Saturday, January 3, 2009

No Can Do

I speculated in this post about whether Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would appoint a senator as a temporary replacement, now that it's clear that the dispute over the Coleman-Franken Senate race will not be resolved before the new Senate convenes next week. Yesterday, Pawlenty told WCCO Radio in Minneapolis that the legal opinion he has received indicates that he cannot make such an appointment.

The Senate would need to declare the seat permanently vacant, as they did in this 1974 New Hampshire case that appears to be the most relevant precedent for the current Minnesota situation, before there could be a gubernatorial appointment. In the meantime, the seat apparently exists in a strange sort of limbo, neither filled nor vacant.

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