Burris Goes to Court to Force Certification of Appointment to Senate

burrisRoland Burris has filed to ask a court to compel Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to certify his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the United States Senate. White has refused to sign off on the appointment and the Senate democrats appear to be moving to block Burris.

The lawsuit asks the court to order White “to certify Governor Blagojevich’s appointment of Mr. Burris to the office of United States Senator from the state of Illinois and do all other acts required to confirm such appointment.”

The lawsuit is well based given White’s clear abuse of his authority. This is a valid appointment by the governor, who has been neither impeached nor convicted for any crimes. White is effectively declaring that he can unilaterally reject duly appointed candidates because he does not like the governor. That position would make the state laws discretionary at his whim and wishes.

It is not clear that White’s signature is actually needed in this case, though the standard form has placed for both the governor and secretary of state.

In the meantime, the democrats are moving forward with a plan to block Burris. Both actions are entirely without legal basis. There is no legal controversy or cloud over this appointment. To block such an appointment is an arbitrary and abusive use of power.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Burris Goes to Court to Force Certification of Appointment to Senate”

  1. Mike,
    I agree that the extension request is possible evidence that the case is weak, but Fitz alluded to that at the press conference when he said they decided to go public to prevent a successful sale of the Senate seat. I don’t think he is being partisan here or that he was in the Plame investigation. If you can’t get evidence from the Executive branch it is hard to get Rove and others.

  2. FitzG’s latest request for a 90 day extension for filing the indictment is further proof of my contention that his case is weaker than he portrays it to be. My guess is that he is acting more as a Republican enabler, than as the supposed “above reproach” prosecutor portrayed in the MSM. Three months more delay would mean at least a year with Illinois lacking a second senator and one less Democrat to assist Mr. Obama’s programs. He blew the Plame Case, while assisting its’ cover up and now he’s again acting in partisan rather than public interest.

  3. Gyges,

    I assume that you might be as crazy as I am regarding this specific subject. If not, I apologize for associating our opinions!

    I just want to provide the executive, legislative, and the judicial branches the full opportunities to work as intended while ensuring complete fairness and transparency. If we can set aside our biases while still applying firm pressure, tempered with all the rules, regulations, and laws, then we *all* should accept the official outcome–if done ‘by the book’–even if we personally disagree with the decisions.

    All I know about these 2 men is from Internet/TV news and blogs, which many times are very factual; however, we still only have a partial view of the full facts and there are much sparser amounts of legal evidence.

    Personally, I would not want either man legislating for my state nor making the important executive decisions a governor is singly empowered to decide. However, that is not my decision to make.

  4. A minor sidetrack but has anyone seen the monument Burris built to himself? Burris actually has erected a huge monument to himself on his future grave sight complete with a gabled awning and a list of accomplishments heralding his senate role and an area for future accomplishments.

    Not that it’s pertinent to the discussion of his appointment beyond curiosity but just thought I’d mention it.

  5. Donald,
    In case you missed it, the person accused of corruption is a state official. I don’t think you or any Repblican neocon want to get into a corruption test.
    I am not sure that I can agree with your legislation recommendation. I do agree with the premise of getting the citizens interests protected, but we already have systems set up for this. The Federal prosecutor needs to indict Blago and try him and if he is convicted, then he will be out of office. He can also be impeached, which would be the quickest way to get him out of office, if the evidence is there. Your suggestion of a post departure from office hearing is not something that I am in favor of. I am not a fan of hearings after the defendants rights and/or property has been adversely impacted.

  6. FFLEO,

    So you think that we should use the system of laws that was put in place to deal with this sort of thing to deal with this sort of thing? It’s crazy, but it just might work.

  7. I think some people are forgetting or ignoring that the U.S.A. federal and the sovereign states’ governments all have 3 branches of government. At this stage, the Burris appointment falls squarely within the purview of the Illinois executive branch and Governor Blagojevich is fulfilling his executive powers and duty to appoint Mr. Burris, irrespective of our dislikes for, or biased opinions of, either man.

    Regarding the governor, if the initially preferred legislative process of impeachment fails, then the judicial branch of government is available for further corrective checks-and-balances if substantive legal evidence exists (as yet unknown).

    However, applying any judicial and/or legislative checks-and-balances to Mr. Burris’ appointment is a violation of the valid and time-tested principles for the establishment of the 3-tiered system of government.

  8. Illinois law is quite clear. Blago’s people probably had the mandamus petition drafted the same time they made the appointment. This will be over in about two days.

    The senate’s rejection of the appointment may take longer. That will go to the supreme court and take a while to resolve.

    Reid’s lawyer interprets the “elections” to include appointments as well, and argues that they can judge the appointment to not be free of controversy or corruption, and therefore may reject the certificate of appointment.

    It would be interesting to see if they could filibuster the motion to accept the certificate and seat the senator. That in and of itself could make the appointment take sometime.

  9. rafflaw, by all means push for that legislation.

    With it Congress would be decimated of Democrats in short order with all the corruption now coming to light.

    Say, didn’t Pelosi tell America “this would be the most ethical congress in history”? Oh, excuse me, she actually said “this would be the most ethically challenged congress in history”.

  10. rafflaw:

    I think that legislation should be passed which, in cases of public corruption, the defendant, as a condition of pre-trial release, must relinquish his public post temporarily in favor of his successor. The Judge could conduct a hearing to insure that the indictment was not politically motivated, and use a standard like we encounter in injunction hearings (i.e., likely to prevail at trial on the merits). This would solve these issues since it removes the problem until the matter is sorted out. It also eliminates the problem of the public official using his post to blackmail the government into reducing the charge as appears to be the motivation here.

  11. I believe that – even if they use to courts to coerce the Senate into seating Burris – the Senate can, with a 2/3 vote expel Burris immediately afterward.

  12. These trolls are multiplying. I think the Viagara given out by the CIA in Afghanistan has fallen into the wrong hands.
    I think Burris will win his suit to compel our Secretary of State to certify the appointment,but it will take a while. I think the Illinois Dems wnat the process to take time so that an indictment can be brought before the appointment is certified. I agree with Professor Turley that if we are going to become a country that relies on the rule of law, the Blagojevich appointment must be certified. What the U.S. Senate will do with it is another story. It is obvious that Blago is betting that they will have a difficult time rejecting an African American candidate for the position. I think Blago, as usual, is going to be proven wrong. Professor Turley has suggested,before he concocted his anniversary drinks, that the Senate does not have the authority to dismiss a duly appointed and certified pick by a governor who has not been convicted or impeached. Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. As a life long citizen of Illinois, I do not want Roland Burris as my Senator, but until another election is had, I don’t see a legal way out of his appointment.

  13. An empty suit for an empty seat

    Steve Chapman
    January 1, 2009

    Wall Street titan Bernard Madoff proved you can take an outstanding reputation and ruin it overnight. Now Roland Burris has demonstrated that even a mediocre reputation can be instantly destroyed.

    Burris is the prototypical time-serving career politician who owes his success to being simultaneously ambitious and bland. He has never been one to challenge the status quo, but no one underestimates his self-esteem. The two Burris children, after all, are named Roland and Rolanda.

    The result of his immodesty has been a persistent hunger for offices that most people thought beyond his abilities. He has lost races for mayor of Chicago, U.S. senator, and governor (three times).

    Burris’ chief claim to fame until this week was his 12-year term as state comptroller, a job whose significance can be measured by the fact that few Illinoisans could identify the current occupant (Dan Hynes). Even among accountants, Burris left few strong impressions, but he also never gave any prosecutor grounds to indict him, which is not something Illinois voters take for granted.

    When the news broke that Rod Blagojevich was trying to auction off Barack Obama’s Senate seat, Burris called his behavior “appalling.” After the governor appointed him to fill the vacancy, though, the one-time comptroller-for-life lost interest in the scandal. “I have no comment on what the governor’s circumstance is,” he demurred.

    But logic has never been his strong suit. A longtime advocate of a national handgun ban, Burris organized Chicago’s first Gun Turn-in Day in 1993. But when he ran for governor the following year, he admitted that he owned a handgun (“for protection,”) and did not hand it over to police as he urged others to do.

  14. Despite America electing a black President, America will still be subject to cries of racism at every turn of the minute hand of a clock.

  15. Burris is so full of himself. Burris already commissioned, designed, and put up a mausoleum that lists his accomplishments in life:

    Roland Burris’s Monument to Me

    Roland Burris, the man Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich picked to succeed Barack Obama in the Senate, might get to etch another accolade into the monument he built for himself if this appointment goes through.

    You see, Burris has already charted his esteemed career path on the walls of his future grave in Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery (pictured here). Beneath a seal of the state of Illinois, Burris lists his accomplishments to date, and there seems to be plenty of room above the bench to mention his career in the Senate – if he has one.

    picture at http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/1208/Roland_Burriss_Monument_to_Me.html?showall

  16. I don’t care what it takes – any and all means without limit are acceptable to me – to block Burris’ appointment; it must be done and done with great firmness.

    America must never cave in to the like Bobby rush and his ilk. He is nothing but filthy racist criminal – Black Panther – who is attempting to extort a Black Senate appointment out of our government. He needs to be shutdown and shutdown hard enough to be an effective example of deterrence to the other vermin who think like him.

    Sort of a shame about Burris though. He actually seems like he might be a decent choice for the seat. Yeah, he’s likely corrupt but that’s an expected things from any Illinois politician, especially one involved with Chicago.

  17. Race-baiting hypocrite: Blocking Burris would put Reid in same position as George

    Bobby Rush, back for a bottom-feeding encore.

    Only a neo-segregationist would oppose the Senate’s only black member, says a guy who himself endorsed a white Democrat in the Senate primary four years ago over his old nemesis, Barack Obama.

    He called Blago’s actions “heinous” earlier this month, too, and agreed with Democratic consensus that he shouldn’t make the appointment before instantly reversing himself yesterday in the interests of racial solidarity. Obama should step up and lay this turd Bobby Bush out. He’d have plenty of support.

    But he won’t because despite America electing a black President, the plan is to still continually subject us all to cries of racism at every perceived slight.

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