Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Harry Reid and the Constitution

Rod Blagojevich has announced his intention to appoint some hack who happens to be black to the former Senate seat of Barack Obama. Harry Reid has said that any appointment by Blagojevich will be blocked by the Senate. Glad to see that Democrats' new found respect for the constitution during George W. Bush's tenure as President is conveniently chucked out the window at the first inauspicious moment.

First, consitutionally, the governor has the power to appoint a replacement senator if the legislature has previously passed enabling legislation. In Illinois, it has. Second, the governor has not been indicted nor impeached. What could the Democrats do? Instead of playing games, they could have repealled the law.

Under what consitutional basis does Harry Reid believe he can deny seating Burris? Reid makes reference to the qualification of the governor to make the appointment, seeming to allude to Article I, Section 5 of the constitution, "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..." However, in Powell vs. McCormack,

The Court determined in this case that no Congress could exclude a not-yet member (i.e., a candidate member) from being sworn in and taking their seat in the House. The Court found that if the Congress went beyond a determination that a candidate member had satisfied the Constitution’s qualifications for membership (and had been duly chosen by, and through the laws of their state) it could not (under the Constitution) go further in examining and possibly rejecting a candidate member before administering the oath of office, and seating them.

So Dingy Harry's only real recourse is to expel Burris after he is seated and for that he needs a two-thirds majority. Should Republicans help him? Not if they respect constitutional government. Worst of all, the President-Elect seems to share Reid's lack of respect for constitutional process.


  1. Awesome. This is the scandal that keeps on giving.

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