(CNN) - A senior Democratic congressional source tells CNN the document Illinois secretary of state Jesse White stamped Friday "could" allow them to seat Roland Burris, but they're spending the weekend examining the law and Senate rules.
"We have the parliamentarian, Senate legal counsel and the secretary of the Senate looking at that issue right now," says the aide. "[Senate] Rule II says six things are required - name, date of appointment, date the certificate was signed, state, signature of the governor, and signature of the secretary of state. So now we have all six elements on two separate pieces of paper - they are looking at whether that works."
A Burris associate tells CNN while he had considered returning to Washington on Monday, that is no longer the plan.
Instead, they are going to wait and see what Democratic leaders discuss this weekend.
This associate said it is possible that Burris attorneys could file a federal lawsuit in US District Court on Monday, but that option is also up in the air as they watch and wait.
(Updated after the jump with new details on Burris plans)
(CNN) - An aide to Sen. Dick Durbin tells us he is expected to say at his press conference later today that even though the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled Roland Burris doesn’t need the secretary of state’s signature to make his appointment official, Senate rules still require it - and congressional leaders don’t see a way to seat him without it.
But aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say their lawyers are still looking at the ruling, and deliberating. They point to a passage in the court's Friday decision that suggests an alternative way to authenticate the certificate of appointment.
Separately, Democratic aides say they are still hoping that impeachment proceedings for Gov. Rod Blagojevich keep moving - and note that the moment he leaves office, the issue is moot: if the state's lieutenant governor moves into the top spot, he will sign an election certificate for either Burris or another candidate. That certificate would then be signed by Secretary of State Jesse White, since Gov. Rod Blagojevich's name will no longer be involved.
(CNN) - Illinois' highest court has ruled the secretary of state does not have sign off on the appointment of Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.
Click here to read the Illinois Supreme Court's opinion
(CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders are weighing their options in light of the Illinois State Supreme Court decision that Roland Burris’s certificate of appointment does not require the secretary of state’s signature.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois senior Sen. Dick Durbin had been very clear that their path to seating Burris began with the signature of Secretary of State Jesse White, citing a Senate rule from 1884 that seems to require it.
The court ruled Friday afternoon that no such signature was required.
Two days ago, White insisted to a Chicago radio station that he would keep his word, and not sign any certificate that also had the signature of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on it. But White was also critical of the Senate’s decision to block Burris, and said he merely considered his own signature ceremonial. His next move also remains a question mark.
(CNN) - Roland Burris on Thursday denied any quid pro quo with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his appointment to the U.S. Senate during testimony before a panel weighing whether to impeach Blajojevich.
Burris also told lawmakers he had no conversations with Blagojevich about his desire to step into the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
The former state attorney general appeared before an impeachment committee of state legislators in Springfield, Illinois, to explain his ties to that state's tainted governor.
Illinois Republicans want to know whether Burris, a Democrat, was "paying to play." GOP lawmakers point to state records showing that Burris and his lobbying firm contributed more than $20,000 to the governor's political campaigns.
The question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat. They say his appointment is tainted because it was made by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.
Blagojevich has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CNN) - Did Roland Burris secure his appointment to Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat through some kind of pay to-play politics of the very sort that have tainted the man who appointed him, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich?
Republicans in the Illinois state legislature are asking that question, and they want Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, to answer in person at a hearing scheduled for Thursday on Blagojevich's impeachment.
And the question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat, saying the appointment is tainted by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.
Blagojevich, however, has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.
In a written affidavit given to the impeachment panel, Burris said he had one limited conversation with the governor about the Senate seat before he was appointed. And that conversation, he said, was initiated by a Blagojevich attorney.
But records show the two men have long ties to each other - including lucrative state contracts, political contributions and even a job for the governor's wife. Those records are raising thorny questions from state officials, particularly Republicans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke about the Roland Burris situation Monday, according to a source familiar with the conversation. "They agreed on the need for an amicable resolution to this situation, in order to give the people of Illinois full representation," said the source, who did not wish to be named because the conversation was private.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Democrats have no choice but to change their tone because Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich “called our bluff” in appointing someone over their objections, a senior Democratic congressional source conceded Wednesday.
“We tried to send a political signal to Blagojevich that we would not seat someone he appointed. He called our bluff, in a reckless way,” said the Democratic source.
A second senior Democratic source said it had clearly become a “heightened situation” that needed to be dealt with and that Burris’ face to face meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin really helped to establish a “person to person dialogue.”
A third senior Democratic source simply demurred that Democrats changed their tone after they “looked more into the situation.”
It is also noteworthy that Reid and Durbin went out of their way, unsolicited, to note this matter was not about race, noting that Burris himself had told them that.
In terms of what to expect from this point, Democratic sources say the process they laid out today could take a month – including waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on the Burris request that it order Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White to sign Burris’ certificate of appointment, then getting Jesse White’s actual signature and then sending the matter to the Senate Rules Committee. The sources said it is entirely possible that before that is done, Blagojevich may no longer be in office, depending on what happens in the Illinois legislature impeachment proceedings, and that an acting governor might then be able to make an appointment. But one source said part of the problem Democrats are having is that the timing on both fronts is really unclear.
(CNN) - CNN has been paging Dr. Gupta for years, but now it may the Obama administration who is calling. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Jason Carroll talks about our resident neurosurgeon as a possible pick for surgeon general.
And: It’s a power lunch like none other. President Bush hosts President-elect Barack Obama, and three former presidents - George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter - Wednesday at the White House. CNN’s Elaine Quijano has the story on what the former chief executives may discuss during their elite and historic meeting in the Oval Office.
Plus: Roland Burris insists he is, by law, the junior senator of Illinois, but the recently appointed former state attorney general was turned away from the Senate door Tuesday. CNN’s Jeanne Moos takes a look at Tuesday’s antics - the “Burris circus.”
Finally: Get ready for the “T” word. If Barack Obama’s stimulus plan passes in the Congress, it could approach the trillion dollar mark. That’s more than the government spent on some major events in our nation’s history, including the construction of the atomic bomb, the race to put a man on the moon, and the New Deal during the Great Depression. But if the stimulus plan doesn’t work, what is Obama’s ‘Plan B’? CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
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(CNN) - As Roland Burris gets set to press the Senate Democratic leadership to formally seat him in the chamber Wednesday, a new national poll shows the majority of Americans think the former Illinois attorney general should be blocked from serving.
According to a new USA/Today Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans think President-elect Barack Obama's successor should instead be decided by a special election, while 23 percent think the second Illinois senate seat should remain open until the charges surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are resolved.
Only 16 percent said Burris should currently be allowed to assume the seat.