Feingold Introduces Constitutional Amendment

by Paul Hogarth on January 28, 2009

Amid the Rod Blagojevich scandal and the David Patterson embarrassment, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a Constitutional Amendment that would strip the power of Governors to appoint Senators in case of a vacancy – requiring instead that the state hold a special election. Four states (including Feingold’s Wisconsin) already have such a practice, and a few more restrict the Governor’s power to appoint. But most states give their Governor unlimited authority to pick whomever they want – opening the door to corruption, and defying the will of the people. For example, would Illinois have elected Roland Burris – a perennial loser appointed by a disgraced Governor out of spite? Until 1913, all U.S. Senators were chosen by state legislatures – until the 17th Amendment (due to concerns about corruption) allowed for direct elections. Now, recent shenanigans make it obvious that voters should also fill Senate vacancies – like they already do for the House.

Filed under: Archive