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. Apples for sale

    I googled Blago and saw where he voted for Reagan.Doesnt that say it all.

    January 1, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Will Mon

    That is freaking crazy!!! If this happens, the democrats will have definitely sunk to a new low!!

    January 1, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Meka


    By the way, President Obama "DON'T DO DRAMA"

    January 1, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. Will Mon

    I hope that he shows up!! It will be an amazing sight to see them turn this black man away!! LOL!

    January 1, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. Rosalind Johnson

    I sincerely hope that the Senate will not add another act to this circus. The alleged behavior of the Gov. of Illinois, will be adjudicated, but until he is removed from office, he does have the power to appoint a replacement.

    By adding more acts to this "circus" will only make this situation more impossible. By all accounts Mr. Burris is qualified to serve. He should be seated until the Illinois Supreme Court deems his appointment illegal. Everyone needs to wait until this is handled through the courts.

    What if: The Senate refuses to seat Mr. Burris and if he is forcibly removed by the Capitol Police, won't everyone look really stupid if Mr. Burris is deemed legally appointed by the Courts? HMMMM!

    January 1, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  6. M Paul

    Good for you! But remember, we have elections every two years and every four years. Don't punish the messenger. YOU GUYS are becoming more arrogants than Republicans. Ask them why there are where they are today! The Gov is still there in Ill and can make decisions.

    January 1, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  7. M Paul

    Good for you! But remember, we have elections every two years and every four years. Don't punish the messenger. YOU GUYS are becoming more arrogants than Republicans. Ask them why they are where they are today! The Gov is still there in Ill and can make decisions.

    January 1, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  8. Give Me A Break!

    If Burris have any ounce of decency, he would not attempt to plow his way into the senate. His acceptance of the seat only shows how extremely desparate he is. I know that MOST politicians sell their soul to the devil...and Burris proved to be one of many.

    January 1, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. CP, Maryland

    Too bad the Senate Dems could muster the same outrage over a war based on lies and the President's blatant disregard for the Constitution.

    January 1, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. inuk of the north

    What do Burris, Blagojevich, Ayers, Rezko and ACORN have in common? You guessed it..............Obama.

    There's a nasty odor coming from Chicago and it's coming from Obama's district. He keeps hiding behind 'one president at a time' but the odor is getting stronger.

    "Change we need" has become "same-old, same-old".

    January 1, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. Reality

    Obama is angry because Blago went against his wishes, but Blago may have the trump card here. Not because of his appointment. Because the good money says he knows dirty little secrets about the former junior senator from Illinois.

    January 1, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |

    Burris must NOT be allowed to enter the Senate Chambers- it would be a disgrace to the integrity of the United States Senate. KEEP HIM OUT!

    January 1, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. conservative

    Wow this is rich! The party that is going to save and improve America ???

    January 1, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. Proud American

    Thanks God he should never be seated.

    January 1, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. Kyle

    There are going to be serious problems if Burris is denied access.

    January 1, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  16. Alex

    If there is proof that Blagojevich acted improperly and unlawfully in the process to find a Senatorial appointment, fine, he will bear the brunt of his decisions. However, without cause to suspect that this new appointment of Burris is also unlawful, it would be completely undemocratic for the Senate to turn Burris away. Illinois has a right to be represented, and the Senate has no constitutional power to turn away a duly elected or appointed senator from any state.

    January 1, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    CP, Maryland: I couldn't agree more with your comment. Maybe it's time to vote those who stand in the way of progress out.

    As far as this appointment, why would Burris even accept. Very strange and interesting to watch it play out.

    January 1, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Rod

    To Farrell in texas " WHAT INTEGRITY"

    January 1, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  19. Apples for sale

    Lets ask Blago what he knows about the late Mike Connell.He could have some facts.

    January 1, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Sherrol in Canada

    This could turn out to be nasty. Why Burris accepted Blago's appointment is beyond me. Well, not really, I do know – blind ambition! He'd been salivating for years about higher office. The people of IL denied him twice, remember?

    Guess this brings new meaning to – "by any means necessary".

    January 1, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. David Goldman



    January 1, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. Lynched

    Is this racist? I think not. But let the democrats, for a change, find out what it feels like to be called racists, where there is no racism. This is something republicans have been accused of for decades. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
    If democrats usurp this legal appointment, they usurp the constitution. The democrats screwed up on this one, because Burris has the constitution behind him.
    Blago, (Pay Rod), has played this political game like a surgeon.

    January 1, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. Proud American

    Botton line is Burris is an Idiot and can't see he's being used by the Village Idiot of ILL. Blagojevich would use his mother to serve his own purpose.

    January 1, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. wes bowers

    By the same logic as followed by Dem Sentors the whole Senate is tainted by Senator Stevens' conviction .However, they gave him a standing ovation and lauded him for his exeptional work! Burris has a good record and has not praised Blagojevich. My, my ,my how strange things work in DC? I wonder how all of this is going to set with Obama's base?

    January 1, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  25. German,Irish American

    Remember, it was Emanual and Obama who masterminded Blago's first campaign for governor in 2002, saying he was the honest change to Illinois politics the state needed. Sound familiar? Also,even though it was well known that the FBI was investigating Blago, Junior Senator Obama in 2006 actively campaigned for his re-election. Now it looks like George Wallace type Democrats will once again be blocking entryways.

    January 1, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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