Morning Business: To Appoint or Not to Appoint?

Posted July 29, 2009 at 6:07pm

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will vote today on a constitutional amendment to change how Senate vacancies are filled, requiring special elections instead of gubernatorial appointments.

[IMGCAP(1)]Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who introduced the measure in January, wasted no time in scheduling the rare subcommittee markup on the subject just two days after the full Judiciary panel cleared its most pressing matter so far this year — the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Feingold, who chairs the Judiciary subcommittee, presided over a bicameral hearing on his proposed amendment in March.

“This subcommittee vote is an essential step toward adoption of the amendment by the Congress and ratification by the states,— Feingold said in a statement, warning that “the impending retirement of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-Texas] could trigger another political drama in which the voters will be just bystanders.—

If approved, the measure would set off a lengthy process: A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds approval by the House and Senate plus ratification by at least 38 states.