Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) continues to recover at a "miraculous" pace from the assassination attempt that nearly claimed her life earlier this month. But, even as she amazes her doctors, some fear the congresswoman could be subject to a state law that calls for any public official unable to "discharge the duties of office for the period of three consecutive months" to lose his or her position, and a special election be called. Could Giffords end up losing her seat in the House? (Watch the first interview with Giffords' husband)
Not under this law, no: The legal precedent here is clear: Only the Constitution dictates qualifications for members of Congress, says constitutional lawyer Paul Bender, as quoted in The Washington Post. "The state has no right to say when the office becomes vacant."
"As Gabrielle Giffords continues recovery, lawyers say Arizona statute won't endanger seat"
And who would be foolish enough to evict her? Even taking into consideration the "inevitable court challenge" that would follow any attempt to unseat Giffords, says Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, can you imagine anyone actually doing it? Only someone looking to commit political suicide would try to evict "one of the most closely watched, sympathetic figures in the nation" as she bravely recovers from an "attack by a madman." Giffords will stay in her seat.
"Could Giffords' seat be declared vacant?"
She won't lose her seat... for now: The congresswoman won't be forced from office under this Arizona law, says Jim Newell at Gawker, but at some point, given the months of rehabilitation she faces, "a decision will have to be made about Giffords' congressional career, and whether she's capable of continuing it." When that time comes, it will definitely be an "awkward issue" to raise.
"Will Arizona law force Gabrielle Giffords out of her seat?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the West should accept ISIS as a sovereign nation
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- What Ann Coulter and atheist Richard Dawkins have in common
- 6 constitutional amendments that just missed the cut
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
Subscribe to the Week