The Secretary of the Senate blocked Roland Burris from taking his seat today as the junior United States from Illinois.
Roland Burris failed in his bid to take President-elect Barack Obama's Illinois Senate seat on Tuesday in a scripted piece of political theater staged just before the opening of the 111th Congress.
"Mr. Burris is not in possession of the necessary credentials from the state of Illinois," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in his speech opening the new session of Congress.
Burris, 71, earlier confirmed that Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson had informed him in a private meeting that his credentials lacked a required signature and his state's seal.
"I will not be accepted, I will not be seated," Burris told a mob of reporters who had followed him across the street for a news conference in a cold and steady rain outside the Capitol.
I do not understand the rationale of senate Democrats on this matter.
Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to serve the remainder of Barack Obama's term. Blagojevich's legal troubles notwithstanding, the governor has the legal authority to appoint Obama's successor. That, it seems to me, should settle it.
Something is going to have to give here, and if Burris continues to press his right to take his seat, what will have to give is the senate leadership's effort to keep him from doing so. The man has the law on his side. That has to count for something.