The Senate might have overstepped its bounds and broken the law when it voted to expel embattled state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, according to insiders and the disgraced Queens Democrat. After being acquitted on felony charges but convicted of misdemeanor assault charges for slashing his girlfriend in the face, the former cop has vowed to fight the ruling—and he might turn out winning.
Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez writes that although Monserrate should have resigned after the scandal erupted, the Senate "can't simply claim some dubious legal authority to expel him, as it voted to do last night." New York law mandates the removal of any politician convicted of a felony, but the state's Constitution hasn't allowed Legislators to kick out their peers since 1821. Gonzalez evokes several past instances in which legislators broke the rules in attempts to vote out unpopular members or perceived enemies, and in most cases, those expulsions were overturned in court.
For his part, Monserrate says he'll be back. "They haven't seen the last of Hiram Monserrate," the Queens Democrat told the Daily News over breakfast at a Queens pancake house. "This is an absolute injustice and deprives my constituents of their rights … It's unacceptable and the height of arrogance." He added: "This was a kangaroo court that kicked me out … There were no rules. The decision was made before anyone looked at the evidence."