The 17th Amendment And Vacant Senate Seats

, New York Law Journal

Jerry H. Goldfeder, special counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, writes: The vacancy provision in the 17th Amendment appears simple enough: if a state has opted to allow for a temporary appointee to the Senate, she may serve until an election is required pursuant to that jurisdiction's election code. In New York, in the circumstances of Ms. Clinton's vacancy, newly appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand does not face the voters until November 2010, almost two full years after assuming office. This revelation may have come as a surprise to most voters, indeed, to most lawyers who do not specialize in the area. The news is especially startling after an election year in which so many people were actively engaged.

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