Roland Burris went to the Illinois Supreme Court on New Year’s Eve to try to get his Senate appointment certified, but Senate leaders back in Washington have a Plan B to keep from swearing him, regardless of what the court decides.
But even if the Illinois justices force him to make the appointment official, Senate Democrats in Washington will still resist.
Senate officials tell Politico that if presented with the appointment, they are likely to give the Rules Committee 90 days to determine the propriety of the appointment by looking into such issues as whether Blagojevich received anything in return for it.
“A motion to refer credentials to the committee has the effect of delaying seating,” a Senate Democratic aide said. “The motion is debatable and amendable.”
Another official explained: “That buys us 90 days.”
That should be enough so the senators won’t have to act to prevent Burris from joining the chamber. Blagojevich’s defiance inflamed Illinois legislators, speeding up the impeachment process.
“He will not be governor by Valentine’s Day,” the official said.
President-elect Obama plans to say as little about the matter as possible. But an official said he will declare when pressed that the Senate is well within its bounds not to seat Burris, and that it would be difficult for anyone to work effectively with this kind of cloud over them.
Sources say Blagojevich’s s successor if he’s removed from office, Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, is likely to point someone who is African- American, but likely not Burris because of the taint or Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill), who is often mentioned as a possibility but would be too controversial.
Sources said the choice is likely to be someone young and dynamic, like Dan Seals, who ran in a northeast Illinois House district in 2006 and 2008. It needs to be someone who would appeal to the white Republicans in downstate Illinois, to prevent the seat going to the GOP in a future election.