WASHINGTON -- Citing the Constitution, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, D-9th, is urging Gov. Bob Taft to reverse his decision and call a special election to fill the 17th Congressional District seat vacated by the expulsion this week of James A. Traficant Jr. from the U.S. House.
In a letter to Taft dated Friday, Kaptur cited Article 1, Section 4: "When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such vacancies."
Kaptur also cited a 1970 court ruling in Jackson v. Ogilvie that said if time "reasonably" permits, a governor would be required under the Constitution to order a special election to fill a vacancy.
That court found that Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution provides a mandatory duty upon the governor to do so.
The court in that case conceded that at some point before the end of a regular congressional session, a special election would no longer be "reasonable" because of time constraints.
However, Kaptur wrote, five months remain in this Congress.
Kaptur, a 10-term member of the House, added: "Much legislative business awaits action. Further, it is likely there will be a lame-duck session. To further deny the people of the 17th District their voice in Congress is highly inappropriate and, indeed, unconstitutional."
The governor's office could not be reached.