Friday, August 21, 2009

Kennedy (D) Wants to Change Law of Succession, Again

In what is an obvious political maneuver, Ted Kennedy (D) wants to change the laws of Succession for the second time in less then five years. The first change took the power to appoint the potential replacement for Kerry, had he been elected president in 2004, from Republican Governor Romney. Now with a Governor that is a Democrat and Obama supporter, Kennedy wants the Governor to have the power to appoint an interim replacement. I am not sure how well these political games will play with Massachusetts voters.

"Kennedy asked Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law to give Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat and supporter of President Barack Obama, the ability to appoint an interim replacement to Kennedy's seat should Kennedy be unable to continue serving.

Under state law, an election is required within 145-160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant. That would temporarily leave Massachusetts without a voice in the Senate — and Senate Democrats potentially one vote short on any health care overhaul legislation.
The state last changed its succession law in 2004 to require the special election. Before that the governor was allowed to name a successor. At the time, Democrats were worried that then-Republican Gov. Mitt Romney would be able to fill any vacancy created if Democratic Sen. John Kerry was elected president.

Republican House Leader Brad Jones said he proposed virtually the same idea in 2004 as Kennedy is proposing now — which would have allowed Romney to name someone to fill the seat on an interim basis — but it was overwhelmingly rejected by Democrats.

"If this is going to move forward, people are going to have to explain what's changed between then and now," said Jones, of North Reading.

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