Republicans have been crowing that Scott Brown should be seated right away, just like Ted Kennedy was back in 1962, but there are some big differences between then and now. Senators are not supposed to be sworn in until they’re officially certified, TalkingPointsMemo explains. The Senate waived that rule for Ted for two reasons: first, he’d won by a landslide, and second, the Senate wasn’t in session, so it made little difference.
This time around, of course, the Senate is in session, and since rules can only be waived by unanimous consent, that’s unlikely to happen again. Democrats also have more recent precedent on their side: Al Franken and Roland Burris both faced certification issues. Massachusetts law also allowed for swifter certification in 1962; these days, all absentee and military ballots have to be counted first.