This is not wholly unrelated to this question on history.stackexchange.com .
A few days ago if you had asked me who would be the addressee of a United States senator's letter of resignation, I would have guessed the president of the Senate (who is the vice-president of the United States).
Two relevant facts are:
- Originally U.S. senators were chosen by state legislatures; and
- Their salaries have always come from the federal budget, not state budgets.
I find it asserted elsewhere on the internet that the rule is that the addressee of the resignation letter is the governor of the state represented by the senator. I find reliable sources saying
- Senator Barack Obama of Illinois wrote his resignation letter to Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, to be effective November 16, 2008; and
- Senator Moses Robinson of Vermont handed his resignation letter to Governor Thomas Chittenden of Vermont in a face-to-face meeting on October 15, 1796, to be effective immediately.
So I have these questions:
- Is there a law that says the governor is to be the addressee of a U.S. senator's letter of resignation?
- Might this be based only on precedent rather than on legislation? If so, what was the occasion? The first-ever resignation of a senator? Or some later resignation? The second or third or . . . ?
- Has it been done that way in every case of a resignation of a U.S. senator (more than 300, it seems)?