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About that Senate Seat ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Illinois legislature is meeting in special session next week to strip Gov. Blagojevich of his power to seat a replacement for Barack Obama's Senate seat, and now Harry Reid has come out and said that if he appoints someone between now and that session, the US Senate will refuse to seat the appointee.

But can they?

That's the question tossed around at FiveThirtyEight.
If the Supreme Court took the case, It isn't clear that the Senate has the Constitutional authority to refuse to seat a senator who has been validly appointed under the Constitution.

Art I Section 5 says that "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..."

In Powell v McCormack, the Court held that the House of Reps couldn't refuse to seat Adam Clayton Powell as long as he met the Constitution's qualifications for membership (age, residency, citizenship.).

I guess, theoretically, the Senate could seat the appointee and then expel him with a 2/3rds vote. The Court wouldn't interfere on Political Question grounds: the Constitution doesn't specify the standard for expulsion so it is properly at the discretion of the Senate.
But, as is pointed out, the Senate does have say on "the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members".

The court case certainly settled the qualifications (age, residency and citizenship).

However, there's no "election" or "returns" to be considered in an appointment. So conjecture is that the appointee would have to be seated, but then 2/3rds of the Senate could vote to expel the member.

That'd be a nice way to start the new Congress, no?

Again, all this is conjecture as none of those making this case are constitutional scholars, but it does seem reasonable.

All of that to say, they need to strip our boy Roddy of his powers as soon as they can to avoid what would most likely be a bad show in the Senate (and one the media would eat up with a spoon).
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Of course, all this begs the question of who it is that would accept such an stained appointment?

Written By: Bithead
Though one must consider that an bill to call for a special election would require Roddy’s signature. While the General Assembly could override any veto, my money is on Roddy getting the boot via impeachment first.

Look for it to be over by friday. They REALLY want the man gone before his stench starts sticking to them.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
They REALLY want the man gone before his stench starts sticking to them.
I guess, but that doesn’t explain why they don’t do something post haste about scandal-a-day Rangel. (The Scandal Rangeler? Why hasn’t anyone come up with a clever name for old Cholly yet?)
Written By: Billy Hollis
but that doesn’t explain why they don’t do something post haste about scandal-a-day Rangel.

Because the Illinois General Assembly has shockingly little to say regarding matters of Congress?

You DO know how this whole "State and Federal Government" thing works, right? I mean, I don’t have to go dig out the stuff I was given during my 8th grade civics class, do I?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
So, by virtue of accusation they will strip a governor of his power to appoint a US senator.


Sentence first! Verdict after!

This just gets better and better and better all the time.

Excuse me, why do we have legislatures?
Oh, that’s right to enact laws that can be ignored, for we are in haste, and nothing must mar the scene for the ascension of "the one"

Now, I realize the guy is probably guilty as the day is long, but it would be nice to go through the mechanics of the system wouldn’t it?
You know, crime, accusation, indictment, trial, verdict.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Though he comes off as slightly out of touch, Blagojevich will soon realize that any act in furtherance of his bad reputation is going to be weighed at his sentencing, if he is convicted.

"Even after the governor was indicted for the crimes he has just been convicted of, Your Honor, he continued, without remorse, to damage the reputation of the great State of Illinois that he had already disgraced, etc."

So, an initial signal that he’s going to go ahead with the appointment would wisely be reconsidered. I’m sure his lawyers will break that news to him fairly soon, although the matter of resignation has different considerations, since it would acknowledge guilt.

The main program for Blagojevich now, the best avenue for him going forward, is to become a cooperating witness so that he can angle for a plea bargain and a lighter sentence.

"Governor Blagojevich, Your Honor, once he understood the seriousness of his crimes, became an excellent cooperating witness on the multi-level corruption in the State of Illinois, and we believe that his sentence should reflect both that effort and the level of remorse he has shown since the day he first sat down with us and began cooperating, etc."

So, if Blagojevich winds up serving only five years or so, he still has some life ahead of him, such as it may be.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Sentence first! Verdict after!
There’s a very good argument that the taint brought about by all this lessens his ability to effectively govern the state, and thus he should be removed.

Also, he’s a pretty crappy Governor anyways, regardless. If this is what it takes, I’m fine with that.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I’m sure his lawyers will break that news to him fairly soon, although the matter of resignation has different considerations, since it would acknowledge guilt.
I really don’t think so. He could make a fairly impassioned speech about how he refuses to let the smears against him negatively affect the state he loves blah blah blah, stepping down so that Illinois can move forward blah blah blah, his successor can appoint to the seat blah blah blah.

Not that he’d step down. Way too much ego for him to consider that.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"Because the Illinois General Assembly has shockingly little to say regarding matters of Congress?"

Particularly Congress critters from other states.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Particularly Congress critters from other states.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I don’t think that he would step down (or that he should, from the point of view of his best legal advantage) until it becomes part of a plea deal.

Remember, now that they have Blagojevich, the prosecutors theoretically have everyone who made corrupt deals with him. From the looks of this, that could be dozens of people. In the spirit of "remorse and cooperation" he could clean up the state like it’s never been cleaned up before.

Of course, he could wind up "falling out of a window" before any of that gets started, so until his safety is assured he’s better off with the protections that come with his office.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
There’s a very good argument that the taint brought about by all this
By all ’this’ what?
Accusations by the FBI and broadcast in the media?

Once again, tried in the media court, and found guilty.

If it proved to be crap in court, should we still remove him because of the ’taint’ or just prevent him from appointing a Senator?

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Obama shoudl keep his mouth shut ..
Ill. governor meeting with Obama today
By Carol Sowers
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 10:39 a.m.

CHICAGO, ILL. — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.
He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.
Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Because the Illinois General Assembly has shockingly little to say regarding matters of Congress?
I thought your "them" pronoun was referring to Democrats in general, not specifically those in the Illinois legislature.
Written By: Billy Hollis
All of that to say, they need to strip our boy Roddy of his powers as soon as they can to avoid what would most likely be a bad show in the Senate (and one the media would eat up with a spoon).

I’m gonna disagree with you there.
The NYTimesWashPostCNNABCCBSNBCetc. will try to downplay this story, but as it gets juicier and juicier, they’re going to have to cover it. And watching the thieves in the Chicago political machine go after each other? That’s going to be beautiful.

There’s no conspiracy of lefty "journalists", there’s a consensus (stolen from Insty I think).
As soon as there are cracks in the consensus, it’s going to get interesting. Especially since Blago went after the Tribune company.

And besides, it has the possibility of being about funny. Think of how they’ll twist themselves into retorical knots to keep this from staining their Messiah.

Nope, I’m in favor of this lasting a long time.
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
For your consideration: Blag wants to make money. If he appointed himself, was seated, and then expelled, would he get his Senator’s pension? Or could the Senate strip him of his pension if he were entitled to it?
Written By: feeblemind
URL: http://
Snark from Steyn this morning;
Blago let the seat go too cheaply.
After all, Obama hardly used it; It’s like brand new.

Written By: Bithead
For those worrying about punishment and THEN fundamentally mis-read what "impeachment" is PURELY POLITICAL. It is not JUDICIAL. The only punishment is that you lose your jail, no lose your office. Ergo, there need not BE a crime, much less a conviction to impeach. Tomorrow the US House of Representatives could impeach Bush, on the 21st of Jan. 2009 the US House could impeach Barack’s not a criminal thing, it’s politicians saying, "We don’t want to be sitting next to you no more." To be fair, the US Constitution requires there be “high crimes and misdemeanors”, BUT they are not punishing the accused for those crimes….they are removing him/her from Office. So this whole notion that we are “punishing” Blago before conviction is silly….he’s being convicted of being a bad politician and making the State of Illinois look bad…that’s a “political crime” and the political punishment is impeachment and removal from office. It is wholly separate from the ongoing Federal CRIMINAL investigation and trial. They could have impeached last week, last year….again it’s not about being guilty of a CRIME…yes, that’s usually when politicians get impeached, BUT a crime is not always required for impeachment, so we can “punish” Blago POLITICALLY, and it have no other effect upon him.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I wonder when Obama throws Axelrod under the bus too.

Here is Axelrod scolding Fitzgerald over his anti corruption investigations.
Daley ally and adviser David Axelrod said that some of the alleged conduct, such as faking interview results, would be clearly wrong. But he said Fitzgerald’s effort to criminalize patronage could eliminate job recommendations altogether.

"His grand vision is of a day when you just go, put in your application, take a test and get hired, and recommendations have no place," Axelrod said. "It’s a very sobering and profound thing. I don’t think it’s legally just, and I don’t think it’s wise."
Axelrod at the time took the nuanced position that giving political favors for jobs was perfectly fine.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
McQ, there’s another factor involved here, which may also become a factor if Reid tries to use Article I Section 5 to refuse to seat Norm Coleman as opposed to Al Franken if Franken doesn’t get his way on stealing the election:

The Seventeenth Amendment, which requires that Senators be chosen by popular vote. Wouldn’t that argue against Reid being able to override the election results in Minnesota, and require a special election in Illinois?
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Just before the election, Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose had a fascinating on-air conversation conceding how little they knew about Obama, his policies and politics. “We really don’t know him,” Brokaw confessed.

I was one of the viewers throwing stuff at my TV and shouting, “Then why don’t you ask him, Tom?” Well, it’s too late now.

Six weeks after the election, we’re finally meeting Barack Obama, Chicago-style.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Okay Joe.
So he’s alleged by the FBI to be a bad guy.

That’s all it takes then? Even if there’s no substance to it (there is, but this is a point of procedure, not law, as you point out).

There have to be rules for impeachment, and I don’t think simple ’we, the legislature, don’t like you’ qualifies, despite the oversimplification.

And I don’t think simple accusation of crime qualifies either, even if everyone and his dog believes the guy really is guilty.

And in fact -

Illinois Const. Art. 4, § 14. Impeachment

The House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct legislative investigations to determine the existence of cause for impeachment and, by the vote of a majority of the members elected, to impeach Executive and Judicial officers. Impeachments shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting for that purpose, Senators shall be upon oath, or affirmation, to do justice according to law. If the Governor is tried, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators elected. Judgment shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold any public office of this State. An impeached officer, whether convicted or acquitted, shall be liable to prosecution, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.

And while this says, basically they CAN do exactly as you suggest there’s only been 1 attempted impeachment in Illinois history, and that of a judge. They came up with rules for that, but they’re not binding.

I highlight ’cause’ for impeachment.
You’d better dismiss the idea ’we don’t like you’ is justifiable cause and is certainly not ’justice under the law’.

Now, WILL these clowns do it? Oh, hell yeah, because I see no reason to think they’re going to practice law any different than Blag practiced being governor.
I’m still not going to celebrate it, even if he is a crook, because it’s a case of ends justifying means.

Written By: looker
URL: http://

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