W.Va. AG peeks into Byrd replacement policy

John O'Brien Jun. 30, 2010, 4:23pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office says no one contacted it requiring how to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate caused by the recent death of Sen. Robert Byrd.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes told the Charleston Gazette said she was "taken aback" that no one reached out to the office, and that it is attempting to determine if the replacement procedure laid out by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant should be used.

"Right now, we are looking at it to determine if it has sound legal reasoning and whether it's supported by the case law," Hughes told the newspaper.

Byrd took office in 1959 and became the longest-serving member of Congress in the nation's history. He passed away Monday at 92 years old.

Tennant says state law calls for the appointment of a successor by Gov. Joe Manchin. However, since no one had filed candidacy papers for the office this year, an election for Byrd's seat can not be held.

Instead, the appointee would serve until 2012. In that year, there would be two elections -- one to replace the appointee and fill out Byrd's term (a five-week position) and one for a six-year term.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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