January 6th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Burris arrives on the Hill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/06/art.roland.cnn.jpg caption="Burris arrived on the Hill Monday, as media swarmed."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, named by Illinois' controversial governor to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, arrived at the U.S. Senate Tuesday morning for the start of the 111th Congress.

The secretary of the U.S. Senate on Monday rejected Burris' appointment because it does not conform with the Senate rule requiring that the secretary of state - in this case, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White - must sign the certificate of appointment along with the governor.

White has declined to sign the certificate, siding with some Senate Democrats who say Burris should not be seated because of the cloud over Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat.

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Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Charge Senator Reid with Pay to Play

    Senator Reid has crossed a legal line and he should immediatly seat the appointed Senator from IL. Reid is trying to circumvent the law for political reasons only. What he is doing is illegal. What he is proposing is both illegal and unethical. I think the Senate should bring Senator Reid up on charges. There is no reason to delay. There is way to undo the appointment. Senator Reid is playing dirty partisan politics while ignoring the business of the Senate and the mounting crises facing this country.

    I agree that Senator Reid should be impeached. IL is not longer the problem or the embarrassent - the problem and the embarassment now rests squarely with Senator Reid and the Democrate controlled Congress

    January 6, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Will-South Dakota

    Seat him and lets get on with dealing with our economic problems, DEMS & REPUBS--FIX OUR COUNTRYs PROBLEMS! You all got us into,

    January 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Libby, Reston, VA

    boered1: The reason for not seating him is that the Illinois Secretary of State has not certified him, which is a requirement. Without the endorsement, he has not been legally appointed.

    Unlike the Bush administration, the Dems don't want to pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones to ignore.

    January 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Jeremy

    The appointed senator was appointed by a man who is charged with trying to sell the senate seat. They told him long before burris was appointed that they would refuse to seat ANYONE who blagojevich picked. So the way I look at it, even IF burris is qualified, he should not be seated. His name is now tainted thanks to blag.

    January 6, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Cheryl in Chicago (60619)

    Please seat this fool! On a plane back to his arm chair in Chicago. Our governor has made a travesty of our legislature because they were too afraid to strip his powers because they know he would start naming names, probably theirs. Burris has stepped in a mine field. We won't elect him in Illinois. If we would we would have done it when he ran for mayor, governor and the senate.

    January 6, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. Kristal

    It is not up to Jesse White to decide who should be seated and who should not. While he is entitled to his personal opionion, it is his duty as Secretary of State to sign off on the certification and allow this process to move forward. There is a Constitution which dictates how this needs to be handled. Jesse White, do the job that the people of the State of Illinois are paying you to do. It may be your job on the line next.

    January 6, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. sug35

    SHAME ON, HARRY REID! I thought America was the country that had a a peaceful exchange of power. The circus outside the Capitol reminds me of scenes from the 60's during the civil rights movements. Senator Burris, a 71 year old man does not deserve to be treated this way. He was appointed by the Governor of Illinois and he is the Jr. Senator of Illinois.

    January 6, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. jhen

    Democrats we have come to far to begin making our own drama. Seat Burris and worry about 2010 in 2010. if the economy does not turn each seat up for election will be in jeopardy

    January 6, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Jazz

    Maybe Burns should really think about what is going on around his pick and why everyone is so angry. Burns needs to watch the tone of his voice and what he says. I for one didn't like the idea that the race card is being played as a reason for him not be sworn in as a Senator. What everyone should realize is that yes we don't have an Afician American in the Senate but by Burns being there will not make a difference. Now what he should do is either do what he is asked or wait his policital term in 2010. People we have an Africian American President let's not try to get everything Africian American.

    January 6, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. B.O.FAN

    Send him home until his appointor is cleared of any wrong doing. If he plays the race card, send him to jail because the same treatment would have been applied to any white appointee as well.

    January 6, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I didn't think the Senate Dems had it in them to actually stand their ground, but I am impressed. I do not think they should allow Burris into the Senate. Blago is a fool and the people of his state deserve better! Burris may be a good man, but he should have never accepted this appointment and a special election should have been held.

    January 6, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Collins From MN

    I think he should be seated. The senate should investigate his appointment though to make sure he didn't pay to play. They should not declare him guilty by association. That will take us back to Bill Ayes and Obama.

    January 6, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Ramsey Tercero

    Sadly, Sen Harry Reid just showed Sen. Designee Burris " to the back of the bus" by having him shoved off the capitol grounds for his news conference. Oh, and by the way, when Harry Reid suggests that Mr. Burris not seek reelection if he were to seat him in the senate; isn't that seeking favors or in the least trying to interfere in an election process? If Senator Reid can say this openly then what did the Illinois Governor do thats any different than Senator Reid.
    Ramsey Tercero
    Agusta, GA

    January 6, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    I wonder what he promised Blagojevich?

    January 6, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. j williamson

    The idea of Burris being a "victim" of racism (as he's already implied) is absolutely astounding, given that Barack Obama just was "promoted" to the highest ofice in the land. The Jackson/Sharpton spin machine has finally sputtered out – thank God!! Just weeks ago, Burris said that anyone appointed by the embattled Gov would be "tainted" – I guess he wasn't referring to himself.

    January 6, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Mrs. A.

    If he hasn't done anything wrong, seat him! Investigate him fully, and seat the guy! Innocent until proven guilty...

    January 6, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Rick

    Looks like they've got The Great Obama over a barrel on this one. Either Obama deals or Blago and Burris sing like canaries and expose Obama's extensive dirty laundry.

    Change we can believe in.

    January 6, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Roy

    Could be worse...could have been ALLAN KEYES who was appointed.
    So....an African American (Jesse White) will not sign the certificate for Roland Burris, also an African American.

    Today Senators said that Minnesota should decide THEIR senatorial race between Coleman and Franken.
    Well, ILLINOIS should decide who the next senator should be. If Jesse White has not signed off.....then Burris should NOT be seated at this time until all agree and are on the same page.
    Without the needed signatures why is this even an issue?????

    January 6, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. BW

    Liberals and corrupt Democrats yelling at each other, calling each other terrible names, accusations of foul play, racist comments, etc. And no Republican or conservative to blame (yet!).

    January 6, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Jerry

    It is shameful for the democratic leaders to be so ignorant of the law
    that they would deliberately and with premeditation block Burris
    from taking his rightful seat in the Senate.

    Is this what our military has fought and died for?

    January 6, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Beverly, NYC

    Starved for attention much? Burris can't be an effective Senator without the right committee appointments, he may as well be a Senate page. The people of Ilinois must be so proud!!

    January 6, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. tony

    If Burris wants to help embarrass the Democratic Party, he might as well become a Republican. Let's see how many people will still support his appointment if he becomes a Republican.

    January 6, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. montag

    Once again the Democrats form up the wagons in a circle and seize defeat from the jaws of victory!

    Incompetent fools. Democrats AND Republicans alike.

    January 6, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. NYDEM

    Sue those idiot Dems in the Senate. Can't they see that Burris was legally appointed? That idiot Reid is going to lose this in the courts, and he is cementing his reputation as a racist to boot.

    January 6, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |

    It is always dangerous when either party whether Dem or Rep decides which laws they will follow.

    The law does not allow the Senate to refuse seating a lawfully appointed Senator simply because the Majority leader feels the appointment is "tainted". So, now there will be a long and costly court battle the majority of which we the taxpayer will pay when Burris is eventually seated. Reid and Obama should have kept their mouths shut before mouthing off without reading the law.

    I would have thought the Dems would have realized this after the shrub did so much overriding of the law and deciding the ones he would or would not follow.

    Apparantly not. I certainly hope the republicans are happy with the precedent that they have established now for the dems to follow.

    January 6, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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