Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Railroad Tracks

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) probably figured he’d get everything he wanted when he was elected with a veto-proof Republican majority in Tallahassee. Well, he figured wrong.

Barely two months after taking office, Gov. Rick Scott’s increasingly tense relations with the Legislature landed him in the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday when two state senators filed suit arguing he has overstepped the limits of his authority by rejecting federal money for high-speed rail.

Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, contend Scott violated the Constitution when he rejected $2.4 billion for a Tampa-Orlando line after the Legislature had already voted to move ahead with the project.

“This is not a monarchy. He is not a king,” said Joyner. “This is a democracy. There are three co-equal, independent branches of government and it is necessary for them to be respected.”

Within hours, the Supreme Court responded to the bipartisan lawsuit, issuing an order requiring Scott to submit a response by noon Wednesday. Altman and Joyner then have until 4 p.m. to reply.

Mr. Scott is learning the same lesson other governors have found out: after campaigning on promising to run the state like a business, the former — and nearly indicted — head of a hospital corporation is finding that you can’t run roughshod over everybody. It happened with the last two governors, Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, and they both lost; the Supreme Court ruled against them.

Just to be clear; it’s not about the high-speed rail. It’s about power and proving who’s got it. Welcome to the real world of politics, Mr. Scott. Hang on and enjoy the trip.