January 6th, 2009
11:35 AM ET
13 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. Mike, Syracuse NY

    i wonder if they will refuse to seat Franken because the MN Gov. hasn't signed HIS certificate of appointmant. Fair is fair. The same rule applies.

    January 6, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. a new year

    jesse white needs to sign burriss certificate, the law is on burriss side, no more double standards, seat the man.

    January 6, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Sherrol in Canada

    The melee lived up to expectations!!!

    January 6, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. karen-phoenix

    Burris NEVER should have accepted the appointment! Anyone who accepts anything from Blago should understand what position they are putting themselves in.

    January 6, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Scott NYC Independent

    Hello people this is not an isolated situation Al Franken is in the same position and cannot be seated without the Secretary of States signature on the certification. In Frankens case, although recognized he won't be seated until any and all legal challenges are completed. Burris is not being treated any different

    January 6, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. jess

    It was an unlawful rejection. What good is a senate that does not obey the law?

    January 6, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Todd

    As an African American I say GOOD!! They should NOT SEAT HIM.
    He should be ashamed for being USED by Blago.
    He should be thinking what's best for the state of Illinois and not turning this into a big circus.

    January 6, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Fred in KY

    REJECTED!!! Booyah!

    January 6, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. BB

    What a mess – Burris should just cool his heels and let this play out quietly instead of raising all the ruckus. Geeez.

    January 6, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. ...

    That's cold.

    January 6, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Bev

    Obama isn't even in office and the Democrats are already overwhelmed with drama...as usual. Which is why the liberal media wanted him elected. This is embarassing. Russia cuts off gas supplies to europe. The Middle East is blowing up. And we are focused on the a very bad first day back to school for congress...fighting amonst themselves. Not to mention that the Obama appointments are turning into another drama ...Panetta at the CIA? Let's elect Jimmy Carter for Defense Secretary! How about George Clooney for head of the FBI? This will be a very short 4 years.

    January 6, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Charles Douglas Lemay

    You are not, NOT!, under any circumstances "a sitting senator"
    unless and until YOU HAVE BEEN DULY SWORN IN!

    Roland Burris IS NOT "the junior senator from Illinois," no matter
    how many times he keeps repeating it. Everybody on the planet
    seems to get this, except him.


    January 6, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |

    Let the man in. We have an election coming up soon. It won't be that long. We have more important things to face.

    January 6, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. flybyshoeing

    Harry Reid strikes again. Will someone please give him a call and remind which party he is in.

    January 6, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Brett

    too bad, let other than government to appoints you, Burris. Then you are REAL legal! you know that!

    January 6, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. big rob

    Blagojevich is govenor, he made his decision. Seat this man and get to the real problems. History tells us he'll lose in 2010 anyway.

    January 6, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Viet Vet

    What!!?? Why God itself put his hand on the Gov's shoulder to name him as Barry's replacement.. Burris said so!

    January 6, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Mari

    Well, are we surprised? Mr. Burris, this is about your ego, sir, not about serving the people of Illinois.

    There needs to be a special election for President-elect Obama's seat.

    Blagojevich lost the right to appoint someone when he tried to sell the senate seat. The man is a crook.

    January 6, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Karen Penner

    I concur completely with Roland Burris. He should be seated as the junior senator from Illinois with all rights and priviledges of that office. He was legally appointed by the Gov. of Illinois and he deserves to be seated. The Senate Democratic leadership should stop playing power politics and get on to more important work of solving some of our nation's problems. BTW, I am a 60 year old white, retired professional woman from Nevada and a long-time Democrat.

    January 6, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Lauren the Designer

    The more I see this man on television, the more he comes off as a complete kook.

    January 6, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. John in Ohio

    Good. This is what should happen. The Democrats don't want to seat somebody appointed by a crook. The Republicans would love for the Democrats to seat Burris, so that they can act all horrified and outraged by it and joyously pick up a Senate seat in Illinois in 2 years.

    A "Senator" appointed to an empty Senate seat by a governor on tape talking about how he wants to sell the appointment to the empty Senate seat, even if it is legal and legitimate, is not acceptable.

    January 6, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. ProfMike

    Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution of the United States begins "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..." It is perfectly constitutional and legal for the Senate to deny Roland Burris a seat representing the State of Illinois. Whether or not it is politicallym prudent is another question. Sitting members of the Senate can also call for a vote on the denial which might prove embarrassing for the Majority Leader if several Democrats were to support Mister Burris. If the US Supreme Court were to insert itself into the debate there would be a very interesting Constitutional tug of war. Does the federal court system have ANY jurisdiction in this case? Looking at the first sentence of Article 1, Section 5, it appears not, since the grammar means the each House is the sole judge of members' qualifications.

    January 6, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Mesa Mick

    Hey Burris – Go home until the appropriate state officials certify your appointment – it's that technical part of the law that you seem to want ignore while bleeting "I'm the Seantor appointed by god".

    God maybe, but you need the correct paperwork here in earth...

    January 6, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Polar Bears Against Palen

    Democrats just keep shooting themselves in the foot. I have a feeling I'm going back to the Green Party in 4 years.

    January 6, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Gracie

    Rolland Burris should have NEVER taken this Senate Seat nomination in the first place. He KNEW that it would cause nothing but a "circus" and the Democrats said EARLY ON they would NOT seat anyone named by the Illinois Governor, so did the Secretary of State of Illinois.

    So Rolland Burris KNEW he would NOT be seated. This is NOTHING NEW in politics. Mr. Burris is USING the media and playing the political game to try gain a Senate Seat he NEVER would have been elected to in the first place.

    This guy ran FIVE times and was never elected, there must be a reason he was NOT elected. The Governor just made him a political "black token" pawn in this messing chess game. Both the Democrats and Republicans can STALL this process for as long as it takes while starting impeachment process on the Illinois Governor!!!!

    Mr. Burris is NOT fooling anyone. He claims he doesn't want a problems and doesn't want to cause any confrontations, etc. Geeeez, what a crock of CRAP. This guy has been doing EVERYTHING to stir the pot when it comes to this Senate Seat. Mr. Burris is really at the root of the problem.

    I don't think ANYONE SHOULD BE SEATED until the Chicago Senate approves of the election process of that seat. The governor should NEVER had named Mr. Burris to begin with. Blagoveivich is nothing but a CROOKED and GREEDY GOVENOR!!!

    January 6, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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