GOP CASE REJECTED, KIRK SWORN IN…. Massachusetts Republicans hoped an 11th-hour lawsuit might prevent Paul Kirk from joining the Senate. That didn’t work out.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge today rejected a request by the state Republican Party to block the appointment of Paul G. Kirk Jr. as interim US senator, clearing the way for the Democrat to take the oath of office this afternoon in Washington.

Judge Thomas Connolly ruled that the Republicans’ claim was legally inadequate, noting in his four-page decision that, “the Party does not cite any case law in support of its argument.” The GOP had maintained that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick overstepped his authority by declaring an emergency so Kirk’s appointment could be made immediately. Connolly ruled, however, that the state Constitution clearly gave the governor the power to call for the immediate implementation of a law by sending the secretary of state a letter. [emphasis added]

“This court finds that the Party has not shown that it has a chance to succeed on the merits and therefore, any risk of harm to the Party will not outweigh the risk of harm to the Governor and the Commonwealth,” Connolly wrote after deliberating for more than four hours.

Democrats noted that Mitt Romney, as governor, used the emergency provision 14 times during just one term, “including to increase the boating speed limit in Charlton and to change the office of town moderator in Milton.”

If Patrick wants to use it to fill a Senate vacancy, it’s hardly outrageous. And with literally no support in the law to support their case, Republicans apparently saw no value in appealing.

Kirk arrived in Washington this afternoon, and before heading to the Hill, visited Ted Kennedy’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Soon after, with John Kerry by his side, Kirk was sworn into office by Vice President Biden.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.