Friday, April 01, 2011

Shouldn't party leaders appoint committee members?

Readers may have gotten a kick out of Sen. Bob Rucho's declaration the other day in Jim Morrill's story about redistricting that Rucho didn't want more lawyers on his Senate redistricting committee -- only "normal people."  Well, lawyers do take beating sometimes, sort of like journalists and used car salesman, too.

But Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt's request to name two different Democrats to the committee (Dan Clodfelter of Charlotte and Dan Blue of Wake) in exchange for his and Charlie Dannelly's dropping off the committee raises another point. Why shouldn't each party name its own members?  Rucho has refused to replace them.  And it's no surprise. Clodfelter and Blue are smart legislators, and the last thing Republicans such as Rucho want is even tougher political adversaries on the redistricting committee.

But I've always thought that the N.C. General Assembly was sticking to a curious way to name committees -- where those in the majority not only decide which committees to have, but also which minority party members serve on it.   Democrats maintained tight control over the legislature for the last century-plus by controlling such things, but it has always seemed to me the U.S. Senate had a better way: The parties negotiate how many people will serve on committees, and then each party names its own members to the seats on that committee.  Of course, many things are different in Washington, including a seniority system that has its traditions, customs and exceptions.  But each side gets a certain amount of time during debates;  in Raleigh, the majority gets all the time if it wants it and can pretty much ignore the minority -- and often does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How much criticism of this method of appointed committees was printed when the Democrats ran things?