National Opinions

Washington Post: Fill Obama's Senate seat by election

The conduct of which Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been accused is malodorous.

A jury will ultimately de- cide whether he is guilty of trying to sell the Senate seat once occupied by President-elect Barack Obama.

For now, though, he re- tains the power to appoint someone to fill that vacant seat.

We hope he listens to the advice of elected offic- ials, including his lieute- nant governor, the entire Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate and Obama himself and chooses not to exercise that power.

No self-respecting poli- tician would accept such a tainted prize from Blago- jevich.

Even under normal cir- cumstances, gubernatorial appointments to the Senate are undemocratic and subject to abuse.

At times, Senate seats have been treated as heir- looms.

In Delaware, the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Joe Biden has been given to a former staffer who, it is reportedly understood, will clear out in time to allow Biden's son to run for a full term. There's fevered speculation that New York Gov. David Paterson could tap Caroline Kennedy to replace Sen. Hillary Rod- ham Clinton upon Clin- ton's confirmation as secretary of state.

The people of Illinois deserve to have their voices heard -- through a senator chosen by them at the ballot box.