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Roland Burris Blocked from Senate

  1. Jan 6, 2009 #1


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    I think the Democrats are on the wrong side of this. Burris has met the statutory requirements for office and I think in their fit of pique they are making a blunder that will not be sustained under law. And if it should be sustained, then I think they are making a troubling precedent.

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  3. Jan 6, 2009 #2
    I would tend to agree with you, provided their is a provision to revoke his seat should it be found that he obtained it illegally. If there is no such provision in the law, I would have to side with the secretary, at least until the trial is over.
  4. Jan 6, 2009 #3


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    Since I'm not a Yank, I have no right to express an opinion regarding this matter... but that's never stopped me before.
    Even if they let the guy in, who would take him seriously? He's tainted by the corruption of the one who appointed him. That's not to say that there's anything dishonest about him, but one can't avoid the association. I think, though, that if he was truly above-board, he would have declined the appointment.
  5. Jan 6, 2009 #4
    This is a similar situation to Al Franken's. There is no clear certification from the State. I don't expect them to seat Burris or Franken.

    If the Illinois SC forces the Secretary to certify the appointment then I think they will seat him.

    Burris is a self promoter as is obvious from his willingness to accept the tainted appointment just so he can add Senator to his legacy.

    The man talks about himself in the third person. I think that Burris is someone who is more concerned about the character he is creating than the character of the creator, ie himself.

    I found it very refreshing to hear Barack and Michelle talk about the difference between "Barack" the President elect, and Barack the person during an interview.
  6. Jan 6, 2009 #5


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    There is always a provision to strip a Senator for ethics violations and presumably, if he actually paid money for the job, or behaved disreputably in making any deal, then I'd say that qualifies under current Senate Ethics rules.

    As far as the Illinois Secretary is concerned, I'd say his actions are directly impeachable, ipso facto.

    Blagojevich has not been convicted. He has the authority until such time that he doesn't - presumably after the conclusion of a successful impeachment. The appointment is directly supported under the law. I just don't see why the Democrats are giving themselves a wedgie over the issue.

    The Democrats in Congress should really have side-stepped the issue and thrown it back to Illinois, making them resolve the Secretary's signature, if that is what's required, indicating that with that signature they would recognize him. Harry Reid I think has blundered out onto thin ice. I hope he has his water wings on.
  7. Jan 6, 2009 #6


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    Being a scoundrel has not uniformly disqualified people from holding the office of Senator. History is replete with examples. But besides that, I don't see that Burris is anything but an opportunist - that there but for the opportunity of being selected as a down-the-list choice he would never have hoped to go. It's only for 2 years. I just don't see the big problem that it's made into.

    Besides, given the inexorable likelihood that he will be seated, I'd say that if the Democratic leadership were more politically savvy they would support him in the hopes that they could work with him cooperatively after confirmation, and leave the Illinois State politicians to play the heavies as they Keystone Cop around with their impeachment efforts.
  8. Jan 6, 2009 #7
    Sounds good, give him the seat.
  9. Jan 6, 2009 #8
    According to the US Constitution, the Senate itself is the judge of whether a Senator is to be seated.
    US Constitution
    In the language of that day, a 'return' is a report of an appointment.
  10. Jan 6, 2009 #9


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    I grant you that they are the Judge of the qualifications, but I think that in the final analysis there is nothing wrong with Roland Burris as to his personal qualifications and while the wayward Governor may indeed have tried to hijack the process for his own personal profit at one point, there is no suggestion that this is the case with this appointment at this time.

    As I mentioned earlier I think that if there is some quid pro quo with this specific selection, then of course I would see the Senate as being obligated within its authority to rule his selection voided. But failing that I think their action today looks unnecessarily arbitrary and peevish.
  11. Jan 6, 2009 #10


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    Actually, it's not similar: in the Al Frankin case, there is an ongoing court case that legally blocks the seating (or will be - there is a 7 day time limit to file). In the Burris case, there is no such legal action taking place. I didn't even know until I heard it on the radio yesterday that gov B hasn't even been indicted yet.

    So I think perhaps that the letter of the law would be that Burris should be seated. However, I agree with many who say that he shouldn't be because he's tainted. Either way, if he's personally tainted (as opposed to just by association), he can be removed in a parallel legal process with gov B.
    It's a little pathetic and shamefl, yes.
  12. Jan 6, 2009 #11
    What is similar is that neither one of them has been certified by their States. Lacking that certification the Senate will not seat them.
  13. Jan 6, 2009 #12


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    They are also similar in that both are also likely to ultimately be seated.
  14. Jan 6, 2009 #13


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    For Roland Burris it seems that it is fait accompli. The Senate blinked.
  15. Jan 6, 2009 #14


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    When Burris was AG and running for governor, he refused to allow his prosecutors to exonerate a death-row prisoner or allow a new trial, despite the fact that another man had already admitted to the crime. In fact, he pushed for the death penalty for an innocent man, forcing his assistant AG to resign rather than comply. Not that this would disqualify him in any way from serving in Congress.

  16. Jan 7, 2009 #15
    He needs the signature of the Illinois Secretary of State. Its a state matter. Until Illinois has settled its issues congress should not allow Burris to take his seat. Its as simple as that.
  17. Jan 7, 2009 #16
    Why, is he behind on his payments?
  18. Jan 7, 2009 #17
    On the subject of Congress and the suspicion of corruption. Two years ago, the FBI videotaped Rep. William Jefferson accept a briefcase full of cash, then wrap it in aluminum foil and hide in his Congressional refrigerator. He was never impeached by the House, was reelected, served out another full term (which ended last week), and has yet to face trial (supposedly that starts this Jan. 15th, on 16 counts of corruption).


    I think this puts Burris in context. Will the Senate cave in and seat him without a fuss? I expect so.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  19. Jan 7, 2009 #18


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    Actually it's not exactly a State matter. I agree that the Senate should have ducked the issue and asked the State to resolve it, but the "recommended" form for the Appointment seemingly only relies on the Governor's signature:

    According to the sample "recommended" form in Rule II the Secretary of State of Illinois is merely that of a witness. So long as the Governor's signature is bona fide I'd say that the sense of the document indicates that the Governor's signature is sufficient.

    I can see where the Secretary of State's signature is of greater importance insofar as on the sample Certificate of Election is concerned as the SoS may also be seen in their official capacity as certifying the vote.
  20. Jan 7, 2009 #19
    That's just it. The secretary of state seems to feel that this appointment oughtn't go through. Should the senate not honour that?
    I certainly don't have the whole story. Has the secretary not made any statement? Did Blagojevich and Burris not speak with him? It seems like the gov just wants to push his candidate through. He seems rather megolomanical. Like he just wants to show that he still has the power to do what they don't want him to...


    Well apparently the SoS says he doesn't mind if Burris is seated. I don't know. I think he is dodging. If he thinks Burris ought to be seated I don't see why he doesn't want to sign off on it. The bullet has been deflected his way and he seems to want to avoid it.
  21. Jan 7, 2009 #20

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    This is extremely complicated politically.

    Plan A was for the Illinois legislature to remove the governor's ability to appoint a replacement and call a special election instead. The problem with this is that polls showed a voter preference for an unnamed Republican over an unnamed Democrat. So the leadership in both houses scrapped that idea.

    What the Illinois democrats wanted was a person who would have a good chance of winning the election to that seat in 2010. That person is not Roland Burris, who is 71, and has campaigned unsuccessfully for that seat before.

    One might think Powell v. McCormick provides a strong precedent to seat Mr. Burris, but I am not so sure - there is a difference between the House, where you have a completely new body constituted every two years and the Senate where you don't.
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