House GOP lawmakers file bill of impeachment against Thurbert Baker

A House Republican on Tuesday filed a resolution to bring articles of impeachment against Attorney General Thurbert Baker, for his refusal to file a legal challenge to the new federal health care law – as directed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

State Rep. Mark Hatfield, sponsor of HR 1886, says Baker is bound by the state constitution to file legal at the request of the governor. Says the measure:

Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Ben Gray/AJC

Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Ben Gray/AJC

“By failing and refusing to perform his constitutional and statuatry duties, Attorney General Baker has abdicated his authority and has committed an act against the state of Georgia….

Attorney General Baker’s shameful abdication of his lawful duties shows him unfit to serve the state of Georgia in the position of attorney general.”

Hatfield said 30 other House members have also signed onto the bill of impeachment, all Republican. Baker is a Democratic candidate for governor.

With only nine days left in the legislative session, and a tremendous budget gap yet to be resolved, the Waycross lawmaker said whether the bill would move would depend on the wishes of the Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

Baker, in a telephone interview, said: “It’s very disappointing to see some members of the Legislature respond in a way that’s not beneficial to the state. This is not productive – it’s not going to solve any of the crushing problems we face – water, transportation and education.”

The 13-year attorney general said he was confident of his legal footing and said past court decisions have declared that the attorney general, who is elected statewide independently of the governor, has the authority to make legal decisions for the state.

“I’m willing to debate this impeachment matter should the situation require,” Baker said.

A spokesman in the attorney general’s office couldn’t say when the last statewide-elected official was impeached — if ever.

State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross). Ben Gray/AJC

State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross). Ben Gray/AJC

A majority of the 180 members of the House would have to approve what basically is an indictment – which, in political terms, is possible. A trial would be conducted in the Senate. Conviction would require a two-thirds vote in that chamber – unlikely, given that Democratic cooperation would be required.

But there’s another good reason Republicans might hesitate. The state Constitution declares that “in cases of impeachment, judgments shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit within this state or to receive a pension therefrom.”

So conviction could remove Baker, the only viable African-American in the race for governor, from that contest. And an attempt to impeach him could be portrayed as such.

Hatfield said he’s not concerned with the politics of the situation.

“It’s our position that the constitution is very clear, in [the] obligations that it places upon the attorney general to file suit on the request of the governor. He’s basically abrogated his constitutional responsibilities,” Hatfield said. “We feel very strongly that the attorney general has dropped the ball and failed to follow through on the mandates that are placed upon his office.”

The governor said today, as he has said earlier, that a decision to impeach should be left solely to the Legislature – he would not comment on it. Perdue said last week he would file – on his own authority – a lawsuit challenging the health care law passed earlier this month by Congress.

House Speaker David Ralston, significantly, is the second signer of HR 1824, a resolution that would direct the attorney general to file the lawsuit – but the resolution would lack the force of law. State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, the lead sponsor, is a Republican candidate for governor.

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287 comments Add your comment

Gman

March 30th, 2010
4:07 pm

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Gman

March 30th, 2010
4:10 pm

What bunch of idiots we’ve elected in here in the great state of Georgia! Why not wait until the results of other states’ lawsuits are in and then move if the results are what these yahoos consider favorable. Otherwise, it is a waste of time and money. Get rid of every last one of them!

Atlanta resident

March 30th, 2010
4:10 pm

So…when is Atlanta going to get a viable transportation plan? Never? We’d rather waste time with stuff like this?

Well then.

A hint to Jeff Davis County, etc.: Without Atlanta, this state is t-o-a-s-t. Quit dominating the Gold Dome’s time with petty squabbles like this and fund the one thing keeping Georgia from the third world.

John K

March 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

The GOP is in a complete, irrational hissy fit. Hilarious to watch “adults” act like this.

Jon

March 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

Seriously? The GA GOP needs to stop with their stupid political tricks and do their jobs.

Amend Georgia's Constitution NOW

March 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

Keep all Atlanta counties. Separate the rest of Georgia into four counties. Kick these anti-Atlanta buffoons out.

Ty

March 30th, 2010
4:15 pm

These people are sick….

Whatever

March 30th, 2010
4:15 pm

What a waste of time! There is already an opt out clause for states in the health care bill. This is political grandstanding at its worst. If anyone needs to be driven out of office, it is loony tunes like Hatfield who waste precious time on matters like this.

Sgt. At Arms

March 30th, 2010
4:17 pm

How about filing a bill to fix this traffic and the potholes that everyone zig zags around everyday. Its a wonder how fast you can file a bill will you want too…………

Republican turned Democrat

March 30th, 2010
4:19 pm

We can’t even budget for schools and the GA GOP wants to waste money on a baseless, loser lawsuit? I guess I need to look on the positive side, at least we’re not as backwards and ignorant as Alabama and Mississippi!

Used to be Disgusted

March 30th, 2010
4:20 pm

Do these idiots and fools not have anything better to do like, IDK, funding education?

brenda

March 30th, 2010
4:20 pm

I saw one of the political talk shows this weekend and one of Reagan’s top legal advisors stated that these law suits were ignorant to say the least and they could not win. This comes from a Republican. He stated that this is nothing but Political grandstanding.

chuck allison

March 30th, 2010
4:21 pm

Hatfield is right. Baker should be removed from office. The lawsuit should be moved ahead rapidly in cooperation with Alabama and Texas.

Cammi317

March 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

LOL, we have some real idiots in office in Georgia! This has been a hilarious news day. This is almost as funny as the “Kia Go Home Bill”! Although, I must admit, I agree inasmuch as the street signs and emergency bill boards are in English, the test should be in English as well. Seriously if you can’t read at all or can’t read the language that the street signs are in…what the he** are you doing driving anyway?

Jiggle the Handle

March 30th, 2010
4:23 pm

Hatfield is no dummy, just check his academic record. Nothing short of impressive.

On the other hand, he’s a hot-headed, rigid, absolutist, idealogical A##h@le. This jerk couldn’t sell a life preserver to a drowing man. He can only intimidate, threaten, and browbeat. He’s even been reprimanded by the Speaker several times for disrespectful attacks on members of his own party when they failed to agree with his position.

The Speaker cut him off at the knees on Friday night when he started calling out members by name (a serious breach of protocol and tradition), when he was railing against a bill he saw as a tax increase.

Sure he’s an attorney and I guess that gives him the background to render a legal opinion on the merits of his action to impeach Baker, but that in no way means his opinion is a correct one.

Just another jerk whose only talent I can discern is fooling his constituents into voting for him. Voters of the 177th—you can do MUCH better!

PW

March 30th, 2010
4:24 pm

What is the state of Georgia coming to? What a bunch of party liners who could care less about anything other than bringing our President of the United States down and also the Attorney General. Shame on you Republicans! I am embarrased to say that I live in the state of Georgia.

Daniel

March 30th, 2010
4:24 pm

Hey, Democrat blog posters. Stop pointing fingers and accusing Republicans of wasting taxpayer money and time when your own party is equally at fault. Democrats waste just as much time and money as the Republicans. So stop acting like Republicans s*ck when your party is the same way. This applies in Washington DC too, not just Georgia.

As a conservative, this bill is useless and I don’t agree with it.

Tony

March 30th, 2010
4:24 pm

Yeah, I’m with you. This is sad. It’s a shame that this state is burdened by such woeful leadership. These people aren’t responsible enough to govern our state.

Daniel

March 30th, 2010
4:24 pm

PW….just like the Dems wanted to bring down George Bush from day 1. Drop the crap argument already.

Urlost

March 30th, 2010
4:25 pm

The GOP is standing up for American people that live in Georgia. Look at how much of the US people did not want Obamacare. The Democratic led Senate / Congress / and President forced it’s will on the people. The political games were started by the Democrats in doing so. The people will speak in November…..heed my words. Thank you Sonny!!!

DICK

March 30th, 2010
4:25 pm

Quiet!!!! 125 more just lost their jobs. But that is okay, they will be able to watch the final 9 days of the jokes (session) going on in Atlanta. Come on big boys. Suit is not going to stop health care. Worry about education, water, tax waste. Our legislators this session should have to pay back every dime they received. They are a joke.

Hank (the redneck)

March 30th, 2010
4:25 pm

I even have to admit this is embarassing….sometimes I wonder why Im a GOP’er.
Im not voting for anyone next election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

State Employee

March 30th, 2010
4:27 pm

WAY TO GO GOP…ALL THE WORK THAT THE OLDER GOP HAS DONE IS BEING PISSED AWAY BY THE YOUNG POWER HUNGRY GOP….THANKS YOU HAVE ASSURED DEMS WILL REGAIN THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE AND MANY MORE DUE TO YOUR LACK OF INTELLIGENCE….GEORGIA HAS TONS OF IMPORTANT ISSUES…THANKS FOR NOT PAYING ANY ATTENTION TO THE VOTERS, BUT WE WILL RETURN THE FAVOR BY REMOVING YOU FROM OFFICE.

Keep doing this GOP

March 30th, 2010
4:27 pm

This is so like the GOP. Can’t wait for November when, hopefully, some adults will be elected.

carmikal

March 30th, 2010
4:28 pm

Soooo, they are going to try and impeach the man for filing a suit against a federal law that will not and cannot be over-turned???? So I’m assuming since they claim that the suit against health care would be handled for free that this impeachment process will be free as well???? Wow no mass transit, not enough sidewalks, not enough street lights, not enough salt trucks, not enough education but they have enough time to waste on situations like this??? I’m moving back to the north.

Lynn

March 30th, 2010
4:28 pm

Another example of the lunacy of Gawga legislators.

Farsider

March 30th, 2010
4:29 pm

They’re wasting time and money with this childishness. All partisan, all the time. What in heaven’s name has gotten into the GOP?

ELEPHANTSOCIALISTS

March 30th, 2010
4:31 pm

Sonny, you can’t find money for schools or infrastructure, but you can find money for FISHIN’ TOURNAMENT (I haven’t forgot that silly waste of millions near your hometown for your buddies) and to try to IMPEACH a fair and moderate Attorney General.

It’s long been time for you to go FISHIN’ anyway, and take your other crazy ELEPHANTS with you!

@Chuck Allison, so now we are following Alabama and Texas? You aren’t from around these parts are you? We lead! They follow. You are in the wrong place. We are Too Busy to Hate and Too Busy for STUPID LAWSUITS that we can’t win.

Why didn’t you want to sue the government for the mandate on Car, Home, Boat, Motorcycle, and Business Insurance? I’ll wait……

I know, cause it would be: STUPID! STUPID IS STUPID DOES….

WHAT A BUNCH OF IDIOT HYPOCRITES!!!!!!

I SEE WHY GA IS CONSIDERED A COUNTRY HILLBILLY STATE

March 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

Enough said.

Fedup

March 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

47 (can’t count Alabama and Mississippi) states will get another rousing chorus of laughter going as once again Georgia legislators step in IT again…what a bunch of space-wasters we have in this legislature.

King Beef

March 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

Again, I am embarrassed to say I used to live in that clowns (Hatfield) part of the state. Posturing to get attention is all Hatfield is about. He is quite the JOKE. Sorry for you folks in Waycross.

deecald43

March 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

So while the GOP is worried about a silly lawsuit, there will be no consideration for the teachers across the state loosing their jobs and the overcrowding of classrooms due to the closing of schools. Not to mention Clayton Co., loosing its public transportation – TOMORROW at midnite and MARTA suffering! That’s just a couple of the problems And these people run our state?

tim

March 30th, 2010
4:33 pm

I find it odd that Mr Baker, without reading the Health Bill, would say filing a lawsuit is unwinable and too costly.

And Mr Baker……a lawsuit has nothing to do with water, transportation, or education.

Mr. Baker…….YOU’RE FIRED!

Michael

March 30th, 2010
4:33 pm

This entire thing is just stupid political grandstanding. If the other states that are wasting their time and money filing suit over health care and, by some miracle, actually won, wouldn’t the results apply to Georgia too?

Hope in Georgia Afterall

March 30th, 2010
4:34 pm

GMAN !!!
Wow… there really are other rational thinkers in this state. Whew!!! Nine days left and these idiots are concerned about suing the Federal Government. I agree… let the other AGs spend their citizen’s tax dollars. We should wait for the results. What a complete joke.

Commonsenseagitator

March 30th, 2010
4:35 pm

Well, this proves it we are the state of total idiots now, ahead of Mississippi and Alabama. All of you republicans should be very proud of yourselves

David

March 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

Why must our state government embarrass us on an almost weekly basis?

They can’t fix the streets. They can’t fix the schools. They spend more time playing partisan politics on both sides of the aisle instead of doing anything for the constituents.

They tabled the anti-bullying bill for this?

carmikal

March 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

Tim?????
How can GA or any state win that lawsuit???? Seriously??

John K

March 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

The GOP is just full of petulant little brats who are upset they can’t have perpetual rule.

Jeff Davis Countian

March 30th, 2010
4:37 pm

Atlanta Resident,

First of all, I do not support impeaching of the AG. Second, I agree with you, we should proceed with building the Northern Arc which will solve all of Metro Atlanta’s traffic issues and save the State from becoming t-o-a-s-t.

Middle America

March 30th, 2010
4:37 pm

A majority of Americans didn’t want civil rights either, but they were wrong. Just because a majority of Americans are misinformed does not mean something is unconstitutional and should be repealed.

As for this business about impeaching the State Attorney General, it’s purely political theater. The lawsuits will fail and the GA GOP are going to lose in elections if they don’t get about the business of the people and get out of national political paybacks. Baker is doing what a duely elected official should do, which is not waste tax payer money on frivilous lawsuits that the Governor wants to initiate for his own political affiliations.

Mark my words, Republicans will regret opposing healthcare reform and all the lawsuits and repeal/replace rhetoric when the American people finally start reading what was in the reform instead of letting paranoid GOP fanatics tell them what was in it.

Jazzy18

March 30th, 2010
4:38 pm

This is so crazy….The republicans cannot lose any fights. They are now showing just how messey and nasty they are. This is racial and unwarranted. Poor babies are mad!!! They can’t have there way!

Jose

March 30th, 2010
4:39 pm

You can be highly educated and you can still stupid and do stupid things. They don’t care because they aren’t spending their own money for the law suit. I guess that they are gearing up to spending a lot of money for a law firm for their buddies. There is no such thing as a free law suit.

Get a government in office that is ready to work and do what’s right for all people. Exclusive is no longer the rule of the land – GOP.

Jose

March 30th, 2010
4:40 pm

Sorry, you can still be stupid.

Jeff

March 30th, 2010
4:41 pm

How stupid…Attorney General Baker’s role is not to be a puppet of the Republican Party. It riles me to see what jugheads have been elected to the Georgia Legislature.

tc

March 30th, 2010
4:41 pm

how bout impeach yourselves and gov for being so totally ineffective these last few years!

Wake Up Georgia!

March 30th, 2010
4:41 pm

Hatfield and the rest of the right wing GOP McCoys, including Perdue, are the ones that need to be impeached. What a waste of taxpayer funds!

Intown

March 30th, 2010
4:41 pm

What a bunch of fools. Perdue v. Baker settled these questions. The Republicans just can’t help themselves from doing stupid things.

Intown

March 30th, 2010
4:42 pm

If Perdue were a statesman he would’ve told the legislator to back off. So gutless, per usual.

poohbear

March 30th, 2010
4:43 pm

Hey, If you are ashamed to live in the state of Georgia, there are airplanes leaving Atlanta everyday! Why don’t you buy a ticket and move to another state! Or better still another country!