Friday, January 02, 2009

It's not a slam dunk, but there may be an angle...

Re: Carlos' post below:

It is a very murky question concerning the Senate's power to refuse to seat the nominee under the Article I Section 5 provision that each house shall be the judge of its own members. The Adam Clayton Powell case is informative and conclusive, but not absolutely controlling in my view, as it MAY be distinguishable on the facts.

For those not in their dotage like I am, ACP was a controversial House member from Harlem. He was embroiled in a scandal involving misuse of funds and payroll padding. He was, however, duly re-elected, and the House refused to seat him. The court basically held that the judging of its members clause does not allow the imposition of qualifications beyond those described in Article I (and Burris OBVIOUSLY meets those bare-bones requirements)

The plan of attack is to go under the same section, but not the qualification of the members. Rather, it is the part referring to the Senate judging the ELECTION. The argument would be that unlike Powell, whose ELECTION was not in doubt legally, the senate could argue that the SELECTION of Burris did not comply with the law because of the bribery scandal taint, i.e., we cannot determine if he was properly named pending the outcome of the investigation.

It's not a slam dunk, but it would at least tie things up a long time.

The Dem caucus and leadership could of course make his life miserable--give him a broom closet office, deny committee appointments and seniority, etc. but that would just make them look small and petty.

Burris is not a felon but he is a hack. One more embarrassing moment for Illinois.

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