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. Tim

    And in this ring..........

    January 6, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. nickdog

    Don't worry, Obama will kick the doors open for ya. Blago is still Gov. Of Ill last time I checked so this man should be seated if he gives him the job.

    January 6, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. California Gold

    Burris isn't even qualified. He is a former Attorney General and he got all bent out of shape because he produced legal papers which were incomplete: no signature from the Secretary of State. Burris, did you think someone who examines documents for completeness wouldn't notice that signature was missing? Maybe you really are that stupid.

    January 6, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. the idiot

    White should be sued for all of the money in the Illinois state treasury, this is flat illegal and sets a bad precedent. for partisan politics that will most certainly continue with the power grab by the libs.

    January 6, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. sg

    Seat Burris if he's clean and there's nothing shady about him.

    January 6, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Elly

    I am sure this man is a fine individual and well deserving of a senate seat BUT its not about him and his character its about the *crook*
    who appointed him... Blagojevitch
    The Illinois senate need to get him out of office pronto

    January 6, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. J.L.

    With all due respect to Ronald Burris, the impression I get is that he's someone more interested in the limelight and his legacy than anything else. He says be against the appointer but don't hold things against the appointee... Huh? One of the reasons the appointer is getting so much flak is because he was trying to sell the position he is supposed to appoint. With that one little fact, the seat is tainted, whoever he chooses. And final thing I find really weird and makes me think he's just interested in adding more to his legacy, he has a mausoleum built in a cemetery that lists his accomplishments... I just gotta saw... wow... and not in a good way.

    January 6, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Jazz

    Mr. Burris follow the rules. You should of all people know what is expected for a swearing in. If there is a signature left off then guess what you don't count. Go back and revisit your rulles and then say I forgot that part of the swearing rules.

    January 6, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Jen

    well what did he expect?? They said they were not going to accept him or let him be sweared in. Did he think they were lying? He is only trying to cause a scandal. He did this all wrong if he is a respectable person as he says.. if he thinks he has a chance to be in the senate seat he should have done it the right way without it being tainted by controversial Governor who has been arrested. A Respectable honest person would wait and do as they government wishes since the questions surrounding the Gov of Illinois... plain and simple... and Respectable honest person would not be pushing so hard (as it seems to be some underhanded reason why he wants it so badly) or causing such a stir, commotion, and scandal with it. There is something more to it here and it doesnt come across as good. IF I ever have a chance of voting on something with his name on it... he will NOT get my Vote! I dont like people like this at all. Its nothing but Trouble!

    January 6, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. tired of corporate politics

    After Obama's shady dealings, i think the DNC is emboldened to change the rules as they go, since it worked for the new president.

    January 6, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Dee

    I am sick already of hearing how the Senate is shutting out a Black Leader. I do not believe for one second that color has anything to do with what is taking place with this situation. And if Mr. Burris really wanted to be taken seriously by the Senate, he would or should have agreed to be seated once the Governor of Illinois has either been convicted or acquitted of the charges against him.

    Why would any politician in their right mind want the controversy surrounding them that is tied to this senate seat? With the exception it seems of Mr. Burris who has the ego of a football field.

    I am proud of our senate for refusing to seat anyone that this Governor appoints to fill Obama's seat. I am from Chicago and whole heartedly back the decision of our Senate to not seat anyone appointed by this Governor

    January 6, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Grimm

    They said they would do this...

    January 6, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. DNC must be changed.

    PLEASE TELL ME CNN OR OTHERS. HOW MANY AMERICANS INCLUDING MYSELF HAVE BEEN WORDERING WHAT IF GOV. BLAGO WOULD APPOINT VALERIE JARRETT FOR THE SENETE SEAT WHO OBAMA REALLY WNATS, ILL SECRETARY OF STATE, JESSE WHITE'D SHOULD REJECT TO SIGN THE CERTIFICATE ????

    Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White who is African-American (D-IL)declined to sign the certificate because of ILL Gov. Blago is accused of trying to sell Obama's seat. Does his action is legal or illegal ??
    Does the power of IL Secretary of State use fairly over the Burris's appoint which has 100 times experiences more than Caroline Kennedy in New York. I think Harry Reid has too much pushed the IL Secretary of State. I don't support Gov. Blago's crimminal at all. However, CNN news said Gov. Blago solely has the power to appoint legally the senete seat until the impeachment processing of Blago has done.

    January 6, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. MD

    Congratulations to Harry Reid and Dick Durbin for a total and complete disregard for the Constitution of the United States.

    They apparently believe that the US Constitution can be viewed to be applicable only on the basis of convenience.

    Both should be impeached immediately.

    January 6, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. observer

    And to think these clowns will run the country for the next couple of years!

    January 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Fran

    If the man was not so full of himself, he might have told the Governor that he would have to decline the offer based on the current controversy with the Governor's legal matters. But, this is someone who is obviously power hungry and narcsissitic...a really ugly combination.

    January 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. M Jonah

    There are two parts to this story. The one part is this that Mr Burris is being opportunistic whether he likes to hear this or not. He is consciously taking what he envisages to be an opportune time to satisfy his unscrupulous ambitions. The attitude he is putting on is also a testimony that he has no good intentions to serve the people of Illinois. He is fighting for himself. His attitude also testifies that he has a heinous intention under his sleeve to accomplish in the US senate. If not he should not have accepted Blagojevich's appointment as a cover up.

    The other part is that Blagojevich has been able to achieve his aim by using a poor soul, which unfortunately turned out to be Mr Burris, as a scape goat to get the public's mind off his scandalous career. Mr Burris' ambitions has enabled Blagojevich to pull another corrupt and defiant career action off.

    It will not matter how much experience Burris has and how intelligent and successful he is, his good name is forever tainted to have accepted an appointment from a governor who is being investigated of corruption. Professionally, every employee it does not matter where is supposed to step aside from his or her job while he or she is being investigated for corruption. Blagojevich has been defiant and disrespectful to the COMMON employment laws of the land AND UNFORTUNATELY BURRIS WHO IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE KNOWN BETTER AS A FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, HAS DECIDED TO JOIN HANDS WITH BLAGOJEVICH TO SUPPORT HIM (BLAGOJEVICH) TO CONTINUE HIS (BLAGOJEVICH) CORRUPT, DEFIANT, HEINOUS AND DISRESPECTFUL WAYS TO THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS.

    A CONCERNED BLACK WOMAN

    January 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. WCCH

    Mr Burris and his friends actually thought he could force the Senate to accept him by using the race card. Is that really the way to present yourself to the people you have to work with and expect cooperation from? Calling himself senator before being sworn in was also arrogent. Guess it didn't work.

    January 6, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. earle,florida

    Just another government (political) clandestine,"covert" hit job,..no suprises,..long time coming,...just timing,which in my opinion blew the case from any kind of fruitful prosecution! Great screw-up Fitz,..

    January 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. JONNY IN GEORGIA

    ALL THE SENATORS ARE SINNERS ONLY TIME WILL REVEAL .FOR ALL I THINK I KNOW ABOUT THEM THEY AR NOT WORTH THE TIME OF THE DAY .THEY WERE IN PUBLIC OFFICE WHEN THE GREAT USA WAS SINKING AND NOW THEY BLAME PRESIDENT BUSH . THE QUESTION IS WHERE WERE THE AND WHAT IS THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION? THEY ARE ALL TO BE BLAMED. POST THIS.

    January 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Slider

    I am laughing in the face of every Democrat in this country, and will continue to do so for the next four years.

    January 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. carlo

    Fine man my foot. Burris is an idiot, and it is a sin and a shame to live in this world for 71 years like Burris and not know a rat when you see one.

    January 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Joe Independent

    Why are prosecutors dragging their feet with Blago? Prosecute already. If you can't prosecute, then say so. You can hold some one in limbo until you figure things out...think Gitmo.

    January 6, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Llexy

    Well I'm not a rat and I don't particularly want to "get used" to corrupt officials cramming things down the throat of the American People. I'm sick to death of the corruption, hypocrisy, and lack of morals that take place in Washington. And even more I'm tired of the American people just rolling over and accepting it as the cost of doing business. So you "deal with it" I'm still going to ask questions and demand some kind of accountability, even if I'm the only one!

    January 6, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. Retired Army in San Antonio

    California Gold - January 6th, 2009 12:25 pm ET

    Burris isn't even qualified. He is a former Attorney General........

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He isn't qualified? Would you please elaborate?

    As I see it, Burris is more qualified today than at least 75 of the Senate was when they first got elected.

    The guy is the legally appointed Senator to Obama's former seat......he'll be seated sooner or later; and the sooner the better for the Democrats.

    January 6, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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