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Filling Obama’s Senate seat
Can Gov. Blagojevich still name Obama’s successor after being charged with trying to sell the seat?
 

This is an awkward moment for Illinois, said USA Today in an editorial. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been accused of trying to sell the appointment for the Senate seat left vacant when Barack Obama was elected president—but he “retains the power” to name Obama’s replacement. “Given the cloud over the appointment, it would be a travesty if Blagojevich made it.”

That’s why state lawmakers should impeach Blagojevich, said the Chicago Sun-Times in an editorial, if he “does not resign immediately.” The only way to make this scandal worse is to let this man appoint the state’s next senator. “Fortunately, the state Senate and House look poised to meet, so lawmakers can change the law to select a new senator by special election.”

Impeachment and a change in state law are just two ways to thwart Blagojevich, said Noreen Malone in Slate. And even if he has the audacity to name someone before state lawmakers step in, the Constitution gives the U.S. Senate final say, and there have been five cases in the past when senators refused to recognize an appointee.

Picking a senator is serious business, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, yet Blagojevich was offering Obama’s seat to the highest bidder. And in New York, Gov. David Paterson is reportedly considering replacing Secretary of State-nominee Hillary Clinton with Caroline Kennedy, whose most notable qualification is her family name. Here’s a “novel concept”—“Select someone with the wisdom, talent, and experience to serve in the world's greatest deliberative body.”

Here's an idea, said John Nichols in The Nation online. Why not do this democratically, and hold a special election? That's the best way to fill Obama's seat in a quick and fair way, plus this would "provide an example to other states of a more honest and democratic way to fill Senate vacancies."

 

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