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Blagojevich Won: BURRIS SWORN IN TODAY - UPDATES


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Author Topic: Blagojevich Won: BURRIS SWORN IN TODAY - UPDATES  (Read 396 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2009, 10:40:53 am »









                                  Illinois Senate appointee Burris plans busy Sunday
     





 AP
Jan. 4, 2009
CHICAGO

The man who embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named to fill a vacant Senate seat says he hopes legal details regarding his controversial appointment are worked out soon.

Roland Burris told WLS-TV in Chicago on Sunday that he isn't ruling out going to court to press his case for claiming the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Burris maintains he has nothing to do with the corruption investigation surrounding Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has denied wrongdoing.

Senate Democratic leaders say they'll reject any appointee named by Blagojevich but Burris says he still plans to go to Washington on Monday to claim the seat.

Before heading to Washington, Burris plans to speak Sunday evening to Chicago ministers and his supporters.
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2009, 12:22:55 pm »








Sunday, January 4, 2009


http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2009/01/patrick-buchanan-shows-greater.html



            Patrick Buchanan Shows Greater Commitment to Liberal Values Than Senate Democrats,


                                                          Defends Roland Burris







The Senate Democrats' position on Roland Burris is so anti-liberal, that it falls to the right Patrick Buchanan's perspective on the subject. Buchanan, a popular conservative commentator, recently entered the fray surrounding Governor Rod Blagojevich's selection of Burris to fill President-elect Obama's vacant Senate seat.

Although Illinois law authorizes the governor alone to fill Senate vacancies, Democrats vow to block (using armed force, if necessary) Burris or any other candidate that Blagojevich chooses because a federal prosecutor alleges that he unlawfully tried to sell the seat.

In a series of posts (see links following this essay), I have criticized the Democrats' position for lacking a sufficient constitutional basis, abandoning liberal concepts, and wasting political and intellectual resources needed to address more pressing concerns. But in order to advance their goal of disempowering Blagojevich, Democrats have discarded important liberal values to such a large extent that Buchanan has become a greater champion for fairness than top leaders within the party of "change."
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2009, 12:26:04 pm »









Taint versus Presumption of Innocence



The willingness of Democrats to find Blagjevich and Burris "guilty" (or "tainted") has been one of the disturbing aspects of this controversy. The prosecutor's "complaint" is merely a collection of allegations, not facts, and the released recordings, though salacious, are selectively extracted from the larger set of materials and taken out of their orignal context. Moreover, these items do not present any defense or conflicting evidence from Blagojevich.

Consequently, the Democrats cannot know, based on the proceedings thus far, whether Blagojevich has committed a crime or even engaged in misconduct. And even if Blagojevich were in fact culpable or tainted, no rational basis exists for imputing guilt to Burris and excluding him from office.

Although Democrats fail to admit that their position prematurely treats Blagojevich and, more importantly, Burris as criminals, Buchanan's sharp analysis gets to the heart of the matter:


There is not the slightest hint Burris did anything unethical or illegal to win this appointment. Nor is there any doubt as to Gov. Blagojevich's right to make the appointment. He is still governor of Illinois. He has not been convicted of anything. And he not only has the right but an obligation to carry out his duties, one of which is to appoint candidates to fill empty seats in the U.S. Senate. . . .

[H]ere in America, even a governor is innocent until proven guilty. And what exactly do those tapes [offered as evidence of a conspiracy] show, other than that Blago and his chief of staff engaged in crude and corrupt talk about getting rewarded with campaign contributions or high office for Blago in return for giving someone the Senate appointment?

Using vile language and ruminating on selling a Senate seat may be sins, but they are not necessarily crimes.
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2009, 12:27:46 pm »









Two Seats for Sale? Kennedy versus Burris



Currently, an increasing number of sources report that New York Governor David Paterson will choose Caroline Kennedy to take over Hillary Clinton's vacated seat. Unlike Blagojevich, Paterson will benefit greatly if he appoints Kennedy.

Before Blagojevich faced criminal charges, news articles reported that Obama called Paterson in order to support the appointment of Kennedy. I suspect that Obama did more than simply encourage the governor to take a look at Kennedy's resume and cover letter. Instead, it is highly likely that Obama, Kennedy and many of her supporters promised to help raise money for and campaign on behalf of Paterson, who faces an election battle of his own in two years.

Whether or not Kennedy and Obama made such overtures, Paterson undoubtedly considered how their massive financial and political networks could facilitate his own career aspirations. The famed Kennedy family's endorsement of Obama did more for his campaign than any other. Together, the famed Kennedy and Obama families' endorsement of Paterson and their fundraising strengths will prove highly "profitable" for him.

Although politicians routinely consider how they will gain (or lose) from their decisions -- including appointing individuals to office -- most people do not view this type of bargaining as criminal. But if the Kennedy appointment comes to fruition, choosing her and fulfilling the wishes of Obama will bring tremendous personal gain to Paterson, perhaps even more than a political appointment or money (for a campaign or otherwise) would have given Blagojevich.

After the scandal first began, a few media outlets and bloggers explored the fine line between illegal and legal political bargaining. But soon, commentators and politicians alike settled on a competely rigid and unnuanced position regarding Blagojevich. Once all of the evidence emerges, however, Blagojevich may be guilty of telephonic bravado, rather than a criminal conspiracy.

The fact that all of the individuals with whom Blagojevich allegedly wanted to bargain deny wrongdoing -- and remain untainted -- bodes well for his defense. If Blagojevich illegally attempted to sell the seat, the prosecutor should identify the buyer. If no buyer exists, then Blagojevich will have an easier time defending the case, assuming he is eventually indicted.

Even though the situation seems to warrant a nuanced approach, Democrats have taken a hard line against Blagojevich and anyone affiliated with him. But flexibility and patience for facts are central to a liberal system of justice. Unlike the Democrats, rightwinger Buchanan gets it:


Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he talked to the governor for 90 minutes about the Senate seat but was never solicited. Nor did he offer anything. Obama aides Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett both talked to Blagojevich about the seat, and Rahm talked to his chief of staff.

Neither claims to have been solicited for any kind of bribe.

Yet, if Blago were going to sell the seat, the obvious party to sell it to is the man with the power to appoint ambassadors and Cabinet officers, or to convince thers to hire Blago: President-elect Obama.

Yet, from all we know, neIther Barack nor anyone on his staff ever offered anything illicit to the governor, nor were they asked for anything. Where is the body of the crime?
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« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2009, 12:30:51 pm »









Race Politics



Although I believe that Democrats would have rejected any appointment that Blagojevich made, some progressives have discussed the unseemly image of Reid calling upon armed officers to exclude the only prospective black Senator. Democrats disclaim any type of racial prejudice in their position and even say that their objection does not even relate to Burris. But the impact of their actions implicate race and warrant greater scrutiny.

Liberals, over the vehement objection of conservatives, embrace civil rights doctrines that examine the effect of policies on groups and not simply the intent or bias of the decision maker. Under liberal standards, Reid's motivation and the validation of his decision by America's most popular and powerful black person is irrelevant. Nevertheless, liberals have strongly rejected any discuss the racial implications of Reid's decision, even though they eagerly invoke racial narratives (e.g., "diversity" or "historic election") when it suits them. Even on the subject of race, Buchanan's arguments tops Democrats in their adherence to liberal ideology:


Here we have an African-American elder statesman of the Democratic Party, an honorable and distinguished man, appointed by the governor according to law and the Constitution, to fill a Senate seat. There has been no hint of illegal consideration asked or given by either the governor or Burris.

Yet Harry Reid, who presides over a Democratic caucus of some 60 senators, with not a single black member, is going to refuse this black man a seat to which the law entitles him? [Editor's Note: There are no black Republicans in the Senate either.]

One hopes Burris will stay firm and march up to that Senate, and, if nothing else, expose the hypocrisy.
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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2009, 12:32:55 pm »



Professor Darren Hutchinson
 
Author and Host,
Dissenting Justice
 

http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2009/01/patrick-buchanan-shows-greater.html








Friday, January 2, 2009



                 Do Nepotism, Wealth and Dynastic Power "Taint" Kennedy's Likely Senate Appointment?



                                 Taking Reid's Arguments Where He Wouldn't Want Them to Go






Just Call Me "Prophet"



Back on December 17, 2008, I made the following observation in response to Caroline Kennedy's freshly launched (and somewhat shameless) "campaign" to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat:
I think she will likely get it. Why would she go public unless she expected the job? Besides, Obama personally called Paterson and supported her candidacy -- pre-Blagojevich. If you are deeply cynical, you might even believe that she has made her desire public in order to appear "transparent" and avoid having her inevitable selection look like a backroom deal. But what do I know about deep cynicism?
Well, it appears that the likely already-done deal is now almost officially done. According to an Associated Press article republished on MSNBC.Com, Governor Paterson will likely choose Kennedy for the slot and will soon announce his decision.






Taint That A Shame?



Because the Democrats have now implemented a "zero-tolerance" policy that bans "taint" in the Senate, I wonder whether any of them will argue that Kennedy possibly (remember, a mere possibility of wrongdoing can "taint") got the position based on her family's wealth, political power and fame, which she leveraged to force Paterson's hand.

I am not arguing that this happened, but Senate Democrats have forcefully claimed the power to block any vacancy appointment that could appear "tainted" -- even in the absence of a finding of any specific wrongdoing by the appointed or the appointer. Reid's taint argument could therefore justify my "hypothetical" nepotism challenge to Kennedy's selection. But I guess this is why I am a law professor rather than a politician.






Food for Thought



How long will it take before some irreverent person makes this argument:

Senator Reid, you should not accept the appointment of a relatively inexperienced, but extremely powerful and wealthy white woman who hails from a political dynasty, while blocking the appointment of an experienced black male of modest economic beginnings who, absent your shenanigans, would become the nation's only black Senator.

Well, it seems that I just made the argument. Perhaps this angle could help kill this unnecessary diversion. And maybe Blagojevich knew this was coming and made a decision that would make this argument relevant.



PS: I know I said the Senate should drop this issue, but I am not a Senator, and (more importantly) I feel compelled to point out potential contradictions and hypocrisy among our leaders. Hard work - but someone must do it.
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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2009, 07:28:05 pm »









                                   Burris says he's senator but Dems won't seat him
     





David Espo,
Ap Special Correspondent
Jan. 5, 2009




Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris
arrives at Baltimore/Washington International

WASHINGTON Senate Democrats struggled to avert a showdown steeped in race and corruption Monday as a defiant Roland Burris declared, "I'm a United States senator" and flew to the capital to claim President-elect Barack Obama's old seat in Congress.

Even as he sought to pressure fellow Democrats, Burris signaled there were limits to his rebelliousness. "I'm not going to make a scene. I don't want to give you all a circus," he told reporters asking whether he intended to breach protocol by attempting to walk uninvited onto the Senate floor on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old veteran of Illinois politics was still en route from his home state when Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he would not be permitted to take his seat when other new lawmakers are sworn into office. Burris "has not been certified by the state of Illinois" Reid said, a reference to incomplete paperwork that barely begins to describe the dispute.

While Burris has not been accused of any wrongdoing, he was named to the Senate last week by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces charges of having attempted to sell the seat.

Senate officials said it was possible Reid would try and have Burris' case referred to the Rules Committee for review, a move that would effectively sidetrack the issue while the complicated political and legal situation in Illinois could be sorted out. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss possible developments.

Reid, D-Nev., had appeared to leave open the possibility of a compromise over the weekend after failing to persuade Blagojevich to leave the seat vacant. Burris is to meet privately on Wednesday with the majority leader in his office a few paces off the Senate floor.

Burris, who is black, downplayed the issue of race at a news conference before boarding a flight from Chicago to Washington even though supporters have given it prominence.

"I cannot control my supporters. I have never in my life, in all my years of being elected to office, thought anything about race," he said.

He said repeatedly during the day that he is a senator, but in fact he is not and cannot be unless he is administered the oath of office.

Other controversy aside, Democrats privately expressed concern that Burris would not be able to hold the seat in a special election that must be held in 2010. Reid has denied that political calculations are involved, but one Democratic official suggested that one potential outcome would be for Burris to be seated and pledge to retire in 2010.

Burris sidestepped the issue at an airport news conference before leaving Illinois, saying, "I can't negotiate in the press."

The Illinois seat was one of two in dispute on the eve of the ceremonial opening of the new Congress.

In Minnesota, the state Canvassing Board certified results showing Democrat Al Franken winning a recount over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, but a legal challenge probably will keep that race in limbo for now.

Reid called Franken the winner in a claim that Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan swiftly rejected.

Despite losing several seats last November, Senate Republicans have the ability to block any quick attempt by Democrats to allow Franken to be sworn in, and it was not clear whether Reid intended to press the matter on Tuesday. Coleman's term has expired, meaning Minnesota, like Illinois, could be represented by only one senator for an undetermined period.

Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky arranged an early evening meeting to discuss the two seats.

The uncertain Illinois script played out as a federal judge granted prosecutors more time to seek a formal indictment of Blagojevich, and state lawmakers marched methodically toward impeachment proceedings that could result in his removal from office. He was arrested last year and charged with trying to sell Obama's seat.

Blagojevich appointed Burris to fill take Obama's former Senate seat last week, defying the wishes of Senate Democrats who had warned that anyone he named would be tainted by association. His selection of the 71-year-old former officeholder instantly exposed rifts among Democrats, evident at a send-off Burris received in a Chicago church on Sunday night.

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., called the Senate "last bastion of plantation politics," and said blacks had been "excluded systematically for too long."

There were mounting legal complications, as well.

While Blagojevich has signed formal appointments papers, Jesse White, the Illinois secretary of state, has not, and Senate rules require that signature.

Burris, in turn, has gone to court hoping to win an order for White to sign the necessary paperwork, and has also threatened to sue to take his seat in the Senate.

___



Associated Press Writers Deanna Bellandi in Chicago and
Ann Sanner in Baltimore contributed to this story.
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« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2009, 08:19:52 pm »





                                        
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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2009, 08:41:40 pm »

They should seat Burris, he is a very accomplished man.  What does the Senate want, to keep every member a white male? Shoot, they need more women in there, too. 
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2009, 12:08:11 am »









                                    Illinois impeachment panel may finish before getting FBI tapes

     






Mon Jan 5, 2009
ABC News
CHICAGO

State legislators weighing evidence against Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finish their work before getting any tapes of the governor's conversations that were made secretly by the FBI, attorneys indicated Monday.

The House impeachment panel is racing to complete its job, possibly by the end of this week. But the efforts of federal prosecutors to give the panel some of the FBI tapes face a potential obstacle course in court that could take up several weeks.

"These tapes are relevant evidence; we'd like to have them," said David Ellis, a lawyer for the impeachment panel. But he said the panel could wrap up its work as early as this week, and "we have already gathered a large volume of evidence."

Blagojevich, 52, a two-term Democrat, is charged along with former Chief of Staff John Harris with a scheme to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama's election as president.

Blagojevich is also charged with illegally plotting to use his power as governor to squeeze roadbuilders, a harness racing executive and the head of a children's hospital, among others, for hefty campaign contributions.

Prosecutors propose to provide the impeachment panel with a few minutes of the extensive recordings the FBI made of the governor talking with aides and others.

As skirmishing got under way Monday, Blagojevich's chief defense counsel, Edward M. Genson, said he wanted all of the tapes released to the panel, not just the four brief ones that prosecutors offered.

"We are not going to ask that one tape, or two tapes, or three tapes or four tapes, be offered," Genson told Chief U.S. District Judge James F. Holderman. "We are going to ask that all of them be offered."

Such a proposal could force a time-consuming fight that in turn could delay the delivery of any of the tapes to the impeachment committee.

Genson declined to comment on his strategy after court. A spokesman for the government, Randall Samborn, also declined to comment on the direction of the case.

Other potential delays cropped up. At one point, Holderman suggested that attorneys tell the court by Jan. 20, long after the committee hopes to have its work done, whether they would approve releasing the tapes.

Holderman discarded that idea and set a fresh hearing for Thursday.

Members of the impeachment panel appeared unfazed by the possibility that any release of the tapes could come too late for them.

Rep. Frank Mautino, a Democrat from Spring Valley, said that if the tapes come too late they could always go to the Illinois Senate, which would take up impeachment if the House approves it.

"I don't think the committee should wait," said minority spokesman Jim Durkin, a Westchester Republican. The panel had "amassed a significant amount of information to make an informed decision," he said.

After the court hearing, attorney Daniel S. Reinberg said he believed his client, John Johnston, head of two Chicago-area harness racing tracks, was the person named in an FBI affidavit attached to the complaint as Contributor 1.

One of the tapes contains a conversation between Johnston and a lobbyist for the tracks, Lon Monk, a former top Blagojevich aide, Reinberg said. He said Monk is the person identified in the affidavit as Lobbyist 1.

The affidavit quotes Blagojevich and Lobbyist 1 as pressuring Contributor 1 for a campaign contribution at a time when key race track legislation was on his desk.

Attorney John P. Collins, who attended the hearing, declined to say whether he represented Monk or someone else. Reinberg said prosecutors told Johnston he is neither the subject nor a target of the federal investigation.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said that he would set up a special committee to determine how to rid state government of the endemic corruption that has plagued it for years.

The committee will be headed by attorney Patrick M. Collins, who as a former federal prosecutor sent former Gov. George Ryan to prison for racketeering.

As he spoke, former state Attorney General Roland Burris set off for Washington to claim the Senate seat that formerly belonged to Obama even though top Democratic leaders in the Senate say they don't want to seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich.

Blagojevich named Burris to the seat last week.

"I am the junior senator, according to every law book in the nation," Burris said. He said he was "hoping and praying that I will be seated."

Blagojevich also picked March 3 for a special primary to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant by Rep. Rahm Emanuel's appointment as Obama's chief of staff. He set April 7 for the special election the same day prosecutors face a deadline for obtaining an indictment of Blagojevich.

___

Associated Press writer John O'Connor in Springfield, Ill., contributed to this report.
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« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2009, 11:42:43 am »







                                                       Roland Burris Denied Senate Seat     



                  A spectacle unfolds as the man appointed to take Obama's seat tries to enter the Senate.





 



Illinois U.S. Senate Appointee
Roland Burris
on Capitol Hill in Washington



Associated Press Writers
Laurie Kellman And Ann Sanner,
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2008
WASHINGTON

Roland Burris announced Tuesday he was rejected for Barack Obama's Senate seat, in a bizarre rainy-day scene on the Capitol grounds as lawmakers awaited the gaveling of the 111th Congress into session.

Standing amid a huge throng of reporters and television cameras in a cold and steady rain, Burris, 71, declared that he had been informed that "my credentials are not in order and will not be accepted."

The former Illinois attorney general said he was "not seeking to have any type of confrontation" over taking the seat that he was appointed to by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But Burris also said he was looking at options for taking the seat.

It was a spectacular demonstration of political gridlock at a time when the Democratic-controlled Congress has been eagerly awaiting Obama's inauguration while nervously anticipating tense work on a much-discussed stimulus program to steady the faltering economy.

An attorney for Burris, Timothy W. Wright III, said that "our credentials were rejected by the secretary of the Senate. We were not allowed to be placed in the record books. We were not allowed to proceed to the floor for purposes of taking oath. All of which we think was improperly done and is against the law of this land. We will consider our options and we will certainly let you know what our decisions will be soon thereafter."

Asked what his options were, Wright said there possibly could be a court challenge and he said that Burris also would continue to talk to the Senate leadership.

There had been earlier indications that the Senate would disallow Burris to take his seat, at least in part because his letter of appointment from Blagojevich was not co-signed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Some of Burris' supporters have bemoaned the fact that Democrats would stand in the way of the Senate gaining its only black member. Burris himself downplayed the issue of race, telling reporters: "I cannot control my supporters. I have never in my life, in all my years of being elected to office, thought anything about race."

Earlier Tuesday, Burris had tense negotiations with Terrence Gainer, the Senate's sergeant at arms.

"I'm presenting myself as the legally appointed senator from the state of Illinois. It is my hope and prayer that they recognize that the appointment is legal," he said earlier in a nationally broadcast interview.

Burris dismissed the Senate Democratic leadership's position that he cannot be seated because he was appointed by a governor accused in a criminal complaint of trying to benefit financially from his authority to fill the seat that Obama vacated after winning the presidential election.

Burriss said his belief is that his appointment is constitutional and that "I have no knowledge of where a secretary of state has veto power over a governor carrying out his constitutional duties."

Burris also maintained that the announcement by Blagojevich Monday of a date for an election for a successor to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., proves the governor still has legal authority to carry out his duties. Emanuel will be Obama's White House chief of staff.

"There's nothing wrong with Roland Burris and there's nothing wrong with the appointment," Burris said.

Burris has found little support among fellow Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had said Monday that Burris would not be permitted to take his seat because Burris "has not been certified by the state of Illinois," a reference to incomplete paperwork that only touches on the dispute. Senate Democrats maintain that Burris' appointment is tainted because of the charges against Blagojevich.

While Blagojevich has signed formal appointment papers, White has not, and Senate rules require that signature. Burris, in turn, has gone to court hoping to win an order for White to sign the necessary paperwork, and he has also threatened to sue to take his seat in the Senate.
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« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2009, 11:51:26 am »









Oh, the sweet irony of this 3 ring circus.


The Obamabot Dims were so worried about the drama the Clintons would bring to Washington.
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« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2009, 05:33:42 pm »










                                     Senator Feinstein says Senate should seat Burris






     

AP
Jan 6, 2009
WASHINGTON

The chairman of the Senate Rules Committee has parted with many of her Democratic colleagues and says that the Senate should seat former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Tuesday that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, however tainted by corruption charges, has the right to appoint someone to President-elect Barack Obama's former seat. The Rules Committee decides whether Burris is qualified to serve.

Feinstein said that blocking Burris would have ramifications for other governors' appointments.
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« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 07:30:19 am »










                                      Democratic opposition to seating Burris cracks
     






Ann Sanner,
Associated Press Writer
Jan. 7, 2009
WASHINGTON

Senate Democrats are looking for ways to defuse the standoff that has denied Roland Burris the vacated Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama of Illinois, but maybe not much longer.

While Burris' paperwork was rejected at the opening of the 111th Congress, he was scheduled to meet Wednesday with the Senate's top two Democrats Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and assistant leader Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Knowledgeable Senate officials in both parties said the saga was widely expected to end with Burris being seated. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for Senate members.

The likelihood that Burris, a Democrat, will eventually prevail increased Tuesday after a key chairwoman got behind the former Illinois attorney general, driving a crack in what had been a united front by Senate Democrats against any appointee chosen by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Three weeks after Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges in what federal prosecutors said was a scheme to sell or trade Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, the governor shocked Democratic leaders by appointing Burris to finish the final two years of the president-elect's six-year term.

Blagojevich denies the accusations and has yet to be indicted. There has been no indication that Burris was involved in the alleged scheme, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Democrats have repeatedly said the issue is Blagojevich, not Burris' qualifications.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, told reporters Tuesday evening that Burris should be seated.

"If you don't seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America," the California Democrat said. "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."

In a piece of political theater, Burris, 71, tried and failed Tuesday to take Obama's seat.

He marched into the Capitol, declaring himself "the junior senator from the state of Illinois," and asked Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson to accept a certification of his appointment signed by Blagojevich. Erickson refused, saying it lacked Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's signature and the state seal.

In Chicago, Burris' attorneys asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to expedite a hearing on their petition for a court order directing White to certify his appointment.

Burris also was considering a federal lawsuit to force Senate Democrats to seat him.

"Our credentials were rejected by the secretary of the Senate," said Timothy W. Wright III, an attorney for Burris. "We were not allowed to be placed in the record book. We were not allowed to proceed to the floor for purposes of taking oath. All of which we think was improperly done and is against the law of this land."

___

Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and
Erica Werner contributed to this report.
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« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2009, 11:20:24 am »









                                       Reid says Burris might ultimately get Senate seat
     





Ann Sanner,
Associated Press Writer
Jan. 7, 2009
WASHINGTON

Changing course, Senate Democrats emerged from a meeting with Senate appointee Roland Burris on Wednesday and set forth the legal steps under which they're willing to welcome him into the Senate in President-elect Barack Obama's vacated spot.

Praising the former state attorney general, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate is awaiting a court ruling in a case that tests whether the signature of the Illinois secretary of state is needed for Burris to take the seat. He suggested that would be a step toward seating Burris.

"We don't have a problem with him as an individual," Reid said at a news conference in which he dramatically softened his party's opposition to seating any appointee of embattled Gov. Rod Blogojevich. Federal prosecutors arrested the governor last month and accused him of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who also met with Burris, said he hoped the legal matters would be resolved "so we can fill all the vacancies and have a full complement of the Senate."

Like Reid, Obama has opposed the seating of any Blogojevich appointee. But shortly before the Reid-Durbin news conference, Obama told reporters Burris' case "is a Senate matter."

"But I know Roland Burris," Obama added. "He's from my home state. I think he's a fine public servant."

The pleasantries and complaints were a far cry from the he-can't-be-seated rhetoric that came from the Senate Democratic caucus a week ago when the governor shocked the party and nominated Burris, who would be the Senate's only black member now that Obama has departed.

Neither Durbin nor Reid guaranteed Burris would be seated but the majority leader said there almost certainly would be a full Senate vote on it.
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