January 6th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
13 years ago

Durbin invites Burris to swearing-in ceremony

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/06/art.burris0106.gi.jpg caption="Terrance Gainer, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, escorted Roland Burris at the Capitol Tuesday when Burris tried to claim the seat vacated by President-elect Obama."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin stood with Democratic leaders Tuesday denying fellow Illinois Democrat Roland Burris the right to take the Senate oath, but the state’s senior senator did extend an invitation for Burris to watch the swearing-in ceremony from the Senate gallery, a Durbin spokesman tells CNN.

Durbin and other Democratic leaders have said they do not personally oppose Burris, but rather believe his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is tainted because of the governor’s alleged ethical lapses including trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

The Durbin spokesman said the office is holding a pass to the gallery – the elevated seats that ring the inside of the Senate chamber – for Burris, should he accept the invitation. Durbin also invited Burris to attend a reception in his Capitol Hill office for his own swearing-in, the aide said.

Burris was turned away from the Senate this morning, and it is unclear if he plans to return at noon to watch the swearing-in. Burris attorney Timothy Wright told reporters that denying his client the right to take the oath “is against the law of this land and we will consider our options” which he said ranged from going to court to continuing negotiations with Senate leadership.

Filed under: Dick Durbin • Roland Burris • Senate
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Carl Justus

    Reid, Durbin and any other senator that opposes Burris will find they will lose this battle if Burris keeps pushing it,
    If necessary the supreme will seat Burris if they do not go crazy like they did when they appointed Bush as president.
    I hope they have enough sense to follow the constitution. When the court make mosts of is decisions on 5 to 4 count they are not looking at the constitution, they are following their own beliefs or at least those who have supported them for the job.

    They are also a bunch of crybabies. Roberts is hollering for a raise. He must have known what the judge's salary was before he said yes to the job. WHAT DOES HE THINK ABOUT THE SALARIES AND WAGES OF 80 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WHO MAKE CLOSE TO 20 PERCENT OF WHAT HE MAKES. WHO IS GOING TO GIVE THEM A RAISE???????????????

    January 6, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Richard. Gov. Richardson hasn't resigned as Gov. at the first sign of impropriety; he only stepped aside from his nomination as Commerce Sec. He only did that at the urging of Obama's staffers, not because he wanted to.

    @Susan Canna, why are you surprised? Put Democrats in charge of anything and it becomes a 3 ring circus. Why do you think the Democratic Congress is even less popular than Bush?

    @AJONES "We didn't vote for Senator Obama because he is Black. "
    Thanks, that actually did make me LOL.

    January 6, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Kalay

    Carl: You got it better than any one. Law cannot be changed or interpreted for Reid or Durbin’s wishes. I am not crazy about ILL Governor but he is the governor. We have saying in USA. No one is guilty until it is proven in a court of law. Well all the hard work people did to get Mr. Obama elected have to watch this circus. SEAT Mr. Burris

    January 6, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Carrie Goodeagle Hayden, Idaho

    BB Illinois is not that stupid, after eight years of republican screw -ups why would they want to go back to Republifascism. The worst Dem in the world is still Mother Theresa compared to Bush, Cheney, and the most ignorant broad in the world Sarah you bet'cha nut-case Palin.

    January 6, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Kalay

    My dear Fellow Americans:

    The democrats are willing to seat AL Farnken without a certificate but they are not willing to seat Burris. What is wrong with these people?

    Hope Reid will be kicked out of his leadership position.

    January 6, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Sumitra Deb

    I predict that Democrats will lose this senate seat in 2010 because of their stupidity and backboneless behavior.

    January 6, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    "I applaud Jesse White and Harry Reid for their stance regarding Mr. Burris. Rather that taking the cowards way and hiding behind the law"

    Following the law is the "cowards way out", according to repubs???

    And repubs do not understand why they have a disconnect with the majority of America?

    You might want to start by reviewing such statements as the on above.

    January 6, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Eric R Roberts

    One point that many are glossing over (I don;t recall seeing anyone bringing this up) Burris is not the legally appointed senator from Illinois. Illinois Secretary of State, Jessee White, did not sign the certification and thus the process has not been completed. Until Jesse White signs the cert, Burris isn't legally anything. This also has nothing to do with race. Reid and Durbin were quite clear long before Burris was appoint by Blago that they would not accept anyone that Blago appointed. It is also the Constitutional right of the Senate to reject members and not allow them to be sworn in.

    Burris is also a campaign contributor of Blago's. While it was only 14,000 contributed, it still lend to the dark cloud that would hang over him. While I do think he would probably make a great senator as he as already served my state quite honoroably and with great distiction, I don;t think he should be seated. I would say that democratic senate leaders are handling this as they should. I commend then for having a spine and standing up and protecting the honor of the senate.

    January 6, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Mboka

    The 'rule of law' is collapsing in the United States. One is no longer innocent until proven guilty, senators can violate standing laws, elected officials can refuse to perform their legal obligations.

    January 6, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. jrzshor


    January 6, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Erik

    Not sure why some people think this: They did NOT seat Al Franken on Tuesday. He doesn't have a valid certificate because Minnesota requires that legal proceedings are complete before all signatures are made. Al Franken knows better than to try to be seated under the circumstances and is not making a fuss over it.

    January 6, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Mike in Philly

    "Why is it necessary for all of this, so many seats filled by appointees. Why not have elections and let the people decide their representatives? Why are Democrats so afraid of this idea, kinda reminds me of the Soviet Socialist Republics when only candidates of one party were allowed."

    Because the law states that governors fill vacant Senate seats, for the remainder of the term. So the Democratic governors in question are merely following the law. There's no law that says a special election *must* be held for a vacant seat.

    January 6, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. witch

    To some of you out there if you don't live in Il you have no idea how much people dislike and distrust the Gov. We know he is a crook. He said that he would not seat anyone but like always he lied. He could appoint a dog and the people of Il still would not accept his choice.

    January 6, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. PDL

    Why does this have any connection to race. He's not being held off because he's black, it's because he's been appointed by a pretty shady character. Don't cloud this with racism.

    January 6, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. elizabeth

    They pushed this old man out into the freezing cold, bitter rain. This is 71 year old man. Did they know this man can catch cold or pneumonia.

    January 6, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Mary

    This is so UNFAIR – Burris is getting penalized for that stupid Gov!!!



    January 6, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. G

    Let see, A conficted fellow from Alaska run for office ( Ted Steven) no one said anything about it but a legitimate appointment by the Gov of ill has deny to take the senate oat. That so funny.

    January 6, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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