I understand the sentiment, but the law is the law.
KAILUA, Hawaii (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday he agreed that Senate Democrats “cannot accept” any move by Illinois’ scandal-tarred governor to name a replacement for Obama’s Senate seat.
Obama said he was disappointed that Gov. Rod Blagojevich — who has been accused of trying to sell the vacant Senate seat — had appointed former state attorney general Roland Burris to fill the vacancy.
“Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat,” Obama said in a statement, adding that he agreed with this position.
The Illinois Secretary of State is also saying that he’ll refuse to certify anyone Blago appoints, but does that even matter? I’m no expert on Illinois election law, but it seems to me that the Secretary of State certifies elections. This is an appointment, and I really don’t see where Blago needs the permission of the Secretary of State to make it.
And for that matter, he doesn’t need the permission of the President-elect or anyone in the Senate either. Blagojevich, until he is impeached, is still the Governor of Illinois and thus has the power per the laws of that state to appoint a successor for Obama. And while the Senate does have some leeway on determining who sits in the Senate and who doesn’t, I don’t think they can deny a seat to someone who meets the Constitutional qualifications for being a Senator and was sent to that chamber in accordance with the laws of the state he’s to represent.
Frankly, I don’t want anyone Blago has appointed to be in the Senate either. I think the best outcome to this whole mess would be an election to choose the successor. But for the time being we have to follow the law.
Because we can’t just ignore it whenever it’s convenient. Though I’m not surprised that Obama and the Democrats want to do just that.
The Democrats can refuse to let Blago’s appointment into their caucus, but they can’t just keep him out of the Senate.
On a related note, as Blagojevich gets nuttier and nuttier, let’s remember that it was people like Barack Obama and his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who helped him rise to power.
So Tony Rezko. William Ayers. Jeremiah Wright. Rod Blagojevich. All close friends of Obama. All people he dealt with professionally and personally on his rise to power.
Is it ok to question his judgment yet?