WASHINGTON — As U.S. Senate leadership developed an elaborate set of contingency plans today to keep Roland Burris from taking over President-elect Barack Obama’s seat, the disputed appointee promised not to “create a scene” when the Senate convenes next week.
If Burris shows up Tuesday to claim the seat given to him by disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the outcomes range from a denial of entry to a limbo where he can hire staff but not vote.
Should Burris appear in Washington without that certification, armed police officers stand ready to bar him from the Senate floor, said a Democratic official briefed on Senate leaders’ plans.
Note the use of the phrase “create a scene,” which is not actually the same as “make a scene.” It gives him the out of being able to enthusiastically participate in any scene that Senate Democrats themselves have created first.
H/T Via Ace of Spades HQ, which also linked to this article that notes that, indeed, it does make a difference if the Illinois Secretary of State doesn’t sign off on Blagojevich’s pick. Which is why Burris is even now suing said SoS in order to require him to sign off on the pick. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but as far as I can tell the primary argument against signing off on the Burris pick is that the guy who picked him is a notoriously corrupt suckweasel who’s on track to being yet another Illinois governor thrown in jail while still in office. I’m not sure that this qualifies as a legitimate cause for refusal, under the Illinois state constitution. I am pretty sure that the Illinois Supreme Court is going to be hard-pressed to make a statement on the subject before Tuesday – and, no, the US Senate is not going to wait for a mere state to resolve its petty provincial problems, either. All of this means that on Tuesday we may be treated to the sight of an elderly African-American being led off the Senate floor in handcuffs because his sitting there would be contrary to the collective wish of old, white Democrats – and as for the One? Well, he’s already washed his hands of the matter.
This very well may be the single greatest act of vicious political revenge that I have seen in my lifetime. It’s a pity that Rod Blagojevich couldn’t have used his powers for good.
PS: A special election would have solved the problem, but Illinois Democrats are too scared of democracy to really trust it. Just thought I’d point that out again.