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Wednesday, November 05, 2003


Of coures this proposal was met with resistance. IT SHOULD BE!!!

States have already decided in their respective constitutions how Representatives for Federal Offices should appointed if there is a vacancy.

There is no need for the Federal Constitution to deal with what is a state issue.

The issue is not how to deal with ordinary vacancies, but how to deal massive death or incapacity of members of Congress.

Suppose on September 11th a plane had hit the Capitol, while a debate was taking place. How many Congressman would have died? Would it have been over half? I don't know, but it's a possibility.

And if that had happened, Congress wouldn't have been able to meet quorum. That can be fixed in the Senate with special appointments to fill out the term, but that won't work in the House where there is no means in place to replace the members short of election.

Elections can't happen over night. Special elections take time to set up and hold, probably at least 30 to 60 days. What would we do in the meantime? How would we authorize the funding to react to the disaster if the House couldn't make quorum?

At the very least we need a plan for temporary replacements while elections are being held. I heard one plan that would authorize governors to make 60 day temporary appointments if more than one third of the House had been killed. I think that seems a reasonable way to prepare for a possible disaster.

I think you are missing the point.

The US Constitution gives the manner and means by which a person may be chosen to replace a vacancy in the state's Senatorial delegation.

The manner and means to fill a vacancy in the House was left up to the STATES. Most states have a statute or constitution that specifies the means by which the Representative vacancy is filled.

Most states simply allow the govenor to choose the replacement Representative which is similar to the procedure used for filling a Senatorial vacancy.

Having a Constitutional amendment to address that which is already decided by the states should not be an issue.

I'm not aware of any states that allow the governor to simply appoint a Representative to fill vacancies. Can you please give me a few examples? (With sources.)

Also, keep in mind that if you're right, the Continuity of Government Commission is horribly wrong when they say that every state elects replacements.

I agree with Gitarcarver, this should be a states issue. If the States don't have a succession plan for a replacement until a special election can be held in that state, maybe there should be a requirement from the feds to put such a plan in place. But I still think it is up to the state to form and implement that plan to appoint a replacement in an emergency like this.


Look, I have no problem allowing states to take care of replaciing their own Representatives as they see fit under normal circumstances. However, if something happened to kill or incapacitate a large number of Representatives simulataneously we might be unable to acheive quorum in the House for an extended period of time, maybe even months. Since such an event would almost certainly mean we were in a time of war or other emergency, the inability to make quorum would be a matter of national security.

I'm all for leaving as much as possible to the several states, but the inability of the House to meet quorum simply isn't a state issue. It would affect us all. We can't afford to not prepare for such an emergency at the national level. At the very least, we must be prepared to take temporary measures in such an emergency.


If I'm not mistaken, one of the representatives from Misouri was either killed in an accident or died in office during the 2000 election cycle. His wife was appointed to fill his seat and subsequently ran against John Ashcroft and won midst a bunch of controversy. Also, whem Sonny Bono was killed in a skiing accident, his wife was appointed to fill his seat.

In both of the cases I cited, their wives were appointed by their respective governors.

I'm not really worried about the Senate. I'm worried about the House. The Senate is covered.

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