September 18th, 2009
10:23 AM ET
5 years ago

MA Senate to take up measure on Kennedy replacement

The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to consider a measure Friday that would allow the governor to appoint an interim U.S. senator to serve in the four month stretch of time before a special election is held to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.
The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to consider a measure Friday that would allow the governor to appoint an interim U.S. senator to serve in the four month stretch of time before a special election is held to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

(CNN) - The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to consider a measure Friday that would allow the governor to appoint an interim U.S. senator to serve in the four month stretch of time before a special election is held to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

The measure easily passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a 95-58 vote Thursday night. While the bill will be brought to the floor Friday afternoon in the state's Senate chamber, Republicans are expected use a procedural motion to delay a vote until next week, said Dave Falcone, a spokesman for the state Senate Majority leader.

State Democrats are strongly pushing the measure to ensure Massachusetts has two votes in the U.S. Senate during the battle over health care reform. With the now-vacant seat, Democrats only have 59 votes in the U.S. Senate - one short of preventing a likely Republican filibuster against a Democratic health care bill.

But Republicans in Massachusetts argue it was Democrats who changed the Senate succession rules in 2004 to prohibit an interim appointment. At the time Democrats wanted to prevent then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from handpicking a replacement for Sen. John Kerry if the Democratic presidential nominee won the White House that year.

While state Democrats have a clear majority in the Senate (35-5), it remains "speculative" whether there are enough votes to pass the bill, Falcone said.

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has stated he supports the rule change and would sign the bill if it passes the Senate. Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis is reportedly on the top of the list to be named to the seat should the measure pass, according to the Boston Globe.


Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Right Leaning Independent

    Any of the Dems in Mass that vote to change the law have to live with the label HYPOCRITE – though I am not sure that many of them will lose sleep over it....

    September 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Dems think they are above all

    Democrats will change the rules when ever it benefits them regardless of what the change is.

    September 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. We Won Get Over It

    I still think that this should be the new law.

    ""When a senator is disposed by death, accepting another position etc the governor of the state can appoint a person to the seat til the required election. The governor has only one specific IF the person vacating the seat is a democrat, a democrat must be appointed. IF the person vacating the seat is a republican, a republican must be appointed.""

    If that is done then there would be no more bickering back and forth about appointing someone to the seat. And it would be a fair law for both parties.

    September 18, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Ken from missouri

    This could be a game changer if this happens because dukakis
    will vote for a public option,but I hope the blue dogs will keep them honest.

    September 18, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Terry from Texas

    It would be nice to have Dukakis in the Senate. He would certainly be one of the smartest people there. He would certainly be much smarter than any Conservative Senator, that's for sure.

    It is hypocritical of the Democrats to argue for a law when it benefits them and to argue against it when it benefits the Republicans.

    I'm sure the good Republicans of Massachussetts are shocked to the core by this display of hypocrisy motivated by self-interest. Their carefully rehearsed spontaneous expressions of indignation will appear sincere – as the always do. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Sincerity is the key thing. If you can fake that, you have got it made." Reagan was joking but I am not.

    September 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Oh we're democrats. We don't follow laws. We only MAKE laws for OTHERS to follow.........and only when those laws benefit us as a party.
    And when a law no longer benefits us as a party, WE CHANGE IT SO IT DOES.

    What a bunch of CORRPUT HYPOCRITES. I can't wait until next year when the republicans take back congress. GO GOP!!!

    September 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Chris - Denver

    I said it before and I'll say it again. There are 2 possible positions on this:

    A. The state legislature has the authority to change the rules on Senate succession as it sees fit.
    B. No, it does not.

    If A is correct, no problem, let them change it. If B is correct, the rule change from 2004 should be declared null and void. Either way, the gov gets to appoint.

    September 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Hyman Minsky

    The rule of law in Mass. is whatever the dems want it to be, depending on their mood. Businessfolks: consider that when you are considering setting up in Mass. Then look a few miles north to New Hampshire. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    September 18, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    For the 1000th time in my adult life, I'm ashamed to be a resident of Massachusetts.

    September 18, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Lilarose

    Get ON with it, Massachusetts!

    The personal health of our nation's citizens is at huge stake here!

    We need a Democratic vote in Congress from any replacement for Sen. Kennedy!

    September 18, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Hugo

    What a bunch of sleaze balls, change the law if it doesn't suit your political interest. The liberals are so freaking corrupt that they don't even see or maybe care what the public thinks of the hypocrisy of their actions. The Kennedy men announced they cry, all FREE men cried every time Teddy introduced some more of his "entitlement" legislation to give away our hard earned tax dollars into Congress!

    September 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. victim of republican greed

    It would be nice to get back to 60 democrats in the senate. gitt'r done.

    September 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Jeff

    What is wrong with this state? They pass a law to block gubernatorial appointments when Kennedy is afraid Romney would be able to appoint a senator. Now that they need to get back to 60 in washington they suddenly need to have an appointment again instead of the electoral process that was so vital just a few years ago? Why is it that no one in the media sees fit to mention that this is purely partisan maneuvering at its absolute worst, driven by none other than the late Ted Kennedy?

    September 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    What an injustice they only appoint another Stupid Democrat probably a Kennedy, heaven forbid.

    September 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. machtim akannah

    The politics as usual hypocrisy continues. When it was to their advantange, the Dems (the party in power) changed the rule to require a special election. Now, because they seek to enhance the "sins" of their past, the Dems (the party STILL in power) seeks to change the rule to permit a gubanatorial appointment. I cannot believe the public will stand for this, but then again, it's the same public responsible for our current "obamanation". The short form spelling of politician (unfortunately applicable to both sides) is C-R-O-O-K! The Dems just happen to have the current advantage.

    September 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Di

    Another law the Democrats want to discard.

    September 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. razmataz

    Typical Dem subterfuge and hypocrisy, shameless and shameful at the same time, nothing more need be said.

    September 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Tate

    This is shocking even for democrats, you wonder why everybody is leaving the north east. Horrible weather and hand out idiots. What a joke, these officials should be jailed.

    September 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Phil

    Wow, I think Massachusetts may take the title for the most crooked state if this passes. After changing the rules to fit their needs in 2004, if they do it again, it kills the credibility for those lawmakers who pass it. What a joke! What is the point of having laws if you are going to change them every time you are inconvenienced? Gotta love those Kennedy loving folks in MA if they allow this.

    September 18, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Sniffit

    Cry more GOPers...CRY!!!

    September 18, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Deb (long island)

    Let us move on particularly since healthcare was Senator Ted Kennedy's passion. Let us not let the party of NO hinder the procedure.

    September 18, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. ch

    Not sure who the replacement will be but we all know that it won't be Caroline Kennedy!

    Who could forget her amateur/embarrassing campaign to get Hillary’s senate seat?

    It was almost as pathetic as Palin’s VP run.

    September 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. S Callahan

    Bad, bad, bad, bad move...just smacks the face of the voters!

    September 18, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    I hope they pass it. The people who elected Ted Kennedy deserve to continue to have their policies represented in the U.S. Senate.

    September 18, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Scott - Chicago

    Honestly, how are these things allowed to happen? It is so disheartening when politicians change rules/regulations/laws to suit their needs. It is just not right. We certainly have to put up with this in Illinois...this needs to stop! If you asked me, we need to clean house of all current dems and reps in all politicial offices. I would have a hard time naming one honest and clean politician right now...

    September 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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