It appears likely that when the new US Senate takes office on Tuesday, two of the 100 seats will be empty.
The top Republican says the GOP caucus will fight any effort to seat Democrat Al Franken, who is embroiled in a bitter recount with Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota.
The Associated Press reports that Senator John Cornyn of Texas said Republicans will object to anyone taking the seat until an anticipated court case is finished and an official election certificate is conferred. Republicans will control enough seats in the Senate to mount a filibuster if necessary.
Franken holds a 49-vote lead over Coleman, pending the resolution of disputed absentee ballots, with a state canvassing board possibly declaring a winner by Tuesday.
Already, Democrats are vowing to stop Roland Burris from replacing President-elect Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois. Burris was picked by embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich, who has been charged with trying to sell the seat, and Democrats are doing their best to keep that embarrassment at bay.
The AP is also reporting that the Illinois state House, accelerating its schedule, could vote as early as next week on whether to impeach Blagojevich.
It had been set not to reconvene until Jan. 12, but a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the chamber may vote on a recommendation from the special committee studying whether Blagojevich should be impeached.
It would take a simple majority vote for the House to impeach, the AP says, but a two-thirds majority in the state Senate to convict Blagojevich and remove him from office.
The current Senate, meanwhile, officially adjourned today, lowering the curtain on the 110th Congress and its two-year session.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.