Grounds Exist to Remove #VolinskyAgenda From Executive Council. What’s Lacking is the Political Will.

Article 63 of the New Hampshire Constitution:

The members of the council may be impeached by the house, and tried by the senate for bribery, corruption, malpractice, or maladministration.

Does knowingly violating the First Amendment to the United States Constitution rise to the level of malpractice or maladministration?  I’d say so.

As I discussed in a prior post, the First Amendment prohibits religious discrimination by the government.

Under the free exercise clause: “the government must “maintain strict neutrality, neither aiding nor opposing religion,” Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225 (1963).  And the establishment clause “requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of believers and non- believers; … State power is no more to be used so as to handicap religions than it is to favor them,” Everson v. Bd. of Educ., 330 U.S. 1, 18 (1947).

The equal protection clause also prevents government from discriminating on the basis of religion.  For example, New Jersey providing free transportation to students in all but religious schools, Everson, or New York supplying free secular text- books to all students but those attending religious schools, Bd. of Educ. v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236 (1968), constituted impermissible religious discrimination.

As Jennifer Horn explained in a recent column in the Union Leader (aka #StinkyJoe McQuaid’s #DyingPaper), Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (aka #VolinskyAgenda) has knowingly violated the First Amendment by voting on at least one and arguably two occasions based on animus toward Christians:

Last week, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky was the sole vote against a contract with a faith-based organization to provide services to recruit foster and adoptive families because he “suspected” they might not be supportive of gay and lesbian foster parents.

In response to Mr. Volinsky questioning the qualifications of Bethany Christian Services to continue to provide services to the state, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald informed the council that the federal government had a long-standing policy of not discriminating against such organizations based on their religious character, and that the Obama administration had issued an executive order saying as much. Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers confirmed the relationship between the state and Bethany, and reiterated the critical need for their services “in part because of the depth and length of the opioid crisis in New Hampshire.” And yet, Volinsky still withheld his support.

It should be noted, as Horn noted in her column that Bethany Christian services had been under contract with the State for many years and without any problems:

In the case of Bethany Christian Services, Volinsky voted against a contract with an organization that has been providing services for the state since John Lynch was governor, and whose contract was renewed under the Hassan administration without question or concern.

The other instance was #VolinskyAgenda’s opposition to Frank Edelblut serving as Education Commissioner:

Mr. Volinsky’s vote is particularly troubling in light of the fact that he took a similar, if not even more aggressive, line of attack against Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut during his confirmation hearing. Volinsky tried to apply what has become his own anti-Christian litmus test against the then-nominee.

I don’t expect the House to impeach or the Senate to convict, even though the grounds exist to do so.  Too many RINOs.