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Dec 30 / Jonathan

Maybe The Senate Has No Choice?

It appears that Blagojevich has decide to appoint one Roland Burris, 71, former Illinois AG, to Obama’s vacated Senate seat. Burris might even be a good guy, but the Senate Democrats are saying they’re having no part of it.

Here’s a suggestion, via Josh Marshall, that the Senate may have no say in the matter. Interesting.

Maybe The Senate Has No Choice?

I said below that the Senate had full power to seat or not to seat any Blago appointee. And the senate does have extensive power to judge elections and qualifications. But Jeff Greenfield points out that the senate may not actually have that power with regards to an appointment…

Hey, Josh—re the Senate’s power.

I think you’re wrong about saying the Senate has full power not to seat the Gov’s pick. In Powell vs McCormick, a 1969 case involving Adam Clayton Powell, the Supreme Court said, 7–2, that a house of Congress does NOT have such power-they can judge “qualifications” in the Constitutional sense (age, citizenship, etc). And they can judge elections, but say nothing about appointments. (Nate Silver did a great piece on this awhile back).

They can probably EXPEL a member as they see fit—though the Court’s decision does not make that clear—but on what grounds? Just because they don’t like the guy who picked him?

PS—just know these are tentative notions…I’m sure all sorts of folks are trying to tease out this one…(don’t know if every Senate official and/or academic is on vacation this week).

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