Illinois GOP Wrong On Special Election to Fill Obama’s Senate Seat


By: Warner Todd Huston

Once it became known throughout the state that Governor Balgojevich was being entertained by the U.S. Attorney for his creative attempts to shore up his retirement plans and once it was realized that the Governor had yet to pick a replacement to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat, the Illinois GOP latched on to the call for a special election as the solution for that issue.

Unfortunately, they’re wrong.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is definitely the only way a Republican could possibly be sent to Washington as our junior senator from Illinois. But special elections are not the constitutional way we fill a vacated senate seat. It just isn’t.

Even Judicial Watch, normally a conservative watchdog group, knows it. They have today filed suit for Harry Reid to immediately seat Roland Burris, the governor’s pick.

Regardless, Illinois State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) is still demanding a multi-million dollar special election that the state can neither afford, nor can constitutionally justify.

“It’s not about Roland Burris,” Brady said. “It’s not about anything other than a scandalous party whose governor has been arrested and continues to give him the power to make this appointment.”

Senator Brady, I couldn’t agree with your sentiment on that particular point more. We cannot trust this governor in any way. He has been a disaster since day one. We Illinoisans should not accept anything from this man. Guilty of what Fitzgerald has charged him with or not, Rod Blagojevich has thoroughly lost the confidence of every last citizen of Illinois except, perhaps, Mrs. Blagojevich. And even her loyalty might be questionable once Fitzgerald starts to use what he has on her to get cooperation.

But, Senator Brady, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot, as Republicans, claim we want to stand by the law and get rid of a purportedly lawbreaking governor, and at the same time propose obviating our own constitutionally mandated process to fill a senate seat.

The Illinois Constitution clearly states that it will be the governor’s duty to fill a vacated senate seat. The constitution does not make provisions for a special election.

If you want a different process to prevail, you will have to change the constitution.

Let us not claim to be the more law abiding party and at the same time offer solutions that break that very law.

Yes it will mean that this time we will certainly get a Democrat replacement for Barack Obama. But principle is principle and the law is the law. It isn’t convenient for us to abide by the constitution. But it is the right thing.

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