Skip to comments.Senate Dems refuse to seat Blagojevich’s pick
Posted on 12/30/2008 12:32:54 PM PST by radar101
Senate Democratic leaders are refusing to seat Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevichs choice for President-elect Obamas former seat.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) issued a joint statement blasting Blagojevich for naming Roland Burris to the seat and said they will block his appointment.
It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety, Reid and Durbin said.
Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.
The two leaders emphasized they were not judging Burris, but simply noting the ethical cloud over Blagojevich. They also pointed out the Senate faces a heavy legislative calendar in January. They repeated their call for the Democratic governor to resign and their threat to refuse any appointment he makes.
We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment, the statement reads. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat.
But questions remain as to what authority the Senate has when it comes to accepting or rejecting a gubernatorial appointment.
Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie said the four examples since 1913 include Democrat Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, who died while a Senate committee was investigating corruption charges against him in 1947; Republican Frank Smith of Illinois, whom the Senate voted against seating due to corruption charges in 1928, and Democrats Henry Clayton and Franklin Glass of Alabama, both of whom withdrew their bids in 1913 after a dispute arose over the governor's authority to appoint them.
Ritchie also said senators are often seated but then investigated by the chambers Rules Committee to determine whether any charges against the senator have merit.
That was the case in Sen. Mary Landrieus case, Ritchie noted for example. The Louisiana Democrat won a narrow election in 1996 and was seated while the Rules Committee probed charges of voter fraud before ultimately exonerating Landrieu after 10 months
But Ritchie conceded the Blagojevich situation was different.
We really havent had a case like this, he said. Theres just nothing quite comparable.
Burris, 71 and African-American, is a former state comptroller and attorney general of Illinois. He also was Blagojevichs Democratic primary opponent in the 2002 governors race and was endorsed by Obama in that primary battle. Burris and Blagojevich have long since patched over any differences Burris praised the governor to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006.
"I can't see how anyone can say he is not governing," Burris said at the time. "I think he is doing a helluva job."
Blagojevichs move comes despite allegations that he attempted to sell Obamas seat for his personal benefit, according to a complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, which cited wiretapped conversations.
Burris was not on the list of preferred candidates that Rahm Emanuel, Obamas incoming White House chief of staff, sent over to Blagojevichs staff.
An Obama spokesman said the transition team had no comment on Blagojevichs move right now.
After Blagojevichs initial arrest, Reid and Durbin both reacted early, pressing him not to make any appointment. At a Dec. 9 press conference, Durbin called for a special election, saying, No appointment by this governor under these circumstances can produce a credible replacement.
A day later, in a letter to Blagojevich written by Reid and Durbin and signed by all other Democratic senators, the Democratic leaders told the embattled governor any appointment by you would raise serious questions For the good of the Senate and our nation, we implore you to refrain from making an appointment to the Senate.
Reid and Durbin also threatened Blagojevich that should you decide to ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment, we would be forced to exercise our constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated.
Blagojevich's move Tuesday surprised even his own lawyer, who said only a week and a half ago that the governor would not make an appointment.
Not to worry....the Dem's feel safe having gotten their token black Kenyan houseboy in the White House.....
Do you think he remembered to bring his The Office of the President Elect sign with him?
They can just vote present I believe.
Huh? Although your first two points about Burris not being on the tapes, and reasonable doubt make sense, your third point makes zero sense.
We have exactly two federal offices that are filled by nationwide elections, president and vice president. If you mis-typed Burris when you meant Obama, it's true he is the first (half) black elected nationwide, but even if Blago is convicted (he has to be indicted first, but hasn't been), that will not eliminate Obama's presidency.
Blago is appointing Roland Burris to fill the now-vacant junior senate seat for one state, Illinois. Even if you mis-typed "nationwide" while meaning "statewide," that doesn't compute since Obama was elected senator in an Illinois statewide election.
Re#36 Agreed, and it just gets better. The Obama transition team sure did not expect this type of distraction as they prepared to deliver the 0ne to the masses, more and more who are realizing that BO is just another corrupt Chicago pol. Methinks too that the Clintons are not done yet. They don’t forgive and forget. But for the potential harm to this great country, I would be really enjoying this...
The dems are fighting the appointment of a Black man for a position that has become a “Black man only” position....
Well by golly, I think that’s RACIST!!
Reid and his white hooded pals are trying to hold the brother down. Is this the new KKK?????
Will the new logo for the DNC be a burning cross, perhaps a noose. Perhaps their slogan should be, “if it’s Black, we must attack”.
I challenge all thinking Black folks of America, to come together by the millions and fight, by what ever means necessary, this blatant and clearly racist attempt by the democrat party to lock talented and honest blacks out of power.... and return them to chains.
Ok, back to my popcorn.... this is so much fun to watch..... let the riots begin. LOL
You gots to separate the appointee froms the appointor-George”Kingfish”Stevens.
I think the gist of PasorBob’s point is true; it’s the fact that’s mistaken. Obama was the first Black elected to the Senate. He’s also the first Black elected to the Presidency. But his point about the affect this will have on potential jury members can’t be overstated. That’s exactly what the Blagojevich camp would want to have happen.
But this may well be moot. I don’t see Dingy Harry and Dubrin standing up to the heat this will bring on them; unless they have their own Black candidate in mind to offset the racist theme. I don’t know who that would be, but Triple J comes to mind...
And you don’t think Obammunism is going to harm the country?
If it were joe sixpack instead of the crooked governor he would have been in jail on day one.
Oh, I do. That’s what I meant. His election really depressed and continues to depress and scare me. Sorry if I was unclear...
Congressman Bobby Rush at the press conference.
That bum was a co-founder of the Illinois branch of the Black Panthers. He went AWOL in the Army, and spent several months in prison for an illegal weapon.
For more about this low life, see the link at:
The world of today is the same world of the 1880's. If the 17th amendment was supposed to eliminate the potential corruption of an entire statehouse by a candidate, why would replacing that with a system that only needs the corruption of one person be better, especially with today's instantaneous communication?
The problem with popular election of Senators is many:
Substitute "statewide" for "nationwide" and the state is correct. Burris is indeed the FIRST elected statewide in Illinois. He was elected Illinois Comptroller way back in 1978. Obama wasn't elected statewide until he won the U.S. Senate election in 2004.
Substitute "statewide" for "nationwide" and the statement is correct. Burris is indeed the FIRST black person elected statewide in Illinois. He was elected Illinois Comptroller way back in 1978. Obama wasn't elected statewide until he won the U.S. Senate election in 2004.
No, Carole Mosely Braun was senator from Illinois; whether she was the first I don’t know but Obama was not the first.
Oh...only the facts are mistaken. Well, so is the notion that Obama was the first black elected to the U.S. Senate. Obama was the 5th African-American to be elected a U.S. senator. Check out this info for yourself.
If (a big if considering that the unethical Patrick Fitzgerald is the prosecutor) Blago is ever indicted and the case goes to trial, Obama's status as the first (half) black president will have no bearing on the jury or the outcome. That is, it won't unless Fitzgerald can prove that Obama was directly involved in the pay-for-play scheme over this senate seat.
Yes, I watched that. That clown is what inspired my previous post. This race junk is getting ridiculous and I think it’s got very long legs.....
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