Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Vacancies category.

Illinois’s Unconstitutional Procedure for Filling the Obama Vacancy

An interesting Seventh Circuit opinion earlier this month considers the constitutionality of Illinois’s procedure for filling the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after his presidential election.  (hat tip, Election Law Blog).  Among other things, the court confirms my view that the term of Senator Burris (who was appointed by then-Governor Blagojevich as a temporary replacement [...]

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) has announced that he intends to resign from Congress effective 5 pm today.  Massa had announced last Wednesday that he would not seek re-election for health reasons, but his decision on Friday to resign immediately was apparently prompted by revelations that the House Ethics Committee is investigating him for “sexually harassing” [...]

Senator Kirk’s Term and the Senate’s Constitutional Responsibility

           From comments made on various blogs, as well as exchanges with the election experts cited in this Politico story, I have distilled the following questions/criticisms regarding my prior post on Senator Kirk’s term.              1.  What proposition do the precedents cited in my post stand for?   Both the 1939 case involving Senator Berry and [...]

Can Senator Kirk Vote after January 19?

           Paul Kirk, the interim Senator from Massachusetts, has told reporters that he would cast a vote for health care reform, even after the January 19 special election between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown.  Due to the need to count military and absentee ballots, the Secretary of the Commonwealth may not certify a [...]

Was Senator-Designate Kirk Lawfully Appointed to Fill the Massachusetts Vacancy?

           The Massachusetts legislature has now passed a law empowering the Governor to appoint a temporary replacement for the vacancy created by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy.   As I indicated in a prior post, the Constitution permits it to do this, notwithstanding the controversy over the fact that it had previously stripped the (then-Republican) [...]

Is Vicki Kennedy Unconstitutional?

           As has been widely discussed in the last few weeks, in 2004 Massachusetts changed its law providing for the filling of a senatorial vacancy.  In order to prevent Republican Governor Mitt Romney from filling John Kerry’s Senate seat (in the event that the latter won the 2004 presidential election), the Democratic legislature repealed the [...]

Edward Kennedy, RIP

From Riddick’s Senate Procedure  FLOWERS IN SENATE CHAMBER  Resolution Adopted by Senate in 1905  Resolved, That until further orders the Sergeant at Arms is instructed not to permit flowers to be brought into the Senate Chamber.  On September 15, 1983, the Senate adopted the following resolution on this subject:  Resolved, That notwithstanding the resolution of [...]

The Constitutionality of the ELECT Act

             As an alternative to the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Feingold (which would eliminate temporary appointment of Senators to fill vacancies), Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois has proposed H.R. 899, the Ethical and Legal Elections for Congressional Transitions (or ELECT Act), which would require that special elections to fill senatorial vacancies be held within [...]

Burris’s Options if a Special Election is Called

                       Senator Burris, through his attorney, has indicated that he believes it would be illegal for the Illinois legislature to change the date of the special election to fill the remainder of the Senate term.  It is also apparent that he is willing to mount a vigorous legal challenge.               If Illinois enacts a [...]

Can the Illinois Legislature Change the Date of the Special Election to Replace Senator Burris?

As noted in the previous post, Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois, issued this opinion dated February 25, 2009 regarding the proposal to set a date for an earlier special election to fill the vacant Senate seat of Barack Obama, the seat currently filled on a temporary basis by Roland Burris.  She concludes that [...]