In his headlong rush to buffalo legislators into unneeded tax increases, perhaps Gov. John Bel Edwards will take the time to include in an anticipated special session call a measure to correct, on two levels, a helpful constitutional amendment recently entirely gutted by the judiciary.
Last month, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled the provision that barred unpardoned felons from running for office for 15 years after the end of their sentences suffered from a drafting error that rendered it unconstitutional. Apparently, even as the Legislature in its Act 1492 of 1997 provided a provision that applied this attenuation only to individuals “actually under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony,” the secretary of state then mistakenly left that language off the ballot. A majority ruled the matter inseverable and junked the entire thing.
Ironically, when Prisoner #30609-034 challenged the ruling so as to run last fall for the state House, he never should have had standing in the first place since he, once known as state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, did not receive probation for his federal corruption conviction but imprisonment. Yet only Court of Appeals Judge (sitting as a Supreme Court substitute) John Michael Guidry had the temerity to call the court’s majority to that inconvenience.