According to a column in the Wall Street Journal, the plan hatched by Senate leader Harry Reid and others to unseat the appointment made by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is, alas, unconstitutional.
The controlling case is the Supreme Court's 7-1 decision in Powell v. McCormack in 1969:
“The legal precedent here is Congressman Adam Clayton Powell had been accused of corruption but was nonetheless re-elected in 1966. House Democrats declined to seat him, Powell sued, and the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in denying him his seat. Congress could have expelled Powell with a two-thirds vote, as stipulated in the Constitution, but it couldn't deny him the seat in the first instance.”
This blog predicted way back in Dec 14 that Blago, wise in the ways of Chicago’s serpentine politics, might do something of the kind.
Blago’s stunning appointment of Roland Burris to president-elect Barack Obama’s old senatorial seat puts a crimp in the case against him, if it ever goes to trial. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald effectively closed down the case before Blago accomplished his boasts, some of which were caught on tape.
Now Blago has appointed a black saint to the position. It’s a politically adroit check, if not a checkmate.
And, comlicating matters further, a spokesman for the governor now claims that Reid is tripping over a conflict of interest in opposing Blago's nominee.
"I think the governor believes there is a conflict of interest — that Reid showed he has a horse in the race and Roland Burris wasn't one of them," said Lucio Guerrero said.
It appears Blago and Reid had a chat about who would best fill Obama's big senatorial shoes. A spokeman for Reid said the claim that hais boss has a conflict of interest was "absolutely rediculous."