A nation of laws

Martin Cothran, the perpetually benighted Disco. Inst. blogger, considers the tussle over Blagojevich’s Senate appointment and sees it as a fight, The Democrats vs. the states:

Whether Burris serves as Senator from Illinois is a matter for the people of Illinois to decide, not the U. S. Senate. Reid and the rest of the Senate need to keep their greedy hands off of Illinois’s Senate seat.

Sadly, no. A quick check of the owner’s manual reveals:

Section 5. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,

No state involvement.

Now, there happen to be fine lines here, with a Supreme Court decision declaring that the Senate can only determine whether an election was valid and whether a Senator meets the Constitutional requirements of age, citizenship, and residency. However,

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

Again, no state involvement. There’s a lot wrong with this situation, but Cothran has managed to find one sense at least in which the situation is working exactly as it’s supposed to.

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