The Senate’s Crusade to Stay a 98-Member Chamber
In eighth-grade civics, I learned that the U.S. Senate had, and would continue to have, 100 members. Well, Mr. Miller, seems you didn’t tell me the whole story.
When the new Senate is sworn in next week, it will most likely be a team of 98, following declarations by Senate leaders that Minnesota and Illinois will not be allowed to seat their controversial junior senators.
In Minnesota, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar suggested last week that Al Franken be seated if he is certified as the winner by the State Canvassing Board, even though his Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, will be certain to contest the results.
But today, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the new head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, vowed to block any attempt to seat Franken, according to Politico. Faced with the prospect of a Republican filibuster, it is unlikely that the Democrats will try to seat Franken before the election is fully settled.
And then there’s Illinois, which these days is looking like something out of Lewis Carroll. Daphne has a great post on this, in which she argues that the Democratic leadership in the Senate might have trouble preventing Roland Burris from taking his seat in the chamber. My old professor Akhil Reed Amar, widely considered the coolest constitutional scholar out there, comes to a different conclusion.
In any case, it’s almost inconceivable that the Senate will start its session at full strength. You might have to revise your lesson plan, Mr. Miller.