Saturday, January 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"I didn't vote for Obama either," [Prince] explained. "Jehovah's Witnesses haven't voted for their whole inception." The controversy over a recent New Yorker "Talk of the Town" item, which Prince feels implied he supported the gay-marriage ban, has upset him. It's the first thing he wanted to discuss when the Web geeks had gone and we were alone. "I have friends that are gay and we study the Bible together," he said. He added that two sides fighting "only benefit the third person" who instigated the fight.
Following English parliamentary tradition and early Colonial and state practice, the framers made the Senate its own gatekeeper and guardian. Each house of Congress is "the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own members," according to Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution. At the founding, Senators were elected by state legislatures. If the Senate believed that legislators in a given state had been bribed into voting for a particular candidate, the Senate could refuse to seat him.
And in case you were wondering about the Adam Clayton Powell case a lot of Legal Pundits have been bleating on about:
In the 1969 case of Powell v. McCormack, the Supreme Court properly held that the Constitution imposes limits on the power of the Senate and the House to exclude members. Some legal commentators say this decision trumps the Senate's power to exclude Burris. But the letter and spirit of Powell actually cut against him. The case involved an elected congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, whom the voters had clearly chosen in a fair election and whom the House nevertheless excluded—wrongly, the court held. The key fact is that there was no doubt whatsoever that Powell was the people's choice, and in issuing its ruling, the Warren Court repeatedly stressed this. The justices insisted that their ruling was aimed at protecting the people's right to vote. None of that spirit applies here. And that's why the case doesn't stand in the Senate's way now.
Powell also said that each house could "judge" the qualifications laid out in the Constitution (such as age) but could not make up new qualifications. Thus, if the Senate were to plausibly decide in good faith that a candidate failed to meet the Constitution's age requirement, Powell nowhere suggests that this senatorial determination should be set aside by ordinary federal courts. For similar reasons, federal courts should not interfere when the Senate plausibly and in good faith decides an election or return to be improper or corrupt. The critical point here is that the Constitution itself sets up the Senate as the highest court of Senate elections. When the Senate speaks as this court, its adjudications are legal judgments that no other court may properly reopen. If the Senate convicts a federal judge in an impeachment court, no other federal court may properly interfere. So, too, for Senate elections and returns.
Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) would like to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. The appointment was dangled before him last Wednesday. He turned it down.
"I indicated I came to the conclusion there was too much discomfort on my part and the part of my family," Davis said. Anyway, he could not see how the governor could name anyone and make it stick.
But most important, Davis said he realized that if he took the job, "It would be difficult to generate the trust level people would have to have in me. I just decided there was too much turmoil, too much disagreement. It was something I wanted to do, but I said I would not take an appointment from the governor."
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I just posted a comment on the Jed Report, and I want to generally repeat what I said there here.
If Gov. Rod Blagojevich were accused of trying of stealing a car, and then after his arrest, trying to turn around and sell that car, what would we call that? I think we could call it obstruction of justice. It's a blatant attempt to get away with what he was accused of doing in the first place.
Granted, Blagojevich did not steal a car, and the controversy surrounding the Illinois Junior Senate Seat should not be compared to grand theft auto. But let's be clear, Blagojevich is on tape, saying that he's not going to give away Obama's Senate seat for nothing, and resenting the Obama Team's "appreciation". He's now turned around and given the appointment to a man who's given him $14,000 in Campaign Contributions. How does anything about this not stink?
I speak as an African-American, with a distinct affinity for African-American Politicians. I want to see them protected. I want to see them do well. I had never heard of Roland Burris until this day, and frankly I hope I never hear from him again.
Burris is a weasel of a man. He has decided he wants this seat, and is willing to do or say anything to get it. One second, he's condemning Blagojevich's conduct, he's supporting the decision to have him summarily removed from office. The next second he's saying that he has no comment about the Governor's actions.
In our parlance, that translates to "Yassah, Massuh."
$14,000 Dollars in Campaign Cash, plus a sudden silence on Blagojevich's Innocence or guilt. Let's add on the fact that when pressed on whether this is a quid pro quo, all they'll say is "trust us, it ain't"???
How exactly are we supposed to trust a Governor under indictment for selling a Senate Seat, that his appointment to that Senate Seat is clean and legitimate?
I have been disappointed with Harry Reid in the past for some of his actions as Senate Majority Leader. If he lets Burris get seated, I have to say I will lose all respect for him.
The only way this man should see the Senate Floor is on the Tour, and maybe not even then.
Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it. I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy," said President-elect Obama.
"It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.
"Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year - outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated Senators without delay.
"We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat."
Oh, and by the way, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is appointing Roland Burris to Obama's Senate Seat.
Roland Burris is the former Illinois Attorney General. He was waaaay down on the list for consideration for this seat.
Now, the only question is will the Senate seat him?
...oh, and if Burris is even remotely clean (indications are that he is), as TPM asks why would he take this job?