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. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    It's getting ugly in there again!
    Where's the due process for this Governor? If he's not undergoing impeachment proceedings–then he should be allowed to perform all acts and orders of his office until removed.

    January 6, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Steve McKenney

    He is not serving the interests of the Democratic Party. Let me preface this, Blago won't get re-elected (even if he's found not guilty). This nomination will have to fight hard to get re-elected and will probably lose anyway. The Democratic party will lose this seat in 2008. Why do you think the GOP wants him seated?

    Both Blago and Burris are not serving the public. They are serving themselves even it's short term. Sure Burris was elected to statewide office over 16 years. I don't think those odds will hold through in 2010.

    January 6, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. CHANGE.COM

    Burries belongs to any other place but the US senate. He is an angry African American man like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has seized on this opportunity just to be in the news. Illinois has thousands of qualified people with integrity that could be appointed, at the right time, to Obama's senate seat. Good call, madam senate secretary!

    January 6, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Kurt C.

    This is just another example of Democrat Culture of Corruption.

    January 6, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    He must have" paid to play"!

    January 6, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Carter

    The level of politics which the Democrats are now engaging in is undermining their purpose. I am a life long Democrat, but I think for myself. The persons who agree with the Democrats are those who do not think for themselves or those who just like to see the Democrats make idiots of themselves. Nobody has even remotely alleged that Mr. Burris has engaged in ANY wrongdoing. In fact, EVERYONE goes out of their way to say that they do not believe that Mr. Burris has done any wrongdoing. So that is way I believe it is idiotic for anyone, to say in the same statement that they do not believe that Mr. Burris has engaged in any wrongdoing as to Governor Blagojevich and then go on to claim that Mr. Burris is tainted. What an oxymoron, that evidences only underlying motives (i.e. that the Democratic Senators want only to appoint one of their choosing). I now believe that this entire scenario, of Governor Blagojevich was created by the Democrats, because they wanted to appoint who they wanted and the Governor didn't want to give them that appoint (for what ever reasons).

    January 6, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Frank Bensley

    I hear that Burris is the designate for senator from Illinois. When did the word designate become a noun? How much do the CNN wordsmiths get paid. I would like a job with no standards.

    January 6, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Dave Martin

    Who died and left Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid Judge, Jury and Executioner.
    I thought the United State of America was founded on some fundamental principals, like separation of Church and State, Right to arm our militia, and Innocent until proven guilty.
    Each State has created a process for filling unexpired terms in office. In the State of Illinois the Governor makes the appointment. The question should be was this process properly followed. I realize the Governor has been charged with a crime, but until he has been properly removed from office, he remains the Governor.

    January 6, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Thomas Young

    I am intrigued by all the attention given to the "non spectacle" of the Roland Burris Senate seat attempt. If Mr Burris wanted to be less of a spectacle why didn't he instead confront the Illinois Secretary of State?
    Could it be that a state confrontation would not have been as sensational and less of an opportunity for racism to become an issue ?

    January 6, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. TJ

    Though there may be a cloud over Blagoevich, in this country, there is still the presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty of an offense. Blagoevich has NOT been proven guilty and has made an appointment that is within his powers as Governor of Illinois. In following the law, I recommend that the Senate seat Mr. Burris. If Mr. Blagoevich is later convicted of wrongdoing, the Senate will have to proceed based on the law to see whether or not the appointment can be contested and a special election held to determine the new Senator or if the successor to Mr. Blagoevich would be entitled to make another appointment to replace Mr. Burris should he be unseated as a result of a Blagoevich conviction that could be used as a reason to invalidate his appointment of Mr. Burris.

    January 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Tony

    "Because it's severely damaging to the image of the Democratic Party" is not a reason to shut out Burris. He is the lawfully appointed junior senator from Illinois, and you 'Rats are just gonna have to deal with it.

    January 6, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Case Closed

    Mistake ... big mistake ... the law is on the side of Mr. Burris.

    People need to stop thinking they can get around the rules ... whether they be Democrats or Republicans.

    I've tired of lawyers getting in the middle of clear cut rules and mucking things up. We need not waste any time or any money on debating this Burris situation.

    He was legally selected by a Governor who is the only person with the right to make the appointment.

    He is imminently qualified to be a US Senator. He has done nothing wrong to eliminate himself from being elligible for this office.

    President Obama does not need this drama as he seeks to start to fix 8 years of mismanagement by Bush. Harry Reid, you need to get over this and fast. We don't give a $k!t about the political games you are playing.

    January 6, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. xargaw

    It does not appear that there are legal grounds to deny Burris his Senate Seat. It may be unpalitable because the Illinois Gov. is under a cloud, but his appointment is legal nonetheless. Once again Harry Reid has made a mess. Why can't my Party get a new M.L.?

    January 6, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. cherrystrawberry

    As an African American, I am so very very very disgusted with this has been House Negro I could jusrt SPI T! What he needs to do is go sit his old azz down somewhere and let the people of Chicago decide who should get the seat. I am further disgusted that some white Senators are afraid to somehow offend black constiguents (sp.) by not sitting Mr. Burris!!! What a freaking crock! News Flash White SENATORS!!!!!!!!!!!! We dont care if a black, white, asian, Latino, Mexican etc., is appointed as long as he is is QUALIFIED! To think that black people are going to March in the street if this antiquated relic isnt seated is EVEN MORE OFFENSIVE!!!!! I equate it equally offensive to those whites who think that most blacks voted for Obama because of his Skin. While I dont deny I felt a certain pride in doing such, we voted for the Best DEMOCRAT! Believe me we would have voted overwhelmingly for ANY Democrat as we have in past elections.

    What is wrong with you People!!!!!! Why are some white people so afraid to stand up and say …"I dont care what color this man is…..This isnt't Right and we as AMERICAN CITIZENS aren't gonna take it?" You'd be surprised at the Black Chorus that may Chime in with you.

    I'm sorry I ranted.

    January 6, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. BB

    After thinking about it, I've decided Blago did this just to get the media attention away from him.

    He's genius – it worked !!

    January 6, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. candical

    The Democrats have a way of turning victory into a cartoon. Mr Reed needs to understand that it is not the place of those in the senate to turn Burris away. If his selection was illegal perhaps. However under the circumstances he should be seated. We cannot allow those in power to decide who should or should not be seated when they are legally elected or appointed. Think of the consequences. If the party in power does not want some duly appointed to sit they can just block it. What a mess we would be in when this is allowed. Get over it Mr. Reed. The govenor may have out thought you but there will be an election in 2010. In the interim we have things that need to be done that are actually importanr.

    January 6, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. PA

    The Democrats need to seat Burris or the cloud over Gov. Rod Blagojevich's head will be siting over their's and will be ten times larger and take much longer to dissipate! Stop the antics as Ed Rollins stated you don't need this quagmire at this time. Your only making your party look small and petty! Your inaugurating your President shortly do you think he needs your petty display now?

    January 6, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Marq

    Seems that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is willing to use any excuse to deny Senator Roland Burris his Senate seat. Reid appears to have the following of his constituents, however I wonder if it is voluntary or out of fear of retribution. Senator Burris appears to be one Public Servant that honestly deserves the Senate seat to continue serving the people of Illinois. Senator Reid has now tainted the the Democratic party with the "no African American" demand conveyed to Gov. Blagojevich.

    January 6, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Xania

    Mr. Roland Burris needs to be issued the "How To Become A Legal U.S.Senator" rulebook. Did he actually believe that he could barnstorm his way into being sworn in? And if he did, how could he possibly become a good senator if he doesn't know the rules?

    January 6, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Chicago Girl

    Burris' credentials aren't in order and neither is he. He should have turned down the appointment from Blago. The voters of Illinois have rejected Burris in his last 3 campaigns. We don't want him! Burris please demonstrate some dignity and go home.

    January 6, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. J.P..

    I love it when liberals get pummeled with political correctness... a cudgel of their own creation.

    January 6, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Baze

    Burris brought this on himself. He knew dag on well that he was going to get turned away, and he tried to be indignant. If he truly wants to be seated, then he should get his rear end in gear and get whatever this signing is that the Senate wants.

    January 6, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. AB

    Burris says: I want my fat paycheck, medical & dental coverage, liberal vacation and time off now. All for doing nothing like the rest of the freeloaders.

    January 6, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Empty people voted for an empty suit

    Sherrol in Canada, "Blind ambition", why does that apply to Burris, did he lobby for the seat, pay anyone off, anything Sherrol?

    He has every right to be seated, but I am relishing the Democrats destroying their own and their own party will pay dearly down the road as many African Americans are rightfully ticked.

    Bloggy is he Democrats gift to Republicans that keeps on giving.

    With people like him, Rahm, Richardson, Edwards etc, etc, etc you liberals can get off your ethical high horse and "ride em' dirty".

    Your stay in power wil be a real short one.

    Now if we could only find some moderate Republicans to run he show and not right-wing crazies, moderates, even moderate Democrats that support he military will do………….

    January 6, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Empty people voted for an empty suit

    He has every right to be seated, but I am relishing the Democrats destroying their own and their own party will pay dearly down the road as many African Americans are rightfully ticked.

    Bloggy is he Democrats gift to Republicans that keeps on giving.

    With people like him, Rahm, Richardson, Edwards etc, etc, etc you liberals can get off your ethical high horse and "ride em' dirty".

    Your stay in power wil be a real short one.

    Now if we could only find some moderate Republicans to run he show and not right-wing crazies, moderates, even moderate Democrats that support he military will do………….

    January 6, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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