January 15th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Burris heads to his swearing-in

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/15/art.burris.gi.jpg caption="Burris is set to be sworn into the Senate Wednesday."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Veteran Illinois politician Roland Burris headed to Washington for his official Senate swearing-in Thursday afternoon.

"It's called faith. And we knew that we were in the right. The law was on our side. And all we had to do was prevail," he said of his political struggle to claim his Senate seat. Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him to fill the junior senator position vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

"We are on our way to Washington to be sworn in. And I'm looking forward to it," Burris said as he left Chicago's O'Hare airport Thursday morning with his wife. "As a matter of fact, I will go to work this evening. There will be votes taken tonight and tomorrow. The family will be coming back tonight (to Chicago). But I will have to go to work."

Senate Democratic leaders said Monday that the former Illinois attorney general presented the appropriate credentials for his Senate appointment.

Some Senate Democrats had argued that Burris should not be seated because he was appointed by Blagojevich, who has been impeached on corruption charges by the Illinois House of Representatives and is accused of attempting to "sell" the seat Obama vacated.
Blagojevich now faces a trial in the Illinois Senate.

Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White sided with those Democrats and did not sign the appointment certificate. In refusing to seat Burris last week, the Senate cited a 125-year Senate rule requiring the secretary of state's signature to certify an appointment. But the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday that the secretary of state's signature is not necessary.

Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. jj

    just curious about the job the governors wife got thru him??? hmmm and a few other things that took place, was the governor just paying an old debt???

    January 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Tom from AZ

    That's enough for me. With the failure of both the national and state Democratic leadership on this issue, I'm getting off the bus. I'll re-register as an independent. Not a Republican... after all, their former governor is in prison. But the Dems just stooped to that level and lacked the vision and discipline to stop this.

    January 15, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Blago Wins!

    You have to give Blago credit–he took on the Democratic establishment in Washington and HE WON. He left Obama, Reid, and the rest looking like weaklings. This guy might go to jail, but he's made his mark on history by the Burris appointment.

    January 15, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. George

    "Where is your backbone, Democrats? Simply because Sen. Dianne Feinstein, demanded that Burris be seated, and you then caved in?"

    Feinstein argued that Burris be seated prior to the Senate's swearing in. If the democrats "caved" because of Feinstein, it would not have taken over a week.

    The reality is Feinstein was accurate in her discussion about law, argued that Burris should be seated according to law, and the Illinois Supreme Court, which upholds laws, argued the same. The US Supreme Court would also have sided with Burris had it gone to that degree. Feinstein's statements do not determine law.

    January 15, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. John

    If these were republicans the outrage would extremely intense. Wrong is wrong no matter what party! How much more openly corrupt does our government have to get before we all get as mad as we should be? It is time for the amercan voter to take back HIS country. VOTE them ALL OUT!!!

    January 15, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Concerned illinois citizen

    This stinks for all of Illinois. shame on you Mr. Burris. Your ego outweighs your desire to serve. You are a disgrace to your party, your state, & your followers for accepting an appointment from such a tainted destructive Governor. Mr. Burris has tarnished his image forever.

    January 15, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. La Chatte

    Blago, the Burris appointment was a stroke of genius on your part. LMAO!! I don't doubt for a second that you're a criminal, but I can't help but applaud you on this one. Checkmate!

    January 15, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Rave

    Is this the Blago's pimp? How did he get back again? Kick him out

    January 15, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Karen - Missouri

    Burris is only filling in for two years. Would he get elected? That's up to Illinois. I only hope that Gov. Blago gets booted out of office SOON! Illinois doesn't deserve Blago! As for Burris...his voting record will be viewed online...that will tell what kind of Senator he will be.

    Burris played the media and sure enough the media took the bait. I doubt we'll hear much more about Burris after his swearing in today. Good...this country has more to think about than one Senator among many who have skeletons in their closets that we don't hear about.

    January 15, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Tom, IN

    This man is just as dillusional as Blagojevich. He knew the overwhelming sentiment was that the seat be empty until someone with character and integrity made an appointment to the seat.

    Illinois's favorite son, Barack Obama is overshadowed by Illinois imfamous duo–Blagoboy and Burried-With-Senator-On-My-Tombstone-Burris.

    What a circus.

    January 15, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Snake eyes


    January 15, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Sneaky Burris

    Just because something is legal, doesn't make it right. Burris was WRONG to take that seat and he knows it. He's a coward and a con-man because he knows he couldn't get elected for dogcatcher.

    Well, he's got the title and the pension. I just hope Illinoians will give him the boot in two years.

    January 15, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Burris = Bum

    Now if he could only work just as hard for the citizens of Illinois as he did to sneak his way into the Senate, that would be great.

    I'm African American and I can't stand this guy. I hope he takes the seat that he stole, shut up about it, and allow Barack to have his day in the sun.

    Jeesh, who's minding the store in Illinois? Illinois in it's finest hour has a carpetbagger hanging on to the seat of their most famous son.

    January 15, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Jean2

    The respect for law makers is damaged by questionable acts
    by people like Burris and his supporters. These kinds of operations leaves a feeling of heplessness when integrity is lost on ego and blind ambition.


    Blagojevich, Gurris and their lawyers have used a available loop hols in law and procedures to advance thier agenders.

    For me this is not a victory to be proud of but acompromise to be tolerated.



    January 15, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. skip

    California Gold January 15th, 2009 2:04 pm ET

    Additionally Burris has failed to win every election in Illinois.


    Although Roland Burris has lost in the past in primary elections for U.S. senator, Illinois governor, and mayor of Chicago, he was elected four times to statewide office in Illinois. In fact, he was the first African-American elected statewide in Illinois when the voters elected him Illinois Comptroller in 1979. He was reelected to that post two more times, and he was elected Illinois Attorney General once.

    January 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. zzzzz

    Blago Wins! January 15th, 2009 2:10 pm ET

    You have to give Blago credit–he took on the Democratic establishment in Washington and HE WON. He left Obama, Reid, and the rest looking like weaklings. This guy might go to jail, but he's made his mark on history by the Burris appointment.

    ???? What did Obama have to do with this? Did I miss something?

    January 15, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    There is just something about this guy that doesn't feel right. Hopefully the Illinois voters will have some viable candidates to consider in the next election when this guy actually has to "run" for this seat on his own merit instead of just having it "given" to him.
    I'm betting Blagojevich got something in return out of this deal.

    January 15, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Chicago Girl

    This is a sad day for the residents of Illinois. Burris has no dignity. If he has the nerve to run for reelection, I'm sure he'll be defeated just like he has been defeated in his campaigns since 1995. He's a loser.

    January 15, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Illinois Democrat

    Just because Burris will be Obama's replacement for 2 years, DOES NOT MEAN that Illinois residents will elect him in 2 years when the Senatorial Elections come around.......I would bet money that if a present-day poll were taken of Illinois Voters, they WOULD NOT PICK Burris-as their choice for either as Obama's replacement, OR for Senator later on......

    January 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Maria G

    Senator Burris was legally appointed.
    We are still a country of laws.
    The Constitution still stands as our defining document.
    To oppose a legal course of action is to oppose the law itself.
    If we choose to ignore the law in this matter, what other laws will we ignore in the future?

    January 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. JW

    Who Won ???

    BLAGO & BURRIS 1. Harry Reid & Jessie White 0.

    January 15, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Jesse Jackson

    I want my five million dollars back! My kid was supposed to get this seat! What happened to my five million dollars! Why doesn't anyone respect me after all I've done!

    I paid five million dollars to get Jesse Jr. into that seat. What happened here? Give me back my five million dollars!

    January 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Ms. Sanchez

    Carolyne Kennedy is not qualified to take this post just because her last name was Kennedy. We don't need another Kennedy in office just to keep a name alive

    January 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Simmy

    Opportunity and persistence won, because the law was on Sen. Burris' side. To all of the self-appointed judges: Sen. Burris has as much of a chance to do well, as many of the others have had to do nothing. Hopefully, Congress can get back on track, and begin working again for the people and not themselves.

    January 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Brian

    As an Illinois native, I think Roland Burris will be a fine, honest and upstanding representative of our state. Work hard and fight for the people, Mr. Burris!

    January 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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