Mississippi Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood woke up this morning, let out a big yawn, stretched high to the sky, stepped out of his house and… you guessed it – he saw his shadow.
We’ll have six more weeks of pardons.
On Wednesday, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed to take up the challenge to former Governor Haley Barbour’s pardons. Barbour issued these in the waning hours of his expiring term, drawing ire from both sides of the aisle.
Democrats, now in the minority at every level of state government for the first time in 140 years, have sought to slap these pardons across the backs of the new Republican majority while many Republicans have distanced themselves from the legendary ex-Governor.
There was to be a hearing at the lower court level this Friday, but with the Supreme Court stepping in, that hearing will not take place. Now, a hearing before the High Court has been set for February 9th with the Court noting that it would try to rule quickly.
I would expect the Supreme Court to explore just who knew what and when. Barbour will not be the only one interrogated; Hood’s office will have to account for their actions as well.
From a purely political standpoint, this has to deflate Hood’s sails just a bit. The longer he was able to keep these pardons in the news, the better it was for him and his political future. With the Supreme Court now in the mix and seeking to issue a ruling in short order, Hood’s political play clock is running out.
With the new Republican majority in the Legislature, the pardons have been a nice distraction for Hood and the Democrats. But soon, the magnifying glass will once again descend onto Hood as conservative legislators take on the Attorney General’s friendly contract practices, something Hood has made headlines for even in the national media.
Hood better make the most of this saga for the next six weeks; after then, he will be under the spotlight himself as he seeks to defend these questionable contract practices.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, too. What does that mean here in Mississippi? Not much. Winter never really set in and spring has seemingly sprung.
And no, Punxsutawney Phil wasn’t hiding in Donald Trump or Jim Hood’s healthy heads of hair.