Thursday, August 31, 2023

Could Trump Be Disqualified From NM Ballot? Issue Raised Here And Nationally; NMSOS Says She's Watching, Plus; AG And MLG Clash Over Yazzie Ruling; Torrez Charges State With "Slow Response"; Guv Pushes Back 

Is it possible that Donald Trump could be barred from New Mexico's 2024 presidential ballot as well as those of other states? It seems farfetched but there is a move afoot nationally that is raising that question: 

. . . A growing body of conservative scholars have raised the constitutional argument that Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election make him ineligible to hold federal office ever again.That disqualification argument boils down to Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, which says that a public official is not eligible to assume public office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" the United States, or had "given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof," unless they are granted amnesty by a two-thirds vote of Congress.  

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver's office tells us the constitutionality of Trump being on the ballot here is a matter that will come under study if and when the time comes:

We’ve been getting inquiries into our office about this. All candidates for 2024 elections are required to file with our office in February 2024. We are aware of and are reviewing the legal theories regarding the 14th Amendment that conclude Donald Trump is ineligible to run for President. If Donald Trump files in New Mexico to run for President, we will make a determination at that time based on our understanding of New Mexico law and the requirements to run for office in New Mexico. Any determination about a specific candidate’s eligibility for the ballot will be made after the candidate filing day in February 2024. 

Some Dems would relish keeping Trump off of the NM ballot but other more pragmatic ones point out that Biden has already beaten Trump here once and stands a good chance to do so again. That might not be as easy with another GOP presidential nominee, although the Dem would be favored over any R in blue NM.


MLG and AG
The Democratic Attorney General and Governor are now openly clashing over the Guv's foot-dragging in enforcing the landmark Yazzie lawsuit that five years ago found the state to be violating its Constitution when it comes to providing a proper public school education to children at risk. The latest

Attorney General Raúl Torrez wants to take over the state’s “slow progress” in reforming public education to ensure all children are sufficiently educated as required by a landmark 2018 court ruling. The judge in that lawsuit found the state had violated the educational rights of Native American, English language-learners, disabled and low-income children. 

"There is frustration with the lack of progress over the past five years. We’ve informed the governor’s office that we intend to resume control over the Yazzie-Martinez litigation.” He said.

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s administration has resisted efforts for deep reforms to public education sought by plaintiffs in the lawsuit pushing for changes. In 2020, it asked a state judge to end court oversight of the case, saying the state had fully complied with the 2018 ruling. The judge denied that request, however, saying oversight should stay in place until long-term reforms are adopted. 

A spokesperson for Lujan Grisham, defended her administration’s work to resolve the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit, pointing to significantly increased public school funding, the creation of new state agencies focused on special and early education, and increasing required instructional hours. They suggested that Torrez should focus on holding local school districts accountable. “We need to find a way to more directly hold school boards and school districts accountable for fully implementing the critical investments this administration has made over the last four years,” the spokeswoman said. “The attorney general’s office has the power to do just that.” 

 According to Torrez’s office the Attorney General has broad statutory authority to control litigation in cases like Yazzie/Martinez where the state or an officer of the state is sued in their official capacity. This authority does not require approval from the governor or any other state agency, they said. “We are working with several stakeholders and hoping to accelerate satisfying the terms of the judgment."

MLG's resistance to Yazzie has always been an eyebrow-raiser and resented by education reform advocates. Now that she is deeper into her second term and unable to seek re-election, ambitious pols like the attorney general are moving onto her territory. And his move could find support with a public tired of seeing the state at the bottom of the barrel in national education rankings despite increased spending. 

In April, MLG vetoed a bill that would have allowed Torrez to establish a child civil rights division in his office as she wrestles with the deeply troubled CYFD.


Onetime GOP US Senate candidate and professional contractor Mick Rich joins the chorus calling on the state broadband office to exercise more flexibility in providing high speed broadband to rural areas in need. He writes on Substack:

NM is ranked forty-seventh for rural internet and road infrastructure. Santa Fe Democrats are stuck in the past with land-based rural internet. Rural New Mexicans could have internet within thirty days if they did not politically oppose Elon Musk’s Starlink network. Santa Fe Democrats would rather put NM tax dollars into Spaceport America, RailRunner and Albuquerque’s ART than our highway network.

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