There has been speculation that

There has been speculation that if Jim Talent unseats Senator Carnahan in Missouri, as is now expected, he will be seated immediately, the Republicans will regain immediate control of the Senate, and President Bush’s judicial nominees all will promptly be confirmed. Under the law, Talent should, indeed, be seated immediately because Carnahan was appointed, not elected, to the Senate. However, this story in the Kansas City Star suggests that the full scenario described is unlikely to occur. First, the Star reports that the Democratic Governor of Missouri, Bob Holden, might hold off certifying Talent’s election. Holden says that if Talent is elected, “we’ll get our attorneys together to see what appropriate action should be taken.” Don Ritchie, the associate historian of the Senate, says he cannot imagine a governor trying to stall the seating of a Senator properly elected by the people of his state. However, it is not clear how much experience Ritchie has with Democratic lawyers. In any case, Ritchie points out that the Republicans may not have enough time to reorganize the Senate to give them the committee chairmanships (e.g. the Judiciary Committee). And even if they get this done, Ritchie believes the Democrats could obstruct meaningful action in the limited time available, given the tiny margin the Republicans would have. Finally, although the Star article doesn’t mention this, Republican (for now) Lincoln Chafee might not support the Republican agenda. We hope that all of this will become academic when the Republicans gain outright control of the Senate for the next two years. As I suggested earlier today, though, the Republicans may have to win nearly all the toss-up races for this to occur.


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