Senators, read your constitutions!

6 01 2009

Article I, section V

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

What this means, as certain senators and would-be senators seem to fail to understand (or seek to ignore), is that the Senate is in no way required to accept Burris. He does not, contrary to what he has claimed, a mandate from god. He doesn’t have a mandate. He is not a senator until the Senate seats him, which, let me repeat, they do not have to do.

I guess I need to revise my statement here. They seem to have some legal grounds, but it’s being argued between experts who know a lot more than me about this. My own armchair, inexpert view is that until Blagojevich’s scandal is cleared up the Senate has some legal grounds, although not really any moral grounds.

There are good reasons for seating him, however. For instance, the fact that he does have a legitimate, apparently corruption-free appointment. The Senate probably should seat him, not least because they will need his vote on legislation. Also, Illinois should have their full representation. But they are under absolutely no obligation to allow him to be seated if they deem there to be reason to refuse to allow him.

Isn’t reading the constitution fun?

(Sorry for still not getting a real post up. I’m working on a couple for this weekend)




3 responses

6 01 2009

Legal experts say that claim was weakened when the US Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that the US House could not block the appointment of a representative from NY named Adam Clayton Powell Jr. I’m sure that the Illinois Supreme Court will probably follow that lead. Even if they did succeed at this, I don’t know what the point was or what ultimate good they figure will come out of this circus.


6 01 2009
Perpetual Dissent

Well, other legal experts disagree though:

My (admittedly inexpert) opinion is that once Blagojevich’s scandal is cleared up they have no grounds, but that until then it seems to me that they have some sort of legal, if not really moral, grounds. I guess I could have done a better job stating my opinion in the post. Listening too many frustrating and ignorant reporters on the news leads to excessive hyperbole I guess.

Thanks for calling me on that. I updated the post; hopefully it’s more in line with the real situation now.

6 01 2009

We are all just trying to forcast the future any way, because it seems they end up doing kinda whatever they want anyway. Like you said, there are just as many legal experts arguing one side as the other. We won’t know for sure till we can look back and say – “Oh, thats what happend!” I just still don’t know what the point was.


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