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Legislative Immunity

Robert Wechsler
I don’t care what state you are talking about, you are always going to have one or two people who are going to do the wrong thing. That’s human life. But the bottom line is: I can tell you that my members who are in the House of Representatives are here for the right reason, and I am just a little cautious to make a regulation for one person.

Reaction of Rhode Island House Speaker William J. Murphy to Gov. Carcieri's suggestion
Robert Wechsler
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has reached a decision on the legislative immunity case (Irons v. RI Ethics Commission) involving the state ethics commission and the state legislature. As expected, its majority opinion (it was a 3-1 split) concluded that the state's Speech in Debate Clause 100% overrides the 1986 constitutional amendment that granted the state ethics commission full authority over state...
Robert Wechsler
In her comment to my blog post on a Michigan recusal matter, Catherine Mullhaupt of the Michigan Townships Association not only pointed out the effect of a women's property rights act on local government conflict of interest law (see my blog post on this), but also pointed out...
Robert Wechsler
To those who read my recent blog entry, it will come as no surprise that, yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the District Court's ruling in the Nevada legislative immunity case (the Order of Affirmation, in searchable form, is attached to this blog entry below).

What's most fascinating about this unanimous decision is that it applies constitutional legislative immunity rules regarding core...
Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, the Rhode Island Supreme Court held oral arguments on the appeal of the RI legislative immunity decision. I want to focus on two important issues that arose in the oral arguments, according to an article in the Providence Journal. But...
Robert Wechsler
One thing that keeps striking me about the recent decisions in the legislative immunity cases relating to government ethics is how little they attempt to distinguish cases outside the ethics field from these cases in the ethics field.

Is government ethics no different from criminal prosecution, no different from civil suits?

Narrowly-Drawn Statutes Such as Ethics Codes
It is true that legislatures write criminal laws just as they write ethics laws,...