Sen. Emmett Hansen certainly knows the thin line between clever and stupid. For example, sometime in the 25th Legislature, he "cleverly" sponsored a measure to condemn the Delegate to Congress for introducing legislation for a CFO. He lost his seat in the senate over his clever move and I remained in the legislature as the only incumbent Democrat from St. Croix that survived his clever resolution. I was the only St. Croix senator not supporting the measure. Clever or stupid? You decide.
Now, on to the facts. First, Senator Hansen, the rules committee does not "present" information. The nominee is asked to fill out a questionnaire, submit information to the chair, and complete an authorization for the chair to investigate the nominee. After the investigation is complete, the nominee is subjected to a hearing.
Second, the hearing was delayed because information requested from the Virgin Islands Bar Association and the Attorney General's office was submitted to the Chair on April 6th and 7th respectively. The Hearing was held on April 11, 2006. Why would a former senator misrepresent facts in an online newspaper?
Third, information regarding irregularities concerning gun licenses that are relevant to the nomination needed to be brought to the governor's attention and it was done in a responsible and proper manner. Instead, the former senator would have the senate not investigate any nominee and simply rubberstamp this nominee.
Fourth, the law provides for equal number of superior court judges in both districts. Currently, there are 5 judges in St. Thomas and 3 on St. Croix. Moreover, the presiding judge is on St. Croix, leaving only two judges on St. Croix for full time judging. Unrelated to the current nominee, and based on this imbalance between the districts, the governor asked me as chair for a list of additional names of attorneys from the VIBA.
Based on this request, I provided a list of 25 names to the governor. Any suggestion that the list has anything to do with the current nominee, or my preferences, or unfairness, or bias is for the former senator Emmett Hansen II to insert his own warped values and evil motives into this situation?
Fifth, if former senator Emmett Hansen II was the Chair it appears that he would dictate who is worthy of testifying before his committee. He would investigate all who want to testify and determine who is worthy to testify. Disbarred attorneys, convicted criminals, the poor, those who owe bills, unwed mothers, fathers owing child support, and many others simply would not be allowed to make statements or testify. Again, former senator Emmett Hansen II would determine what testimony is unbiased, what testimony is honest and save the public and any nominee from unwanted testimony.
The former senator really gets ridiculous, when in the same breath he talks about transparency. He should be reminded that any document, information or concerns the senators have are to be used to question the nominee. All documents were provided to the nominee and the public can get any document used at the hearing. What transpired is that supporters of the nominee want to divert and avoid the tough questions for the nominee.
Consider, that the nominee said he would consider hearing Innovative cases after ONE YEAR. The general rule is FIVE YEARS, or never to hear cases of a former employer. At the hearing, ICC employees, including former senators and members of the Republican Party constantly disrupted the hearing by cheering, jeering, booing, and violating the rules of decorum in the Legislature. This was not a trial. At a nomination hearing senators have nothing to PROVE. Instead, it is the nominee who has to prove that he is worthy of the position for which he is nominated.
The nominee, when asked about his political affiliation, and after learning that the cannons prohibit a candidate from holding office, simply stated that the rule did not apply to him! He told senators what to ask, and his supporters showed no respect for the Legislature.
I guess its OK with clever Mr. Hansen that an ICC Vice President and highest ranking member of a political party can get away with actually telling the Governor whom to place on the bench, but it's not OK for me to question the motive behind such a move? I guess its OK for clever Mr. Hansen when the nominee tells the chair "I hope this ends the discussion!"
I am an elected senator charged with evaluating and making decisions about nominees. In the exercise of that privilege I can question any nominee about any relevant matter regarding the nomination. I did my job, the nomination moved to the full body and it will be voted up or down. Mr. Hansen, I have a DVD of the hearing for all who want to see it. Please accept a copy so that you can correct your misguided words, thoughts and deeds.
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