Bar News - November 9, 2007
Morning Mail: Court Should Stay in Concord
I was interested to read in the Oct. 19 issue that, for the ninth time since May 2002, the Supreme Court would be holding court outside away from Concord.
When I read last year of the holding of the most recent of these “‘on the road’ special sessions,” it seemed obvious to me – especially in light of their origin in the wake of the 2000 impeachment proceedings – that they are pure politics, public relations junkets designed to inoculate the Court from criticism. Accordingly, I resolved to draft a bill to introduce in the House of Representatives that would amend the RSAs to require the Court to hold its sessions in Concord, and Concord only. As a first step, I reviewed the RSAs for the most appropriate location for such a statute. Imagine my surprise when I found that the following had been codified at RSA 490:6 in essentially the same form since 1901:
“490:6 Sessions. There shall be one general term of the supreme court in each year to be held in Concord for the purpose of hearing arguments, making orders, rendering decisions and filing opinions.”
Realizing that there was little hope that any amendatory language I could draft could be any clearer than this and therefore more likely to induce compliance by the Court, I abandoned the effort. But I thought, in the absence of any hope that the Legislature will overcome its awe of the Court in order to demand compliance with existing law, I should at least acquaint the bar membership of this indication of the limitations of the Court’s respect for the rule of law.
Gregory M. Sorg
Attorney Sorg is a member of the NH House of Representatives.