Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Illinois Senate Seat

Some people think it could go to the Supreme Court. Some of the scenarios include a battle between Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who has vowed not to put the state seal on Roland Burris appointment. Another scenario is that the Senate Democratic Caucus is threatening not to seat Burris.
Constitutional law professor Dawn Clark Netsch tells CBS 2 this appointment could likely be the subject of many lawsuits, one arguing the governor had to appoint a senator thus mandating Jesse White certify the appointment, and others questioning the U.S. Senate's grounds for refusing to seat Burris.

Certainly there will now be immense political pressure on Quinn to make that replacement an African-American.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Blagojevich is ready to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.
The latter scenario intrigues me. Burris is constitutionally qualified to be a Senator, he is over 30, has been a U.S. Citizen for at leat nine years, and is a resident of the state he will represent. But the Constitution also gives the Senate the power to seat or not seat individuals in the Chamber. What would be the grounds for refusing to seat Burris, because it is not his qualifications. Illinois law gives the Governor, no matter how tainted, the power to appoint replacements for vacancies in Senate seats, which Blago has done. It is an interesting argument.

But this episode and the one in New York, simply reinforces my contention that a special election should be held to fill vacancies in the Senate to complete terms.

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