January 6, 2009

Harry Reid's unwisely chosen battle

The most succinct summation of the Roland Burris flap you will find, from Erwin Chemerinsky, concluding with the most important reason why Harry Reid & Co. are ill-advised in pursuing it:
For the last eight years, the Bush administration has ignored or twisted the Constitution to serve what it believed were higher ends. It would be an enormous mistake, as a new administration prepares to take charge, for Democrats to send the Senate down that same path.
That Sen. Reid apparently enjoys the former constitutional law professor Barack Obama's assent in this matter only makes it worse.

If this case ends up in federal court, which appears likely given Burris's confrontational statements, there seems little chance its circumstances will be used to support a proposition that the Senate has virtually carte blanche power to exclude members based on its distaste for the individual exercising his authority to fill a vacancy.

As for Harry Reid's latest trope, that Burris's appointment is invalid because it lacks the signature of the Illinois secretary of state, the latter's refusal is little more than a politically symbolic act of civil disobedience in direct contravention of his statutory duties.

He has no veto power over the governor's authority and that U.S. Senate Rule's requirement for his signature hardly rises to the level of a federal constitutional qualification under Art. I, Sec. 5.

Also, fwiw: One of my favorite Republican observers, Ed Rollins, reminds us that Harry Reid is already the least popular figure in Washington, D.C. and maybe even in his home State of Nevada.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.