More on the separation of powers

To the editor:

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee and later as its chair, I thank you for the excellent article regarding the Brock impeachment (“New Hampshire’s impeachment crisis of 2000,” March 16-29 NH Business Review). But I am compelled to add a critical omission.

There has been a conflict in the separation of powers between the legislative branch and the judiciary. It is far from absolute and distinct as the judicial branch insists. New Hampshire has the most nebulous determination of the separation of powers of any state. It is far from absolute as the judicial branch insists, at least according to a number of constitutional experts determined in a conference 20 years ago.

Consider article 37 of our Constitution: “In the government of this state, the three essential powers thereof, to wit, the legislative, executive, and judicial, ought to be kept as separate from and independent of, each other, as the nature of a free government will admit, or as it is consistent with the chain of connection that binds the whole fabric of the constitution in one indissoluble bond of unity and amity.”

The absolute holding by the judicial branch has led to a continuing turf war between the Legislature and the judiciary. A simple reading of the article illustrates that the power is far from absolute. Nonetheless, it is the judicial branch that has the last say as to all determinations as to this issue, and one that is a bitter pill for the legislature to swallow.

Robert H. Rowe

Commissioner

Hillsborough County

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