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Early appointment for Rubio not in the cards

Posted Nov 5, 2010 by William March

Updated Nov 5, 2010 at 04:02 PM

Since Tuesday, there’s been chatter among Florida Republicans that Sen. George Lemieux, who’s leaving his seat in January, should leave early so Gov. Charlie Crist could appoint Sen.-elect Marco Rubio to the last few weeks of the term, thereby giving Rubio a seniority edge.

There’s only one problem with that, according to the Senate Secretary of the Minority—it won’t work.

If you’re thinking any trick that good would have been tried before, you’re right. And more than a decade ago, the Senate Republican Conference changed its seniority rules to prevent it.

Acting “to prevent a rash of early resignations and appointments,” said David Schiappa, secretary for the minority GOP Senate conference, the conference adopted a rule that an appointment made between election day and the convening of the new Congress doesn’t affect seniority.

Seniority can be a big deal in the Senate, but there are actually two kinds—the kind awarded by the full Senate, and the kind awarded by the parties.

Senate seniority affects such comparatively minor matters as the location of a senator’s office suite and his seat on the Senate floor.

For Republicans, seniority within the the Republican Conference is more important—it can affect committee assignments.

The rule change affects GOP Conference seniority.