Question Mark

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 – 03:00 p.m.

To answer a question from several readers.

In the event California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) takes the seat being vacated by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D), Governor Jerry Brown (D), not voters, will pick her successor.

Two potential successors being floated, in the event Harris prevails, are Former Senator Darrell Steinberg (D) and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D).

The law is applicable to any vacancy of any statewide constitutional office, and the appointment must be confirmed by both the Senate and Assembly.

The California Constitution, Article 5 – Executive, reads as follows;

SEC. 5. (a) Unless the law otherwise provides, the Governor may fill a vacancy in office by appointment until a successor qualifies.

(b) Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Lieutenant Governor,  Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, or Attorney General, or on the State Board of Equalization, the Governor shall nominate a person to fill the vacancy who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority of the membership of the Senate and a majority of the membership of the Assembly and who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term. In the event the nominee is neither confirmed nor refused confirmation by both the Senate and the Assembly within 90 days of the submission of the nomination, the nominee shall take office as if he or she had been confirmed by a majority of the Senate and Assembly; provided, that if such 90-day period ends during a recess of the Legislature, the period shall be extended until the sixth day following the day on which the Legislature reconvenes.