Senator Burris Barred from Senate Floor
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s letter of appointment for Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) to be sworn in today in the Senate was rejected by Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson for violating a Senate rule requiring a signature of the Governor and Secretary of State. Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, refuses to sign the official certification of Burris’s appointment to the Senate and Burris is exploring his legal rights to force the Secretary of State to sign the documenet. It is unclear as to what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will do if Burris shows up with his paperwork in order.
Roll Call reports that Reid would approve of Burris’s appointment if Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, the governor if Blagojevich gets removed from office, chooses to appoint Burris. It seems as if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is playing a game with this appointment. The rejection of the letter of appointment today was a way to buy some time in blocking the eventual seating of Burris.
If Burris shows up with a properly signed letter of appointment, I would expect that Reid would not seat Burris and referring the matter to the Senate Rules Committee. The end goal would seem to be to await the removal from office of Governor Blagojevich and work with prospective Governor Pat Quinn to produce a certification of another individual to become Senator from Illinois.
Senator Dianne Feinstein told Congressional Quarterly that the rejection of Burris’s appointment sets a dangerous precedent and “affects gubernatorial appointments all over America.” Senator Feinstein is correct and it is sad that not one Republican or Democrat stood up to the Senate Majority Leader to demand the seating of Senator Roland Burris.