On Wednesday, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee, and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will hold a joint hearing on their proposed constitutional amendment to require elections to fill vacant Senate seats and prohibit temporary appointments by governors. Below is an advisory with more information on the hearing, which will be held in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building at 10:00 a.m. ET. The amendment was introduced in the Senate on January 29th in the wake of the controversies surrounding the Senate vacancies in Illinois and New York, and to a lesser extent Delaware and Colorado. The near vacancy in New Hampshire, prior to Senator Gregg withdrawing his nomination as Commerce Secretary, also showed the kind of backroom dealings that would end if this amendment were enacted.
The amendment quickly picked up bicameral and bipartisan support and is cosponsored on the Senate side by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), John McCain (R-AZ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). It was introduced in the House by Conyers and Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), and cosponsored by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, respectively. It is also cosponsored by Reps. Bob Filner (D-CA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR).
In addition to the advisory, here are some other helpful links:
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)
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Cell: (202) 615-9221
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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will co-chair a joint hearing on Wednesday, March 11th on “S.J.Res.7 and H.J.Res.21 – A Constitutional Amendment Concerning Senate Vacancies.” On January 29th, Feingold introduced legislation to amend the Constitution to ensure governors cannot make appointments to fill vacant U.S. Senate seats. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), John McCain (R-AZ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). Chairman Conyers introduced the House version along with Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), and it is cosponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, as well as Reps. Bob Filner (D-CA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR).
What: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution and the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a joint hearing entitled "S.J. Res. 7 and H.J. Res. 21: A Constitutional Amendment Concerning Senate Vacancies"
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 – 10:00 a.m. ET
Location: Hart Senate Office Building – Room 216
Webcast: The hearing will be webcast at
The Honorable Mark Begich
United States Senator [D-AK]
The Honorable David Dreier
United States House of Representatives [R-CA-26th District]
The Honorable Aaron Schock
United States House of Representatives [R-IL-18th District]
Vikram D. Amar
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law
University of California, Davis
President and CEO
Pamela S. Karlan
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law
Stanford Law School
Kevin J. Kennedy
Director and General Counsel
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
Congressional Research Service
Rhode Island State Representative
Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.
Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies
The Heritage Foundation