As Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris prepares to be inaugurated Vice-President at Wednesday’s inauguration, she submitted her formal resignation to California Gov. Gavin Newsom from the United States Senate Monday. As Harris made her resignation formal, Gov. Newsom officially appointed Alex Padilla to California’s U.S. Senate seat.
Padilla also this morning resigned his position as California Secretary of State, making his Chief Deputy Secretary of State Acting Secretary of State.
Newsom has appointed Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s as Padilla’s replacement, but it requires the Legislature to confirm her appointment.
Following Gov. Newsom’s December 22nd appointment of Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate, State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) warned that there are legal issues with Newsom’s appointment as the Constitution requires an election. Kiley went so far as obtaining a Legal Opinion from the Office of the Legislative Counsel confirming this is a Constitutional problem, and something he has also already shared with Governor Newsom.
As Kiley explained, the Legislative Counsel’s Office concluded in a 10-page written response:
- That “the Seventeenth Amendment requires the Governor to issue a writ of election” to fill the vacancy that will be created by Senator Harris’ resignation.
- That the Seventeenth Amendment requires that “the person elected in the vacancy election takes office before the end of the existing term.”
Kiley followed up with a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, explaining the legal opinion by the State of California Office of the Legislative Counsel, and asking them to “consider whether the legal issues relating to the appointment raised by the Legislative Counsel Opinion require resolution before Mr. Padilla is seated.”
Despite the Legislative Counsel’s agreement with Kiley, by all appearances he is being ignored by the governor, and Senators McConnell and Schumer.
Gov. Newsom’s press statement Monday said, “State law empowers the Governor to fill vacancies to the U.S. Senate and, subject to confirmation by the State Senate and Assembly, the Secretary of State. Governor Newsom announced his selection of Padilla and Dr. Weber in December.”
The Governor also formally submitted his nomination letter for Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to the State Senate President pro Tempore and Assembly Speaker to serve as California’s next Secretary of State.