GOP files suit to block Kirk


After failing in their bid to stop the Massachusetts legislature from giving Democratic Governor Deval Patrick the power to fill a United States Senate vacancy, Republicans are going to court on Friday to try to prevent the governor’s interim pick from taking office.

On the same day that Patrick chose Paul Kirk, a long-time friend and associate of Ted Kennedy to temporarily replace the late senator, Republicans filed court papers arguing that Patrick’s use of an emergency declaration paving the way for the nomination was unconstitutional. Because most Massachusetts laws do not go into effect for 90 days, Patrick had to issue the declaration so that the just-passed legislation allowing him to name a replacement senator could take effect immediately.

A hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction against Patrick is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday in Suffolk County Superior Court — several hours before Kirk is scheduled to be sworn in to office.

Several legal experts familiar with Massachusetts constitutional law said Republicans could face an uphill battle in seeking to delay or invalidate the governor’s appointment.

“From the beginning, the Republican Party of Massachusetts has been focused on ensuring the laws of our Commonwealth are properly followed,” the Massachusetts GOP chairwoman, Jennifer Nassour, said in a statement. “While we opposed the change in the election law, once changed, we believe Governor Patrick has an obligation to follow the law as written.”


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