NEW ORLEANS (AP) – If the House and Senate, together, giveth, can the House, alone, taketh away?
That was the constitutional question before a state judge in Baton Rouge last week in an online hearing that provided the public – those who could squeeze in, virtually, to an online courtroom – with an example of complex legal procedure and a refresher course in middle school civics.
There also was an impromptu example of what can happen when courtroom decorum is ignored – even in a virtual courtroom. Judge William Morvant, in Baton Rouge, couldn’t order bailiffs to remove one observer. But he could order that the man’s microphone be muted, and it quickly was – the pandemic-age penalty for possible contempt of court. Or, maybe, contempt of Zoom.
The silenced observer, eager for the state to shed coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, was likely unhappy with the outcome of the hearing. It dealt with a