December 30th, 2008
01:47 PM ET
14 years ago

Sources: Senate Democrats to block Burris appointment

(CNN) - Two Democratic officials tell CNN Senate Democratic leaders are planning to block Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate seat once held by President-elect Obama.

The officials said this has nothing to do with Burris, an African-American leader and former state attorney general: "anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich can not be an effective representative of Illinois and will not be seated by the Democratic caucus," said one.

A spokesman for President-elect Obama says the transition has no comment on this. But they note Obama has previously called on the governor to resign.

UPDATE: Senate Democratic leadership released a statement saying Blagojevich's appointment of Burris was "unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand."

(Full statement as released after the jump)


Washington, DC-Senate Democratic Leadership made the following statement today in response to reports that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will nominate Roland Burris to fill the vacant Illinois Senate seat. Earlier this month, all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus called on Blagojevich to step down and under no circumstance make an appointment to fill the seat. The text of that letter is below the statement:

"It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.

"Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year – outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated Senators without delay.

"We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat."

Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris • Senate
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Jordan - San Marcos, TX

    Matt in CT: Where do these "horrendous hypocrite" Democrats who are supposedly defending Blago living, your imagination maybe? Democratic leaders in IL and nationwide were calling for his head the moment the scandal broke. It has nothing to do with his party, and no one with an ethnically right mind is lifting a finger to defend this guy. If what you're imagining were true, then Harry Reid and the rest of the Senate would be rolling out the red carpet for the appointee, which they are obviously not doing.

    December 30, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Proud American

    Richard Rohde honey did you miss the Village Idiot Parade today in Antarctica? You were so excited about the 30 mile thru Antarctica, I heard your leader asked everyone to bring a jacket in case it got cold.lolol

    December 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Pete

    Don't count on it. The house democrats are already daring the senate democrats to block the appointment of a black man. He'd be the only black man in the senate, and Bobby Rush doesn't think that is right. Bobby doesn't care about the opinion of those who elect people to govern, he feels people should be appointed based on their skin color.

    You have to love the democrats.

    December 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. ftex

    Blago can not ruin the integrity of a party that has no integrity. That is why nothing sticks to these people because the low expectations of their character prohibit scrutiny. He will get away with this laughing the entire time. And Obama was part of all this Chigao type politics along with Rahm. They were above it?? Ha, you believe that and you are less intelligent then Blago.

    December 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. Janice

    Please, senate democrats, as an african american request you block this appointment and do so quickly. Do not allow this to become a race issue. This is exactly what the governor is banking on.

    December 30, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Sue Ellen Stamp

    To the Obama Bashers...what in the world do you think Obama has to do with this circus act? This appointment has nothing to do with colour, and if it does, then shame on you! Obama has never backed Mr. Barris in any of his political ventures, so look elsewhere for a person to blame, that being Blago! Get a life! SES

    December 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. undecided

    you democrats crack me up. you call for blago's head but think bill clinton was a saint. give me a BREAK.

    December 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. gt

    blago how bout big jessie ? he is clean as snow , fits in well with al franken ,ya you could be sworn in together ,,,, ,,,,,,help !!!!!!

    December 30, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Richard Rohde

    Proud American used idiot again, that must have been the only word ACORN let him read. Weren't you leading the parade through Alaska. Probably to beat up on Palins daughter like all the rest of the hobnailed boot thugs who support the dems.

    December 30, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Dennis Miller

    What a soap opera! CBS, NBC and ABC can't hold a candle to this drama. Illinois should syndicate this and put it on cable.

    December 30, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. John from SC

    Burris may have "unquestioned integrity" but this "appointment" has erased that integrity. The Dems do need to block it.

    December 30, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Meh

    mari> They have, actually. I was watching it yesterday. They really are trying to impeach him...and not just for the phone conversations, but because the man's just a sleazeball, in general. They had a laundry list.

    Burris shouldn't have accepted. It looks bad. Really bad.

    December 30, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    The congress is right... it does not matter which party... if the individual is "fishy"... then we better look again! Let's not be so quick to swallow the poison before we check it out! After 8 years... I hope we have learned SOMETHING!

    December 30, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher

    I must say that if you look at the history of both parties for most of last century, you will see that it was not the Democratic Party that ran this country into the ground... it was the Republican Party.... especially with the Reagan crowd on! That trickle down economics has surely made the rich richer and the poor poorer.... no way to get around it!

    Seriously... are you People drinking the Limbaugh Rot Gut Moonshine.. or what! 🙂

    December 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. MikeH

    Whole lotta manure hitting the fan blades on this one. Every one is getting a little bit of smelly brown stain on their reputation.

    Blago is psychotic for doing this.

    December 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Happily Independent

    To those people that say to seat Burris, you must be OUT OF YOUR MInDS!. There needs to be some sense of integrity and fairness. I do not care what race, statue or political skill Burris has. Blagojevich has lost any moral standing to make any selection at this point guilty or not guilty. Hurry up and impeach him so that someone else can make the selection. Why not have a a special election as soon as possible. I could be a mail-in ballot election.

    December 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Geeque - Chicago,IL


    Special Election is the only solution to fill P.E Obama's seat. As a black person, I am dissappointed with Rep. Bobby Rush's comments, he is so ignorant and stupid, he should just shut the hell up and go back to the south side of Chicago and take care of drive by shootings.

    December 30, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Michael - CA

    @Obama-Blago Scandal:

    Ted Stevens was pretty old too, but he still did bad things.

    December 30, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. god bless the US

    see, this is where republicans and democrats differ.

    When a democrat does something wrong, fellow dems will throw him under a bus and feed him to the sharks and pretty much kicks him out of the party and goes against him.

    when a republican does something illegal, fellow repugs will fall in line, give full support, condemn the accusers, cry foul, and blame it on left wing media/democrat conspiracy. (mark foley)

    December 30, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. Veronica Richmond, VA.

    This has NOTHING to do with the man's race, the Governor is a skumbag, he wants to distract the people from his Impeachment! That man should NOT have accepted the post, I wonder how much he paid the governor for the seat? What job will he give the governor when he get out of jail? Makes one wonder yes? See this is the very reason why the scumbag should not seat anyone in Obama's seat.

    December 30, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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