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Lawsuit: Executive Orders ‘Akin to Slavery,’ Administration Questions Legal Theory

by | Mar 9, 2012 5:20pm
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Labor, Legal

Hugh McQuaid File Photo

Attorney Deborah Stevenson, center, with opponents of Executive Orders 9 and 10

(Updated 5:57 p.m.) A constitutional advocacy group filed a lawsuit in Hartford Superior Court Thursday arguing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s two executive orders are in “open defiance of the constitution.”

The orders provide a pathway to unionization for personal care attendants and daycare workers who receive funding from state programs. The daycare workers have already voted to allow CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 to represent them in negotiations with the state.

However, We The People of Connecticut, a Waterbury-based constitution advocacy group, feel Malloy overstepped his authority when he set a process in motion that legislature had previously considered and opted not to move forward with.

The group filed a lawsuit calling on the court to rescind the orders. Six personal care attendants and daycare workers are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed by lawyer Deborah Stevenson.

“The defendant now has demonstrated open defiance of the Constitution and the rule law, open defiance of the will and authority of the General Assembly, and an open defiance of the will of the people of the State of Connecticut,” the complaint says of Malloy.

The governor’s Chief Legal Counsel Andrew McDonald said the administration will deal with the lawsuit in court—if they can figure out what it’s alleging.

“We are reviewing the lawsuit, and are trying to separate the flotsam from the jetsam contained in it. If we can discern a recognizable legal theory amid the political hyperbole in it, we will address that theory in court,” he said in a statement.

The lawsuit points to two bills the Senate tabled during last year’s legislative session that would have accomplished the same end as the executive orders. In issuing the orders, the governor exceeded the powers of the Executive Branch and usurped the authority of the legislature, the lawsuit contends.

That action disenfranchised the plaintiffs and denied them their right to participate in the legislative process, it said. The lawsuit also states that the executive orders prevented the plaintiffs from petitioning the legislature for redress.

According to the lawsuit, not all the workers were notified of the union vote but they are now being compelled to be part of a union and considered state employees for collective bargaining purposes.

“... such violation is akin to slavery” and violates the constitution, the lawsuit said.

Ben Phillips, spokesman for CSEA SEIU 2001, said the lawsuit mischaracterizes the issue.

“This is some really unfortunate political grandstanding. To compare an effort by low-income women trying to improve their lives and the Connecticut child care system to slavery is over the top,” he said.

In addition to asking that the orders be declared null and void, the lawsuit also asks the court to issue an injunction to prevent the governor from any unconstitutional action he may be planning in the future.

“Without the injunction, the plaintiffs’ rights to determine their status as an employee of the state or not, the wages and benefits they earn, the kind and amount of regulations that are imposed upon them, and a method to choose their own representatives to collectively bargain for them, are all eviscerated,” the lawsuit read.

Also eviscerated is their right to live in a state governed by three, distinct branches of government, it said.

The lawsuit argues a judge should issue the injunction because it causes Malloy no harm except to force him to act within his own authority.

“That is not harm. That is what is required of the defendant. When no harm can come to the defendant by issuance of an injunction, the injunction must issue,” the lawsuit said. 

The group isn’t the only organization planning on suing the governor over this issue. Fergus Cullen, executive director of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, said he also intends to file a lawsuit within the next few weeks.

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(20) Archived Comments

posted by: Mansfield1 | March 9, 2012  6:08pm

The despicable part of this is that 1199 is using the disabled as a means of extending their political power.  Parents, families and friends of people who are disabled are going to be hurt becuase the care their loved ones got is now going to be controlled by the Union hiring hall. 

Without an increase in the budget the disabled get they’ll be able to buy much less care and the 1199 worker will control what gets done, when and at what level of quality.  Essentially 1199 assumes control of the disabled population of Connecticut.  Self determination for the disabled is destroyed.  Guardians will have no control over the quality of care since the Union will say “we’ll grieve it.”  What standing does an elderly parent have in a grievance hearing with the State? The State is already in bed with 1199. 
Guardians are completely cut out of the process and won’t be able to control the quality of care.  All that is decided over on Huyshope Avenue at 1199 headquarters.  The disabled are already abused by the lack of care the Stae provides, and now they sell them to 1199?  For political power?

posted by: Lawrence | March 9, 2012  9:11pm

Still wondering when these folks are gonna slam the GOP for proposing to completely eliminate the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons wtih Disabilities in their “no tax increase” budget last year.

$4.5 million cut to the disabled so yacht owners can buy new custom v-berth bedding.

posted by: Jesterr72 | March 9, 2012  9:47pm

Malloy is pandering to his union buddies and trying to shore up their “union” membership by forcing home are workers (some of whom are relatives of those in need) to have their state funds deducted for their ‘union membership’.

Maybe McDonald, with his superb legal training, can manage to separate the flotsam from the jetsam in the above paragraph.

More evidence CT is going down the drain little by little.  These Democratic morons who have controlled both parts of the Legislature for years have not created ONE new net job in CT in over three years.  NOT ONE.

posted by: redlady | March 9, 2012  10:09pm

It speaks volumes when the citizens of CT are forced to form their own lobby to protect themselves from a tyrannical governor doing the bidding of unions. 
Citizens best find the time and make the effort to get rid of legislators who would not demand that Governor Malloy rescind these unconstitutional executive orders.

posted by: Upset.Citizen | March 10, 2012  6:59am

Upset.Citizen

What is SEIU/CSEA going to do WHEN this gets stopped and P4 and the other locals jump to UPSEU?  That will bankrupt SEIU/CSEA! 

SEIU/CSEA is one of the most corrupt unions around!  They are just like the Malloy administration; if anything comes along that they don’t like they just change the rules rather than respecting the will of the people!

posted by: state_employee | March 10, 2012  8:16am

It’s so sad.  Do you hear the tone of that arrogant tone of Andrew McDonald, “the administration will deal with the lawsuit in court—if they can figure out what it’s alleging.”  It’s pretty clear what the problem is.  This administration is destroying the very fabric of our state.  Criminals, all of them, with malloy leading the pack.

posted by: Lawrence | March 10, 2012  8:41pm

Republican lawmakers support unions right to vote.

posted by: PsiCop | March 11, 2012  1:32pm

When people find it necessary to throw around hyperbole (in this case, “slavery”), I wonder how valid their remarks are. Sure, I get that extreme rhetoric is normal now (one’s opponents are never merely “wrong,” they’re always “Nazis” or “Satan,” etc.), but it wears thin after a while, and becomes a signal that people have run out of worthwhile things to say.

posted by: SocialButterfly | March 12, 2012  10:20am

Lawrence:  Were you ever a writer for the Democratic National Committee?  You still promote their “Blame Bush psychology” as a coverup for major failures by their Democratic leaders.  Pres. Obama is a failure, and the DNC keeps blaming Bush—as a smokescreen for Obama madness.

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 12, 2012  11:04am

gutbomb86

@reasonable - no, I’m sorry, but Mr. Bush doesn’t get a free pass simply because he’s no longer president. Why is it that Republicans have such a problem with accountability?

Bush gets the blame for as long as we’re still trying to repair the damage Bush did. You may want to use the Internet to spin your personal politics and attempt to influence people in some small way in forums like this, but facts are facts. Your guy - George Bush - managed to wreck the economy. Granted, 911 was a major catalyst and for that we can’t blame a particular individual other than the perpetrators. But President Bush basically handed over a massive, healthy, functional gov’t surplus that we desperately needed to fund not only our domestic programs and infrastructure but also one completely ridiculous & illegal war in Iraq and another one that was necessary and expensive in Afghanistan. Instead, he bankrupted our country in advance of a Democratic president’s term and he will forever be held responsible for those actions.

Thanks for playing today’s round of, “Let’s tell the truth for one minute on the Internet.”

posted by: PatrickT | March 12, 2012  12:25pm

Gee, I thought the “Blame Bush” bus left at least two years ago. Guess not. Me? I think it was Nixon’s fault!

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 12, 2012  1:46pm

gutbomb86

@patrickT - Republicans love to try to use the convenience of short memories to hide failures and consequences, Patrick, but facts are facts, and the fallout from egregious errors in judgment can take generations to repair. There’s no magic wand available to repair the mess Obama inherited.

People don’t blame President Ford for the Watergate break-in because it was Richard Nixon who approved it.

People don’t blame George H.W. Bush for illegal arms shipments to Iran because they know President Reagan approved those every step of the way during the Iran-Contra period.

People don’t blame President G.W. Bush for the Monica Lewinsky scandal because it was President Clinton’s misconduct, not President G.W. Bush’s.

Spin it any way you want, but the economic mess we’re in today sits squarely on the shoulders of the Bush-Cheney administration for out-of-control spending and tax cuts that utterly failed to generate jobs. And until we can slowly dig our way out of those failures with steady but slow job growth and responsible & reasonable regulation of rapacious industries on our way back to the relative prosperity of the 1990s, people are going to continue to place the blame where it belongs.

posted by: redlady | March 12, 2012  1:54pm

Commentary is way off target, folks. What of the subject matter?  Governor Malloy’s unconstitutional use of executive orders?

posted by: SocialButterfly | March 12, 2012  5:29pm

gutbomb86:  You can’t defend an incompetent President Obama—who has spent more money than any President in our history, “so you keep beat ing the Bush!”

posted by: ... | March 12, 2012  7:09pm

...

Tough to say redlady. Reasonable brought it up and its being dragged out more than the issue at hand sadly. Just have to stick to the topic at hand or move along is tough though for some. Almost as tough as it is to get prominent critics of the program other than the few captioned above and the Yankee Institute.

posted by: SocialButterfly | March 12, 2012  8:39pm

redlady:  Gov. Malloy has complete control of his unconstitutional executive orders.  Who is going to stop him?  Not his Democratic (Rubber-Stamp)Connecticut General Assembly.  This iil-fated combination is destroying the State of Connecticut.  It’s like the blind—leading the blind!  Shame on us for voting these people into office—but the big-city social benefit voters—will keep these incompetent’s in office.  The hard-working, state taxpayers, do not have the vote, and do not have a chance, except paying higher taxes, for “taxation without representation.”

Connecticut’s working class, taxpaying voters are outnumbered by the state social benefit voters, “leaving us with a sinking ship, with Gov. Dannel Patrick Malloy at the helm.”

posted by: Upset.Citizen | March 13, 2012  6:26am

Upset.Citizen

Getting back to the core of the topic - Walk a mile in my shoes! 
It is fair to compare this to slavery!
I am a member of SEIU/CSEA 2001 - P4.  Our union overlords tell us to shut up, sit down, don’t complain, and give them our money.  We have no voice, no say, no choice and our input is not welcome!  But they still keep taking our money and raising our dues!  I pay more for union dues then health insurance!  If I go to the hospital they will save my life!  If I go to the union hall I’m treated like I don’t belong there. 
Where is the justice?!?!?
THIS IS LIKE SLAVERY! THEY DO EVERYTHING TO KEEP YOU FROM LEAVING!  I can change health insurance during open enrolment.  With this union if I want to change unions I am brought up on charges and they impose fines on me!  It’s like getting beaten for trying to run away!  If this is not modern day slavery what is?

posted by: redlady | March 13, 2012  7:33am

Upset Citizen, I suggest you join with the activists who are trying to fight this.  There are many out there. If you want to do something but are worried about reprisal, simply give a cash donation to one of these organizations.  Better yet, attend any meetings or hearings that you can to learn more about it.  This is a grassroots effort and your fellow peers will thank you heavily for joing with them. thank you for coming out and telling the truth - personal testimony is stronger than any vicious name calling rhetoric we see above.

posted by: SocialButterfly | March 13, 2012  10:59am

Upset.Citizen:
Thank you for your insider view of SEIU/CSFA - which you described as one of the most corrupt unions around, just like the Malloy administration.  Gov. Malloy’s idol, Pres. Obama, is also dependent on some corrupt unions to support him, and continues to “feather their cap.”

Obama’s job approval rating is down to an all-time-low, 41%. What is Malloy’s job approval rating?  It can’t be much higher than Obama’s.

posted by: blackslaw9 | March 14, 2012  1:49am

Clearly we are dealing with a dictatorship.The governor is outside of his legal authority without question.And this is what we get as a response:

“The governor’s Chief Legal Counsel Andrew McDonald said the administration will deal with the lawsuit in court—if they can figure out what it’s alleging.

“We are reviewing the lawsuit, and are trying to separate the flotsam from the jetsam contained in it. If we can discern a recognizable legal theory amid the political hyperbole in it, we will address that theory in court,” he said in a statement.

So the United States Constitution is not a “recognizable legal theory” Andrew ? Since when? Since you decided to make up your own rules?
Separation of powers need not apply here ? This is just another example of a scum bag lawyer(McDonald) defending a criminal politician (Malloy)