Despite The Dispatch’s Slim Smith trying his best to put lipstick on a pig, rarely have we seen a more self-aggrandizing freshman legislator in the Mississippi House than Rep. Jay Hughes (D – HD12). He is a different kind of special.
Hughes, a Democrat from Oxford, has tried to do it all in his first session, from running for his party’s caucus leadership (which he lost big) to suing the Speaker of the House over bill reading speed (which he’s also likely to lose big).
Tuesday, the Mississippi Supreme Court declined to listen to a recording of the rate at which the bills are being read by the state House when it hears oral arguments in the case in July.
In response to the decision, Hughes told the Clarion Ledger, “I’m disappointed … that they don’t want to hear the actual warp-speed reading that we contend violates the constitution… I doubt very seriously the Supreme Court would allow me to read my oral arguments at warp speed without claiming it violates their rules and the integrity of their chamber.”
What does it matter if the Court hears the recording? No one denies that it is read at a high rate, especially given it’s being done purely as a political maneuver to stall the chamber. The Justices hearing it themselves would likely not impact their ruling on its constitutionality.
But as one attorney asked me, how smart is it for Hughes to publicly call out the state’s highest court in a case which is still pending their ultimate decision? Not very.
Further, it would appear that the Court’s procedural ruling was based on Hughes or his attorney failing to make a proper record in the trial court, meaning he did not introduce the recording into the record and the Supreme Court is not allowing him to do so after the fact now.
In other words, it was Hughes’ own incompetence that brought about the action he’s now complaining about with the Supreme Court.
But that’s not unusual for Hughes.
In fact, on the same day as the Court’s denial of the recording, Hughes took to Facebook to criticize state and Legislative leadership over the budget cuts affecting the Mississippi Library Commission.
Here’s an excerpt from his post:
Public Libraries vs. Donors = Guess who wins in MS? Forget public school funding, mental health, veterans affairs, etc. If you are against public libraries, thank your current leadership for cutting and closing them. The Library Committee passed exactly zero bills this year. The leadership cut funding to the MS libraries which were already on life support.
Trouble is, Hughes voted in favor of the Conference Report on the Library Commission Appropriation.
Those darn facts.
Like I said, Hughes is a different kind of special, but despite his antics, the media in this state seem to have made him their new golden boy. Why am I not surprised?