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The Burris Appointment: What Next?

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 31, 2008 4:05PM

2008_12_31_burrisblago.jpg It's the morning after and we're still somewhat shocked at the chutzpah of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. With all the protest from Congressional Democrats, will Roland Burris ever be seated as a U.S. Senator? As we pointed out yesterday, officials across the spectrum are chiming in to denounce the appointment, including President-Elect Barack Obama, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, and State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. So what happens next?

White has already said he'll refuse to approve the appointment:

He's a gentleman of impeccable credentials...However, I'm standing by my previous statement that I will not certify any recommendation coming from the governor's office...I'm not a rubber stamp. I'm also the keeper of the seal of the State of Illinois.
According to CBS 2, Burris could force a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
What's most likely to occur in the Senate is a vote to halt Burris' seating "pending the outcome of an investigation into the propriety of his appointment" by the Senate Rules Committee. That investigation will likely have a 60-day period limit.
This would give the Senate time to wait out Blago's impeachment, something state leaders, including Lt. Gov. Pat "The Mighty" Quinn, have promised will happen by mid-February. If thing shake out in that manner, then that would allow the Senate to nullify the Burris pick and allow then-appointed Gov. Quinn to make a selection, who would be immediately sworn in. However, if Blago is the fighting man he claims to be, he could bust out the lawsuit stick and we could have a battle that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. This seems unlikely at this juncture, but it's still a possibility.

2008_12_30_davis.jpg While Burris's appointment has many in the state shaking their heads and asking, "What was he thinking?" Lynn Sweet reports that U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who has been mentioned as a potential fill-in before, was offered the seat last week, but turned it down. He told Lynn, "I indicated I came to the conclusion there was too much discomfort on my part and the part of my family...It would be difficult to generate the trust level people would have to have in me. I just decided there was too much turmoil, too much disagreement. It was something I wanted to do, but I said I would not take an appointment from the governor."

Something else that Davis told Sweet caught our attention: he expressed disagreement with Rep. Bobby Rush's claim that the new Senator needs to be black.

I always said that I don't think it is a seat that belongs to anybody...The person should be who can best unify the state and bring back a sense of integrity and trust...The seat does not belong to any race or any ethnic group or any category of individual. It belongs to the voters.
For once, we couldn't agree more with Davis.

Photo of Blago & Burris - AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Photo of Rep. Davis from his website