December 31st, 2008
12:25 PM ET
9 years ago

Senate Dems crafting new plans to block Burris appointment

Reid and other congressional Democratic leaders have said they will block the seating of any Blagojevich appointment.

Reid and other congressional Democratic leaders have said they will block the seating of any Blagojevich appointment.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders are devising a plan to block the appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate for weeks in hopes it will prevent Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich from deciding who fills the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN Wednesday.

The aide also rebuffed suggestions by constitutional law experts that the Senate cannot block Blagojevich’s appointment of Burris on the basis that “anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois,” as the top five Democrats in the Senate asserted Tuesday in a statement. Blagojevich is facing criminal corruption charges in Illinois.

“He will not be seated,” said the Senate leadership aide, who insisted Burris will not be allowed on the Senate floor, nor will he be granted a Capitol Hill office, should he show up for the opening day of Congress next Tuesday.

According to the aide, Senate Democratic leadership staffers have been poring over Illinois case law since Tuesday evening, trying to determine if the Burris appointment can proceed if Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White refuses to sign off on it, as White has threatened.

If it is determined the lack of White’s signature will not impede Burris’s appointment, Democrats are prepared to file a motion to refer Burris’s appointment to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the committee that credentials members of the Senate, the aide said, adding the motion could be debated and amended.

The process could take weeks and might buy Senate Democrats time if Illinois Lt.. Governor Pat Quinn is able to succeed Blagojevich and pull Burris’ appointment before it becomes final, assuming Blagojevich is forced from office or resigns before the Senate Rules Committee determines Burris’s status. The Senate aide acknowledged Senate Democrats are not sure if Quinn would have that authority.

Filed under: Harry Reid • Senate
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Lyndon from CA

    I hope they are successful. Illigitimacy cannot be allowed to rule.

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. JC

    This is so stupid why not just let the man have the seat he's not the one who was arrested. And by the way has the govenor been indicted if not simply being arrested does not stop you from doing your job. We have something in this country called due process. All of these senators are acting like they we innocent it's just their dirt has not been exposed yet.

    December 31, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. shelby

    Sounds like Burris will fit right in the Senate since most of them already there are also not effective representitives of their own states-starting with that cadaverously creepy looking Harry Reid.

    December 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Matt

    I really wish someone would make a law to block the stupidity of people like Harry Reid. Burris will be a billion times better Senator than you ever will be. Enjoy your last few years in office Harry there is no way in hell you get re elected.

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Dalton

    I am a Democrat but I may never vote for another Senate Democrat if they continue to focus on this absurd issue while people are losing their jobs at a rate of 1 every 5 seconds.

    If the people of Illinois don't want Burris to represent them in the Senate they can recall him or vote him out of office in 2010. The appointment of Roland Burris to the US Senate is an issue for Illinois voters not a bunch of out of touch Senators.

    The Senate Democrats need to be working with President elect Obama on a stimulus bill, getting our troops out of Iraq and ending tax cuts for the super wealthy. Instead, these nitwits are spending precious time debating a senate appointment while people lose their houses left and right.

    Furthermore, doesn't it seem odd that the senate democrats are more outraged about this appointment then they are about the fact that billions of tax payer dollars were given away with no accounting from the banks who got the money.

    Once again the Democrats are preparing to lose their Senate majority in 2010 by obsessing over issues that have no effect on the lives of every day citizens.

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Blago's a Sociopath

    Solution: The Illinois legislature removes Governor Psycho from office, replacing him, in accordance with Illinois law, with Lt. Governor Quinn, who then, as Governor, appoints Burris.
    That could be done TODAY.

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Tommy

    Of course, again the Constitution does not apply to the United States Government and legal experts are ignored at the expense of the rule of law. No matter the charges against Blagojevich, this much is certain:

    a. Everyone in this nation is provided the privilege of being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    b. Blagojevich is still governor of Illinois.

    c. The Burris appointment is Constitutional and Burris meets all qualifications necessary to be a United States Senator. Thus, the Senate cannot judge him on his "qualifications" beyond those explicitly defined in the Constitution.

    d. Any attempt at expulsion of Burris from the Senate chamber, on the other hand, may only consider Burris' actions. If he is found to have violated the law or been engaged in unethical, unlawful behavior that is unbecoming of a United States Senator, only then he should be expelled.

    Oh wait, Ted Stevens got a standing ovation his last day in the Senate. I guess once you're in office, you're above the law and above the constitution.

    Sure, expel Burris for being appointed under completely Constitutional boundaries, but let Stevens serve even after he's been convicted. The contradictions and paradoxes are nearly unfathomable.

    This United States government has failed to act as a body of reasonable and reasoning men and women. It has become a joke.

    Why didn't Blagojevich just appoint a horse?

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. max (NY)

    Spare the Rod, spoil the politician.
    They can and they must block this disgraceful idiot's appointment and then proceed with his empeachment. He was told long ago not to appoint anyone because he was under investigation for fraud. He should have complied with such order. If he had appointed someone before the order, then they might not be able to block it, now they can. He is a stuborn and a disgraceful member of the democrat party, and he must be expelled to safeguard the integrity of the party, if not, the republicans will surely choose this fact as a campaign issue against democrats in futur elections. For this reason, this idiot has got to go.

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |

    Only a crook will accept an appointment from a crook. And, only a crook will come out and defend another crook. While play the race card, Bobby? You are a despicable human being for making those racial comments. As an African American, I've always wondered why many of your angry generation always have to play that race card. Why can't we be Americans first? I hope and pray that someone challenges you for your house seat so you can permanently go and sit down and chill on your race bated, hate-filled pills.

    Now we know Burris built a monument for himself at a cementary, honoring his achievements! This guy is a nut just like Blagojevich. He should never become a US senator.

    December 31, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    This whole blagojevich situation is just a giant distraction FROM THE MISSING BAILOUT MONEY! Don't get sucked in by the american media. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN STRAIGHT UP ROBBED BY OUR CONGRESS AND OUR GOVERNMENT!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. James Mebane

    The U.S. Senate should seat Mr. Burris if all they have to go on is that he was appointed by the current Gov. of Illinois. There are more important things for them to spend their time on.

    Most of the Congresss could be considered tainted if you use linked to lobbyist as a yard stick.

    If they do not seat Mr. Burris, it is my hope he files suit to get a legal decision on this matter.

    Again to suggest that anyone appointed by the Gov. is unacceptable is down right stupid.

    December 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Don

    Dont give up Harry!!!!!!!!! Stand by whats right!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Jamie -- Asheville, NC

    This is getting rather comical. I think somebody should make a reality show - "Mr. Burris Goes to Washington." We could watch him being kept off the Senate floor and later wandering around the Senate office buildings trying to find the office that he just *knows* should have been granted to him by now.

    December 31, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Melissa

    Its time the people started to take back their gvt. Corruption is unacceptable and in any other job, he'd have already been fired.

    We need the ability to fire gvt leaders, and to stop them from doing things like appointing people to seats when they are under investigation for corruption.

    Though Burris may be qualified, any appointment by Blagojevich at this time is suspect for corruption and should not be allowed to take a seat.

    December 31, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Greg

    I have to wonder why this man would even consider taking an appointment from this tainted Governor. I guess he could not do it through the election process and this is, in his mind, is his only chance to get where he wants to be. In my opinion it does not say much for the character of this individual and wonder if he would be a good choice. Anyone who would take a position in this environment has a I want to be in power no matter what the cost or consequences attitude. After all the people would not elect him.

    Happy New Year

    December 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Miss Mellie

    People should be outraged that Senate Democrats are doing this! The governor is an elected, sitting official with a constitutional obligation to appoint a Senator. He has not yet been convicted of a crime and has not yet been impeached. The Senate has no right to stand in the way of Blago's appointment, but what is even more troubling, is why are they doing this? Do Reid and others really feel they are acting in the country's best interest by blocking this appointment? I think we all know that they are not thinking of the people, they are thinking of themselves. This would be a good time for true leaders in the Senate to step forward and speak out against this reprehensible behavior of the Senate.

    December 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. James Morrison

    The Democrats are spineless (and stupid). Seat Burris and then unanimously vote to reject him. This process is constitutional and will serve the same purpose as blocking him (except that it will be much cheaper)...

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Sue

    How about blocking the Bush pardons that are upcoming? How about holding him accountable for war crimes? How about being truthful with the people about why the House refuses to impeach, after pleas from millions of Americans? Those issues are far more important than one Senate seat, aren't they?

    December 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Donna

    Please everyone, just follow the rule of the law for once!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Brian

    Glad to know that with everything else that is crumbling around us the Democratic Party is hard at work this Holiday Season to sure up the economy..wait, I mean fix the stock market...or, um...get foreclosures under control...opps, I mean they are making sure unemployment decreases, wait no they are hard at work getting our troops home..oh thats not right, they are devising a plan to cut, they are worried about 1 possible person sitting in the Senate and messing up all their hard work, I mean their lack of work.

    December 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Scott

    Hell! We need to unseat the likes of Reid and his fellow Anti-American socialists.

    December 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. General Patton

    The Democrats have shown America once again ineptness, corruption and protected minority status trumps decency and logic.

    They have no cause to deny Sen. Designee Burris full priveledges of the Senate. What are they trying to protect? The senates reputation? HA, HA HA HA HA...

    Thanks Blago, King Kong has nothing on you!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Geeque - Chicago,IL

    Hey Bobby Rush, Just shut the hell up moron, this is not Black Panthers era, Go back to the Southside of Chicago and help clean up the gangs and reduce the number of driveby shootings. You sound so stupid, illiterate, thick headed, and ignorant. This is from a pissed off black person, you are making this whole thing into a race issue which we all know it is not.


    December 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Politics as usual

    Who cares about the actual citizens of Illinois?

    December 31, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Phoenix

    Keep the goons out of power.

    December 31, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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