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Senate Rejects Burris in Spectacle at Capitol

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By Paul Kane
Senate officials this morning rejected Roland Burris's effort to be seated as the successor to President-elect Barack Obama, telling the former Illinois attorney general that he lacked the requisite approval of state officials to be sworn in with the rest of the class of 2008 in today's launch of the 111th Congress.

With a stand-off remaining among Illinois officials over Gov. Rod Blagojevich's effort to appoint Burris to Obama's seat, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson instructed Burris in a closed-door meeting that he would not be seated.

Placing himself at the center of a nationally televised spectacle, Burris arrived at the Capitol in a steady rain with an entourage of aides and lawyers, followed by dozens of journalists, including some broadcasting the procession into the Capitol and up to the third floor on hand-held digital cameras and cell phones.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and a bipartisan group of leaders have rejected Burris's appointment on the grounds that the criminal charges against Blagojevich, including one that he tried to sell the appointment in exchange for financial gain, make it impossible for him to pick a successor to Obama without tarnishing the decision.

Obama supports Reid's decision, and in Illinois the secretary of state, Jesse White, has refused to sign the appointment papers from Blagojevich, which has sparked a legal battle there over his inaction. Without that signature, Burris's appointment is not considered official, according to Senate officials.

Burris was met at the Capitol entrance by Terry Gainer, the Senate sergeant at arms, who escorted him through the regular visitors' entrance and up to the third floor of the Capitol to Erickson's office -- in a regular elevator bank, not the one reserved for senators only.

When Burris was rejected, he marched out of the Capitol and across the street, with a media army in tow, where he held a press conference next to the Russell Senate Office Building.

"I am not seeking to have any type of confrontation," said Burris, shielded from the rain by an umbrella and surrounded by three attorneys and what seemed liked dozens of reporters and camera crews. "I will now consult with my attorneys, and we will determine what our next step will be."

Burris and his lawyers vowed to take his appointment into the federal courts. But his lawyers said it was unlikely that any court challenge would be filed today.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 6, 2009; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  Hill Transition  
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Buris did not create the media circus..

The MEDIA ITSELF created the media circus !. Like swarming rapid poodles on a croissant shaped bone.

Posted by: SkiPete | January 6, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be fun watching Harry Reid twist in the wind on this blunder.

Posted by: rg019571 | January 6, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Look, we are a nation of laws. The law, and relevant court opinions, suggest that the right to name a replacement to a Senate seat is strictly up to the state. If Burris can force the SoS to sign his certificate, the U.S. Senate MUST seat him.

This argument about whether Burris has a "moral" right to the seat is ridiculous. If Mr. Burris has a legal right to this Senate seat, he also has a moral right to it. Not to mention that Gov. Blagojevich has yet to be charged with a crime. The federal prosecutor shot his wad and blew his case before the Governor actually did anything wrong. Now, even if Fitzie can trump up a set of charges against the Governor, they will never stick.

The Illinois Supreme Court has declined to remove Gov. Blagojevich from office; he has not been indicted for any crime; and he has not yet been impeached. Therefore, he has the right to choose his own Senate appointee. The Illinois courts are going to order the SoS to sign this certificate. And Roland Burris, the man with the legal claim to this seat, will be given his rights and seated on the floor of the U.S. Senate...

Posted by: jerkhoff | January 6, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Go, Mr. Burris! Get the state to order the Secretary to sign your papers, and you're in! They can't stop you now...

Posted by: jerkhoff | January 6, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

(10 ILCS 5/25‑8) (from Ch. 46, par. 25‑8)
Sec. 25‑8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election.

Posted by: EliPeyton | January 6, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Is it because he has slave blood?

Posted by: EliPeyton | January 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Burris had no proper certification from his home state; Blago signed it but the Illi Sec of State refused to put his signature on it. Therefore Mr. Burris remains Citizen Burris, not Senator Burris. It is that simple. No court in the land can compel the IL Sec of State to sign the document; the only recourse Blago has is to remove and replace the Sec of State (let us know how that works out for you). Mr. Burris, don't waste your lawyers' time and your money. You are not the junior senator from the Land of Lincoln. Sorry!

Posted by: meldupree | January 6, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

If Blagojevich were to be impeached next month those who are wanting Burris as Senator would look stupid. But I guess we should expect that because they had followed Rove, Bush and Cheney all these years. No one can be more intellectual deprived than those who follow someone who is repeatedly been shown to lie.

Posted by: Gator-ron | January 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a democrat and voted for Obama.

I think Sen. Reid is an idiot for his lightning-quick overreaction in refusing to seat "anyone" the governor appoints. I alos think Obama was foolish to step into the mess. He should have had the foresight to leave it alone (being a Harvard Law grad and all).

While we're still a nation of laws, being innocent until proven guilty, "under investigation" and "might be a criminal" does not absolve the Governor of Illinois of his constitutional authority and obligation to name a successor. Now Reid is trying to clean the egg off his face by hoping to get Burris to make a deal: agree not to run in 2010 and be a seat-warmer.

I for one hope Burris tells Reid and the Rules Committee to "stuff it." Then I hope Burris takes the IL SoS to court over the certification.

Finally, I am impressed with neither Reid's antics nor his leadership and I wish the Obama team had the cajones to replace him.


Posted by: dastubbs | January 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

the senate is above the law?

another black eye for the senate.

google David Cay Johnston for an x-ray of Congress.... not a pretty picture.

Posted by: kkrimmer | January 6, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It's fun watching the libtards get tangled in the strings their own corruption, need to put Obama above it all, racial politics, and political correctness.

Go Blago!

Posted by: pgr88 | January 6, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Legal Right and Moral Right.

Does Burris have a "legal" right to the Senate Seat? Perhaps. The question is not whether he is qualified, but rather whether the selection/election is valid. He may ultimately have a legal right to the seat.

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 6, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Actually, if the question is "legal" then the answer at this point is plainly "No". The only thing the law cares about is whether its own stipulations have been met, and in this case they have not, if the papers have not been ratified by the Ill. Secy of State. That is the legal gist plain and simple.

Now if people are wondering whether this is "fair", well that is a question of "equity" and not of "law".

Posted by: p1funk | January 6, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Burris is a self-serving, narcissistic nutjob. He named his two kids "Roland" and "Rolanda." He built a mausoleum for himself, highlighting all of the accomplishments of his life (inscribed with things like "Trailblazer").

Posted by: _virginian_ | January 6, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I agree, if this guy shot himself in the leg, why did blago-the-ho think they would seat him as a Senator?

See, I used the republotard trick of convoluting all the facts to make it say whatever I want. Now I'll just repeat it over and over and over until you all believe it - you betcha!

Posted by: Heerman532 | January 6, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, Burris wasn't ratified by Illinois.
State must ratify first.
In this, Illinois may be at fault.

BTW, does anyone know if the case has been filed in Illinois court, and if so, where can I find it?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 6, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Burris started off last week looking pretty darn good. He appeared humble, experienced, educated - a good selection.

Today tells another story. Why three lawyers if he was qualified himself to be Illinois Attorney General? This is basic stuff. His complaint is with the secretary of state in Illinois, and an appointment from a governor who, while not "guilty" is certainly seen in the public domain as horribly soiled.

Technically, maybe the Sec. of State should certify. But, there is common sense and decency and Mr. Burris has already proved to us he is more like a side show at the circus than capable of honest, serious, sensible business. Only a jerk or rabble rouser would have shown up a the Senate today looking for trouble.

Absent of today's circus, I would have said that the Sec. of State should have certified and he should have humbly shown up, and been politely seated. Mr. Reid is too, too enthusiastic at being in charge of everyone and every thing.

Posted by: Hoover1 | January 6, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Those darned Dimocrats;

They're just sooooo inclusive! ;~)

Meanwhile, San Fran Fran is revoking the Dimocrat's "Contract with America"!

"Change" you need to wipe off your boots! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 6, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

i don't believe i have seen anything more pretentious and self-preeningly (is that a word?if not it should be)"i'm an insider" smarmy than titling a newspaper column "44"..or "43"..

Posted by: w04equals666 | January 6, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: hclark1 | January 6, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Legal Right and Moral Right.

Does Burris have a "legal" right to the Senate Seat? Perhaps. The question is not whether he is qualified, but rather whether the selection/election is valid. He may ultimately have a legal right to the seat.

But there is no question that he does not have a moral right to the seat. His selection is so badly tainted by the selector that even Sir Galahad would be of questionable moral character. He should do the right thing and, if installed, resign when Quinn becomes the Governor. Then Quinn can do the right thing and appoint him to the seat fair and square.

And for those calling for an Amendment calling only for elections, they are throwing out the Baby with the Bath Water. A Senate selection is for two years or less and filled at the next regular election. This ensures that the State continues to get its representation and also avoids the costs of a costly state-wide special election. This would have been wholly uncontroversial except for the questionable ethics of the selector in this one case. Normally it works. And it makes sense. Consider, for example, the case of Sen. John Smith who, in March is caught on his way to his contractor built summer house in a compromising position in a public bathroom with a male senate page while carrying a payoff from some terrorists to enable them to drill in a costal zone. He has to resign. It is silly to hold a special election in July to fill a seat which would be filled in November. Smith is out and whoever comes in will likely be better.

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 6, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

If I got it right, Blago still has the right to appoint a Senator. On the other hand, the Senate still has the right to reject this appointment, should it suspect foul play.

Those seem to be the facts. Burris' judgement is another thing altogether.

The thing is - that Senate seat can't be left vacant, someone has to represent Illinois. So how will the Senate and Illinois proceed now?

Posted by: asoders22 | January 6, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Dotellen wrote:

What I have seen of Burris gives me the impression that he is a pretty dim bulb. He would make a very weak senator, and in 2010, Blagojevich, Mr. "Show me the money," might run and win the Dem Senate primary. Ugh.

My Comment:
Mr Rod "20% and dropping approval rating" Blagojevich winning the primary? Nonsense. And it won't be Burris either. By 2010 Blago will be in the Otto J. Kerner wing of the jail and Burris, even assuming he will be seated, will not even dare contest the primary. It'll be a pretty wide field, but just like the Obama election, someone will emerge from the primary and be quite powerful in the General Election.

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 6, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The stupid s.o.b. was caught on tape with his stupid wife screaming F--K the Cubs in the background!
That ain't gonna fly Jack!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat.

Burris should know better than to conduct a media circus when he was lacking the proper paperwork. The officials in Illinois did not sign off on his appointment. Period. Blago is playing the media in his home state when he should have resigned as Governor.

Reid and the Senate made a prudent decision. I just don't understand the partisan malarkey coming across in some of these comments from both Democrats and the Grand Old Pity Party.

Comparing this 2-bit circus to Bush's typical set of offenses during his reign only trivializes the criminality of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | January 6, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter. George Washington could be elected a US Senator, and if the Senate does not deem him qualified (in their opinion, not the public's) then he isn't seated as a Senator and the Governor of Virginia would have to appoint a new Senator.

Posted by: WxDude | January 6, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see where the Senate has much of a legal leg to stand on. The ONLY thing that would keep Burris' appointment from being valid is if Blagojevich is somehow not validly governor, or if it could be proved that Burris acquired the seat invalidly (as in paying for it). If there were an actual impeachment proceeding pending against Blagojevich there might be some merit to the argument, but absent that an appointment by a duly-elected sitting governor is valid. This is just the Republicans trying to take their balls and gloves and go home because they don't like the call the refs (the people) made in the general election. Some leaders.

Posted by: baddabing1 | January 6, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

What Wussies. McConnell will probably whip all three, Harry, Nancy, and Barak by himself with one hand tied behind his back. I'm just glad I went Ind. in June. What a bunch of clowns?

Posted by: bnw173 | January 6, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Powell was a member of the US House, not the US Senate.

Second, this is a new SCOTUS. They tend to look at the Constitution in a more literal sense.

Posted by: WxDude | January 6, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Burris a lot more qualified than Caroline Kennedy? At least he's run for office before. Heck, he's even held a paying job!!

Posted by: brewstercounty | January 6, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think that the Senate can legally deny Burris a seat, but out of curiosity, where was all this Repub outrage over the integrity of the law when Bush was authorizing warrantless wiretapping and waterboarding?

Posted by: diesel4 | January 6, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the Constitution says that the Senate shall be the judge of its own members. Article I, Section 5. Here's the link, scroll down until you see it.

The Senate doesn't want to seat him, they don't have to. The courts will say the same thing.

Posted by: WxDude

You are WRONG. The Supreme Court already decided this matter in the Clayton Powell case. The ONLY requirements the Senate may question are (1)US citizen, (2) citizen of the state, and (3) age requirement. Reid is breaking the law. That's a great example to be set by the leader of the Senate. If he doesn't have to abide by laws, why should anyone else?

Posted by: AugustWest1 | January 6, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse


Suppose White & Blagojevich switched offices, and the tainted B-Rod refused to sign the appointment of Governor White's nominee to the Senate. Would that make it invalid? Would the Senate refuse to seat him or her? Hah!

This is situational constitutionalism on a par with the US Supreme Court's election of George W Bush in 2000. (Had Al Gore been a few hundred votes ahead, we'd still be recounting the Florida vote.)

Posted by: wgmadden | January 6, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Burris lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. He is merely black.

Posted by: ravitchn

Princess Caroline lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. She is merely a Kennedy.

Posted by: AugustWest1

Way to go AugustWest1. You and I told and warned them about Obama. He, Burris is much more qualified, to be Senatoer than Obama, the community organizer, is POTUS. Keep giving em hell.

Posted by: bnw173 | January 6, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

All I'm thinking is about the Biblical instructions about casting the first stone. Where does this appointment stand compared to the grand tradition of the Senate with all of its history of dirty politics, bought seats, etc. LBJ in '48, the Longs, the Jack, Bobby and Teddy, the "copper Senators" from Montana, and on and on and, the Senators from DuPont, and on and.......... About 100 years ago a fine book was published entitled THE TREASON OF THE SENATE by David Graham Phillips. Read that and then pick up that stone. (And, I didn't even get to Harry Reid.)

Posted by: rusty3 | January 6, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the Constitution says that the Senate shall be the judge of its own members. Article I, Section 5. Here's the link, scroll down until you see it.

The Senate doesn't want to seat him, they don't have to. The courts will say the same thing.

Posted by: WxDude | January 6, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

What a joke the Dems have become. When the Dems have a majority in Congress, rules and laws are an afterthought. This country is a mess and all Reid can do is waste time on this nonsense. Blago is a scumbag, but. Blago is a sitting governor. He has not been indicted. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence until proved otherwise. We are a country of laws. Reid and the Dem Senate BROKE THE LAW. Before Obama takes the presidency, the Dems have already shot themselves in the feet. What a bunch of self centered clowns. Americans need help, not a circus sideshow. It's a disgrace the the leader of the Senate has no problem breaking laws. Only in America.

Posted by: AugustWest1 | January 6, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Democrats seem to be run by the three stooges, Harry, Nancy and Barak. Were it not so serious it would be hilarious.

Posted by: bnw173 | January 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

This guy is a joke. If he had any credibility he would never have taken the job. What a slime.

Posted by: GloomBoomDotcom | January 6, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The cold hard reality is that US Senator Burris is in fact a Senator.

And no amount of whining will change that fact.

If they had wanted to avoid this, they should have started the impeachment procedure for the Governor BEFORE he appointed someone.

Now it's too late.

What, you want an America-hating Republican instead?

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 6, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Only the democrats.

Bobby Rush is a fool, as he screams racism, the real raciest is Blago.

Burris is being used by Blago,

WHY ? because Blago knows that at his criminal trial.
There will be a few black jurist, who will sympathize with him. Because they know he tried to seat, a black man in the senate.

So at the end of the day. It does not matter to Blago if Burris's gets seated or not, he got what he wanted and needed out of the appointment of "Token Burris".

Posted by: dashriprock | January 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I usually don't say I GOT BLOOD, maybe I don't need to. Old Mudbone hates CLARENCE THOMAS,,,don't compound Old Mudbone's hate with another crawling--YOU KNOW WHAT!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Burris lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. He is merely black.

Posted by: ravitchn

Princess Caroline lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. She is merely a Kennedy.

Posted by: AugustWest1 | January 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

ravitchn writes
"Burris lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. He is merely black."

Being a state's Attorney General is not a valid qualification for the Senate? That's a pretty bold statement.

While I agree that Burris has damaged himself politically by seeking (and accepting) appointment from Blagojevich, it is inaccurate to claim he is unqualified for the job.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

He was the wrong color for Harry Reid.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 6, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Burris lacks every thing to qualify as a senator. He is merely black.

Posted by: ravitchn | January 6, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

WOW! It looks like Sen Harry Reid the Racist from Las Vegas must be running for
the Post of Imperial Wizard or Grand Dragon
of the KKK,since Reid isn't happy just being the Head of the Democrat Senate KKK
Branch and so, that that's why that Racist
Democrat Harry Reid refused to seat a legally appointed Black US Senator to replace the Black President Elect Barack Hussein Obama vacant US Senate seat no less. Shame of you Harry Ried! Shame on all
you Racist Democrats in Congress!

Posted by: Darlene5280 | January 6, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Ya, well, that's what he gets for shooting himself in the leg ... doh.

Posted by: upland_bill | January 6, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The Senators didn't even have the balls to stand up and be counted. Instead the leadership instructs their employees to do their dirty work for them.

Even the Secretary of State of Illinois acknowledges that his refusal to sign the certificate is purely symbolic and does not affect its validity, as otherwise he would have a veto power on such nominations and the State Constitution gives the power solely to the Governor.

Governor Blagojevich has not been removed, impeached or even indicted. No one charges that Burris got the appointment corruptly. The legalities are clear, and Burris will win in Court. The Senators just hope that it will drag out long enough to make the case moot.

Personally, I would favor an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring that Members of Congress be elected. But for the moment, state law governs and Burris was selected fully in accord with the Illinois Constitution, and there is absolutely no legal grounds to deny him his seat.

How good a Senator he would be is totally irrelevant to the question of being seated.

Posted by: BillSamuel | January 6, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Some people seem to think that it matters whether Burris somehow "paid" for the appointment. It doesn't. The fact that the Governor appears to have dismissed other candidates because either they refused to reward him for the appointment or because they were somehow involved in his ongoing investigation means that whomever the Governor appointed would lack legitimacy. The Senate has the power to refuse to seat anyone it believes was selected by a corrupt process, which most people would likely agree this was. Hopefully the Senate will stand firm and deny Burris the title of Senator.

Posted by: diesel4 | January 6, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This does not belong under transition news. This is misrepresentation of news. Move it to another headline

Posted by: linda_521 | January 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder if Al Franken sees the irony, satire or comedy in this..."

Obviously he does; he's was a comedian for most of his life before he went into political commentary and satire.

More importantly non-politicians like Ahnold, Franken and Jesse Ventura (and maybe even Paris Hilton) merit, at least, at least as much respect as do the so-called "politicians."

Posted by: jjedif | January 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

What made Burres so desperate to accept the appointment in such circumstances?
The fact that there is no black in the senate doesn't mean that if any black has to become a senator he should be first to be awarded a seat.
I do not want Jesse and Sharpton to call me to the streets. Those so called brother leaders should get elected or appointed in acceptable ways. This case is pure opportunism by a so called brother brandishing slavery and lynching to get my sympathy. Too bad I am not buying into that.

Posted by: mshalt | January 6, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I too read the argument against Burris at Slate. It is legal nonsense. The 17th Amendment, and the Illinois legislature gave the governor absolute authority to name whomever he or she chooses. There is no such limitation as "properly qualified" in the law.

Blagojevich as sitting governor has absolute discretion to exclude anyone for whatever reasons he chooses. So to cite some possible criminal act that preceded the appointment without so much as an indictment is completely without merit.

The so-called taintedness of the appointment process requires evidence of wrong doing, not speculation.

Posted by: infuse | January 6, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Blagojevich's and Burris's actions almost guarantee that Republicans will take this Senate seat in 2010. Burris and Blagojevich are clearly working in tandem to take the pressure off Blagojevich.

And although in 30+ years of voting I've never voted Republican, the Democrats certainly deserve to lose this seat

Posted by: jjedif | January 6, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The circus has begun! Obama hasn't even been inaugurated yet, the new Congress hasn't even been seated yet, but we're already seeing the kinds of "Hope" and "Change" we can expect from the "democrats", that were foretold. Richardson, Panetta, now the Burris meltdown! I suggest that we might now consider an additional descriptive term besides the commonly used "Cluster----", we could also refer to this type of situation now as a "Full Blagojevich!" This is to be expected when qualifications, experience, patriotism, and the best interests of the nation are held in contempt, and only naked politics, cronyism, and self-interest are valued. (By the way, how much did BURRIS pay for the appointment?)

Posted by: lightnin001 | January 6, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Let me tell you, that Burris has some serious cajones. I mean, you would have to to have already constructed an elaborate mausoleum for yourself with the inscription "TRAILBLAZER."

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out...



Posted by: nick1010101 | January 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Al Franken sees the irony, satire or comedy in this (for the Franken fans)? Obviously, running Blagojevich over with a political steamroller (convicting him in the media) didn't work. Smearing Burris won't work. The appointment was made (not who in Dems wanted for sure). I think he will serve, but will end up running as an independent or losing the democratic primary next election and be out anyway. This is a polictical "Soap Opera".

Posted by: star_key2 | January 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Other than being very disappointed at Bobby Rush's race baiting, inflammatory comments on this subject, I believe Mr. Burris should be admitted. I also believe he is an opportunist. He should have refused the nomination and stood above the obvious gutter politics of Blagojevich.

Posted by: nosurprise2me | January 6, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

As a person of color, I am sick and tired of other people invoking their color to justify their actions. "Equal treatment" has never meant "special treatment." If Mr. Burris cannot fathom the unseemliness of accepting an appointment from a corrupt politician and if he is incapable or unwilling to discern the vile machinations that motivated that corrupt politician to appoint him, then Mr. Burris is both morally and intellectually unfit to serve in an already comprised United States Senate.
For too long, we people of color have excused our own corrupt and unsavory actions by pointing to white folks and arguing: "Well, they get away with, so why can’t we?" When we do that, we justify and validate everything the racists have said about us and we allow ourselves to self-destruct, just like Mr. Burris is doing now. I would rather that people of color--and all people, for that matter--race to the top, instead of racing to the bottom. In which case, Mr. Burris should have rejected the appointment by stating that he would not validate a openly corrupt politician be accepting it. He may not have had a seat in the Senate then, but at least he would had the esteem and respect of many people--much of which he is losing now in this silly act of self-indulgence and opportunism.

Posted by: Guerra1 | January 6, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Burris should have declined the Senate appointment until Mr. Blagojevitch's trial is over. Or Mr. Blago should have held an election -- the same as he is doing for Rahm Emmanuel's seat.
But nobody is doing what they ought to do morally. So it comes down to a legal situation. Does the Secretary of the Illinois Senate have to sign Burris's credentials? A assume so or his name would not be required on Burris's credentials. On the other hand, maybe it is just a custom, not a legal requirement. This will be a matter for the courts to decide.
Next, is the Senate required to seat anyone sent to them by a state? I have always heard that they are not, but again, the Court will have to decide this.
If the Illinois legislature would hurry up and impeach Blago then a new Governor could call for an interim election at his convenience which would preferably be at the same election when Rahm Emmanual's seat is voted on. It all depends on how fast the Illinois legislature can act.
I understand Burris's anger. He was legally appointed by Blago. But I understand the people's disgust at having a crook sell their Senate seat to the highest bidder. Did Burris pay for his seat? I doubt if anyone knows, but this mess makes Burris look dirty whether he is or not. If he were confident that he would be elected he would offer to stand for election with others who are interested. He must not think he would win -- and from his political record, I would guess that he doesn't.
This is a soap opera but it will be over before long -- one way or the other. It sure is keeping the reporters busy, though.

Posted by: bghgh | January 6, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

American Politics 101 - lesson 1 - to distract the American public, use the issue of race to you advantage! In this case, Governor under investigation finds a negro that will go to Washington and do the dog and pony show to distract public from the real issue of political corruption by the sitting Illinois governor.

Classic political move of which no one has called out the governor or Burris.

I guess racial politics did not die with the election of Obama.

Posted by: oknow1 | January 6, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Burris is becoming more of a joke every day. Those of you below who argue that he is entitled to be seated, and that the law is on his side, obviously have limited appreciation of what's going on here.

Illinois' governor is a crook. He tried to sell the Senate seat that Burris now claims is his. There's an irreparable stain on that appointment and whoever gets it has no credibility with the people of Illinois. That Burris is going around mindlessly arguing that his appointment is "legal" -- without any regard to the broader ethical questions of whether it is right -- only goes to show that he is a power-hungry con artist without any regard for his supposed constitutents' best interests. He has been willing to incite a civil war within the Democratic Party at precisely the time Presiden-Elect Obama (a black man from Illinois, by the way) is about to take the reins of power.

Burris represents the cancer of corruption that needs to be excised from politics. He has lost every statewide political race he's entered in the last 15 years. He would never have won a special election for this seat. On anyone's list of the 10 most qualified candidates for Obama's spot, he would have come in somewhere around 812.

Posted by: simpleton1 | January 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

mharwick wrote:
The U.S. Senate will be up against the Powell case that held the House could not refuse Powell his seat.


The difference seems to be that Powell was clearly elected by the people.

Posted by: asoders22 | January 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Burris, cal Al Sharpton. I hear he has some free time.

Posted by: Italiaxxx | January 6, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

What will the Racist Ignorant Democrat Base, and Racist mouth pieces, like Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton say about the partial minority Obama, and White Henry Reid, blocking the seating of this "legitimate" "African-American" to the Illinois Senate Seat?

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | January 6, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

What I have seen of Burris gives me the impression that he is a pretty dim bulb. He would make a very weak senator, and in 2010, Blagojevich, Mr. "Show me the money," might run and win the Dem Senate primary. Ugh.

Posted by: dotellen | January 6, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

First the democrats give 20 Billion in loans to failed US Auto Companies, 26 Billion to Fannie/Freddie, now they block an appointee of corrupt govenor. Whats next? 6 figure home loans to poor people? Oh, they already did that. Props to Obama for navigating the most corrupt city - Chicago in the country and coming out clean.

Posted by: Italiaxxx | January 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, now I have read the link at slate. com.

This seems to be the deal:

"Similarly, it now seems apparent that there were candidates that Blagojevich refused to consider for improper reasons—because one refused to "pay to play" early on, or because another is at the center of the impending criminal case against the governor. With the appointments process so inherently and irremediably tainted, the Senate may properly decide that nothing good can come from a Blagojevich appointment."

Posted by: asoders22 | January 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I will be laughing at all the idiots in the majority party that lose a vote on crucial legislation by one vote... because they wanted to seem pure and clean by opposing the choice of one crooked governor to make that point.

This is like persecuting a employee because his boss was a crook.

Posted by: wowisdabomb | January 6, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Blago is probably going to be impeached, tried and convicted and also tried and convicted in Federal Court. Until then he cannot be removed from office and his appointment of Burris is legal. The U.S. Senate will be up against the Powell case that held the House could not refuse Powell his seat. The best constitutional lawyers can see this coming. If SCOTUS goes the other way it will be 5-4. I think we will see a Sen. Burris from Illinois seated and Reid and company will fold.

Posted by: mharwick | January 6, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

what a frickin' soap opera.
It's impossible to pick a winner here when all the players are losers.

And trying to bring such race-baiting words as "lynching the appointee" into it ... grow up already.

Posted by: khote14 | January 6, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If stopping Burris is against the constitution, it just can't be done. And has the president-elect really any say in this?

Posted by: asoders22 | January 6, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty" by a court of law?

Blago has been tried by the media and slandered by his State and the Senate alike; he should file counter suit.

Why is Burris not acceptable by Reid & Obama?

Burris should take this to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: a_DC_denizen | January 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Before he accepted the appointment, Burris knew that the Democrats' stated position was not to seat anyone nominated by the Governor. He should not have accepted the nomination, and he sounds like a child when he claims that by rule he should be seated. Unfortunately for him, the Senate has plenty of (perfectly legal) power to block him from being seated:
What did he expect?

Posted by: diesel4 | January 6, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Congress fails to do it's job daily. Now they feel they have the right to violate the constitution. I call for the resignation of Reid and the rest of Congress.

Posted by: askgees | January 6, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The law is clearly on Burris' side. Blago is innocent until proven guilty, and Governor until legally removed. Neither of these has happened.

Secondarily, Burris is by all reports qualified and capable of serving as Senator. Why would Reid and Obama seek to block Burris from serving? It makes no sense.

Posted by: egc52556 | January 6, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean the Secretary of State of Illinois is the most powerful civil servant in Illinois? Is that what the people of Illinois want? Is that what Harry Reid just did? The governor makes the decision. The Democrats blew this one.

Posted by: interactingdc | January 6, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Somehow people believe that if Blago is impeached or removed from office, the appointment of Burris becomes void. Or that a special election can also be called. Niether of these possibilies can change the outcome of the Burris pick. The valid appointment was made by a legally elected governor. In fact, were Blago to die today, the appointment would still be valid.

Blago’s primary accuser, Patrick Fitzgerald, is also eligible for the Obama Senate seat and is further eligible to run for other public office in Illinois.

There’s plenty of reason to take a balanced view of things.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 6, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad day when particular seats are subject to claims of entitled by race. Even cabinet positions (some Hispanics are demanding that Richardson be replaced by another Hispancic). This is BS, there is residual bias, but it seems to cut multiple ways. No one is entitled to an office. They need to get elected or appointed by legal processes. Reid is doing everything correctly, and is being politically sensitive and savvy to boot. Obama is fully supportive of this particular move by Reid, as well as the no-entitled approach to appointments. Leave it to Barack to do the right thing. He does it every time.

Posted by: axolotl | January 6, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Marbury v Madison decided that an appointment is official with or without a "secretary's" signature upon the signature of the appointing authority alone.

Harry Reid is a lawyer, as are most other senators. Their willing obstruction of the law should be prosecutable.

Posted by: infuse | January 6, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Where is the outrage over Reid's racism and constitution bashing? If he was a Republican, you nitwit liberals would be rioting in the streets. What a bunch of hypocrites!

Posted by: LarryG621 | January 6, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

HassanAliAl-Hadoodi- While it may be confusing, I'll take our political process over the one in whatever country you are from, Mr. Doodi.

Posted by: JoePantes | January 6, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

How about reporting on real news!!!

As in, asking the 120 new politicos
taking the oath of office if they
will hold to their word and deny
public interest corruption!

Posted by: theman_in_black | January 6, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Charlie, how are the Democrats responsible for your racist attempts to equate African-Americans with animals. People like you really should not be allowed to post here.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 6, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

People in glass houses....

Democrats accused Bush of disregarding the US Constitution, an emotional argument to be sure, not overly factual, though. We would have seen action from the underminers in Congress if they actually had the goods.

This Burris situation shows Democrats doing it, in flagrante. It is sad that factually there is no basis for not seating Burris. I can find nothing in Illinois law that prevents the appointment. I can find nothing in US law that prevent it either.

No one in the media will call this what it is, a complete disregard of the Constitution.

Burris cannot be seated, but has done nothing wrong. Yet Caroline Kennedy, you know, can be appointed to the Senate for being a Kennedy, it has nothing to do with the 100,000,000 million dollars she helped raise for Obama with her endorsement.

Yet Biden can direct the governor of Delaware to name his former chief of staff to 'warm' the seat for his son?

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 6, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Is there a court that has jurisdiction?

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

charlietuna66 wrote: "

the democrats want the black people's vote as long as the black people don't get "uppity". I can't believe that black people aren't outraged that Burris isn't being seated in obama's Senate seat. The black people are the democrat's dog and only tolerated when they keep their mouth's shut and roll over like a good dog.
Bet they put a WHITE person in obama's Senate seat. Go away little black dog."

See? The only ones who are enjoying this are GOP campaign workers.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The USA political system becomes harder to understand with each passing day. What does it mean that Mr Obama supports Sen Reid's blackballing of Sen Burris?

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | January 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Based on my limited understanding of the applicable law, I don't think the Senate (either US or Illinois) can keep from seating Burris for long. It's about the timing; Blago hasn't yet been indicted (that's looking another 90 days away), and Burris is fully qualified.

The thing you have to wonder about is: why all this stagecraft?

Does Burris need to be Senator so bad that he's willing to trash his own reputation in his Party? Because that's what he risks doing. The only people who can be happy with this spectacle are GOP campaign workers.

Does Blago really believe his abrupt appointment of Burris will disprove a potential charge of selling Senate seats (or SSS')?

Does Harry Reid really think this helps the Dems avoid the appearance of condoning the sort of Old World corruption that Blago represents?

I can't figure it out. But Roland Burris must have some motive that isn't obvious to me.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The appointment of Mr. Burris has nothing to do with Obama; in fact, Skelator Reid has no Constitutional authority to decree the man uneligible to serve as US Senator.

It is the IL Governor who is "tainted," though as yet unindicted.

Posted by: CubsFan | January 6, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Article I Section 5 gives the Senate the right to seat/not seat new Senators, but the Supreme Court Powell decision said that the Senate can only base qualification criteria on what the Constitution itself says. Nothing in there about a Governor under indictment losing his right to appoint a Senator.
I think Sen. Burris should do a sit-down strike on the Senate steps, or maybe inside in the rotunda, since it's raining out.

Posted by: jon404 | January 6, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, it looks like Obama is doing the right kinds of things here.

I'm starting to feel comfortable with the guy based on his appointments and his handling of this.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | January 6, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

the democrats want the black people's vote as long as the black people don't get "uppity". I can't believe that black people aren't outraged that Burris isn't being seated in obama's Senate seat. The black people are the democrat's dog and only tolerated when they keep their mouth's shut and roll over like a good dog.

Bet they put a WHITE person in obama's Senate seat. Go away little black dog.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | January 6, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Obviously Mr. Burris is out to serve himself first, before the people of Illinois. If he really thought that he deserved the seat, then he could have waited.

But then, I wouldn't hesitate to believe that there are only a few who aren't out to serve themselves first, especially in politics.

Posted by: shhhhh | January 6, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

My guess is that Burris will never be the Senator from IL and he knows it and this is his last ditch effort to force the issue. The one thing we are not going to have with Obama is racial politics, though my guess is there will not be gender politics either.

Though Reid's position may have more to do with party politics than with the correctness of his stated opinion, his stated opinion is rational and arguing with it is irrational. At this point it makes Burris look like it is him who is the slimy polition and not Reid, even though we all know that in general they were cut from the same cloth.

Posted by: Gator-ron | January 6, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Well, this is rich, Reid making up the law and constitution as he sees fit. Who elected him Dictator of the World?

Posted by: kamdog | January 6, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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