September 23rd, 2009
06:08 PM ET
12 years ago

MA lawmakers approve appointment bill - but new hurdle looms

(CNN) - Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to approve a measure that would give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a new election can be held - but it's still too soon for the bill's backers to claim victory.

The measure, which Wednesday afternoon passed the Massachusetts House and Senate, would not go into effect for 90 days - a period that ends just a month before the scheduled special election for a permanent successor to complete the remainder of Kennedy's Senate term - unless two-thirds of the state House voted to bypass the delay and enact the measure immediately.

Democrats have fallen just short of that mark, with a final state House vote of 95-59.

Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away. An immediate appointment would give Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the U.S. Senate as the chamber weighs President Obama's health care proposal.

But Republicans have threatened to file suit if the governor makes that emergency declaration, and it's unclear what course a court fight might take.

Two Kennedy family associates have told CNN that Paul Kirk, longtime senior aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, is the family's favorite to fill his vacant Senate seat – and that the late senator's sons have relayed this view to Patrick. One source said the late senator's widow,Vicki Kennedy, was among the family members supporting a Kirk appointment.

Asked if Patrick is on board, a source said "it is 75 percent there."

–CNN's John King, Gloria Borger and Rebecca Sinderbrand contributed to this report

Filed under: Deval Patrick • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. howie

    Is Patrick that low that he would declare a state of emergency?????

    September 23, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away.
    ...and the emergency would be that the U.S. Senate is unable to pass another strictly partisan bill? One that most Americans don't want anyway? Nasty political machine we installed in January, isn't it?

    September 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. jayjohn

    Shows you how bad Obama's health care plan is, the democrats
    are making and breaking their own rules to get it passed.

    September 23, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. Ed

    Patrick and the rest of these thieving Democrats will pay the price next election.

    September 23, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Tom in Delaware

    A complete failure of ethics....only a Liberal or a Criminal could be proud...but I repeat myself.

    September 23, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    This just proves the old saying..."If it weren't for double standards, Democrats would have no standards".

    September 23, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Gerry

    Patrick and the lawmaker (breaker) are really no good. Stay out of New Hampshire we don't need that bad blood in our state.

    September 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. ib

    HYPROCRITES!!!!!!! Talking about changing laws to benefit one party. Boy; couldn't you hear the liberals wail if the GOP pulled something as underhanded as this.

    September 23, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    We're democrats. We don't follow laws. We only MAKE laws for OTHERS to follow. The only time we follow laws is when they benefit our party and our own thirst for power. When a law no longer does that, what do we do? We CHANGE it so it does.


    September 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |

    Democrates pass a law so Republicans cannot replace but when they want their own, they pass a law so they can replace,



    September 23, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. GOP

    See this is a fine example of how Democrats change the rules when they don’t want to play by them.

    When they had a Republican governor they changed the law so he could not appoint a Republican to the Senate.

    But now that they have a Democrat in the Governors office they twist the law back so they can put one of their own in there just so they can pass their liberal healthcare bill.

    Had Republicans done this people would be outraged by their actions. But maybe the problem is with Democrats people just understand crooks will be crooks!

    September 23, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Right Leaning Independent

    Well you know that Deval and the hypocrite Dems in Mass will definitely declare an emergency. I am so happy I do live in that state. They should change their state motto to home of the hypocrites!!

    September 23, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. ComradeObummer

    MASS DUMocRATS are an embarrassment to the state.

    It's one thing to win fair and square; it's another thing to cheat and bend the rules to your favor on a consistent basis.

    But what do you expect from this state.

    September 23, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. Jerry

    This is very outrageous. When Mass. had a Republican gov, Kennedy prressured to pass this very law they are trying to over turn. Why? Because know they have a Democrat in charge and hate the chance of losing a set. This is so stupid, how do these people keep getting elected?

    September 23, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Power politics at it's worst.

    The appalling thing is that Massachusetts is being so blatant about trying to rig Kennedy's replacement.

    September 23, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Albo58

    With Deval Patrick as governor, I'd say Massachusetts is already in a constant state of emergency! He and his Dimwit goons in the legislature are pieces of garbage and they'll bend any law to get their political agendas passed!

    September 23, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. malclave

    Ted Kennedy's true legacy... the belief that Democrats should not be held to the same standards under the law as Republicans.

    September 23, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    What could possibly constitute an 'emergency'? Having 59 Democtratic Senate votes instead of 60 is not an emergency. If they were so worried about this why didn't Obama press Kennedy to step down months ago?

    September 23, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. obama the liar

    there is no delaying corruption in the state of Massachusetts.

    September 23, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Gary

    Changing the rules to suit the Democrats....this is crazy and pathetic! Karma will counteract this unfair practice.

    September 23, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. Johnny DC

    This is entirely unbelievable.

    It is bad enough that Patrick has encouraged the Democrats to take this incredibly immoral road to undo the already unjust law they already passed to circumvent the law in 2000.... but now for them to declare a FALSE STATE OF EMERGENCY, and probably cite something like the fact that so many in Massachusetts are without health care or jobs as the "emergency"....

    If this measure passes and Patrick declares the emergency, I will show him the emergency. I will declare war on Massachusetts. I'm pretty sure I know a few hundred thousand tea-party'ers that will join me.

    September 23, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. American citizen

    Corruption at it's finest. How do they have 60 with Byrd in the hospital?

    September 23, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. joe m

    what emergency would patrick site? this is what is frustrating with either party, they really don't seem to care about rules anymore. the democrats are now changing a rule that they put into place. the reason? their own rule, one that kennedy himself pushed forward, is now inconvinient. how are we suppose to trust either side when these group's leaders play these games? there is a perfectly good, democratically sponsored, process in place. let that be the method used to fill the vacancy. it is MA for goodness sakes, how likely is it that a republican will actually win the seat! pull this stunt however, and the democrats improve the republican chances to actually steal the seat away from them.

    September 23, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |