December 30, 2008

Beleaguered Blagojevich will go ahead and appoint a Senator: Roland Burris.

"Mr. Burris, 71 and a Democrat, is a longtime political player in this state, who has run for governor before, including mounting a primary challenge against Mr. Blagojevich. Mr. Obama backed him over Mr. Blagojevich in that race."

59 comments:

AllenS said...

It's going to be next to impossible not to seat Blagojevich's choice of this black man to fill Obama's shoes.

Sofa King said...

What I think we all want to know is what were the final terms?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Yeah, is it a sale, or a lease?

Expat(ish) said...

Wonder if the D's will caucus with him. Wonder if the CBC will welcome him.

Wonder if the son rose in the east this morning?

-XC

wgh said...

I bet Candidate 5 is pissed.

Simon said...

How much did he pay for it?

TMink said...

The Governor is a supreme narcissist, and believes that he will beat the prosecution. I bet that by appointing Burris, he hopes to increase his chances of political survival or at least have one "honest" thing to point to.

Not that he is a moral person, but occasional moral acts serve immoral people. I bet he GAVE it to Burris, but Burris would have paid him for it previously but Blagojevich would not consider the deal because of their previous election.

Trey

Zachary Paul Sire said...

How much of a supreme moron is this Burris guy if he actually accepts the appointment? Who would want anything to do with this now?

Henry Buck said...

ZPS -

A bird in the hand ...

Anonymous Blogger said...

Good thing it wasn't that Madigan woman.

AJ Lynch said...

More good news for conservatives.

Jim said...

Is this the never-slept-with-Althouse Burris?

AlphaLiberal said...

If memory serves, he was not a scuz bucket. Poor guy is now tied to Blago, though.

Hey, Ann, sorry but you didn't get my vote. Had to go with someone embarrassing to conservatism ("Atlas Shrieks"). (No, that's probably not a compliment).

OSweet said...

Rolando Burris must be Rollando Mota.

campy said...

Any relation to Plaxico?

Michael in IL said...

This is a travesty of a press conference...

al said...

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would refuse to seat the man Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has picked to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, saying that the taint of scandal would follow the new senator to Washington.

"Anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and his deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said in a statement.

Here

Joe said...

It's an empty gesture since the state's Attorney General won't certify the appointment and the US senate won't permit Burris to be seated.

DaveW said...

Can the senate refuse to seat him professor? I don't see what legal grounds there are for that.

I mean, he will have come to office by the prescribed means under the circumstances. What authority does the senate have to refuse to allow someone to serve that has been properly elected or appointed?

JohnAnnArbor said...

I believe the Constitution allows the Senate to not seat someone, just as they can expel someone.

10ksnooker said...

State law says Blago gets to pick, even if he gets nothing from the One for doing it. What's the Democrats beef with the law now?

First they want to impeach without the defendent having an opportunity for defense witnesses and now this.

Crime families are an interesting study.

Blago seems to be doing a good job of treeing them.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

Why on earth would he go ahead and do this? He is dumber than he looks and he looks pretty dumb.

I still can't get over that hair.

Michael said...

I've heard of cheap seats...but this is ridiculous:

Burris gave $4,500 to Blagojevich's campaign fund in the form of personal donations and donations from -- what appear to be -- him and his wife.

Hell, I'd pay more than that...

Michael said...

campy said..."Any relation to Plaxico?"

It's his dad.

Simon said...

JohnAnnArbor said...
"I believe the Constitution allows the Senate to not seat someone, just as they can expel someone."

Each chamber judges the qualifications of someone elected to it, but that prerogative is limited to the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution. That's the holding of Powell v. McCormack, and I can't imagine it could be distinguished away by Burris' arrival by appointment rather than election. (Justice Douglas' concurrence is a terrific exposition of why that ought to be the rule, too.)

Michael_H said...

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would refuse to seat the man Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has picked to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, saying that the taint of scandal would follow the new senator to Washington.

Soooo...the Senate Democrats are going to refuse to seat what would be the only black man in the entire Senate? A qualified man who has been an attorney general?

But they will gladly seat an inexperienced white woman who has a famous name, utterly no political experience and a preening sense of entitlement?

Jeez.

Richard Dolan said...

Interesting, but mostly for what it says about Burris and the political calculations driving his train.

There is only one way that a successor can be named under current Illinois law (i.e, nomination by the Gov to fill the empty seat). But Reid, Durban & Co. said shortly after the charges against Blago were released that they would oppose seating any Senator named by Blago. Burris must have known as much, and the Senate Dems have reiterated that view again today. So accepting Blago's nomination wasn't likely ever to get Burris into the Senate.

An impeachment proceeding and a proposal for a special election are both kicking around. Dems have opposed the special election route, apparently out of concern that the voters might get the quiz wrong if given the choice. But the Illinois Legislature will be under pressure to accept the special election route if the impeachment proceedings against Blago drag on, as they almost surely will. One of the reasons is that Fitzpatrick will not share all of his incriminating materials, and probably can't share any of his grand jury materials, with the impeachment prosecutors in the Illinois legislature.

Assuming that the players are acting rationally (always a dangerous assumption where a poltician's personal interests and ego are involved), Burris' action in accepting the nod from Blago makes sense only if he thinks it gives him a leg up when the process reaches either the Plan B (the Lt Gov takes over after an impeachment of Blago) or Plan C (special election) stage. And the Dem Senate caucus went out of its way to say nice things about Burris, even as they said they won't seat him based on Blago's nomination.

I don't know Illinois politics, but it seems a stretch to think that his having accepted the nod from Blago could give him that leg up when one of the two follow-on scenarios comes into play. But the only other way to make sense of what Burris is doing is to imagine that he's just in it for the pleasure of being Blago's pick. Hard to think that a successful pol could be that dim.

DaveW said...

That case is here: Powell v. McCormack and the Douglas concurrence starts at 110.

And that looks correct to me. They really can't refuse to seat him, although they could seat him and then expel him assuming they could get a two thirds vote.

Which, of course, would simply hand it back to Blago. He could then appoint someone else since he obviously couldn't care less what anyone thinks. Think he's enough of a sociopath to do that? I wouldn't bet against it.

Wow what a great way for Obama to start his term in office with this kind of nonsense going on over his senate seat.

Joe said...

Blagojevich blew a beautiful opportunity. Knowing that his nomination would be blocked, he should have created a web site with various candidates and have people vote who they want. Yes, it would be completely bogus as an actual election; but he could have claimed that the candidate selected was "of the people."

Or he could have just randomly picked someone from the phone book.

Or he could have picked Rezco, just for fun.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Did you know that Roland has a son named "Roland" and a daughter named "Rolanda"?

Simon said...

One other thing - I mentioned the power to judge qualifications because I had assumed we didn't need to state the obvious. Perhaps we do need to state the obvious, in light of this NYT story that seems to assume the power to judge the elections of members is relevant here. It is not. Burris was appointed pursuant to the 17th Amendment and relevant state law, so there is no election to judge. Amazing - although less than surprising in light of Durbin's record - that a lawyer turned lawmaker - is ignorant of the Constitutional framework applicable to the body in which he serves.

Simon said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...
"Did you know that Roland has a son named 'Roland' and a daughter named 'Rolanda'?"

I thought it was a gutsy move for Blago to appoint the guitar player from Tears for Fears, but he's getting no respect for it.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

The whole thing is such a dick move. Roland is an idiot for going on with this (seriously, wtf?!) and now Blago gets to make Harry Reid look like an asshole for rejecting the appointment. DICKS! All of them!

Richard Fagin said...

I didn't recognize the Powell case as it's been almost 15 years since I had to read it. When I checked the link (thanks, DaveW) and saw the full case style, my reaction was, oh, THAT Powell. If you can read that case, knowing what's currently representing NY-15, you'll stop worrying about corrupt Chicago politics.

Look what I copied from Charlie Rangel's Congressional website:

"Since first sending an African-American to Congress, the 15th district has had just two House Members, both Democrats: Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who won a landmark election in 1944, and Rangel, who unseated Powell in 1970 and has held the seat since."

Gov. Blagojevich is a small potatoes crook compared to the above two villains.

AlphaLiberal said...

I'm surprised this has not been a focus of an Althouse post:

When a Woman Isn't In the Mood, by Dennis Prager of Town Hall

That's got to be good fodder for banter.

Whooooooeeeeeeee......

DaveW said...

If I was Blago I'd be trying to lay low, weather the storm, see if I could pull it out. He might get by and escape conviction, and they'd obviously prefer not to impeach him. What would they do, impeach him after he gets acquitted? I doubt it.

Yet here he is calling a presser pulling a BS appointment over the very seat he's being indicted for trying sell.

It seems to me to be seriously crazy for him to do this. All he's doing is putting himself on the front pages again.

And why would this Burris character want to get himself associated with Blago this way? If he wants the seat why not just announce his intention to run for it? Start campaigning, see if he can build support - which would put pressure on the Lt Gov if Blago gets booted to appoint him.

I must be missing something.

# 56 said...

Nobody is blocking a damn thing. Blago's pick will be seated. Harry Reid is getting rolled, much as his predecessor Pat Geary was. Blago is a rock star, a God. Remind me again who is US Senate Majority Leader and who Fitz recently indicted. In Blago we trust...

garage mahal said...

When a Woman Isn't In the Mood, by Dennis Prager of Town Hall

I'm sure old boy has heard every excuse in the book, so he might be an expert here.

Other funny headline from today was "GOP divided whether "Negro" is a slur. LOL.

Michael said...

"Other funny headline from today was "GOP divided whether "Negro" is a slur. LOL."

I was with some people last night, discussing the CD being mailed out, and when a few of my more conservative buddies said they didn't see why anyone would see it as being racial in any way.

So I asked them when was the last time any of them had referred to or described a black person as a ..."negro."

Nobody could.

Michael said...

# 56 said..."In Blago we trust..."

And people get upset when I say many here are morons?

Duh.

# 56 said...

Balgo is greatness, Mikey. Get on the train before it leaves the station.

# 56 said...

Re your negro commentary, context matters. Now stop acting like a snotty child.

Simon said...

# 56 said...
"Balgo [sic.] is greatness, Mikey. Get on the train before it leaves the station."

Such fun when Democrats fight among themselves.

Joe said...

In more serious vein, I cannot find any provision in the US Constitution or which would allow anyone in the US Federal Government to prevent Roland Burris from taking his seat as Senator.

The only remotely applicable clause is Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Since Burris is now legally the Senator from Illinois (assuming Blagojevich signed the proper documents), the only way to remove him would be for two thirds of the senate to vote for his expulsion. Without just reason that Burris is ineligible to hold that office, where are those votes coming from? (And if corruption in Congress is the concern, look no further than Senator Dodd and Representative Rangel.)

Methadras said...

Is that a giant sucking sound I hear? Yup, it's Blago moving the windflap of hair on either side of his head out of the way. Woosh! there is goes.

Trooper York said...

Wow I lost track of Ray Burris after the Yankees cut him. He was a middle relief guy so he will only two a couple of innings before he names Sparky Lyle.

Or the Goose.

Simon said...

Here's a fascinating question raised by The Liberal Voice: the Illinois Secretary of State is apparently refusing to certify the governor's appointment.

I'm not entirely sure that Illinois can, in effect, give the Secretary of State a veto over the appointment. The Seventeenth Amendment is the source of the legislature's authority to empower the governor to make the appointment, and it also limits that power. The state legislature doesn't have to give the Governor that authority, and a state law attempting to go around those limits would run aground on the supremacy clause. So the question in my mind is this: consistent with the limited grant of power in the Seventeenth Amendment, the Illinois legislature couldn't have given itself authority to make a temporary appointment, and we know that it couldn't have given that authority to any executive branch officer other than the Governor. That being the case, is a provision of state law that has the effect of giving an executive branch actor other than the Governor a veto over the Governor's appointment power ultra vires, and if so, is it severable?

MayBee said...

DICKS! All of them!

Poly-dicks, polidicks, polidics.

Michael said...

Boy, those Negroes in the bowl games were really good.

Geoff Matthews said...

So, does this mean that this Senate seat is now a chocolate seat?

>ducks<

BJM said...

Michael said: So I asked them when was the last time any of them had referred to or described a black person as a ..."negro."

Obviously there were no Spanish speakers in the crowd. Spanish lacks synonyms, negro/a, (black), describes race; thus Barack Obama es el primer Presidente negro de Estados Unidos.

A large percentage of our hemisphere uses the word negro without bigotry or offense. So one may feel a bit foolish making such self-absorbed statement in Mexico City or Madrid.

Yes, I am stretching a point, I am fully aware of the etymology of the word in English. I choose not to use the word as African-Americans find it offensive. Just as I don't use other racial or ethnic terms that have become slurs. However I don't stand around with others and feel superior for being a mench.

Issob Morocco said...

For all of the non-Illinois liberal readers who are trying to duct tape together a way to not let Blago appoint yet another empty suit to represent the Land Of Corruption in the US Senate, sorry, but Ray Burris is our new Senator.

Simon is right that the only way he can stopped is to seat him and then vote to expel him. Won't happen and if it did it just creates the next appointment Presser and keeps lifting Blago from his hole, looking defiant and exuding leadership against weak appearing but with lots to hide Illinois politicians calling for his ouster.

The Dimmycrats in Illinois and across the US are in the gear box of a conundrum. The only realistic way they could have avoided this soap opera would have been to pass legislation to strip the Governor of the power to appoint replacements for the US Senate. But to do that would have put risk at the throat of their true desire, Power. If the GOP wins the seat, they lose some of their power.

The only crazy person in this soap opera is the Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who is powerless in the machine. He has predicted that Blago would be out of office by Feb. 12th of 2009. My guess is he will be there Feb. 12th of 2010.

Happy New Cheers!

Simon said...

Issob Morocco said...
"The only realistic way they could have avoided this soap opera would have been to pass legislation to strip the Governor of the power to appoint replacements for the US Senate."

Even that wouldn't have helped much. The legislature's power to strip the governor of his veto would presumably be exercised by passing a statute; Governors usually have a veto and a grace period in which to use it, and from a very cursory glance, Illinois is no exception (see Ill. Const. Art 4 § 9(b) (bill becomes law if not returned unsigned by Governor within 60 days)). Blagojevich could simply have pocketed the bill and appointed Burris anyway.

There's a couple of qualifications to add to that. (1) Any veto would certainly be overriden; if the Senate seated then ejected Burris, the change in law would be effective in the end, preventing a successive appointment by Blago. (2) The 17th Amendment, in terms, leaves it to the discretion of the legislature to give the Governor a temporary appointment power. I've argued before that where the Constitution commandeers and empowers a particular branch of the state, we should take that assignment to be particular, see SF: The California proposal and legislative exclusivity under the Federal Constitution (9/28/07), and recently applied that reasoning to the Seventeenth Amendment in concluding that an Alaska ballot initiative could not validly repeal the legislature's grant of temporary appointment power to the Governor, see SF: Taking the initiative (10/28/08). I may well be bound by that reasoning to conclude that the Illinois legislature could have strip the governor by a joint resolution of its General Assembly. (Whether any court would actually follow my reasoning on this point is something that I doubt, to be candid.)

Big Mike said...

Who knew that a Democrat career politician (Blagojevich) knew what a poison pill is. You'd think he had a Harvard MBA or something (no, that's Bush who has the Harvard MBA).

As I understand it, the law says that the Illinois Secretary of State shall certify the Governor's choice, which means that the only way the Secretary of State can refuse to sign is to resign (don't hold your breath).

So between the Warren court (Powell v. McCormack) and the Illinois constitution the only choice the majority party in the US Senate has is (1) vote to expell Burris, even though by all accounts he is qualified and (by Chicago and Illinois standards at least) not corrupt; or (2) accept him with whatever grace they can muster. If they go with (1), and then later seat a manifestly unqualified person like Caroline Kennedy because she is rich and well-connected, then it's one heck of a slap in the face of the black voters on whom the Democrats depend so heavily.

As I said, a poison pill.

Blagojevich is a Serbian name. Crni Djordje (Black George) would be proud.

3D said...

Mr Burris: Mission Impossible!

Simon said...

I have a post here looking at some 17th amendment questions posed by all this.

LED said...

The Senate Republicans should offer to seat Burris in their caucus. Be REALLY big tent Rs and tweak poor Harry's nose at the same time.

AlphaLiberal said...

Not brilliant:
Spanish lacks synonyms, negro/a, (black), describes race; thus Barack Obama es el primer Presidente negro de Estados Unidos.

The word for "black" in Spanish is "negro/a." ("-a" for referring to feminine nouns).

But it's not the Republican Party of Mexico trying to figure out if calling Obama a "Magic Negro" is offensive or not. It's the RP of the USA.

That there would be any confusion at all on this issue is bizarre.

Stephen Snell said...

Well it certainly is convenient that michael just happened to be hanging around with some of his (imaginary) more conservative friends and they just happened to set him up perfectly to score a rhetorical point, and that his imaginary conservative friends like to pop up like jacks in the box to support his fantasies about conservatives.

His anecdote would strain credulity even coming from someone tethered to reality.

Blago is shameless and tough, I'll give him that.