Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Holden Up the Senate?

The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri Democrats are "mum" as to whether they would try to delay the seating of Jim Talent as Senator if he defeats Carnahan in the November election. While ordinarily a candidate would be seated in January, the Missouri election is to fill a seat to which Carnahan was temporarily appointed, and therefore federal law provides that the seat should be filled immediately upon certification of the result by the governor. Governor Holden (D), whose duty it is under federal law to certify the successful candidate’s election to the Senate, stated that if Talent is elected "we’ll get our attorneys (together) to see what appropriate action should be taken. We will move as expeditiously as we can with the facts that we have." Of course, there is simply no need to consult with lawyers unless you are wishing to delay certification. There is only one reasonable inference from this statement: if it makes a difference in the composition of the Senate, Holden is going to stall.

When Holden talks to his lawyers, perhaps they will tell him about a "writ of mandamus"--an extraordinary writ which courts may use to force officials to perform the functions of their office. These writs may be issued very quickly--within a day--and unfortunately for Governor Holden’s plans for delay, the petition will not be filed before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

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