Senate Vacancies, And Why Governors Must Pick Temporary Appointees Chosen By Political Parties

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U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye died on December 17, 2012, leaving Hawaii without seniority in the US Senate.
Daniel K. Inouye

BY ROBERT THOMAS – Earlier, we wrote about what Hawaii law requires when one of its U.S. Senate seats becomes vacant: the remainder of the term is eventually filled by the vote of the people, but unitl the election is held, the Governor makes a temporary appointment to fill the seat and must appoint from a list provided by the political party of the Senator who caused the vacancy.

But how did Hawaii’s statute — a minority rule, but not a complete outlier — come to be? And is a rule that cabins a governor’s discretion by limiting the picks for a temporary appointee to those selected by a political party even constitutional, or democratic? (For more on the latter issue — do the Hawaii Democratic Party’s rules allow for a transparent selection process — see here.)

In “Senate Vacancies, And Why Governors Must Pick Temporary Appointees Chosen By Political Parties,” my colleague Mark Murakamiand I explore those questions.  Check it out if you are interested.

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