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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Update - 6:20PM ET: All fifty members of the Democratic Senate caucus have signed Majority Leader Harry Reid's letter calling on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to step down from his post and refrain from appointing anyone to the vacated Illinois Senate seat, a source confirms.
The development is noteworthy on several fronts. It signals that the Democratic Party, led by the Nevada Democrat, is organizing a united front against allegations of corruption - though, on this matter, it would be remarkable had any Senator refused to sign the petition. More importantly, it indicates that the Democratic senators are prepared to exercise their constitutional authority to undo any move that Blagojevich may make before he exits office.
Because he is still, officially, the governor, Blagojevich has the power to appoint Barack Obama's replacement. Illinois officials have tried to take away such authority by passing legislation that would allow the seat to be decided by a special election. But Blagojevich could make the appointment before the bill becomes law. That said, the United States Senate has the power to reject his appointment - something that Reid threatened in his letter. The fact that 49 other Democratic colleagues, including Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton, have signed this letter suggest that they are serious about pushing back against any 11th-hour Blagojevich move.


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