Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Burris Should Be Seated!

The NY Times is reporting, U.S. Senator Roland Burris (appointed) will arrive today at the door of what many African Americans call, "The All White Club" of The U.S. Senate for a showdown that a growing number of Democratic members would prefer not to have.

As reported by By Karen Ann Cullotta and Monica Davey at the NY Times: In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, a defiant Mr. Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Mr. Burris to the Senate. “Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?” he said. “I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that.” He later added, “This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation.” As NPR reports, supporters have rallied around Roland Burris.

AAPP: I first thought that Senate Democratic leaders wanted to avoid a spectacle that would pit a black man pegging to gain access to the Senate floor to be sworn in as Barack Obama’s replacement. As I noted in a previous post now that Blagojevich has snubbed everyone in his state the U.S. Senate leadership has developed an elaborate set of contingency plans to keep this black man Roland Burris from taking over Barack Obama's seat. But check this out, The NY times and CNN reported Monday that an aide to Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the United States Senate, said that Ms. Erickson had rejected Mr. Burris’s certificate of appointment because, though it was signed by Mr. Blagojevich, it was not cosigned by Mr. White, as the Senate’s rules require.

As reported by enotes, perhaps. The United States Senate has the right to expel a member of the Senate but whether they can refuse to seat a legally appointed new member is open to question. The argument rests on two parts of the Constitution.

Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution states that "Each house [Senate or House of Representatives] shall be the judge of elections, returns and qualifications of its own members . . ." In addition, "Each house may expel a member." During its entire history, the Senate has expelled 15 members. But these were members who were already part of the Senate.

The 17th amendment to the Constitution states :"When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies." In other words, the governor shall appoint a successor when a vacancy occurs.

Refusing to seat a new, duly appointed Senator may only be possible if the Senate has some indication that his appointment was corrupt. Since they have no such knowledge that Burris' appointment was corrupt, many constitutional experts say that to refuse to seat him would deny the citizens of Illinois proper representation in Congress. According to ABC news," . . election law attorneys said that senators may not have the constitutional power to refuse to admit Burris into the Senate without some indication that his appointment was corrupt." Thus, it is unclear what will happen if Burris attempts to take his seat. More HERE

If Burris shows up today to claim the seat given to him by disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the potential outcomes range from a denial of entry to a limbo where he can hire staff but not vote. The Chicago Sun Times is also following the story on how the United States Senate may block Burris and stall for time.

In Chicago one newspaper, The Chicago Tribune is HOT saying:Illinois Democrats played a starring role in this mess. The paper even going as far as saying, let Burris have the Senate seat and move on, already.

Now get this, The LA Times has wrote: Obama's election is changing the politics of race. They write, Reporting from Washington -- With Senate leaders threatening to block Roland Burris from being sworn in today as Barack Obama's replacement, many of his supporters see a familiar story of race and injustice.

An all-white club, they say, is trying to prevent a black man from gaining admission, as well as the power that comes with a Senate seat. Summoning a harsh metaphor from the nation's racial battles, Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) even called the Senate "the last bastion of plantation politics."

But the Burris episode has unexpectedly become the first example of how racial politics have changed with the election of Barack Obama to the White House.

Many black leaders, including Obama, have declined to back Burris, even if that leaves the Senate with no African American members. Some view his appointment by Illinois' embattled governor as an odd playing of the race card. Others are renouncing the style of politics that highlights racial grievances and inequality, saying it can no longer work now that the nation has elected its first black president.

"It is another statement on how black politics is now -- that the old regime, the old outlook, the old perspective has been displaced," said the Rev. Eugene Rivers, a black pastor from Boston and senior advisor to the Church of God in Christ, the biggest Pentecostal denomination in the country. "You can't use 50-year-old ideas in a new political era."
Even the Rev. Al Sharpton, known for his confrontational style of politics, is distancing himself from the Burris matter -- conferring privately Monday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid but refusing to join critics in denouncing the Democratic leadership in racial terms. Read More HERE


Roland Burris right, and wife Berlean, second from right, along with U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush (D)-Ill, second from left, attend the New Covenant Baptist Church during a rally in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Burris is leaving for Washington D.C. on Monday, after Il. Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him to fill President elect Barack Obama's Senate seat. Source: AP/The Seattle Times

AAPP: Damn, it looks like black elected and self appointed political leadership have sold black folks to the highest bidder. This whole situation is now pitting black ministers against black elected officials and Obama. I guess the bottom line is, I agree with the following comments in the LA Times article, from supporters of Burris:

Read More HERE