Assembly cannot impeach Gansler, his office advises

March 03, 2010|By Annie Linskey | annie.linskey@baltsun.com

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler was threatened with impeachment by a legislator for his recent opinion on same-sex marriages, and now his office has offered another opinion: The legislature doesn't have the authority to do that.

"This is simply ludicrous," Del. Don H. Dwyer said yesterday. The Anne Arundel County Republican had threatened impeachment last week after Gansler issued an opinion that same-sex marriages performed elsewhere should be recognized in Maryland.

Dwyer has not offered impeachment articles, but House Speaker Michael E. Busch requested an "advice letter" from the attorney general's office on whether his body has the authority to impeach because there are "dueling provisions" in the state constitution on the matter, said Alexandra Hughes, a spokeswoman for Busch.

A lawyer in the attorney general's office said in the letter this week that the General Assembly does not have the authority to impeach his boss.

Dwyer said Gansler "usurped" the General Assembly's authority by offering a fresh opinion on recognizing same-sex marriages even though a previous attorney general had reached the opposite conclusion about gay marriages in 2004.

Hughes said the advice letter would prompt the speaker to rule any introduction of impeachment articles as out of order.

"The speaker has a duty to uphold the laws and procedures of the body," Hughes said.

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