out in 16 months. How is that going?

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:50 am

Retired….can you site a case where violence was either committed or even threatened against Bush or his followers by an Democrat? Were gas lines cut? Were racial epithets used? Did the leaders in congress egg on people who were threatening violence? We disagreed and disagreed loudly, but we never tried to get our way through physical threats. Yell, scream, vote and demonstrate. But don’t stoop to the level of threats.

knobsaw

March 25th, 2010
10:51 am

It is hard to believe how much race plays a factor in our society. We’ve seen an unfounded, unneccessary and unpopular war declared which has cost billions of dollars to fund and accomplished absolutely nothing but increased the national debt. Now this President passes some legislation that actually helps Americans and the “minority” in the US Government is out for blood. How hypocritical can a group of people be, I guess as much as those who penned a document that stated that “we are all created equal” but then in the same document state that one group is only 3/5 of a human being. To our President, continue doing what you are doing and always rememeber, “Without struggle, there can never be progress” Frederick Douglass

Byron Mathison Kerr

March 25th, 2010
10:51 am

Calling for impeachment for any other reason besides misconduct in office is very bad leadership on the part of our elected officials.

Precedents reveal that suing the Federal government over the passage and implementation of the health care reform bill would be a loss of precious time and money. I would not call that misconduct in office.

MBA

March 25th, 2010
10:52 am

To all liberals stop working now so you can recieve free healh care.

Melvin O Jenkins Sr

March 25th, 2010
10:53 am

If anyone should be inpeached is it should be our Governer. To even purpose such an outlandish purposal is foolish. The Republicans are showing there true racial colors. I think that it is time for the state of Georgia to wake up and vote these sub-humans republicans out of office.

Quantarious Mack

March 25th, 2010
10:53 am

FU Thurbert Baker. You are nothing but a thug….typical of your kind.

Pete and repeat

March 25th, 2010
10:54 am

Quantarious Mack – What KIND are you referring to?

Tony

March 25th, 2010
10:54 am

The lawsuit against the healthcare legislation is going nowhere. In other states, the attorneys general are using this as a political puck. It would be a waste of Georgia’s precious economic resources to pursue this on taxpayers’ dollars. However, it will cost the citizens of Georgia much less if the state allows GOP lawyers to file suit against this bill. God knows Randy Evans and Glenn Richardson could use the work.