Sen. Kennedy was apparently aware that he would soon be adjourning to the Great Kennedy Compound in the Sky, because just last week he asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (a Democrat) and top state legislators (Democrats) to amend the state's constitution to allow for an interim senator to be quickly put in his place if he should be unable to serve, especially in the middle of the current health care reform debate…
In his letter, which was obtained by the Globe, Kennedy said that he backs the current succession law, enacted in 2004, which gives voters the power to fill a US Senate vacancy. But he said the state and country need two Massachusetts senators.
"I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator," Kennedy wrote. "I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election."
Under the 2004 law, if Kennedy were to die or step down, voters would select his successor in a special election to be held within five months of the vacancy. But the law makes no provisions for Massachusetts to be represented in the Senate in the interim. In the meantime, President Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system, the fate of which may hinge on one or two votes, could come before Congress.
I'm not sure sure where that legislation stands today, but if I have a strong suspicion that the state of Massachusetts didn't suddenly get it together enough in one week at the tail end of August to overhaul their constitution.
Oh, by the way, the best part about this is that the Massachusetts state legislator just five years ago — when John Kerry (Democrat) was running for president and Mitt Romney (Republican) was governor — amended their constitution so that the governor couldn't appoint a senator.
I wonder what changed between then and now.
Tags: Deval Patrick, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, Senate