Special election in Illinois could complicate any lame-duck plans by Dems 

Republicans are already worried about what happens during this year’s lame-duck session of Congress — the two-month period after the midterm election, before new members of Congress are sworn in during the early days of January 2011. There are hints already that Democrats in the exiting Congress will make a last-minute push for unpopular union-friendly and cap-and-trade legislation, especially if voters take the House and several Senate seats away from them.

Any such plans have been complicated by a Seventh Circuit ruling on the status of Sen. Roland Burris, the Democrat appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D, to replace President Obama in the Senate. Because Burris is a temporary appointment, writes Judge Diane Wood (once discussed as a Supreme Court hopeful), he must be replaced in a special election, probably in November.

Burris was supposed to be a temporary appointment, according to the opinion from United States Court of Appeals Judge Diane P. Wood.

Speaking for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Wood said Gov. Pat Quinn should declare an election to determine who serves for the remainder of Obama’s Senate term.

“The governor has a duty to issue a writ of election to fill the Obama vacancy. That writ must include a date, but it appears that the Illinois legislature has provided only one date from which Governor Quinn may choose: November 2, 2010,” the opinion said.

November 2 is also the date of the state’s general election, which sets up the possibility of two votes for U.S. Senate on the same ballot.

One winner would likely serve the remaining eight weeks of Obama’s term in the 111th Congress.

A further complication: The Republicans would almost certainly put their current Senate nominee, Rep. Mark Kirk, R, on the ballot in the special election. Kirk voted for cap-and-trade in the House last year.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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