Russ Feingold To Introduce Constitutional Amendment To End US Senate Appointments

Good (via press release):

"The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end.  In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators.  They should have the same power in the case of unexpected mid term vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people.  I plan to introduce a constitutional amendment this week to require special elections when a Senate seat is vacant, as the Constitution mandates for the House, and as my own state of Wisconsin already requires by statute.  As the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, I will hold a hearing on this important topic soon."

Tags: Russ Feingold, US Senate (all tags)

Comments

38 Comments

I like it.

Sounds like a good idea. Take the self interest of politicians out of it.

Does anyone seriously think Gillibrand would have had a snowball's chance in hell if she had run in a New York democratic primary or special election without this appointment?

by bruh3 2009-01-25 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I like it.

Do you think obama would have appointed clinton or any other democratic senator if he could not be guaranteed a democratic replacement?

by gikatilla 2009-01-25 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: I like it.

It cuts both ways... someday another party is going to be in the WH again.  To me this looks like one of the few truly bipartisan amendments out there.  Maybe I'm overstating it, but this is the first viable Constitutional amendment I've seen in my lifetime.

by auronrenouille 2009-01-25 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I like it.

How young are you?

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-26 04:31PM | 0 recs
well

He appointed a Democratic governor who would replaced by a Republican.  

by John DE 2009-01-25 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: well

Well played, sir.

by lojasmo 2009-01-25 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: well

True. But Governors don't get to block legislation.  I don't think he would have appointed so many democratic senators if there was a chance he would be sabotaging his own agenda.

by gikatilla 2009-01-26 05:34AM | 0 recs
Re: well

Ever heard of a veto?

by lojasmo 2009-01-26 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: well

Wow... looks like someone needs to go back to High School Government Class.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-26 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: I like it.

The point is I don't care. I think this is one of those things where the best result is to avoid the issue altogether with a bright wall. It's too easily subjected to manipulation regardless of who does it.

by bruh3 2009-01-25 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

I don't trust your perception of New York politics. I have given several tests and you have failed each time.

by bruh3 2009-01-25 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

I have given several tests and you have failed each time.

Your ego.

HUGE.

It makes taking your posts seriously even when you are making great points.

Not that you care. Just pointing that out.

by spacemanspiff 2009-01-25 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

It makes it hard to take your posts seriously.

That's what I meant.

You add an unintentional comedic value to MyDD.

by spacemanspiff 2009-01-25 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

No- ego is to believe that one can just make shit up without anyone seeing whether one is lying or not just because we are online. So I tested to see for example could the person to whom I responded could even admit what happened with mark green. He could not. He kept lying. That's not my ego. That's his lying. I don't feel the need to keep believing someone who lies. Maybe you do. But that's a matter of your problem. Not mine.

by bruh3 2009-01-25 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

And what makes you the expert on NY Politics Bruh?

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-26 04:32PM | 0 recs
Special election eliminates primary ....

you understand, Party leaders of either party could pickup the candidate of each party? makes no sense.

by Joshuagen 2009-01-26 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Amendment To End US Senate Appointments

I would support this even if I hadn't just witnessed two governors completely bollox the process up, one through old-fashioned venality, the other through old-fashioned incompetence.

by Jess81 2009-01-25 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Amendment To End US Senate Appointments

It wasn't incompetence. It was totally focused on personal gain. Paterson was concerened with his goals of being elected, and thus, this was his calculus rather than the best candidate to represent the state.

by bruh3 2009-01-25 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Amendment To End US Senate Appointments

Except if he HAD been focused on his own relection, Cuomo was the best pick as it took out his toughest Primary opponent.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-26 05:23PM | 0 recs
a baby step

Not a bad baby step, but while you are at it, how about an amendment to elect the president by popular vote amd do away with the electoral college?

by candideinnc 2009-01-25 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: a baby step

Don't mix those two issues together. Many amendments to get rid of the electoral college have been introduced. Small-state politicians will never allow those to go forward.

This should be uncontroversial and easy to get through Congress and ratified by the states.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-25 12:42PM | 0 recs
Yup

two completely different issues, no way you can get rid of the electoral college by constitutional amendment, every small state will vote against it...

This is completely different, but even THIS will be a struggle.

The political parties LIKE the fact they get to appoint a person of the same party as the governor..or are terrified when they have to let the other party appoint?

David Vitter, anyone?  Sheesh....

by WashStateBlue 2009-01-25 01:07PM | 0 recs
At least include legislation to clean up

the electronic voting.  I don't want Diebold picking my Senator any more than I want the governor.

by pascal1947 2009-01-25 02:36PM | 0 recs
Absolutely

I will absolutely support a Constitutional Amendment banning appointments to the Senate by state Governor's.

by RJEvans 2009-01-25 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold To Introduce Constitutional Amen

This is a good idea.    But getting it passed and more importantly RATIFIED is gonna be quite a task in a divided nation filled with bitter politics between Dems and GOP.

Securing 50% plus 1 is hard given the current atmosphere in recent yrs......but convincing 66% and eventually 75% of the state legislatures is quite a task.

Also the ONLY states that would ever pass a Constitutional Amendement eliminating the Electoral College are the large populous states such as Cali, NY, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.   States such as Rhode Island, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Nevada, and other small states will never agree.    

by newmexicodem 2009-01-25 02:02PM | 0 recs
Might not be that hard

Unlike, say, DC statehood, there is no obvious partisan or ideological benefit to this amendment.

Further, the people most likely to oppose it, state governors, have no role in the ratification process.

by JJE 2009-01-25 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold To Introduce Constitutional Amen

Also in the day and age of a powerful President....it is interesting knowing that our forefathers created the US Constitution amendment process ignoring a key politcal figure.  

According to the Amendment process......the opinion of the most powerful man in the world(US President) is irrelevant.   The President has zero influence or power regarding amendments.   Kinda interesting.

by newmexicodem 2009-01-25 02:05PM | 0 recs
As it should be n/t

by Fitzy 2009-01-25 02:23PM | 0 recs
Governor's Purview

I view U.S. Senate appointments as being with a governor's purview.

Makes sense to me in terms of having uninterrupted representation in the Upper Chamber, where the total number (100) is much less than in the House (435).

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-01-25 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Governor's Purview

You could allow for truly temporary appointments with a strict time limit, say 90 days.

by sneakers563 2009-01-25 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Governor's Purview

I agree.  Think how long it would take to replace Biden, Obama, and Clinton under this system.  I like the idea, but i think the governor, with the legislature's own restrictions, should be able to nominate an interim senator until the special election, not for the remain of the term.  Maybe require a special election within 90 days of official resignation or death certification, a primary within 60. and the governor must select an interim replacement within 10 days.  Personally i like state laws that require the governor to select a nominee form a list provided by the leaders of the political party the previous incumbent.  so maybe the appointment might take a little longer.  I completely agree that someone who has not been elected by the people should serve for more than a year without runing in the special election, but I believe it is paramount that there be a mechanism to quickly fill vacancies, and i don't see how this can be done by special elections in a truely democratic way, with primaries and enough time for debates and public scrutiny of the candidates.

by goodleh 2009-01-25 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Governor's Purview

sry, should NOT serve for more than a year without winning the special election

by goodleh 2009-01-25 04:02PM | 0 recs
The Senate is no less capable

Of doing business with 99 members than it is with 100.  The prospect of a temporarily vacant Senate seat is no reason to deprive the people of a say over who shall represent them in the Senate.

The Senate survived with only one Senator from Illinois, and it will survive with only one Senator from Minnesota, at least for the near future.

by Drew 2009-01-25 05:11PM | 0 recs
Perhaps this could be combined

With the various Continuity of Congress amendments floating around.  They deal with the same subject - how to replace a member when their seat becomes vacant.  One section could deal with individual vacancies, and another could deal with mass vacancies.

by Drew 2009-01-25 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold To Introduce Constitutional Amen

Agree 100%.

I mentioned the undemocratic nature of this outdated practice and was told the problem was the expense of having elections. I think our democratic process is worth investing in what it takes to have these elections.

by obama4presidente 2009-01-25 05:54PM | 0 recs
Totally disagree

I think we should revoke the previous amendment and go back to gubernatorial appointments for ALL Senate seats.  The idea that "the people" aren't represented is just ludicrous.  Senators aren't supposed to represent the people, they represent states.  Thats how this was supposed to work.  Direct election of Senators has led to a vast increase in money in politics, and a focus on Washington instead of local state government.  If we want to change all that, let's abolish the Senate all together and go to a Parliamentary type of government.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2009-01-26 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: You're right when you say

Remember that special elections are expensive, AND will not get a large turnout. You are thus allowing a small minority of the people to choose the Senator. And while some may say that is better than one (the Governor), at least he was elected on a normal election, and represents the entire state. Illinois may be an ugly situation, but it is better, I think, than a costly election that represents the will of only a few.

by Midcoast 2009-01-26 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold To Introduce Constitutional Amen

This seems like one of those no brainer amendments that will pass into law easily... yet for some wierd reason, the senate and house won't approve it.... Don't ask me why... I hope I'm wrong of course.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-26 04:29PM | 0 recs

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