Burris Will Be Seated « The Washington Independent
Senate Democratic leaders have agreed to seat Roland Burris after a week-long battle to prevent him from replacing President-elect Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois.
Burris was appointed Dec. 30 by disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, less than a month after the governor was arrested for allegedly scheming to “sell” the seat.
Senate Democrats initially argued that Burris should not be seated because the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White refused to sign off on Burris’s appointment. However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Jan. 9 that the appointment was valid even without the Secretary of State’s signature.
No one alleged that Burris was involved in any corrupt dealings, but many, including White and many Senate Democrats, felt that it was unseemly to allow the appointment to stand, given the cloud over the governor.
For all their tough talk, the Senate Democrats backed down today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Monday afternoon that they had informed Mr. Burris that he was officially Illinois junior senator-designate.