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List of United States Senate election disputes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Article One of the United States Constitution gives the Senate the power to "determine the elections, returns, and qualifications" of its own members. As a result, the Senate has been asked to review the election of one of its members many times.

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Transcription

Have you ever wondered who has the authority to make laws or punish people who break them? When we think of power in the United States, we usually think of the President, but he does not act alone. In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle and for very good reason. When the American Revolution ended in 1783, the United States government was in a state of change. The founding fathers knew that they did not want to establish another country that was ruled by a king, so the discussions were centered on having a strong and fair national government that protected individual freedoms and did not abuse its power. When the new constitution was adopted in 1787, the structure of the infant government of the United States called for three separate branches, each with their own powers, and a system of checks and balances. This would ensure that no one branch would ever become too powerful because the other branches would always be able to check the power of the other two. These branches work together to run the country and set guidelines for us all to live by. The legislative branch is described in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Many people feel that the founding fathers put this branch in the document first because they thought it was the most important. The legislative branch is comprised of 100 U.S. Senators and 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is better known as the U.S. Congress. Making laws is the primary function of the legislative branch, but it is also responsible for approving federal judges and justices, passing the national budget, and declaring war. Each state gets two Senators and some number of Representatives, depending on how many people live in that state. The executive branch is described in Article 2 of the Constitution. The leaders of this branch of government are the President and Vice President, who are responsible for enforcing the laws that Congress sets forth. The President works closely with a group of advisors, known as the Cabinet. These appointed helpers assist the President in making important decisions within their area of expertise, such as defense, the treasury, and homeland security. The executive branch also appoints government officials, commands the armed forces, and meets with leaders of other nations. All that combined is a lot of work for a lot of people. In fact, the executive branch employs over 4 million people to get everything done. The third brand of the U.S. government is the judicial branch and is detailed in Article 3. This branch is comprised of all the courts in the land, from the federal district courts to the U.S. Supreme Court. These courts interpret our nation's laws and punish those who break them. The highest court, the Supreme Court, settles disputes among states, hears appeals from state and federal courts, and determines if federal laws are constitutional. There are nine justices on the Supreme Court, and, unlike any other job in our government, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, or for as long as they want to stay. Our democracy depends on an informed citizenry, so it is our duty to know how it works and what authority each branch of government has over its citizens. Besides voting, chances are that some time in your life you'll be called upon to participate in your government, whether it is to serve on a jury, testify in court, or petition your Congress person to pass or defeat an idea for a law. By knowning the branches, who runs them, and how they work together, you can be involved, informed, and intelligent.

Election cases

Year Senator State Result Details
1794 Albert Gallatin Pennsylvania Unseated Gallatin was ruled to have failed to meet the minimum nine years of United States citizenship required to be a senator.
1794 Kensey Johns Delaware Not seated Johns was appointed to the Senate by the Governor of Delaware while the state legislature was in session (albeit deadlocked).
1796 William Blount Tennessee Not seated; then later seated Blount and Cocke were appointed to the Senate by the legislature of the Southwest Territory, which was seeking to have its statehood recognized. The Senate admitted the Southwest Territory into the Union as the State of Tennessee on June 1, and ruled that Blount and Cocke were not qualified to be senators because the body which had appointed them was not yet a state legislature. The Tennessee legislature duly reappointed Blount and Cocke, and the two were seated under that appointment on December 6.
William Cocke
1801 Uriah Tracy Connecticut Seated Tracy was a Federalist whose term expired at the close of March 3, 1801. The Connecticut state legislature had not met to appoint a senator to fill Tracy's seat, so the Connecticut governor had appointed Tracy to the Senate "from the 3rd of March next until the next meeting of the legislature of said state." His credentials were questioned, but he was approved to take his seat by a vote of 13–10.
1809 Stanley Griswold Ohio Seated Griswold was appointed to the Senate less than a year after he had moved to Ohio. His residency in that state was questioned. The Committee of Elections ruled that since neither the Constitution nor the laws of Ohio specified residency requirements, the certification of the governor of Ohio that Griswold was a resident was sufficient for his appointment.
1815 Jesse Bledsoe Kentucky Seat declared vacant Bledsoe had sent a letter of resignation to the state government of Kentucky in December 1814. On January 20, 1815, after a successor had been named but before that successor had appeared before the Senate, Bledsoe submitted a letter to the Senate requesting to know whether he still retained the seat or if the seat had been declared vacant. The Senate then declared the seat vacant.
1825 James Lanman Connecticut Not seated On March 4, 1825, the Senate met in special session. Lanman's term had expired at the close of the previous day, so he presented new credentials from Connecticut's governor, appointing Lanman to his seat until the state legislature convened in May. The credentials had been issued in late February so that they could reach Lanman by the start of the new term. The Senate ruled that the governor lacked authority to issue credentials in advance of a vacancy and so denied Lanman his seat.
1827 Ephraim Bateman New Jersey Retained seat Bateman had been the chairman of the joint meeting of the New Jersey state legislature to elect a replacement for Joseph McIlvaine. With the field narrowed to two candidates, Bateman had won the election by a vote of 29–28, with Bateman providing the one vote margin. A protest was filed, claiming that Bateman's presiding over—and providing the deciding vote for—his own election was illegal and improper. The Senate ruled that New Jersey had met all constitutional directives relating to Senate elections and so Bateman was duly elected.
1834 Elisha R. Potter v. Asher Robbins Rhode Island Robbins retained seat
1837 Ambrose H. Sevier Arkansas Seated
1844 John M. Niles Connecticut Seated
1849 James Shields Illinois Unseated
1974 Louis C. Wyman New Hampshire Not seated Republican Louis C. Wyman initially defeated Democrat John A. Durkin by 355 votes; however, two subsequent recounts held Durkin and Wyman to be the victor, by 10 and 2 votes respectively. After weeks of wrangling over disputed ballots, the results of the election were annulled; Durkin and Wyman agreed to run again in a special election, and the U.S. Senate declared the seat vacant. The special election was held in 1975, which John Durkin won with 54%.
2008 Roland Burris Illinois Seated

Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) chose Roland Burris (D-IL) as the Senator-designate from Illinois to fill the seat left vacant by then President-elect Barack Obama (D-IL). Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to seat Burris due to allegations that Governor Blagojevich had tried to sell the senate seat left vacant by Obama. The Secretary of the Senate and the Senate Parliamentarian deemed Burris's credentials valid, and Senate leaders seated Burris.[1]

References

  1. ^ "Dems accept Burris into the Senate". politico.com. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14.
This page was last edited on 29 December 2020, at 17:54
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