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Burris and Senate Plan B: Police Intervention


If and when Roland Burris, the Senator-designate for Illinois, shows up to take his seat in the Senate he might just be met with some opposition. It seems that Congress has a rather disturbing plan to use armed guards to prevent him from entering the chambers and taking his position.

Via the LA Times,

LA Times-Reporting from Washington — Should Roland Burris show up for duty in the Senate on Tuesday, armed police officers stand ready to bar him from the floor.

This cinematic showdown is among an elaborate set of contingencies that Democratic leaders are planning if, as expected, the former Illinois attorney general appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich shows up with newly elected senators to press his claim that he is the legitimate replacement for President-elect Barack Obama. read more…

Impressive, the herd on the Hill sinking to armed force to stop something they don’t like. The pertinent question is,” Why are we even discussing a tactic like this?” Personally I think the Burris appointment is tainted-beyond all belief-and if the Senate seats him they are foolish. However, armed police force on the Hill?

We have already seen Progressive Democratic abuse of the power with the illegal investigation into Joe Wurzelbacher’s record in Ohio. Now this? Let’s not forget the overt use of force in Waco and Elian Gonzales. It seems the new Congress is tearing a page from the Clinton DOJ and are hitting the ground running on abusing their legal powers with antics like this.

Nevertheless, Burris is now challenging the Illinois Secretary of State’s decision not to certify his appointment letter. If Burris should be be successful in forcing the Illinois SoS to ratify his appointment, this is still does not ensure him being seated in Congress. Although, if he is granted certification, the Senate seems out of bounds using armed force to prevent him from appearing at the swearing in ceremony.

However, according the SCOTUS blog (H/T TalkLeft) any decisions made by the state have little effect on the Senate’s actual ability to seat him.

SCOTUS Blog-A house of Congress’s authority to judge an election (and, perhaps, an appointment) would appear to take precedence over any state method of selection, under the Supremacy Clause and the specific grant of authority under Article I, Section 5.

The Senate has to be careful about drawing a distinct line between “tainting” of the process, not the appointee. In other words, the Senate has the power to judge the the suitableness of the appointing official, Blagojevich. As long as they do not add a challenge to Burris’s actual personal qualifications for the office.

Either way, all of this is a slippery slope of legality. It is safe to garner that the Judicial Branch will uphold any decision made by the Legislative, regarding their treatment of Burris. It would be difficult to fathom that the Supreme Court, or any other federal judge, wants to be brought into the Blagojevich scandal and be perceived as stepping on Senate toes.

With all this in mind, why would something so puerile and demagogic like police intervention even be considered? The Senate is supposed to be in control, not Blagojevich. But when fractious ideas like this start appearing you have to wonder if fear isn’t getting the better of our “leaders” on the Hill.

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