Illuminating

Blago vs. the Senate

o those Ronald Burris supporters arguing that the Senate is constitutionally bound to accept him into their hallowed halls, Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence H. Tribe has a message for you: You’re wrong! It’s all laid out in the 1969 Supreme Court case Powell v. McCormack, he says. That case, centering on the House’s refusal to seat Adam Clayton Powell Jr., found that Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution deems "[e]ach House...the Judge of the Elections...and Qualifications of its own Members." So, when Barack Obama urges the Senate to exclude anyone appointed by Rod Blagojevich, including Burris, he’s got the constitution on his side. That’s never a bad thing.