January 1st, 2009
08:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Aides: Democrats have plan if Burris shows up

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/01/illinois.senate.seat/art.blag.burris.wgn.jpg caption="Senate Democrats will not allow Burris on the Senate Floor if he shows up next week."](CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders think Roland Burris, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, will likely show up on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the opening day of Congress, according to a Democratic aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans.

They have prepared a contingency plan in case he does, the aide added.

Burris will not be allowed on the Senate floor, according to this aide and a Senate Democratic leadership aide.

Watch: What if Burris shows up?

The aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him, said the aide.

"They (police) probably won't arrest him" but they would call the sergeant-at-arms," the aide said.

When asked about what would happen if he shows up and tries to be seated, Burris told the Chicago Tribune that he's, "not going to create a scene in Washington." He added, "We hope it's negotiated out prior to my going to Washington."

Burris told CNN that, "We're certainly going to make contacts with the leadership to let them know that the governor of Illinois has made a legal appointment. And that I am currently the junior senator for the State of Illinois. And we're hoping and praying that, you know, they will see the reason in appointing me as a very qualified, capable, able and ready-to-serve individual."

Coincidentally, the senate sergeant-at-arms, Terrance Gainer, served in the Illinois government at the same time as Burris. Gainer was the director of the Illinois State Police from 1991-95. Burris was the Illinois attorney general from 1991-95.

Senate Democratic leaders, who consider Governor Rod Blagojevich a loose cannon, also have discussed what might happen if Blagojevich shows up on Capitol Hill Tuesday, said the aide familiar with their plans. But the leaders see that move by Blagojevich as unlikely at this time.

This would be a "radioactive" situation, according to the aide, because Senate Democratic leaders could not deny Blagojevich entry, as sitting governors have floor privileges in the Senate. Governors are allowed to walk around the Senate chamber or talk with senators while on the floor, though they cannot vote or formally address the Senate.

Blagojevich is aware he is allowed access to the Senate floor, his spokesman Lucio Guerrero said, but "the idea of going on Tuesday was first raised by a reporter," not Blagojevich.

The governor is not planning on going to Capitol Hill at this time, Guerrero said.

Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Burris should not be allowed to enter the senate doors. Burris and Blago should not be allowed to compromise the integrity of the democrat party. STOP THEM NOW.

    January 1, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. John G

    The governor acted inappropriately but has not been removed from his position yet therefore the appointment is legal. Any attempt by Democratic leadership to prevent Burris from executing his duties as a Senator will be illegal.

    January 1, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Ann

    That is the most pitiful excuse for stopping a duly appointed replacement as I have heard and sounds even worse than 6 year olds squabbling over a toy or something. What legal grounds do they have to refuse him entry other than they don't like Blagojevich? The democratic Senators sound like they all need to be replaced if they allow these actions to occur.

    January 1, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. chuck


    January 1, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Mike

    The meeting of US democracy and the World Wrestling Federation...

    January 1, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Why would Burris even want to be tied to Gov Slobovich of Illinois?

    Why doesn't the media ask Burris what he paid for Obama's Senate seat?

    Burris, you don't do your reputation a favor, and you don't do your race a favor.

    People who do this stuff are called "cheap."

    January 1, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    Why create the drama? Let Burris in. Instruct the Senate not to count his votes, and/or get a 60 vote majority to expel him. He'll sue in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will decide. This is stupid to cause all this drama. It is a legal matter. This makes the democratic leadership in the Senate seem so petty and stupid. Grow up.

    January 1, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Larry

    Democrats ALWAYS have some plan to get out of some bad situation they ALWAYS find there selves in--Typical Democrats

    January 1, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. amt

    This just sounds so ridiculous to think the senate would actually bar Burris from the floor. Burris has not done anything wrong, Blago has not done anything wrong so how can that legally stand ? The senate is wrong, & hopefully they will get it straight so Burris can be seated.

    January 1, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The Democrats in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body seem to be talking a bit thuggish. Why not debate or liitgate instead?

    January 1, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Donna

    Roland is in a bad spot...but he should have enough respect for the citizens to know that they want an official who wasn't appointed by a Gov. under suspicion of fraud...if he causes a scene, he will lose whatever respect he currently has...he should not have accepted the nomination KNOWING that it would be tainted....this wasn't abt his wanting to HELP the citizens..he wanted to help himself....

    January 1, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. dr.mimi de la cuz



    January 1, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Godluvr

    This is slowly building into a huge firestorm. I hope for PE Obama's sake that it does not attempt to overshadow the coming historic events. If I weren't afraid of rodents, I'd throw a dirty rat at Blago's head. Remember when old movies' James Cagney used to say: "You dirty rat, you!" with such meaning?

    January 1, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. 60 year old blue collar American



    January 1, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. a southern bell




    January 1, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. Dexter Skagway

    What a stupid situation! What an idiotic political showdown! What pure hubris!

    Burris is proving himself totally unworthy of the responsibility and dignity of a senator. He was an egotist and a fool to accept a tainted appointment from Blagojevich, and he is an egotist and a fool for forcing the situation on the world. He is trying to exploit a loophole in an ugly little political fiasco for his own very very very selfish gains.

    One can only hope that Burris' Titanic ego has hit the Blagojevich iceberg and is going down, down, down.

    January 1, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  17. No way.

    I'm thinking Burris should go to jail too.

    What an a$$. He looked so smug kissing up to Blago at that press conference.

    And the mausoleum he had erected in his own honor? What an ego.

    This guy needs to go.

    January 1, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  18. Citadelgrrl05

    As an AA I am completely disgusted by Bobby Rush using yes finally the right situation where the race card was played, and just as disgusted by Roland Burris for accepting this seat, he is being used as a pawn by the governor blago. This tells me, that Burris is a oppertunist and he just wants to add this to his grave throne he build for himself, even if it is for two years. I hope that the senate dems. find their spines and stick to what they said two weeks ago before they knew this qualified oppertunist would be choosen. I just want the Dems. to keep focused on their original statement and go from their and knock down this non-sense about race.

    January 1, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. C. Hogan

    John, it is not a legal appointment. The Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, has yet to certify the appointment documentation. This lack of certification means the appointment is not legal.

    Burris filed a motion in court to make the Sec. of State certify, but the court hasn't heard the argument.

    Burris has no right to enter the Senate floor due to a lack of process.

    On a personal note, Burris is a nut job and is completely ignoring the will of the people of Illinois. We have spoken and by a 75% majority (according to polls) we have asked that he not represent us.

    January 1, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  20. prosanto

    Burris though may not necessarily tainted, he is being appointed in circumstances cleverly manipulated by a crafty Governor. It is unfortunate for Burris but he should have known better. He should withdraw his appointed to uphold the integrity of the process.

    January 1, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Mary, Democrat from Texas

    It will be horrible for the Senate and the Democratic party if they try to stop Burris, let alone have him removed by the Capitol police! I'm wondering what stops the Democrats from doing this to anyone, even someone who won an election with no controversy, just because they don't like the person or don't want him/her seated? The IL gov. is still the IL gov. and the appointment sure looks legal even if it isn't politically palatable to the Senate leadership.

    Do they really want to have the pictures on CNN of Harry Reid et. al. throwing out the currently only African-American Senator? How do they spin that one for the folks in Peoria?

    January 1, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. gregory james

    y tats crazy to try to stop mr burris you are puttin
    te orse be for te cart my keys are jamed...sorry be you get it.....!!!!

    January 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    I don't know a thing about Roland Burris, but I hope he knows he's being set up.

    January 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  24. james in s.c.

    well Cheney will swear in the new comers, Burris will take his seat, but it looks he won't be able to speak from the floor. what a bummer, Burris will have to sit out till 2012 or hopefully the court will take him out before febuary??

    January 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. John G

    Too late Farrell Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi already did that.

    January 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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