While it is now impossible to call a special election in Louisvilles 37th state Senate district before the General Assembly convenes here next Tuesday, it is very possible for Gov. Ernie Fletcher to call the election for mid-January so the newly-elected senator can begin work by the time legislators get down to serious business.
The people of the 37th District have been without representation in the General Assembly too long as it is.
The special election became necessary last week when the Kentucky Supreme Court, on a 5-2 vote, ruled that the winner of the November 2004 election, Republican Dana Seum Stephenson, was not a resident of the district at the time, and the losing candidate, Democrat Virginia Woodward, could not serve because she did not receive the most votes in the election.
Despite Woodwards legal challenge to Stephensons eligibility, the Senate voted to seat her nevertheless on strictly partisan lines.
This makes the third court to rule Stephenson did not meet the constitutional eligibility requirement before her election to the Senate.
Its time to put the matter to rest and begin the process of allowing the residents of the 37th Senate District to choose a proper representative of their interests in the General Assemblys upper chamber. They were not represented when the 2004-2006 state budget, to which they contributed their state taxes, was enacted. They were not represented when a host of important legislation was passed by the General Assembly this year, much of it affecting each of those 37th District residents.
Even though Fletcher and Senate President David Williams made it clear they dont care for the Supreme Courts decision Williams went so far as to insist 20 members of the Senate could vote to seat a 23-year-old despite the constitutions requirement that senators be at least 30 the question now is electing a senator, whether Republican or Democrat, to the vacant seat.
Further delays or even appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court will be seen as the worst kind of partisan arrogance, and that will not reflect favorably on either the Senate or the Republican Party, which is hardly at risk of losing its majority in the Senate.