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James traficant seat not filled

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Court: Taft Violated US Constitution

A federal appeals court has ruled Governor Taft violated the US Constitution by not ordering a special election to fill the seat of ousted Congressman James Traficant.

The Sixth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 that the Constitution requires governors to order a special election when one of their state's seats becomes vacant during a congressional term.

Traficant was kicked out of Congress in July 2002 after being convicted of racketeering and bribery. Congress didn't adjourn until late Novemberof that year and reconvened the following January.

The court says that left Traficant's northeast Ohio district without representation in the House for about five months.

Taft had publicly announced that he would not hold a special election because of the cost to taxpayers.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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