(CN) – The appointment procedures used by Illinois to fill President Obama’s Senate seat are constitutionally valid, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Gerald A. Judge and David Kindler, registered voters in Illinois, sued Gov. Pat Quinn when Sen. Roland Burris took office in January, alleging that their right to directly elect a replacement senator violated their Seventeenth Amendment rights.
Illinois Election code does not provide for a special election in the case of a senatorial vacancy. The code states that an opening is to be filled during the “next election of representatives in Congress.”
Under this rule, Obama’s seat would be included in the Nov. 2, 2010 election. Plaintiffs wanted to stop the special election that would take place before then.
They argued that Illinois’ rules facilitated the corruption exhibited by ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempts to “sell” the Senate seat. They argued that the Seventeenth Amendment exists specifically to prevent such actions.
A lower court dismissed the case.
Judge Diane Wood wrote for the 7th Circuit that it would not modify the standing judgment because the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they would suffer irreparable harm without the injunction.
“[T]he district court can easily reach and resolve the merits of this request before any of the harm that the plaintiffs forecast comes to pass.,” Wood wrote.