January 6th, 2009
11:35 AM ET
14 years ago

Burris shut out by Senate secretary

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/06/art.roland1.cnn.jpg caption="Burris told reporters Tuesday he was turned away from the Senate."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, named by Illinois' controversial governor to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, said Tuesday morning that he had been informed by the secretary of the U.S. Senate that his credentials were "not in order" when he arrived at the Senate door for the start of the 111th Congress.

Watch: Burris and his attorney speak to the media

Nancy Erickson, the Senate secretary, initially rejected Burris' appointment on Monday 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.

Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. farmertedtimetrials

    unfortunately burris is taking advantage of a situation to get a appointment that the people did not want him to have. The dems could have stopped this but chose not to give the tax payers this opportunity. and I thought the gov. was for the people.

    January 6, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. email4kh

    If Burris had done the responsible thing and publicly declined the appointment by Governor Sociopath, he'd still have a decent chance to be a Senator. Oh, well.
    Being too stupid to do so served as a good filter. Anybody stupid enough to accept the appointment in the first place is probably too stupid to serve.

    January 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. John

    Democrats need to stop this infighting and get on with changing this country!

    Seat Senator Burris and Senator Franken and get on with business. If the GOP tries to block the swearing in of either Senator the Democrats need to pull out the old hammer that was used against them when the GOP wanted to seat Justices on the Supreme Court.

    January 6, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. aware

    Reid is racist but this is ridiculous! He is out of his league here.

    Burris should have been sworn in. Blago is no more corrupt than the guy who bought his way into Washington. Hail PEBO! 🙁

    January 6, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Ellie

    Mr. Burris is CLEARLY the ring leader in this circus. He made the choice to play the "political black token" in this whole mess.

    Mr. Burris KNEW he would NOT be seated. It was CLEARLY announced by both the Secretary of State in Chicago, including the the Senate and and Congress in Washington!! What part did Mr. Burris NOT get?

    Mr. Burris is determined to create nothing more than a media circus and he's the "ring leader".

    If he was truly and honorable man, he would have accepted the nomination ONLY if the Senate and the Secretary of State approved of his nomination. Mr. Burris is NOT fooling anyone with all this "poor little me" CRAP!!!!

    He's become just like the CORRUPTABLE and DIRTY GOVERNOR who nominated him. Mr. Burris has become GREEDY with power and the media spotlight. He LOVES creating chaos as a way to FORCE his way into the Senate Seat!!

    This is a man who LOST 5 POLITICAL RACES in Chicago. Why is that?

    Where was the Governor's support when he was running for office back in the days? Where was all the Black Politician's voices and support when Mr. Burris was running back in the day?

    If Governor Blagovegich wasn't under FEDERAL CORRUPTION charges, he would NEVER have selected Rolland Burris to the Senate Seat. He would have sold it to the highest BIDDER!!!!

    This is nothing more but the usual use of another "TOKEN BLACK MAN" who we know is GREEDY like the Governor and have him cause as much chaos as possible in Washington. Mr. Burris is doing just that. Bottom line.

    January 6, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. RTB

    Mr. Burris is a disgrace. Blago is having his last laugh and I'm amazed.

    January 6, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Melissa

    Sorry but the Democrats are right. He should not be given a seat and the appointment should be declared invalid. There should be a vote on a new Senator.

    January 6, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. farmertedtimetrials

    why is this a black and white fued nothing was ever said pre burris. the people of ill.are being manipulated by baggo and now washington is involved please take care of your own problems.

    January 6, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Thomas

    "JM January 6th, 2009 1:09 pm ET

    Imagine that the white democratic senate leadership is barring a legally appiointed, qualified African American Senator from enterring the senate chaimbers. Looks like the Dems are the party of white sheets and pointy hats."

    Only if you are stupid and ignorant of the facts would you think this was a racial issue.

    This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with following rules. Do you believe that the rules should be broken because Burris is Black?

    January 6, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. JM

    Besides how does it feel when the shoes on the other foot? Republicans have been accused of being racist where no racism exists many times by your side. Had this been a Republican Senate Majority leader you bet that's all you would have heard about how this is racist. Get over it.

    January 6, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    I love it when Democrats fight with each other. Looks like we'll have a few more years of nothing getting done.

    January 6, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. JM

    FYI, the Senate Majority leader does not pick who is seated in the Senate. He does not pick the Senators.

    January 6, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. maurice

    they wouldn`t poor burris play in any senate games...........lol. even if he is seated he will be a lame duck from the get go. they will not pass his bills and he will probly be rejected as a voice in the senate. so in all fairness to him, he should kindly reject the offer and run in 2010. and the legality question is good. if blago is indeed convicted would burris being seated be legal?

    January 6, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. jrzshor

    Nancy Erickson CANNOT not sign the certificate! Her legal, ethical and administrative obligation is to sign official State documents. NOT to comment on them. she is now insubordinate.

    January 6, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. jrzshor

    my apologies to Ms Nancy Erickson.

    Secretary of State Jesse White CANNOT not sign the certificate! His legal, ethical and administrative obligation is to sign official State documents; NOT to comment on them. He is now insubordinate.

    January 6, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Adele, Brooklyn

    Good Job, this man should not be seated especially with the circumstances surrounding his appointment. I wouldn't let myself be used by the Gov. Burris should show some back bone and asked the the state have elections and the people decide who they want to represent them in place of Obama. Shame on you Burris and I am proud my party is representing my view. And, as a Black Woman I feel race should no longer an issue in politics.

    January 6, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Nebraskan

    I don't understand why anger should be directed at Burris.

    I understand that folks want to distance themselves from the alleged misconduct (again, no trial, conviction, indictment, etc.) of Blago, but now they want to change the rules in the middle of the game. No one ever took away Blago’s right and duty to appoint someone to the position. If they were that concerned about it, they could have had a court hearing or injunction before the appointment took place.

    The sour thing about this is that the Illinois Secretary of State is not refusing to sign off on Burris based on anything constitutional, any court ruling, nothing but his own “I-don’t-want-to” and some he-said she-said allegations. Disagreeing with someone’s actions is not a sufficient enough reason.

    January 6, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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