Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk will become the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate and the first new Massachusetts senator in a quarter-century on Friday, unless a state court intervenes.
State Republicans are fighting the appointment, but Republicans in Washington indicated they would not intervene.
Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Thursday named Kirk the temporary replacement for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D), who died last month.
Massachusetts Republicans called it a political power grab and questioned Patrick's legal authority to appoint Kirk so soon after the State Legislature granted him the power.
Brenda Wright, the director of the Democracy Program at the Demos public policy research group, said the case doesn’t seem to hold much water, because the precedent cited isn’t clear.
“The opinion didn’t really address the precise question that they’re raising,” Wright said. “Generally, if you don’t have clear authority for your lawsuit, and the question could go either way, that makes it more difficult to get an injunction.”