Our government and, in fact, our society derives heavily from the premise that an individual needs to surrender some of his rights/powers and bestow them onto an appointed/elected few. For instance, someone living in a city implicitly agrees to grant only law enforcement officials of that city the power to arrest and charge a person with a crime. In the case of government, citizens forego their individual voice in law making and entrust it to an elected representative.
There is an implicit trust that those elected will conduct themselves honorably and fulfil the requirements of their jobs to the best of their abilities. When elected officials fail to meet these demands, it is the responsibility of their fellow lawmakers to speak up and remove the offending individuals from office.
David Jaye was entrusted with the task of representing Macomb County in the Michigan Senate in 1997. In spite of his two drunk-driving convictions, Jaye won the election with 2,000 votes, defeating Democratic challenger Becky Higbie. Since becoming a senator, Jaye has been convicted of a third drunk-driving charge.
His other alleged acts of misconduct include verbal abuse and profanity directed at his staff and more recently, domestic violence directed against his fiance. Jaye spent a night in a Florida jail after police responded to a 911 call about an alleged dispute with his fiance.
Jaye, who was active in the anti-affirmative action lawsuits against the University of Michigan, is currently facing the possibility of disciplinary action from his colleagues. Article IV, Section 16 of the Michigan Constitution states that “Each house shall be the sole judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its members, and may, with the occurrence of two-thirds of all members elected thereto and serving therein, expel a member.”
In light of his recent run-in with the law, there is currently a six-member panel assigned the task of determining what disciplinary action to take. This senate committee could recommend that Jaye merely be reprimanded or it could expel him from office.
Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow has predicted that Jaye will likely be ousted. Jaye will have a chance to defend himself to the committee and has expressed his intent to sue to get his get his job back if forced to leave it. If the committee decides to expel him from office, Jaye will be the first senator to be expelled in Macomb County history.
Jaye is detrimental to lawmaking in Michigan and should be expelled. His presence in government despite his continued misconduct demonstrates a double standard for law-breakers: If you break the law you will be penalized, but if your job is to make those laws, your penalties will be lighter. The implication is that lawmakers don”t have to obey the laws like everyone else.
Jaye”s presence in the Senate undermines the integrity of the institution and he should be removed immediately. Michigan citizens deserve to be represented by lawmakers who respect the laws of the land.
If the Senate committee decides not to expel him, the residents of Macomb County should take action themselves and start a petition to have him recalled. His effectiveness as a member of the Michigan senate is irreparably damaged by his history of misconduct and it is unlikely that he can accomplish anymore worthwhile deeds in his post.