Roland Burris may return to Washington next week to demand that he be accepted as the legitimate Senate appointee to replace President-elect Barack Obama and be sworn into office, according to a Burris adviser.
If Burris' appointment is not accepted, he will file a lawsuit challenging Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership's refusal to seat him, the adviser said.
"Unlike last time, there's now a sense that we've been forced into a corner and must be more direct with Senate leaders," the adviser said. "They're breaking the law and act as if they have the upper-hand and can dictate terms for an entire state. There is nothing left to negotiate, they must seat the legally appointed senator."
Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have refused to seat Burris, arguing that his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not certified by the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White.
But on Friday night, White submitted a document to the Senate certifying Burris' appointment. White's action followed an earlier decision by the Illinois Supreme Court, which ruled that Blagojevich's approval alone was all that was needed for Burris to take the seat.
Reid's office said that the Democratic leadership was consulting with its own legal team and made no decision yet on its response to this latest development.
Durbin told reporters on Friday, before news of White's certification broke, that it would be best if impeachment of Blagojevich moves forward in the Illinois Senate moves forward, the governor is removed from office, and then Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn appoint Obama's replacement. The Blagojevich impeachment proceedings are not expected to be completed until mid-February. The Illinois House voted by a 114-1 margin on Friday to oust Blagojevich.
It is unclear if Quinn would back Burris as the Obama replacement, which may be driving Burris drive to be seated as soon as possible.
Burris and his advisers, armed with both the Blagojevich appointment and White's certification, are refusing to back down in their dispute with the Senate leadership, and they now want to increase the pressure on Reid and Durbin to accept him as the newest senator from Illinois.
"We are frustrated after doing everything we could to cooperate and to help diffuse this unfortunate situation," said the Burris adviser. "We made a genuine effort to be respectful and to minimize our level of confrontation. But Reid and Durbin have forced our hands and have called into question their own credibility to be trusted as honest negotiators. "They're now nearly guaranteeing that there will be a direct confrontation on the week of inaugural."