12:42 PM | Posted in , ,
The Minnesota recount is drawing to a close but will most likely be drawn out into the coming month or two months as the courts will inevitably be the last great hope for Norm Coleman. In the meantime, the state will be short one Senator. What should be done?

Jeff Rosenberg, in his thoughts on the process, is indicating that neither Coleman nor Franken should be allowed to take the seat until the process is finally resolved:

Until all appeals are exhuasted, we should not seat either Franken or Coleman. This has been a contentious election to say the least, with cries of fraud from both sides. Our state election officials, and party leaders both in Minnesota in the Senate, must put public trust above partisan motivations. That means avoiding the appearance of trying to rush the final judgment. The legal appeals will be exhausted soon enough, and we will have sitting Senator.

While I agree that neither of these individuals should be seated until things are resolved, I do believe we need a second Senator from Minnesota. I propose that Tim Pawlenty appoint Dean Barkley to hold the seat until we have an official Senator. First, Barkley has been in the position of interim Senator before and has the ability to hit the ground running while these other two individuals continue their proverbial cat fight. Second, it keeps this fight from spilling into the United States Senate where it does not belong and will do little more than waste precious time. Finally, it will send the message that Minnesota is a state in which common sense and good governance trumps petty partisan games.


5 responses to "The Permanent Interim Senator"

  1. Aubrey Immelman On January 4, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    Question: If Gov. Pawlenty were to appoint Dean Barkley (or anyone else, for that matter) to hold the Senate seat, doesn't his appointment remain in effect until the next general election cycle (i.e., 2010)? Or, would it only be until a candidate is certified and the governor signs off on the certification?

  2. Political Muse On January 4, 2009 at 8:13 PM

    That is a good question and if I thought there was a snowballs chance in hell of it happening I would have researched the idea more thoroughly.

    You would have to refer to the Minnesota Constitution.

  3. eric zaetsch On January 5, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    Appointment applies only when an elected or incumbent individual cannot serve, death being the most common factor.

    Also, resignation to move to another branch, judicial or executive creates a vacancy.

    Here we have no vacancy.

    Practically, Barkley riding into DC on a donkey, without staff?

    Coleman staff as carryover caretakers?

    You need staff and what experienced staffers will sign on for that kind of interim thing? GOP staffers are all out shopping while Dems are looking at who earned spoils if experienced Dem staffers are in short supply.

    It would be like trying to hire assistant coaches if the head coach of the football team is told he has an indeterminate contract on only several months length.

    Leave it vacant. Until there's finality of the recount and litigation.

    When a sixty vote majority is needed, for whatever, it is as it is, the one seat will be vacant until the election winner is seated. Or not. Seniority will accordingly be curtailed, as if a resigning or dead officerholder were followed by an appointee.

    Or would seniority relate back to election day? My guess, until you are seated in the club your tenure for seniority purposes does not begin.

    That's like Aubrey asking his question. Who knows for certain?

    There are two precedents, Adam Clayton Powell, where the Warren Court said he's properly there so if you now question his ethics it is not via a refusal to seat. You have to unseat him. If you want to unseat him you need that constitutionally required super-majority or else he stays.

    That's one precedent. The other is the New Hampshire 1974 situation where the Repub. won by initial election day counting, the Dem won on recount; the GOP threatened a filibuster if the Dem was seated; and the Senate compromised telling New Hampshire if they wanted anyone seated, they would have to re-vote - the Dem won the special election.

    Now the GOP has barely sufficient numbers to threaten a filibuster and to force such a result for Minnesota. A few crossover votes, and the recount will stand. We wait and see.

    I say make the GOP do it, if they threaten a filibuster. Make them make a spectacles of themselves. Clog up the cogs of power that way or back down.

    But I am more confrontational than most others.

    I resented the Nixon pardon, while others said it was needed to put Ford in and Nixon into the past so that business of the nation could be attended to. I resented his being pardoned that way. He should have faced charges.

  4. Aubrey Immelman On January 7, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    "I resented [Nixon] being pardoned that way. He should have faced charges." (eric zaetsch)

    That raises the question: Who in the Bush administration will receive presidential pardons -- immunity from prosecution -- in the next couple of weeks? (up to and including the president and vice president).

  5. eric zaetsch On January 8, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Aubrey, my honest guess, really, is Bush will pardon the RNC 8. Look for it. It will happen. I will be asking my congress person to fast and pray, to confirm that message.

    Seriously, pardons - do they reach issues of civil liability for taxes unpaid - I am thinking of Mac Hammond. Crimes can be pardoned, can liability for a tax and issues of 501(c)(3) loss of status be presidentially swept away?