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View Diary: More opinions on blocking Burris (315 comments)

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  •  Go look at William Langer. (0+ / 0-)

    And tell me why he got seated and Burris won't.

    •  From what I can tell ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... it's because the allegations against Langer preceded and had nothing to do with his election to the Senate.  It would be like trying to kick out Alcee Hastings.

      •  He was accused of rigging the voting machines. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justmy2, kerflooey

        But along the way, admitted to bribing the judge who sprung him from jail in his second trial for corruption.

        After having refused to surrender upon conviction the first time, of course. And barricading himself in the governor's office.

        Oh, and declaring martial law.

        Oh, and claiming to be seceding from the United States.

        The decision on the Senate floor not to expel him was, it turns out, driven by the fear of setting a precedent for establishing new qualifications above and beyond the constitutional ones.

        Sounds familiar, that.

        •  Louise Erdrich needs to write this story (0+ / 0-)

          ... William Langer= John James Mauser + Gerry Nanapush.

          What couldn't she do with William Langer....

          It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

          by sayitaintso on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:06:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't see the voting machine thing ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... in the articles I scanned.  Other than that, it was all extraneous to the circumstances of his election.

          •  Footnote 2 in the Bilbo case... (0+ / 0-)

            from Deschler's Precedents:

            1.  See Sec. 7.8, infra, for Senate expulsion proceedings in relation to a candidate's illegal control of election machinery and destruction of opposing ballots.

            The Bilbo case is in section 6.5 of Chapter 8. Section 7.8 describes the Langer case.

            And it's not particularly hard to believe given the other insanity he was involved in.

            Which is, of course, all on display at Congress Matters.

            Dude broke a client out of jail, smuggled him out of state, married him off to his girlfriend specifically to be able to invoke the testimonial privilege, promised her a quickie divorce, but "forgot" to secure it, which she found out years later when she tried to "remarry."

            Sent a telegram to the Old North Church in Boston to tell them to hang lanterns in tower when Winston Churchill came to visit America.

            One of two Senate votes against the UN Charter.

            I mean, he was... you know... a case.

            •  And all I care about ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... is the election fraud allegations, which I'm not seeing a lot about.  The rest is beyond the Senate's ambit.

              •  I offer it by way.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Adam B

                of convincing people that the fraud allegations are not to be dismissed out of hand as "too crazy."

              •  Here's the excerpt from Deschler's: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Adam B

                Illegal Control of Election Machinery

                Sec. 7.8 In the 77th Congress, the Senate failed to expel, by the
                   necessary two-thirds vote, a Senator whose election had been
                   challenged on various grounds, including his alleged illegal
                   control of election procedure.

                   On Jan. 3, 1941, at the convening of the 77th Congress, Mr. William
                Langer, of North Dakota, took the oath of office, despite charges from
                the citizens of the state recommending that he be denied a
                congressional seat because of campaign fraud and of conduct involving
                moral turpitude.(11)

                1. 87 Cong. Rec. 3, 4, 77th Cong. 1st Sess.


                   The petition against Mr. Langer alleged, among other charges, control of election machinery, casting of illegal election ballots, and
                destruction of legal election ballots.(12)

                1. 88 Cong. Rec. 2077-81, 77th Cong. 2d Sess., Mar. 9, 1942.


                   After determining that a two-thirds vote was necessary for
                expulsion,(13) the Senate voted not to expel Senator

                1. Id. at p. 3064.
                1. Id. at p. 3065. See Sec. Sec. 6.3-6.5, supra, for instances in

                       which election results were challenged for control of election
                       machinery so as to deny voting rights.


                Our forefathers were some F-ed up mo-fos!

                Well, somebody's forefathers, if not ours personally.

                Anyway, the accusation was illegal control of the election process that landed him there. Immediate result: Seated with prejudice. Ultimate result: Became Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

                •  Well, I guess the question is. ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... how substantial were the allegations?  I'm going through the NYT articles in the online archive and not finding anything.

                  •  I can't tell. (0+ / 0-)

                    But I'll say this, if that's the one thing his accusers chose to embellish, I'd be shocked.

                    •  What I see right now (0+ / 0-)

                      He won a three-way race 38.1 - 35.1 - 26.5.  Actually, Douglas talks about him a lot in the Powell opinion, including:

                      The charges against Langer were various. As with Powell, they included claims that he had misappropriated public funds and that he had interfered with the judicial process in a way that beclouded the dignity of Congress. Reference was also made to his professional ethics as a lawyer.

                      Langer enjoyed the powerful advocacy of Senator Murdock from Utah. The Senate debate itself raged for over a year. Much of it related to purely factual allegations of "moral turpitude." Some of it, however, was addressed to the power of the Senate under Art. I, § 5, cl. 1, to exclude a member-elect for lacking qualifications not enumerated in Art. I, § 3.

                      Mr. MURDOCK. . . . [U]nder the Senator's theory that the Senate has the right to add qualifications which are not specified in the Constitution, does the Senator believe the Senate could adopt a rule specifying intellectual and moral qualifications?

                      Mr. LUCAS. The Senate can do anything it wants to do. . . . Yes; the Senate can deny a person his seat simply because it does not like the cut of his jaw, if it wishes to.

                  •  But I'll add this: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    If the standard is going to be that the issue can only be alleged "election" irregularities and nothing else -- up to and including the declaration of martial law and secession from the United States -- then all the conclusory talk about what Burris' acceptance of the appointment "says about his character" needs to be chucked out the window too.

                    It's going to have to be a straight up accusation of something like pay-for-play or nothing.

                    •  Oh, I agree on that. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      If the selection is made lawfully, however we want to define it, then the content of the man's views is irrelevant.  I want to say a lot about Burris' involvement in the Rolando Cruz case, but I don't pretend that it has any bearing on his constitutional fitness to serve.

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