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Feingold, Conyers to Chair Hearing on Proposed Constitutional Amendment Requiring Elections to Fill Senate Vacancies

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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). 
 
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In addition to the advisory, here are some other helpful links:
 
Feingold, Dreier oped – Chicago Tribune, February 22, 2009.
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Feingold Congressional Record Statement on Introduction of S.J. Res. 7
Feingold website on the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution
 
 
Zach Lowe
Press Secretary
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U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Desk:  (202) 224-8657
Cell:  (202) 615-9221
 
Sign up for Senator Feingold's newsletter here.  
                       
 
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
Witness List 

Panel I
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] 

Panel II 

Vikram D. Amar 
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law 
University of California, Davis 

Robert Edgar 
President and CEO 
Common Cause 

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 

David Segal 
Analyst 
FairVote 
Rhode Island State Representative 

Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. 
Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies 
The Heritage Foundation

 

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