Over the weekend, black California politicians demanded Gov. Gavin Newsom appoint a Black woman to the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kamala Harris’ should former Vise President Joe Biden and Harris win the Presidential election.
“At a press conference Friday, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus nominated U.S. Rep. Karen Bass and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee as candidates for the position,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “Bass and Lee represent “two of the most powerful women” in California, said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D- San Diego and chair of the caucus.”
However, California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) says Gov. Newsom is again overstepping his authority with “what he describes as the ‘cattle call’ of installing a political ally in the U.S. Senate.”
“The Constitution says California voters would decide who completes Senator Harris’ term,” Kiley said. “Even after being restrained by our courts for exceeding his authority, the Governor is once again trying to claim for himself power that resides with the people of California.”
I've submitted a Legal Opinion Request to the Attorney General on Gavin Newsom's authority to appoint a U.S. Senator. As the Governor revels in the "cattle call" of installing an ally, he's again claiming for himself power that resides with the people.https://t.co/qBaIBHJx7I
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) November 16, 2020
Kiley submitted a Legal Opinion Request to the Attorney General on Gavin Newsom’s authority to appoint a U.S. Senator. In the letter to the Senior Assistant Attorney General, Kiley explains:
“In the 229 years since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 17 times. One of those Amendments, ratified in 1913, established that Senators must be ‘elected by the people.’ The Seventeenth Amendment further provides that when Senators vacate their seats in the middle of a term, Governors ‘shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.’ The purpose of the Amendment was to replace a distrusted, aristocratic regime of appointed Senators with one of ‘popular enfranchisement.'”
“There is, however, a proviso in the Amendment. A state’s legislature may empower its Governor ‘to make temporary appointments’ until the people fill the vacancies by election.’ California’s Legislature has done this with Elections Code section 10720, which enables the Governor to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy with an appointee who serves until a successor is elected and seated.”
“This means Governor Newsom could appoint a temporary successor to Senator Harris, but that person could not serve through January 3, 2023, when Senator Harris’ term was to expire. At some point before then, an elected Senator would have to take the appointee’s place.”
Kiley explains that the Seventeenth Amendment does not give any Governor appointment
power; that must be supplied by the Legislature.
Once again, Kiley challenges Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency powers, as he and Assemblyman Gallagher have with Gov. Newsom’s executive order mandating an all-mail election. A Superior Court judge has ruled that the governor overstepped his emergency powers authority.
“Governor Newsom is reveling in what he describes as the ‘cattle call’ of installing a political ally in the U.S. Senate,” Kiley said in a press release.
Here is Kiley’s letter to the Senior Assistant Attorney General:AG Opinion Request_Senate Vacancies FINAL