WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN spoke with Senate historian Don Ritchie earlier this month about what could happen if Gov. Rod Blagojevich were to appoint someone to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat:
"The Constitution gives the Senate the ultimate authority to decide the qualifications of any of its members," Ritchie said.
TEXT: This is under Article 1, Section 5 which states "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..."
WHEN? The Senate can only react after someone has presented a certificate of appointment. And then, refusal must of course come as a vote.
DETAILS: If there is a question about the appointment the Senate could: 1) vote to immediately vacate the seat, thus not accepting the appointment or 2) vote to seat the senator pending an investigation by the Rules Committee or some other body.
LAST SENATE REJECTION: In 1913, when the 17th amendment had just been passed giving states the option of having governors appoint senators. But the US Senate found that Alabama had not yet decided to give that power to its governor and thus the governor's appointee was not seated.
LAST TIME an incoming senator faced a pending investigation: Sen. Mary Landrieu and her contested race in 1996. She won by less than 6,000 votes, her seating was challenged, but the Senate voted to recognize her "without prejudice" while the Rules Committee spent ten months reviewing the election results.
I would like an opptuntity to vote for our new senator.....
Under Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969), the houses of Congress have no authority to refuse to seat an appointee or candidate duly elected to the House or Senate under Art. 1, Section 5, unless that appointee or candidate, in the judgment of the house in question, fails to meet one of the constitutional qualifications for the office. <<
Okay, but there was no election here. The problem is this– what if there is a cloud over not the appointee, but the guy doing the appointing? I don't think Powell controls the outcome of this.
News Flash! The Senate accepts Caroline Kennedy appointment, rejects Burris! What a joke that would be!
just let Senator Reid ,,use his good judgement and appoint those three open senate seats left ,,, Jessie Jackson sr.,,, Al Frankin and Ellot Spitzer,,,,ya these would sale right thru the new senate ,,,,,,
Absolutely and rightly so.... I don't care which party... if we find corruption, it must be rooted out! The times they are a changing... you better decide to be part of the solution.... or you are still part of the problem... and on the way out! As my old daddy used to say, "what is done in the dark will come to the light." And it is about time! I mean seriously... :)
Rob in Stanten Island, Section 5 does grant authority to expel a member. "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings .... and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member." Only takes 2/3s vote of the Senate and Burris is SOL.
AWARE.... racism is your comment.... :) or didn't you notice...
It will be fun to watch the party of "the people" to turn away a person of color.
You gotta give it to the man, he's a fighter!
He's not going down without a fight. We gotta give him that much.
He didn't get to be Gov of Ill by nice guy virtues
Elections, Returns, and Qualifications.
Since this seat is the result of an appointment, Elections and Returns are not relevant. That leaves Qualifications. What, in Sen. Reid's view, would disqualify the appointment? Presumably, they would also disqualify him were he elected, rather than appointed, right?
I'm not familiar with the Illinois Constitution or Illinois state law. But, it seems to me that if whichever of the two covers replacement U.S. Senate seats says that the governer makes the appointment... then the governor makes the appointment.
If the Illinois legislators and/or citizens don't want Blagojevich making the appointment... either remove him as governor, or change the law. I don't really see a good reason for the U.S. Senate to refuse to seat him under I.5.
@Richard the Illnois legislature stated the state of Illnois could not afford the 13 million it would cost for a special election.
ACORN??? Do try to stay relevant.
The Burris appointment should be rejected because it is the fruit of a poisonous tree. I make is no judgement as to AG Burris' fitness or integrity. I do judge those qualities in Gov. Blagojevich.
This is a cynical ploy meant to exploit racial divisions. I applaud the statement by the President Elect. His criticism of the appointment makes the Blagojevich/Rush race manueveur ineffective.