The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he will give a hearing to the three filings of impeachment articles against Governor Jay Nixon (D) if their sponsors want one.
The filings were assigned to that committee last week; the first movement for each since they were filed between February 6 and March 11.
Committee Chairman Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) says he will next talk to the sponsors of those three filings.
“Whether and when they are desirous of having a hearing,” Cox says he will ask those representatives. “Obviously we’re not going to have a hearing if they don’t want one … so I will talk to them first of all.”
The first articles of impeachment were filed by Representative Nick Marshall (R-Parkville), over Governor Nixon’s executive order instructing the Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns filed by same-sex couples who are legally married in other states. Marshall says that violates Missouri’s Constitution, which voters amended in 2004 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Representative Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) filed one article of impeachment saying Nixon didn’t act quickly enough to set special election dates for vacant seats in the House and Senate. Representative Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) filed an article this month saying Nixon’s failure to discipline or fire members of the executive branch for their involvement in the scanning of personal documents from Missouri license applicants and the release of those documents to the federal government violates the Constitution.
Moon, Brattin and Marshall all confirm they do in fact want a hearing.
“Not only do I want a hearing,” says Marshall, “I think it’s important that it be a candid hearing, an open hearing and a hearing that is free from any interference.”
Those articles were filed between February 6 and March 11, and were assigned to the Judiciary Committee last week. Brattin said upon offering his article that he was “appalled” action had not been taken faster on the filings.
Cox says he can’t speak for House Republican leadership, but says trying to remove an executive from office is an extraordinary action.
“I think that in order to do that there would have to be some clear information and evidence to support the accusation that they have violated their oath to the Constitution or the law in some way,” says Cox. “That’s my position and I assume the leadership would share that.”
Moon says he’s satisfied that leadership in his party is supportive.
“It’s just been slow-moving,” says Moon.
Impeachment articles would move through the House like a bill. If adopted by the House, the Governor would be tried by a committee of seven jurists chosen by the Senate.