Another Update

I am sorry to be out of the loop today, but I am still reporting to the courthouse for jury duty. I have to show up again tomorrow.

So I rushed home to catch up on the news. On Memeorandum there was a stack of headlines that seemed to tell a story:

Sen. Johnson in Critical Condition After Surgery

Should Johnson be unable to continue to serve

Fox News Speculates How Officials Could ‘Declare’ Sen. Johnson ‘Incapacitated’

Sen. Johnson recovering after brain surgery

In a nutshell: Elements of the Righty (notably Faux Nooz) are salivating over the possibility of keeping the Senate, even as they feign shock that anyone is even talking about what might happen if poor Senator Johnson leaves the Senate. And they are dumping on the Left for … well, whatever. For breathing. The usual stuff. Anyway, as I keyboard the most recent news is that Senator Johnson is still critical, but recovering. There won’t be a long-term prognosis for a couple of days.

CNN reported this afternoon

The Democrats’ slight hold on power in the Senate is largely safe despite South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s health scare, Senate Historian Don Richie tells CNN. As stipulated by Senate rules, Johnson could retain his seat even if he is incapacitated, unable to vote, and not even able to show up to work.

Moreover, the Senate does not have the power to forcefully remove Johnson unless he committed a crime.

Such a scenario has even occurred in Johnson’s home state of South Dakota. After South Dakota Sen. Karl Earle Mundt had a stroke in 1969 he remained in office until his term expired in 1973 without casting another vote after the governor refused Mundt’s wish of appointing his wife to the post.

A state governor has the power to appoint a new senator only if the current senator dies in office or resigns his seat.

There is “little or no precedent for forcibly unseating a member of Congress due to illness or other incapacitation,” writes Jonathan Singer at MyDD.