The state GOP had argued that Gov. Deval Patrick - a Democrat - exceeded his constitutional authority by appointing Paul G. Kirk Jr. on Thursday. Lawmakers passed a bill this week giving Patrick the power to choose an interim senator, but laws usually take effect in 90 days.
Patrick got around that delay by signing a letter that declared the bill an emergency. The appointment is critical to his fellow Democrats, who need Kirk's vote to restore their 60-vote, filibuster-proof margin in the Senate. President Barack Obama and his staff lobbied for the change as they try to win approval this year for their top legislative priority, overhauling the nation's health care system.
4 hours ago