The 2004 law was put in place while Mitt Romney was governor because the state legislature didn't want the Republican to appoint a successor to John Kerry should Kerry win the presidency. Ted Kennedy even worked before he died to change the law again, so Democratic Governor Deval Patrick could appoint an interim should Kennedy be unable to serve. The 2004 law remains unchanged, however. Now when the Democrats need 60 senators for a filibuster-proof majority, they won't have it for five more months.
And, why should Ted Kennedy's seat "stay within the family"? Isn't that part of the reason our forefathers started this country--so a person is judged by his merits and not by his family affiliation?
With Massachusetts having paid its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the politics of succession begins in earnest this week - candidates will emerge, a race will take shape, and the Kennedy clan will have to reveal whether it wants to keep the seat in the family.