January 10, 1995 in Nation/World

New Senator Refuses To Uphold State, Federal Laws

Associated Press

Newly elected state Sen. Mike Heavey refused to swear to uphold federal and state laws when he was sworn in Monday.

“Of course I won’t swear to uphold the laws. What if one of them is unjust?” the Seattle Democrat and former House member said later in an interview.

Heavey, among 24 senators to sworn in by Appeals Court Judge Mary Kay Becker, simply chose to omit the word “laws,” when he repeated back to Becker the oath given the senators.

Heavey, a lawyer who’s known as a bit of a maverick, agreed to uphold the state and federal constitutions and Senate rules, but only if the latter “are just.”

Senate President Joel Pritchard, a Republican, was clearly annoyed at Heavey, saying later: “What, we’re all going to swear to uphold only the laws we like?”

Prichard and Senate Secretary Marty Brown, however, said there is nothing in state law requiring lawmakers to take an oath, so Heavey’s edited oath is a valid as any other.

“The oath is a formality,” Pritchard said.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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