Welcome, students, to Constitutional Law 101. Interpret the following passage from Article V of the California Constitution:
"In the event the nominee is neither confirmed nor refused confirmation by both the Senate and the Assembly within 90 days of the submission of the nomination, the nominee shall take office as if he or she had been confirmed by a majority of the Senate and Assembly."
What does it mean to be "refused confirmation"? Failing to get a majority of the house (in this case, the Assembly) to vote 'Yes'? Or having a majority of the chamber cast a 'No' vote?
The chief clerk of the Assembly says it's the former; legal advisers to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger insist it's the latter. And as of now, the nomination of Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor is in limbo. Maldo failed to get 41 votes (a majority of the Assembly) to support him... but... did not have 41 votes cast against him; several assemblymembers simply chose not to vote. And a few others are absent today. Hence the standoff.
Maldo made it through the Senate, but ran into the expected opposition in the Assembly. Floor action has been suspended as legal and political maneuvering continue in private
Updates to come via Twitter, and a full wrap-up here later today.