Be careful what you wish for: Should Burr resign?

Lots of people are calling for Burr to resign, and god knows we'd all be better off if he did. But there's danger. Specifically this: If he were to resign, the executive committee of the NCGOP gets to nominate his replacement ... with Cooper having to choose among their three submissions.

What's not clear to me is what happens if Governor Cooper were to ignore the GOP submissions and decline to fill the seat. I just don't know enough about the law. It could be that NC would be without two Senators for a couple of years while Burr's original term expires. But I suspect there would be legal and other challenges that would force action.

In any case, things are never as simple as they seem. The GOP legislature has stacked the deck in every way possible, and there are no easy answers. Even though Burr has proven himself to be without morals or decency, I'm not sure we want him to resign.

Read the statute below and tell me what you think it means. I can imagine an army of lawyers will be necessary to make sense of it.

SECTION 1. G.S. 163A‑720 reads as rewritten:

"§ 163A‑720. Filling vacancy in United States Senate.

Whenever there shall be a vacancy in the office of United States Senator from this State, whether caused by death, resignation, or otherwise than by expiration of term, the Governor shall appoint to fill the vacancy until an election shall be held to fill the office. If the Senator was elected as the nominee of a political party, the person appointed by the Governor shall be a person affiliated with that same political party.the Governor shall appoint from a list of three persons recommended by the State executive committee of the political party with which the vacating member was affiliated when elected if that party executive committee makes recommendations within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy. The Governor shall issue a writ for the election of a Senator to be held at the time of the first election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs. The person elected shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. The election shall take effect from the date of the canvassing of the returns."

SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to vacancies filled on or after that date.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 14th day of June, 2018.



Key word there is "shall"

Doesn't really leave the Governor with any options.

As far as Burr resigning, there's not really a downside in my mind. Yes, we might get an even worse shitbird, but consider the situation: GOP Senator is forced to resign for corruption (insider trading, whatever). Replacement selected by GOP and Governor, special election then held (like maybe this November), this thing will be in the news steadily for months.

That's a nightmare scenario for the NC GOP, which is still reeling from Robin Hayes indictment.

Also remember that Burr's replacement ....

... would be a junior senator and likely wouldn't assigned a powerful committee position and would be less damaging in Congress.

The NC GOP is likely to nominate three candidates for the position that are nutcases, so there's also the good chance of a scandal erupting with whoever takes the job.