In 2003, Rep. David Dreier explained why we should fill mass vacancies in the House through expedited special elections, not appointment:

I think that Chairman Sensenbrenner has very ably focused  on two of the authors of the Federalist, James Madison and  Alexander Hamilton, in underscoring the fact that having this,  the first branch of our government, the entity which is  actually mentioned before any other, that being the people’s  House, the House of Representatives is mentioned in Article 1  of the Constitution, ahead of the United States Senate, and  that realization, that not only as you said, Mr. Chairman, that  every single Member who served here has only been elected, they  have only served here based on their having been elected.


There is no other Federal office where that exists. We all  know that one can obviously be appointed to a vacancy in the  United States Senate. We know that one, we looked at President  Ford, by virtue of appointment, can become President of the  United States. But, the people’s House is the only place where  that exists. And I know that that is something that is sacred.  And to me, I believe that we should be very very careful before  we look at the prospect of amending the U.S. Constitution. In fact, members of the Commission, and I want to  congratulate them for their work, like our former minority  leader, Bob Michel, said it very clearly when he looked at the  fact that the constitutional amendment should be the very last  resort.


I will tell you, as I approach a quarter of a century of  service here in the House of Representatives, I have got to say  that I voted for constitutional amendments in the past; and,  frankly, I have changed my votes now on constitutional  amendments. I used to vote for the flag-burning amendment. One of the reasons was that Jerry Solomon threw me up  against the wall and threatened me if I don’t vote in favor of  the flag amendment. But, before he passed away, I told him that  I was voting against the flag burning amendment, and I voted  for the constitutional amendment to balance the budget. But,  you know what, if we had a constitutional amendment brought  forward to balance the budget, requiring a balanced budget  again, I would not vote in favor of that constitutional amendment,  because we have proved that we can, in fact, balance the budget without  amending the U.S. Constitution.


Similarly, I think that we need to do everything that we  possibly can to ensure that we maintain the nature that the  Framers had for this institution. And that is why I am  particularly pleased that the lead author of this important  measure, Mr. Sensenbrenner, has said that we can look at moving  beyond the 21 days as prescribed in our legislation. And I  think that we should do that.


I just want to say that this is–what we ponder here is  obviously a horrible thought. As the last person to leave the  U.S. Capitol on September 11th, I was stupid enough to stay  there up until 11 o’clock, upstairs there on the third floor.  And I finally got out. And when you look at the Capitol and  think about what could have happened, and of course what could  have happened to our membership, it is just a terrible,  terrible thought. So I will tell you that I think that as we look at this  challenge that is ahead of us it is a difficult one, but  please, please, please go very slowly.


Let me just say that as sort of the lone Republican who  represents Hollywood, a number of people have speculated over  exactly, because this is all kind of–this whole prospect of  losing all of these Members of Congress could create a great  science fiction movie. One proposal that has come forward for me as we look at the  virus of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution and all of the  unintended consequences that that might create, someone  proposed a movie that was actually entitled, The Virus That Ate  the Constitution.