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Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy faces backlash, but voters can't recall members of Congress

Greg Hilburn
Monroe News-Star
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ORG XMIT: DCSW408

Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy might be censured by his home state Republicans, but he can't be recalled by voters, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said.

Ardoin cited multiple references, among them a 2009 Louisiana attorney general's opinion, that prevent any member of Congress from being the subject of a recall petition.

The Louisiana Republican Party condemned their senior senator's vote to allow former President Trump's impeachment trial to move forward as constitutional, while Cassidy's home parish East Baton Rouge Republican Parish Executive Committee voted unanimously to censure him.

Cassidy won a second, six-year term Nov. 3 in a primary election landslide with 59% of the vote.

Ardoin said there have been inquiries this week about the process to recall federallyelected officials, but his staff informed them there is no such path.

"My office receives and processes recall petitions, and the issue of recalling a federal elected official previously arose in Louisiana in 2009," Ardoin, a Republican, told USA Today Network. "An attorney general opinion from that year determined that Congress is responsible for regulating their membership and only they can expel a member."

The 2009 opinion, which doesn't carry the force of law, was requested after the secretary of state received a petition to recall former Congressman Joseph Cao, R-New Orleans.

"The power to regulate members of Congress, however, has been reserved by the United States Constitution to the respective House of Congress," the Louisiana attorney general's opinion said.

Ardoin also cited a document from the Congressional Research Service.

It said: "As to removal by recall, the United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.