As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Where Progressive Leadership and D-Day Obsessions Collide

Thomas Geoghegan, who is running for Congress to replace Rahm Emanuel, already had me excited about the potential for new progressive leadership. When he wrote the definitive brief against the absurd Senate appointment process today, that just made it all the sweeter.

IN 2009 four new senators will slip into office — all in violation of the Constitution, which requires a special election to fill a Senate vacancy. Colorado, Delaware, hapless Illinois and star-struck New York will have senators “elected” by a single voter, the governors who appoint them.

It may have been a while since many of us read the 17th Amendment, which was ratified in 1913. Its first paragraph replaced the indirect election of senators by state legislatures with “direct” popular election by the voters. The second paragraph, which you may have skipped in school, deals with vacancies. It states that when seats open up unexpectedly, governors “shall issue writs of elections to fill such vacancies.” The plain enough meaning is that the governor will issue an order for a special election. But for decades now governors have opted not to issue writs directing new or special elections. Why are they ignoring the Constitution? To increase their own power, of course.

I have been saying this at least since the Blagojevich thing sparked up. The 17th Amendment allows for an appointment if the legislatures so choose, but it does NOT cancel out the plain statement that governors must issue orders for special elections. Governors have chosen to move these special elections until the next general election, but that does not make it legal.

The Senate appointment process invites corruption, as any action that puts power in the hands of the few does. It ought to be abolished so the people can choose their own representatives. Geoghegan argues that the Supreme Court could easily fix this by reinterpreting the law. If they choose not to, I'm sure someone would be willing to push for clarity in Congress. Someone like Tom Geoghegan.

I'm telling you, this guy is the real deal. Support Geoghegan for Congress.

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