Friday, February 3, 2012

Could Harry Reid Pick Indiana's Next Senator?

Will Democrats oppose Lugar's candidacy?
Here's an interesting analysis written by a Missouri Tea Party member concerning the issue of whether or not Senator Richard Lugar is qualified to be an Indiana senator since he hasn't lived in the state for over three decades.

Earlier this week I noted that the Daily Caller had picked up the story that Dick Lugar has not lived in Indiana--the state he represents in the United States Senate--since the late 1970's.  That's interesting because Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads in part:  "No person shall be a Senator...who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."  From there, I concluded:

Dick Lugar has not inhabited the state which he represents since the Carter Administration, which, in light of the U.S. Constitution, would imply that he has not been eligible to run for the United States Senate since the Gerald Ford Administration.  It's time to vote for Richard Mourdock in the Indaina GOP primary.

There have been a couple of developments since I posted that.  Lugar shrugs off the issue claiming that he has a 1982 permission slip from the Indiana Attorney General stating that he need not live in Indiana because he is "on business of this state or of the United States."

That argument falls apart because of the Constitution's supremacy clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
A state's AG cannot override a requirement of the U.S. Constitution; therefore, permission from a state attorney general does not allow a candidate for U.S. Senate to dodge the requirement that they "be an Inhabitant of that state..."

I described this all to Dave Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri.  The Freedom Center specializes in constitutional law and Roland is their Director of Litigation.  He agreed with me on the points as I relayed them that a candidate for office should maintain a home in the state they wish to represent.  However, he added:

 ...the big question is who ultimately gets to decide if a candidate for Congress meets this requirement.  Article I, Section 5, states that each House of Congress is responsible for judging the qualifications of its own members - it is very possible that courts might take this as meaning that they have no jurisdiction to address this matter.
That quandry in itself could lead to a protracted legal fight, but probably will not.  I suspect that one would have to have legal standing in order to bring the suit.  Richard Mourdock, Lugar's opponent would have standing, but Mourdock would have to decide whether or not he has the political capital to try to strike Lugar from the ballot.  That's not an easy decision, though it certainly would raise Mourdock's name recognition. 

After Indiana's May primary, the Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate would have two paths available to them to strike Lugar's name from the November ballot if Lugar wins the primary.  First, they could go to the courts just as Mourdock could.  Second, since Article I, Section 5 empowers that each House of Congress to judge the qualifications of its members, Indiana's Democrat nominee could ask the Democrat controlled Senate for an assist.  In short, Harry Reid could pick Indiana's next Senator.

Don't take chances.  If you live in Indiana, please remember to vote for Richard Mourdock on May 8th.

You can find this story at this link:

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