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

Senate Dems crafting new plans to block Burris appointment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. J in NJ

    This is crazy! The federal government has no business poking its nose into a state matter. Illinois law dictates who the next Senator is not Harry Reid. Fact is Burris is a state resident and over 30 years of age therefore he meets the constitutional requirement to become a Senator. Don't get me wrong i think Blago is a crook but until convicted or impeached he is required to make this choice. If Reid is allowed to block this appointment I think we could see a serious threat to states rights.

    December 31, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Truth

    Reid the law maker.

    December 31, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. c'est la vie

    The easy way to avoid making this a more scandalous story for the Democrats is for the Senate to accept the Burris nomination and let the Blago scandal play out in the courts – it's called compromise. Burris is a good man. He'll do a good job and the governor was within his rights to appoint him. Fighting this nomination will keep this story in the media longer and continue to divide the Democratic party.

    December 31, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. bridgette

    Every politician in Illinois nor Chicago is corrupt. Roland is an honorable ma who has been a loyal servant to the people of Illinois for over twenty years. He has never been involved in any scandal. I say don't take it out on this man because Blagovich is a jerk. The fact of the matter is Fitzgerald played his hand too early and he caused the other politicians to play their hands to early. Blagoviech has not been charged with anything he wanted something from the seat but got nothing. He won't be re-elected and Burris probably won't run. The reality of it is they need someone in the seat and he is a good man. So just let him serve.

    December 31, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. BrendaF, Mesquite, TX

    Oh, Good Lord!


    Roland Burris has been lawfully appointed. You may not like it, but figure out how you are going to make it work. You, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the losers in the House and Senate (both parties equally represented) need to get your arses back to work and start moving things forward – not figuring how to be an "impediment to progress".

    I want legislation sitting on President Obama's desk as of Jan. 21st – ready for him to sign. Stop the madness!

    December 31, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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