Patterico's Pontifications

1/29/2010

Massachusetts Senator Kirk Continues to Vote

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s been 10 days since Massachusetts’ voters elected Senator Scott Brown and yet interim Senator Paul Kirk continues to vote:

“The Senate has voted on three pieces of legislation today that required 60 votes–to raise the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, to reduce the deficit by establishing five-year discretionary spending caps, and Ben Bernanke’s confirmation–all of which interim Senator Paul Kirk (D-MA) has voted on. In addition, there have been other Senate votes since Scott Brown was elected as Massachusetts senator that Kirk cast a vote.

The main question here is: why is former Senator Kirk still voting on these legislative pieces? According to Senate rules and precedent, Kirk’s term expired last Tuesday upon the election of Scott Brown.”

This Boston Herald report suggests it could be at least 5 more days before the Massachusetts’ Secretary of State will certify Brown’s election, and possibly much longer.

In the meantime, I don’t know if Kirk is legally authorized to continue in office but no one seems to be objecting. It’s these kind of “go along to get along” decisions that drive people away from politics and political parties.

— DRJ

84 Responses to “Massachusetts Senator Kirk Continues to Vote”

  1. You lie, Obama!

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  2. It’s these kind of “go along to get along” decisions that drive people away from politics and political parties.

    And contributing to a burgeoning growth rate in political agnostics. As if we of little faith in anything political needed another reason…

    political agnostic (3018ca)

  3. Scott Brown mentioned this in his speech (election night), saying he had told Kirk that his work was completed.

    It was a campaign issue to a limited extent. Kirk knows the voters have said they are not happy with the general representation he is part of. He knows he is there against the wishes of the people. And this one was a pretty significant bill. He should face consequences. Brown doesn’t want to stick his neck out (And so far, everything he says is spun to make him look stupid, which is par for the course for popular republicans, I guess).

    A lot of his staff need to be polishing off their resumes instead of stealing the will of the people.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. why should Kirk care? he’s set with a US Senate pension for life, as far as i know……

    what a great gig: serve a few months doing next to jack, get paid bucks, meet all sorts of people its handy to know, and then get a check and bennies for life.

    /scum

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  5. I read that Brown’s swearing in is to take place on February 11.
    Why no stink about the flagrant violation of Senate precedent? The Republicans LIKE having Kirk do the dirty work. Otherwise, the Republicans would have to draw straws to see which would support the DEM proposals so they would pass. “Good cop – bad cop” while they screw the public.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  6. Babbling on in Babylon ^^^

    Icy Texan (08fd70)

  7. Did anyone catch the PAYGO vote? Was there a reason the republicans were against that? Is brown against PAYGO?

    imdw (843a5f)

  8. The question might come up some time as to whether those bills were legally passed with Kirk voting. The Republicans may have let this go without complaint so that Brown didn’t have to vote on that debt limit bill. There is probably some inside baseball going on. If they tried to pass HCR with Kirk voting on an amended bill, for example, I think there would be a big stink.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  9. If Brown was a dem and they needed his 60th vote, he would have been sworn in that evening.

    As it is, they will let it go as long as public tolerates it. If the MA citizens start making a fuss, they may think about seating Brown. The courts would probably rule that the senate sets its own rules, so they won’t interfere.

    And I agree, if they are not rino’s, they “go along to get along.” It is an exclusive club.

    Jim (582155)

  10. “The question might come up some time as to whether those bills were legally passed with Kirk voting.”

    I think the constitution gives each house quite a bit of leeway here.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (4a6e71)

  11. At the Federal level, there just isn’t that much difference between the people in the two parties. They feed off of us by pretending to be against the other. And we’re left holding the bag.

    Corwin (60969b)

  12. Brown doesn’t want to stick his neck out

    Comment by Dustin — 1/30/2010 @ 12:50 am

    Which is why I said, in another thread after his election, I would reserve judgement as to whether this is long term good for conseratives.

    His first chance to shine, and he’s already taking marching orders. His fucking mancrush McCain probably advising him not to piss of “my friends across the aisle.”

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    Matador (176445)

  13. A 3/5 majority was required to approve the debt ceiling bill (HJ Res. 45) on Thursday, as well as two amendments to it. Kirk was among the 60 votes each time, the bare minimum. In the other dozen-or-so votes conducted since January 19th with Kirk voting, his vote was not needed.

    The Massachusetts special election law says that the interim senator serves until the “election and qualification” of the new Senator. It does not say, until the “certification.” Brown has qualified, since he fulfills the job requirements as set forth in Article I, Section 3 of the Consitution:

    “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.”

    So, is it the position of the Commonwealth that Brown has not been “elected” yet?

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  14. “Brown has qualified, since he fulfills the job requirements as set forth in Article I, Section 3 of the Consitution: ”

    Judging this is up to each house. I think the GOP prefers the situation where none of them needed to vote to raise the debt ceiling. I have no idea what they’re thinking is on PAYGO.

    imdw (533406)

  15. Judging this is up to each house.

    No, qualification is not up to each chamber of Congress. If it’s in the Constitution, it’s law. I asked if Massachusetts still believes that Brown is not “elected” yet.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  16. Duh. Their.

    imdw (e905d8)

  17. “No, qualification is not up to each chamber of Congress. ”

    Article I, section 5:

    “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,”

    imdw (e905d8)

  18. I asked if Massachusetts still believes that Brown is not “elected” yet.
    One would likely get a mixed yes/no answer to that. The election concludes with certification by the governor, and that hasn’t occurred yet. But, a vote and vote canvass indicates that Brown will certainly be certified the winner.
    In Kennedy’s case (seated about 24 hours after the day of voting), the governor of Massachusetts sent, and the US Senate accepted, a letter stating approximately what I said above. That is, “the vote was conducted, and Kennedy will be certified in due course.” This letter was sufficient to the powers-that-be in the Senate.
    The degree of complaint about the timing of seating Brown is a political signal sent by the Republican party. It has no objection to the delay; and ergo has no objection to the passage of the increase in debt ceiling, nor to PAYGO. “Watch what they do, not what they say.”

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  19. Article I, section 5:
    “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,”

    Yes, of course. I was waiting for that. You mean a Democratic majority can exclude a Republican from taking a seat the Senate just because he’s a Republican? No, of course that can’t be right.

    The power of the Senate to judge the qualifications of a members is if he or she fulfills the requirements, as I stated , as set forth in Article I Section 3. The election has been concluded, in my view, because the votes have been counted and Coakley conceded. To deny Brown a seat is a violation of the 17th amendment(regarding the direct election of Senators)Stalling is another form of unlawful exclusion.

    If you click through DRJ’s link to the Big Government post, you’ll see that this exact same situation came up in 1938. The interim Senator Berry’s ability to vote was, unlike Kirk, immediately terminated.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  20. OIDO, you have to understand the basic principle of people like imdw:

    “Rules for thee but not for me.”

    Over and over again, the Left likes to claim that rules support their partisan position…except those rules can be ignored or thought irrelevant if they interfere with their partisan position.

    Again, the best and fairest rules or laws are the ones you don’t mind in the hands of your bitterest enemies.

    But people like imdw aren’t about fairness or justice. They are about defeating Republicans. Just like how Massachusetts played partisan games with appointing Senate replacements—depending on whether or not the appointing Governor had an R or a D after their name.

    Of course, I may be giving imdw too much credit for having a cerebral cortex instead of a partisan reflex.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  21. “The election has been concluded, in my view, because the votes have been counted and Coakley conceded.”

    I understand this, in your view. But the constitution says the view that matters is the one of each house. And like others have noticed, it appears the GOP is in no hurry, and neither are the dems.

    imdw (738f92)

  22. I have been pulling my hair out for years about the unconstitutional acts undertaken by Congress and the Executive Branch, wondering where all the conservative voices (and lawsuits) are to challenge them. Clearly, it has become a case of inter-party collusion where one party squawks about the other in front of the cameras but never files a legal challenge and the violations are then ignored.

    I find it very disheartening and disturbing that our national government knowingly contravenes the Constitution on a regular basis – what level of violation will be necessary for someone to try and stop it? By then will it be too late?

    in_awe (a55176)

  23. the election has been concluded, in my view, because the votes have been counted and Coakley conceded.

    Coakley conceding is not in and of itself a legally binding act, though.

    My question would be: have all of the votes been counted, including the late absentees, and has the verification and counting of verified provisional ballots been finished? If the answer to that is no, then the election isn’t over. The people who cast those votes have a right to have their votes counted regardless of whether the votes are mathematically capable of changing the election results.

    That said, I think that MA law should govern. Which is to say – hopefully MA law contains some provision which explains when election results are official, and hopefully it contains some provision which explains when temporary appointments expire and their elected replacements take office.

    Senate precedent should only govern if MA law is silent on the above two subjects.

    [Note: I have no clue what MA law on the subject is, and I have no clue whether or not the current situation complies with MA law. Accordingly, I have no idea whether Mr. Kirk’s votes are valid, or even whether the formal correct way to describe him is Sen. Kirk or Fmr. Sen. Kirk. I am expressing an opinion only as to what the process should be.]

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  24. Compare and contrast the seating of Tsongas to the seating of Brown. Discuss.

    JD (7887cd)

  25. I believe that permitting Kirk to continue voting is unprecedented, among the hundred or so of “special election” incidents. When the will of the people as to choice of representative is made clear, the government has, in the past, always conformed promptly.
    The Senate is not about following the will of the people; and now we have a new precedent.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  26. But the constitution says the view that matters is the one of each house.

    I think that’s a horrible misreading of the meaning of that provision.

    The Senate is empowered to judge the qualifications of the members (whether or not they meet the constitutional requirements); it is empowered to judge whether the election was fair and free. It is not empowered to determine when a State’s election procedure is final.

    The Senate could, consistent with its constitutional duties, hold an investigation into the MA election procedure, determine that the evidence is that the election was rigged, and refuse to seat the Senator-elect on those grounds. It could not, however, simply declare that for reasons of its own the new Senator will not be seated until July 4.

    The State’s law determines when the new Senator becomes Senator. The Senate then determines whether the state’s procedures were followed, were consistent with the constitution, and produced a Senator who was qualified under the constitution.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  27. But JD! The Tsongas case was different. It was about trying to override a Bush veto!

    The pundits look down their noses (much like POTUS does, have you noticed) and airily dismiss the hypocrisy with “each House makes its own rules” and that kind of thing.

    Again, a flexible yardstick for one party. And it would be just as wrong if Republicans did it.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  28. Compare and contrast the seating of Tsongas to the seating of Brown.
    Or Ted Kennedy, who was also elected in a special election after his brother, JFK, was elected to the presidency. 24 hour turnaround, seated BEFORE the elction was certified. That has been the precedent 100% of the time, in the past, when the results of the voting were clear. The formal certification and paperwork came AFTER the person was seated by the Senate.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  29. Aphrael, thank you for that even handed fair reading. I have been furious at the rigged partisanship since Massachusetts decided to change their rules to keep a Republican Governor from appointing a Senate replacement, and then changed it right back when a Democrat was Governor.

    Without a trace of shame.

    I also think that kind of partisan hypocrisy fools few voters, and is responsible for not only Scott Brown’s election, but more to come.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  30. JD – if I knew anything about the seating of former Senator Tsongas, I might be able to. That said, (a) Wikipedia seems to think he was elected to the Senate in a normal election (because he defeated an incumbent), and (b) MA law on the subject of filling Senatorial vacancies has changed twice since his death, making any such comparisons unhelpful if you believe that state law should govern.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  31. The State’s law determines when the new Senator becomes Senator.

    Not exactly. There’s Massachusetts law stating when a “certification” should be completed. They can stretch it out to about 15 days after the special election (February 3). But it’s within the US Senate’s power to demand the certification, as with Burriss and Franken, even though the special election law doesn’t use that word. It’s also within the Senate’s power to waive certification, which they have done before.

    Of course, once the US Senate goes down this road, before your know it people will also be demanding to see certification and proof that Obama qualifies under Article II, Section 1, clause 5. :)

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  32. California’s rule is that interim Senators serve until the start of the Senate session the January after the election.

    The last time California dealt with this, the interim Senator resigned was defeated in the confirmation election by Mrs. Feinstein. He then resigned, and Gov. Wilson appointed Mrs. Feinstein to serve the rest of his interim term (the idea being that this would gain her a slight amount of seniority, which would be good for the state).

    In that case, I thought both Sen. Seymour and Gov. Wilson were behaving in an honorable fashion, and I think a similar thing could be done here: potential Senator Kirk could resign and the Governor could appoint Senator-elect Brown to fill the seat for the remainder of the time before the certification of the election.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  33. It’s also within the Senate’s power to waive certification, which they have done before.

    As a procedural matter, I would say that it shouldn’t be. That is to say, no man is California’s Senator unless California’s law says so … and the Senate should not have the power to say someone is California’s Senator in violation of California’s law.

    It’s fine for the Senate to say: hey, California, you didn’t follow your own law, so he’s not your Senator; or to say: hey, California, your law violates the Constitution, so he’s not your Senator; or to say, hey, you idiots elected someone who was Constitutionally ineligible, so we won’t seat him.

    But it’s something totally different to say: “well, under your law, he’s not actually Senator because the process hasn’t been followed, but we’re going to make him your Senator anyway.”

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  34. I agree that would be an honorable and non-partisan thing to do, aphrael. But Massachusett’s history does not make it a likely history.

    I would love to be wrong.

    But the fact is, it helps the Right when the Left acts this way.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  35. The Senate should not have the power to say someone is California’s Senator in violation of California’s law.

    The Massachusetts special election law does not use the word “certification.” The US Senate, it would seem, has the power to demand a process which the State doesn’t mention in the text of the law regarding this special election. The US Senate has also ignored technical State processes in the past when seating an elected Senator, and that’s all right, I believe, as long as it doesn’t violate the 17th Amendment.

    The issue of whether California should have Senators is a question for another day.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  36. Eric – to a great extent, on procedural matters like this, I don’t care which political tribe is helped or hurt. I want the procedures followed.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  37. As do I. To repeat myself:

    The best and fairest rules or laws are the ones you don’t mind in the hands of your bitterest enemies.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  38. I guess the bottom line for me is that if the Senate acts promptly or even hurries to seat an elected Senator, that’s good, but stalling or dragging their feet is not.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  39. Aphrael – I was referring to Nicky Tsongas, who was seated incredibly quickly, in an attempt to over-ride a veto.

    JD (3ba377)

  40. Chapter 54, Section 147, of Part I of the General Laws of Massachusetts, says:

    “At elections held because of a failure to elect or to fill vacancies, the proceedings shall be the same, so far as applicable, as in elections to the same office at the biennial state election.”

    Chapter 54, Section 116, of Part I of the General Laws of Massachusetts, says:

    “The governor shall, in the presence of at least five councillors, certify to the results of the examination of the copies of the records of votes cast for governor and lieutenant governor, for councillors, for state secretary, state treasurer, state auditor and attorney general, and for senators and representatives in the general court, and shall issue his summons to such persons as appear to be chosen to said offices. The governor shall issue certificates of election to such persons as appear to be chosen to the offices of senator in congress, representative in congress, clerk of the courts, register of probate, sheriff and district attorney, which shall be countersigned and transmitted by the state secretary. No certification shall be made or summons or certificate issued under this section until after five o’clock in the afternoon of the fifteenth day following a state election.

    That says that under MA law, unless some other provision contravenes these two, the earliest a candidate could be certified is fifteen days after the election.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  41. The formal certification and paperwork came AFTER the person [Kennedy] was seated by the Senate.

    The Senate not being in session at the time, there was no one to object to the rule waiver. Any one member could have stopped it.

    if I knew anything about the seating of former Senator Tsongas, I might be able to.

    I doubt you mean “Senator Tsongas.”

    Rep. Niki Tsongas was seated when the MA Secretary of the State provided a special letter which stood as a temporary stand in for official certification. The Senate could ask for same in the Brown case, I assume, though their rules differ broadly.

    steve (05eaed)

  42. JD – in the House, it appears. Fair enough. I know nothing about that case.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  43. Although oddly enough, that section about certification doesn’t appear to address Federal offices.

    ****ing badly written law.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  44. OH, wait, never mind. I got confused. It does refer to Senators and Congressmen. The Governor must issue certificates of election, which the Sec.State also signs and transmits, but the Governor can’t do it until fifteen days have passed.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  45. Aphrael – Don’t you find it the least bit curious how these procedures appaear to have rarely, if ever, followed in MA previously, yet in this instance, where the is no challenge and no doubt as to the outcome, they are drawing out the process as long as possible? MA should just write their election laws in pencil, or crayon.

    JD (3ba377)

  46. Steve: I did mean Senator Tsongas. Prior to JD mentioning him Rep. Tsongas, I had never heard of her.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  47. JD: the procedures should have been followed then. They should be followed now. They should be followed tomorrow.

    I have very little sympathy for the argument “they broke the law under other circumstances so they should break the law now, too, otherwise it’s unfair.”

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  48. Normally, I would be in 100% agreement, but since the only difference between the multiple examples is the letter behind the name, I don’t buy it. As is, the laws only apply when convenient, and only to one side.

    JD (3ba377)

  49. I am surprised the the MA Dems have not convened a special session and changed the law to avoid seating him or banning R’s from the ballot.

    JD (3ba377)

  50. Comment by Official Internet Data Office — 1/30/2010 @ 9:12 am

    There was a VERY close race for a House seat from IIRC Ohio back in the 80’s that required several recounts, the result of which is that the GOP upset a sitting Dem KongressKritter.
    But, the House, sitting as the Cmte of the Whole, ruled – on a straight party-line vote – that the Dem had won the election, and was seated.
    This caused a lot of acrimony that lasted for years, and was an underlying reason for some of the piling-on after the Gingrich Revolution in ’94.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  51. That says that under MA law, unless some other provision contravenes these two, the earliest a candidate could be certified is fifteen days after the election.
    “Read on,” and you’ll see where special elections have a ten day minimum window.
    Independent of that (independent of state law governing formal certification), the state of Massachusetts has, in the past, issued a letter to the Senate, that tells the Senate who appears to have won the election. Given that letter, the Senate has seated at least one Senator (Kennedy) weeks before the election results were formally certified. The Massachusetts Secretary of State signaled a willingness to prepare and forward such a letter for Brown.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  52. There was a VERY close race for a House seat from IIRC Ohio back in the 80’s that required several recounts

    That was this House race in Indiana in 1984.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  53. Indiana…Ohio…details without a difference (Heh).
    Thanks for the correction.

    The manner in which the two Houses operate is the ultimate in “Old Boys’ Club”,
    and should give us no regret when we pile on the derision and disrespect that we feel towards a corrupt institution.

    Too bad we can’t bring back “Trial by Fire”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  54. Isn’t this a situation where Michael Steele could practice being useful?

    happyfeet (713679)

  55. Massachusetts law says that the appointee’s term continues until the subsequent electee is “qualified,” and that term as used in the General Laws of Massachusetts clearly refers to “qualification by oath,” i.e. swearing in. Kirk’s term expires when Biden administers the oath to Brown.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  56. You have a link? I don’t think so. The General Laws of Massachusetts refer to a “qualification by oath” only for selectmen (i.e., those who serve on local government councils). That’s all.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  57. Isn’t this a situation where Michael Steele could practice being useful?

    What, and miss out on another speaking engagement for his book?

    Dmac (539341)

  58. OIDO: In every case where the General Laws of Massachusetts refer to post-election “qualification” of a candidate has been elected to office, that reference either explicitly or implicitly links the term “qualification” to the swearing in.

    You don’t have to like it. It will remain a fact whether you like it or not.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  59. It’s not a fact. When you do a search for “qualification by oath” at the General Laws of Massachusetts, the only place it appears is regarding selectmen.

    By the way, you lose all credibility when your method of arguing your point is through bluster and by sneering at people who disagree, and by smearing the other side’s position when you have no rebuttal, as you do on your lame blog in your post of January 19th–the one where you try to attack The Weekly Standard.

    You wrote: “Their argument [with a link to The Weeekly Standard] is complete BS (hint: “Qualified,” as used in the General Laws of Massachusetts, specifically alludes to “qualification by oath” –an elected official becomes “qualified” when he’s sworn in, which can’t happen until the election is certified), but they’ll make it anyway. Not because they think it’s a winning argument, but because they’ll be playing primarily to people who’ll believe, well, pretty much anything. Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim! Saddam Hussein planned to attack the US with flying killer robots! And so on, and so forth.”

    So, in sum, you set up a straw man, sneer at it, call what you disagree with “BS,” and still, you have no link on your site, either, to illustrate your point.

    In addition, there’s your statement from the same day on your blog where your appraisal of the chances for Brown’s swearing-in have nothing to do with the General Laws of Massachusetts, but with your opposition to Brown:

    “If Brown wins, his seating will be delayed. All it takes is a few local clerks willing to stall for the full 15 days they’re allowed before they have to certify their tallies to the Secretary of State. Other delaying tactics become available after that. Unless the Senate Democratic Caucus’s party discipline breaks down completely — which is possible if enough Senators start seeing pitchforks and tar in their re-election futures — Brown will be sworn and seated when Joe Biden and/or Harry Reid damn well feel like getting around to it.”

    We also saw your link to someone named Glenn Greenwald, over at Salon.com, on your home page today. Did you ever hear the sock puppet story, Tommy?

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  60. This is why the following were regarded as safe seats by Cook, Sabato and Rothchild and now are losing in the latest polls:

    Feingold

    Boxer

    Biden (dropped out)

    Murray

    And now Michigan

    Its possible that the dems may lose 12 to 15 senate seats – their fund raising is drying up

    EricPWJohnson (7585b7)

  61. It’s these kind of “go along to get along” decisions that drive people conservatives away from politics and political parties the Republican Party.

    Better?

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (efef8c)

  62. Whoa, the strike tag doesn’t function properly?

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (efef8c)

  63. It’s a finicky strike tag, Blacque Jacques Shellacque. You have to spell out “strike” in the code.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  64. […] other day I wondered why the Republicans in Washington weren’t making an effort to seat newly-elected […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Seat Scott Brown (e4ab32)

  65. The Mass Sec. of State did prepare and forward a letter to the Senate. See Special election round up – Lexington, MA – Lexington Minuteman [Jan 20, 2010]

    In a letter to Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the US Senate, Secretary of State William Galvin said unofficial results showed Brown with 1,168,107 votes out of 2,249,026 cast. Galvin said there has been no attempt to contest election results. “It would appear from these unofficial results that Scott P. Brown was elected as Senator in Congress for Massachusetts,” Galvin wrote. … Galvin said in his letter a certificate of election would be prepared “as soon as the official results are certified to this office by the cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  66. OIDO,

    You write:

    “When you do a search for ‘qualification by oath’ at the General Laws of Massachusetts, the only place it appears is regarding selectmen.”

    Correct. And when you do a search for “qualification” at the General Laws of Massachusetts, EVERY reference it pulls up which involves post-election candidates and references/defines qualification turns out to be referencing that term in the same way.

    When a term is used over and over in the same way in the law, it’s reasonable to assume that that term carries the same meaning across references.

    In Massachusetts law, post-election “qualification” of an official is qualification by oath. You can whine about it all you like, but whining about it won’t change it.

    And yes, I’ve heard the Greenwald sock puppet stories. So? When he’s right, he’s right. And he’s often right.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  67. And another troll comes a callin’. They must really be worried!

    The great thing about the internet is that we can see how people act hypocritically, depending on partisan identification.

    Knapp is just another of the bitter clingers worried about the polls and this coming election season. And they should be.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  68. Mr. Orwell,

    Last time I looked, taking notice of facts wasn’t part of the definition of “troll.”

    I’m no bitter clinger, if for no other reason than that there’s nothing to cling to. My party doesn’t control the White House, it holds no seats in Congress, and its principles command the loyalty of no Supreme Court justices.

    I’m not at all worried about the polls and this coming election season. I expect that the Republicans will pick up control of at least one house of Congress. I’m cautiously optimistic that that will result in some healthy gridlock. I can think of worse things.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  69. EB, to be fair, Thomas Knapp started off with an injudicious comment that he apologized for and hasn’t behaved trollishly IMO. Other than the descriptor “whining”, he has been civil and honest. I expect I disagree with him on many issues, but I think we could look forward to some honest give&take discussions from him. While I know the recent infestation of new and old trolls can put regulars on a hair-trigger… I contend that pulling it now would be premature. Having more contrary opinions like aphrael and Leviticus would be far better than dishonest nonsense from people like imdw, DCSCA, or the sockpuppet-brigade. Just my opinion of course.

    (Yes, I cheated and read back through every comment he’s made here before committing myself. 😉 )

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  70. I’ve been reading this guy’s blog. I think you are being very fair. Me, I’m less tolerant of intellectually dishonest alphabetists.

    But in the final analysis, it ain’t my blog.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  71. Personally,

    I find it heartening that a political party would circumvent 250 years of sacrifice and hardship by American people for the temporary expediency of a couple of weeks on the senate floor…

    EricPWJohnson (7585b7)

  72. But in the final analysis, it ain’t my blog.
    Comment by Eric Blair — 1/30/2010 @ 11:10 pm

    Nor mine my friend. :) I haven’t gone to his site, so you may have a clearer perspective than I do. The dishonest ones show their true colors soon enough though (as we both know… think lovey), so we’ll see if he’s persuasive/persuadable or maintaining a faux-civil cover. Anyone who sees the value of gridlock isn’t completely bugnutz though.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  73. it’s reasonable to assume that that term carries the same meaning across references.

    Can’t you include just one link to support your premise? I mean, you’ve had four chances now. Your last statement is just guesswork. If qualification means what you think it means, it applies to state of Massachusetts offices, like selectmen. Senator Scott Brown does not have to take an oath before a tribunal in Massachusetts and then take another oath in Washington at the US Senate. You are just assuming, as you say. Much mischief has been done by people who begin their statements with, “it’s reasonable to assume.” No, you’re guessing. The first phrase you introduced was “qualification by oath.” That was shown to be too narrow, so now you’ve scaled it back to just “qualification.” Where are your links, Tommy?

    Now, as I said earlier, the US Senate can demand proof of election, and they often call that a “certification,” as with Franken and Burriss. I asked earlier if Brown was considered not to be elected yet, but not if he was qualified yet. The US Senate ruled in an identical special election case from 1938 that “qualification” did not mean swearing an oath of allegiance to the individual State, but the qualifications in Article 1 to be Senator. To ask for more, said a Senator Connally at the time, was to violate the 17th Amendment to the US Consitution. The interim senator’s right to vote was terminated right away, in early 1939. This comes from an official US Senate booklet, which I’ve seen.

    Unfortunately, you don’t care about that. Your effort here is a disingenuous attempt to muddy the waters about a subject, not to determine the answer. The sections I quoted from your mean-spirited and hysterical blog illustrate that you likely don’t care at all what the rules or the law is, because you want to keep Brown unseated just for spite. You suggest the Massachusetts clerks stall work more slowly, just because they can. This is not the advice of a person who approves of democracy, but of a Chicago thug. And you think it’s funny! But I’m not surprised you have no respect for rules or law, because you call yourself a “Left libertarian.”

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  74. OIDO,

    I’ve already included a link to the set of laws in question, and advice on what to search for. If that’s not enough for you, then that’s not enough for you.

    You are correct on one important point — Massachusetts law is not the ultimate arbiter in this case. Per the Constitution, the Senate is the judge of its own members’ elections and qualifications. They’re free to seat Brown any time they want.

    I haven’t looked closely at precedent, but from the looking I have done, I suspect that those who claim a history of immediate seating are right.

    Presumably the reason they haven’t seated him yet is that they’re still hoping for a Cannibal Care compromise miracle before enough tees are crossed and eyes dotted to make it look like gamesmanship that they haven’t done so yet.

    The point I was making was a very narrow one — “qualified” means something particular in Massachusetts election law as it relates to post-election matters. That’s why the pre-election argument attributed to “GOP lawyers” in The Weekly Standard was shoddy work. Either those “GOP lawyers” didn’t bother to know what they were talking about, or they were lying and hoping nobody would notice.

    You assert that I “want to keep Brown unseated.” That’s incorrect. I don’t particularly care when he’s seated, and even think that seating him quickly might be a good thing if seating him does, in fact, torpedo Cannibal Care (I’m not convinced that it will).

    You assert that I “suggest” or “advise” that the Massachusetts clerks stall. Once again, you’re wrong. I’ve neither suggested nor advised any such thing. I simply predicted that it would likely happen.

    I’m not particularly interested in “muddying the waters” versus “determining the answer.” In politics today, “the answer” is largely a function of which party’s operatives manage to most cleverly construe the rules.

    Don’t mistake recognition of the existence of political machines with no respect for rule of law with approval of political machines with no respect for rule of law.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  75. I’ve already included a link to the set of laws in question

    Are you kidding me? You supplied a link to the complete General Laws of Massachusetts, not the specific place(s) that support(s) your point. That doesn’t count. It’s like linking to the entire United States Code, or like linking to Google.

    That’s just what a troll often does–he supplies a link to nowhere.

    Official Internet Data Office (dc2fe1)

  76. Moby. Qualification is determined by the Constitution, Senor Knapp, no?

    JD (f0742b)

  77. […] interim Senator Paul Kirk (D-MA) continues to hold that Senate seat and vote on legislation! Massachusetts Senator Kirk Continues to Vote Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:22 […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » It looks like Scott Brown really did save the day — with help from Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, the GOP may be about to throw it all away. (73d96f)

  78. OIDO,

    I’m not teaching special ed here. I linked to the place to search and specified the term to search on. If I’d been citing one particular passage, I’d have linked to it. Since I was citing a larger pattern of passages, I simply gave directions on how to get there. If you have a problem with that, well, you have a problem.

    The “troll” canard is getting a little old. Per Wikipedia:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

    My posts have not been inflammatory. They have been relevant. And they have been on topic. The possibility that you may predisposed to emotional responses or turning topical discussion into fake “provocation” is not itself an indictment of my methods. So pray knock it the fuck off.

    JD,

    Qualifications for election to the US Senate are specified in the US Constitution. The Constitution also specifically designates the Senate as the judge of the qualifications of its own members. That’s why I have no problem at all with the Senate seating Brown just as soon as it gets around to doing so. It doesn’t have to wait on Massachusetts certification, and it’s perfectly free to judge his qualification on its own standards.

    BUT! It doesn’t follow from the fact that the same word is used in different places that the same meaning is attached to that word in all those places. The “Republican lawyers” cited in The Weekly Standard‘s argument against Kirk’s continued ability to vote after the January 19th election specifically cited Massachusetts law, not the Constitution, with respect to the term “qualified.” In analyzing their argument, therefore, it is Massachusetts law, not the US Constitution, which should be consulted for the meaning of that term.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  79. OMG, the troll didn’t just use wikipedia as a legitimate source did it?

    peedoffamerican (0a295f)

  80. Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll,Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll.

    If we insult it enough, will it not come back?

    heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee

    peedoffamerican (0a295f)

  81. More independent thinking.

    JD (00db08)

  82. peedoffamerican,

    The reliability of Wikipedia as a source is variable depending on topic. I consider it reasonably reliable as a general information source. If we were arguing about the etymological origin of the term “troll” or something of that nature, I’d probably look elsewhere.

    Since you don’t like my sourcing, though, I’ll be happy to wing it:

    troll /= anyone who disagrees with whatever you happen to think is obvious

    If I were a troll, I’d have come aboard with a fairly obvious agenda. The fact that OIDO et. al haven’t been able to even come close to correctly pegging such an agenda on my part is itself evidence against the allegation of trolldom (hint: I’m not a Democrat).

    I didn’t come aboard this blog with a bunch of comments amounting to “HA! TEH REPUGS GOT PWND LOL!” Had I done so, I’d have fully expected to be banned, and I’d have deserved to be banned.

    If reading/commenting here is supposed to be an endurance contest, I assure you that I’m quite capable of withstanding all the “RRGGHHH! Troll!” nonsense people care to waste storage space and bandwidth on.

    If it’s supposed to be something else, all I can suggest is that those who find my arguments interesting feel free to engage them, and that those who don’t find them interesting feel ignore them.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)

  83. I prefer to use the legal method of determining the validity of data sources. Such as in testimony, if any part of the testimony is suspect, then all of it becomes suspect. Such is the case with wikipedia. I have it blocked on my computer.

    But when somebody suggests that the dems should/could block a fair election result for the continuation of their power, then I treat said person as a troll. I would do this to even republicans doing the same for power.

    Now, if you are not doing so, then I apologize. But if you think this is legitimate in any way, fashion, or form, then you sir, are a troll.

    peedoffamerican (0a295f)

  84. peedoffamerican,

    Ah — there’s the issue:

    “when somebody suggests that the dems should/could block a fair election result for the continuation of their power, then I treat said person as a troll.”

    Do I think that the Dems SHOULD block Brown’s seating? Absolutely not.

    Do I think they COULD block Brown’s seating? Absolutely. They’ve got procedural control of the body — not quite to the extent of Harry Reid getting anything he wants, but certainly to the exten of Harry Reid being able to block anything he doesn’t want. I don’t have to like that to understand that it’s true.

    Thomas L. Knapp (f1a580)


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