January 6th, 2009
06:33 PM ET
14 years ago

Feinstein breaks with leadership on Burris

(CNN) - Outgoing Senate Rules Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday she disagrees with her Democratic leadership blocking Roland Burris from being seated in the Senate.

“The question is really one, in my view, of law,” Feinstein told reporters in a Capitol hallway.

“Does the governor have the power, under law, to make the appointment? And the answer is yes. Is the governor discredited? The answer is yes. Does that affect his appointment power? The answer is no, until certain things happen,” she said.

“So, if you don’t seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America. Mr. Burris is a senior, experienced politician. He has been Attorney General, he has been Controller, and he is very well-respected. I am hopeful that this will be settled.”

Feinstein is currently chairman of the Senate's Rules Committee, although New York Sen. Charles Schumer is slated to take over that post in the next few days.

Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Roland Burris
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. shannon

    Texas Teacher, you're not really a teacher are you, you're just kidding about that right. Look up what party Feinstein belongs to

    January 6, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. PA

    Forward with Schummer! The sooner the better.

    If Burris was a man of integrity he would have did the right thing and refused the appointment in light of all the negative vibes surrounding Blago and the charges that he will be facing. Instead, he choose to do what would benefit him irregardless of the commotion he KNEW it would set in motion. I always thought a Senators position encompassed humanitarian aspects and working for the good of the people. He seems to be more interested in getting in front of the Cameras for free publicity than he is in working for the Illinois people as Senator. Maybe Palin would be interested in hiring him.

    January 6, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  3. PA

    Burris should have did the right thing and refused the appointment in light of all the negative vibes surrounding Blago's charges. He choose to do what benefited him. He seems to be more interested in getting in front of the Cameras for free publicity than working for the Illinois people. Maybe Palin would be interested in hiring him.
    Onward with Schummer! The sooner the better.

    January 6, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. ken bill new york

    What game is burris playing? Does the phrase "fruit from the poisoned tree"not ring any bells at all? An honest person will wait till blago is cleared from any wrong doing before accepting anythingfrom him.Even if it were wrapped with antibiotics.

    January 6, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. David from Minnesota

    Feinstein is right on target.....the Senate leadership should follow the law....got a feeling that our new congress still doesn't get it...follow the law ...not one's political desires......I hope Obama can set the example for them to follow....if not....were in for another long four years....democrats will lose their majority in two years if they don't "get it" soon.....David in Minnesota

    January 6, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. Simmy

    I am shocked to hear this from Chrwn. Feinstein, but I agree. I have said it before, it's about the law. They can protest and attempt to humiliate this gentleman all they want, but he will be seated. It's not like Gov. Blago.. is the first corrupt Gov. Officials have had more than enough time to change the laws, to that these bad guys could be booted out quickly. The possibilites for this type debacle should have been addressed before Blago. The pencil broke, that's all she wrote.

    January 6, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Texas Teacher

    And we should worry about what Feinstein thinks... turn coat democrat.... a republican wolf in democratic sheep's clothes.... "Get thee behind us, SATAN!" I'm not even a Christian!

    January 6, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. kb

    Looks to me like blago wants to force people's hands in his desperation to remain gov.What a waste blago.To be electected gov and throw it awway like that? Whata waste!

    January 6, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. Fay Tx

    @Independent_me January 6th, 2009 8:14 pm ET
    I agree with Ms. Feinstein. The Demorats are being very stupid and shortsighted about this. They are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Don't punish Burris who – from all that has been said about him – is an honorable man. Punish that rotten-to-the-core blagovitch or whatever-his-name-is.
    Seat Burris, you dumb fools. Do you really want to give the Repugs a chance of gaining one more seat???*** I'm going to bed now .... You Are SOOOO Right You should run For GOV or Senator

    January 6, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. Joyce

    Feinstein--you don't live in Illinois. This is an Illinois problem. Until the Illinois Secretary of State signs off on the appointment paper, Burris cannot be seated. Thank goodness for Jesse White, IL Secy of State.

    January 6, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    sounds like Diane is a crybaby !!

    January 6, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Finally A law abiding Senator

    Well Finally, 1 out of 99 US Senators understands the rule of law, and is keenly aware of the illegal assault on individual states' rights that Harry Reid has launched by refusing to seat the duly appointed Junior Senator from IL. Kudos to Senator Feinstein

    January 6, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. Randolph

    Why it is so hard to some people to understand that Mr. Burris is legally appointed? Unless you have other motivations against him, every one has to accept this man as the junior Senator of the state of Illinois, like it or not. The law is certainly not perfect, but it is the law. It is applied to every one, and it should be a crime if going against it.
    Some people are saying that Mr. Burris shouldn't have accepted the nomination because of this or that. Frankly, it is not fair and honest to say such crap. Only a stupid or a naive person wouldn't have taken such extremely rare opportunity.
    I am not sure about you, I wish I was so lucky to have such opportunity. Of course, I would have accepted it, and I would be thanking GOD with all the energy I have.
    I am glad that more than 96% of this country are not racists and believe on equal opportunity for every one. The rest would eventually abandon their hatred and activism against people who doesn't look like they wanted him/her to look.
    Please, stop going around the Constitution in order to express your unfairness.

    I am not a fan of Rod Blagojevich or Senator Burris, but I deeply supported and voted for PE Obama in order to have change and fairness.

    January 6, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  14. Steven

    screw feinstein
    i'm as conservative as they come and i applaud the democrats for denouncing blagojevich from the beginning and sticking to their guns. they called blago's bluff, they said they would do all within their power to keep him from appointing someone, and they stuck to their word. with congress having approval ratings even lower than bush's, it's time we got rid of feinstein and reid and pelosi. we all know they are the ones in charge, and they will be the ones in possession of the rubber stamp when obama takes over.
    illinois politics is as corrupt as they come. centuries of tradition here. it doesn't just go away because of speeches about hope.

    who cares if blagojevich has the legal right to appoint the seat? so what? our govt has checks and balances and there are laws that can be maneuvered to also prevent his appointee from sitting, which is perfectly legal too.
    there is simply no way to trust any appointee from someone who tried to sell the seat. and this is NOT about "innocent until proven guilty" – ignorant americans just parrot what they hear on tv, like the people who repeat "free speech" like a broken record and don't even understand what it means. innocent until proven guilty is reserved for criminal court, where it can stay. as his employer, the public is perfectly within their rights to demand he be fired and actions be rejected

    January 6, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  15. No Incumbents 2010

    Careful Dianne, remember what happened to Leiberman when he started being a free thinker.

    January 6, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  16. rich

    Feinstein is right. Burris should be seated. Illionois needs two sitting senators now to fight for it's share of resources at this diffiult time. Come 2010, the people of Illinois can decide whom they wish to be in Washington, be it Burris or some other person. While the governer of Illinois has been accused of being a crock, he has not had his day in court yet nor convicted. Furthermore, no one can say Burris is compromised in any way other than he was appointed by someone who was accused of a crime.

    January 6, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |

    Before all you neo-cons and bible beaters get all self righteous over the Burris appointment, you may want to get your own house in order as you leader McConnell has said he will do exactly the same thing to Franken.

    January 6, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  18. Independent White Woman

    If Blago is still gov has not been impeached and Fitzfgerald is still assing around ......seat Mr Burris and say goodbye to Nancy and Reid

    January 6, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  19. No Incumbents 2010

    How much power do Senators have? I heard they will accept Burris nomination, if Baglojevich is impeached and Burris promises not to run. Wow! it's like States don't have any rights anymore. How big does the Federal Government have to get before America gets mad enough to say enough is enough!
    Last time States rights were infringed cannons rang out at Fort Sumter. Let's kick all these morons out before that happens again.

    January 6, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. yellow dog democrat

    She (Feinstein) is probably correct. we need to stop beating the dead horse....quickly get onto business – this infighting is draining and distracting....and then....what is the alternative and how long does that take??? Gotta get to business – Burress seems clean...may not be the best in the west but I don't know the politicians in Illinois.

    Like I say this is not how we should be acting life is short and the big ticket items are waiting .....waiting...waiting.....etc.

    January 6, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  21. Eric in NM

    DiFi is a rogue. CA voters need to put her out to pasture.

    January 6, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Wow, look at all the Dem bloggers go after Feinstein. You guys really do eat your own don't you?

    @Texas Teacher, you do know she's a Democart don't you wingnut? Just checking, since your ranting about Republicans (as usual) and this article doesn't even mention them. Time for your anger management class deary.

    January 6, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  23. purple microdot

    I agree with Feinstein. Let Burris be seated. The governor of IL is never going to be successfully prosecuted anyway. The prosecution botched the case by not waiting until an actual criminal transaction occurred. It's not exactly fair to the public, but it's the law and we have to deal with it. So let's deal with it and be done with it. Welcome Senator Burris!

    January 6, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5