Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Roland Burris Denied Senate Seat

It looks like another Senate seat will remain unfilled pending court action:

The man named by the scandal-plagued governor of Illinois to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate failed to gain entry on Tuesday when the chamber's secretary rejected as incomplete his credentials for the seat.

Roland Burris, a Democrat appointed to the seat by fellow Democrat Rod Blagojevich, said afterward, "I am not seeking to have any type of confrontation. I will now consult with my attorneys and we will determine what my next step will be."

Democrat Roland Burris Blocked From Senate

In case you're wondering why the Senate has blocked Burris, when it refused to block Senators who committed actual crimes, you might want to recall this bit of news from a few days ago:

Days before Gov. Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, top Senate Democrat Harry Reid made it clear who he didn’t want in the post: Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis or Emil Jones.

Rather, Reid called Blagojevich to argue he appoint either state Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Reid pressured Blagojevich Not To Appoint Jackson Jr. To Obama’s U.S. Senate Seat

Reid has his own ideas about who is "electable". Even though, as that Sun-Times article goes on to suggest, Jackson may have been more electable than either Duckworth or Madigan, Reid wanted a middle-of-the-road type to run. My guess is that he has a similar problem with Burris, who has failed at least twice to win a statewide office.

Lest you be tempted to argue that this is about how Illinois Governor Blagojevich tried to sell this Senate seat, and how that would taint anyone who would occupy that office, let me set you straight. Don't make me laugh that hard. It hurts.

So, as Burris explores his legal options, which may be rather good, and Senator Biden begins his last weeks in the Senate, we are left to ponder how long it will be before the Senate is again operating at full strength. It could be several months.

UPDATE: It appears Jane Hamsher shares my cynicism.

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