Call it Rod's Law. Appropriately outraged over former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's foiled plan to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama -- and by Blagojevich's success in filling the vacancy anyway -- some members of Congress have proposed a change in the U.S. Constitution that would strip even honest governors of the authority to name temporary senators.
The amendment, sponsored in the Senate by Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), is well-intentioned but unnecessary. An amendment to the Constitution ought to address a serious and enduring problem with the nation's charter. This proposal fails that test by a mile. It also would have the perverse effect of halving a state's representation in the Senate while a special election could be organized.
Supporters insist that there's more to the proposal than a belated slap on the wrist for Blagojevich, who outfoxed his critics by appointing the unimpressive Roland Burris to Obama's seat before being ousted from office himself. Feingold notes that there have been 184 Senate appointments -- but to arrive at that figure, he had to go back nearly a century. He also points out that there are now four unelected senators who will serve until the next general election, but that statistic too is alarmist.