Monday, February 16, 2009

Elections To Fill US Senate Vacancies

I was interested in US Senator Feingold's proposal that the US Constitution be amended to require elections to fill vacancies in the US Senate as opposed to allowing Governors of those states so authorized by their State's Legislatures to appoint such; And, am of two minds as to that proposal.

There is no doubt that such elections might go far to forestall the corruption recent revealed in Illinois as the filling of Mr.Obama's Senate seat. However, direct elections are no guarantee of freedom-from-corruption as evidenced by the ballot-stuffing like practice apparently utilized in Minnesota and now subject to judicial review AND those so historically common in that hotbed of corruption (And political base of Mr. Obama) and, for example, in Texas when Lyndon Johnson was elected.

As much as my first inclination was to support Sen. Feingold's proposal, I have ended up opposing it to support what is left of our Federal system allowing each Stat a certain measure of independence to experiment with government within the very general outlines of the US Constitution and, thereby, to support a more direct use of democracy. This variation allows the Several States to look about at other jurisdictions and evaluate the pros-and-cons of such measures and other variant acts.

Therefore, I would support the Wisconsin Legislature's passage (Which passage might NOT require the approval of our Governor) of a law or State Constitutional amendment mandating the use of direct elections, in Wisconsin, to fill such vacancies.


US Constitution; Article-I; Section-4
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and
Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;
but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except
as to the Place of Choosing Senators.

US Constitution; Amendment-17
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each
State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall
have one vote. The electors in each State shall
have the qualifications
requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the
executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such
vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the
executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the
vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of
any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

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