Vice President-Elect Biden's senate seat

So, now that Senator Joe Biden is the Vice President-elect, AND got relected as a senator from Delaware, what happens to his Senate seat? Does someone get appointed as the Senator? If so, who appoints them?

According to the News Journal of Wilmington, under Delaware law, the governor (a Democrat) appoints a replacement. The Vice President-elect’s son Beau is said to be a possibility.

I don’t think that’s likely, though, as he is currently in Iraq. I assume the DOD has procedures in place for curtailing his tour in this sort of scenario, but it might look bad.

First, note that Biden has the option of serving out his current term, at his discretion. His current term will end on January 3, 2009, before he takes office as Vice President.

Then, he will either decline to serve his 2009-2015 term, or he will be sworn and then resign within seventeen days.

The outgoing governor of Delaware, Ruth Ann Minner (D), whose term runs until January 20, 2009, will have the power to appoint a replacement for the full term and for the expiring term if he resigns early. Logically she would appoint the same person to both vacancies, granting that person an edge in seniority, but this is not a requirement.

Under Delaware law, the appointee will serve until Delaware conducts a special election for the final four years of the full term in November 2010.

I thought Beau was just sent to Iraq? Can someone be recalled from that because he was appointed Senator?

It’s entirely possible that he’ll be brought home because he would be a “high-value target” for enemies (cf. Prince Harry), thereby posing a threat to the soldiers around him. I’m not sure how much the U.S. Army’s policies in such exceptional situations differ from those of the BAF, though.

He was already a pretty high-value target; remember, he was mentioned by name in both the VP and Presidential debates.

15 Delaware Code § 7321 provides:

§ 7321. Vacancy; temporary appointment; term

Whenever a vacancy shall happen by death, resignation or otherwise in the office of Senator from this State in the Senate of the United States, the Governor may make a temporary or ad interim appointment from among the qualified electors of this State of some person to fill such vacancy until the same shall be filled at the next ensuing general election in the manner prescribed by law. The office of such temporary appointee shall terminate upon the election, under this title, of a Senator from this State in the Senate of the United States to fill the vacancy.

Under this law, whenever Sen. Biden resigns, the then-governor gets to appoint his temporary replacement, until the position is filled in the next “general election” (held every second November under Del. Const art. V, § 1). As
Freddy the Pig notes, Delaware just elected a new Governor, so who gets to appoint the replacement Senator depends on when Biden resigns from the Senate.

Similarly, 10 ILCS 5/25-8 provides that the Governor of Illinois will appoint Senator Obama’s temporar replacement at least until the next Congressional election.

5/25-8. United States senators

§ 25-8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election.

Interestingly, in Alaska, where there may be a vacancy if Senator Stevens is re-elected (it’s now still too close to call) and he is expelled from the Senate based on his conviction, the Governor may appoint a temporary Senator, but she is also required to call an election for a permanent replacement within 90 days of the vacancy (unless it is just before the regular election for a new Senator) under Alaska Statutes §§ 15.40.140 & .145

§ 15.40.140. Condition and time of calling special election

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator or United States representative, the governor shall, by proclamation, call a special election to be held on a date not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date the vacancy occurs. However, if the vacancy occurs on a date that is less than 60 days before or is on or after the date of the primary election in the general election year during which a candidate to fill the office is regularly elected, the governor may not call a special election.

§ 15.40.145. Temporary appointment of United States senator

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, the governor may, at least five days after the date of the vacancy but within 30 days after the date of the vacancy, appoint a qualified individual to fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the special election called to fill the vacancy are certified. If a special election is not called for the reasons set out in AS 15.40.140, the individual shall fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the next general election are certified.

Holdonasecond. *Joe *Biden has a son named *Beau *Biden? Does he also have a daughter named Banannafannafo Fiden?

Vice President-Elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has a son who is the Attorney General of Delaware and a Captain in the Delaware National Guard currently serving in Iraq who is named Joseph Robinette Biden III but is commonly known by his nickname “Beau” Biden.

Well done!

So when Joe Biden resigns it’s possible that the new senator will be Joe Biden? Think of all the money they’ll save on stationary and such!

If Beau isn’t too particular about the spelling, it’s not too hard to get some intern to change all the “J’s” to “B’s.”

Is it just me or is ‘Robinette’ the wussiest middle name ever?

I believe it is a family name.

Not an effeminate version of Robin (which, in the US, is probably more often a female name than a male one).

Is there something legally preventing him from being both the VP and a senator?

I believe the Constitution prohibits anyone from holding an office in two branches (also it would be kinda weird if a tie vote in the senate then gave let him vote twice on a single bill).

Quite true. Art. I, Sec. 6, cl. 2: “…no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house [of Congress] during his continuance in office.”

And you think Robinette is bad? Consider Vicki Gene Robinson, the [male] Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire!

Is there a rule that appointees be in the same party as the person currently holding the office?

Thanks for the answers. I was wondering about what Wile E mentioned also. What if the governor appoints a Republican and changes the balance of power in the Senate? Is that legal? Probably not likely, given the fact that the governor is a Democrat.