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Do the Right Thing, Hiram

Hardly a day goes by where there is not news of someone in the state Senate calling for the expulsion or censorship of Sen. Hiram Monserrate. The senator who was convicted of misdemeanor assault last October has become an embarrassment and a distraction. The Senate has more important business to worry about.

In Queens, senators on both sides of the aisle appear ready to vote in favor of Monserrate’s expulsion. Sens. Toby Stavisky and Frank Padavan said they would support expelling him if it came to a vote. To be sure, there are a handful of senators who oppose expulsion and even censorship, including Bronx Sens. Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz Sr., but there is little doubt the majority of the Senate is ready to show Monserrate the door.

Monserrate’s attorney argues that a vote to expel Monserrate would be unconstitutional. An inevitable court battle would only drag out the controversy. The senator, who has never shown remorse for what he did to his girlfriend in December 2008, said, “The people of this district — and only them — they are my bosses.”

Do the people who elected him to the Senate before the incident took place really believe he accidently cut his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass? Do they think it was bad judgment that he did not want to wait for an ambulance and that he chose to take his girlfriend to a hospital on the Queens-Nassau border rather than a hospital closer to his home? Do they really want a person who engaged in an act of domestic violence to represent them in Albany?

We hope not, but even if they do, the Senate has every right to show him the door. Sources close to Democratic Senate Conference Leader John Sampson said it is nearly certain the senator would allow an expulsion vote. He should do so and do it quickly.

Monserrate can put an end to this embarrassment by stepping down. It is not likely to happen, but it is the right thing to do.

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