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This just in… Burris heads to IL Supreme Court *** House posts elections bill, cancels hearing ***

Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008

* 8:01 pm - Not unexpected. Secretary of State Jesse White refused to certify Roland Burris’ appointment, so he’s running to the courts…

U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris has asked [the Illinois Supreme Court] to force Secretary of State Jesse White to certify his appointment to Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. […]

It’s the start of legal wrangling over the seat that embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich filled by naming Burris.
The move comes after White rejected Blagojevich’s proclamation naming Burris to the Senate.

More

“There is a great and urgent interest of the people of the state of Illinois in being fully represented before the United States Senate,” the Burris petition said.

Burris maintained state law “imposes an unconditional obligation on the secretary of state” to perform “merely a ministerial” role that does not leave “any discretion whatsoever” to block or impede the action.

* You can view Burris’ filing by clicking here. The case is being handled by Burris’ firm, which does a bunch of bond business.

* But whatever happens with the Supremes, here’s something very important to remember

…Eric Ueland, a parliamentary and legal expert on the Senate, said yesterday that precedent has allowed the Senate to conduct investigations of troubling elections. This would make the matter not “justiciable,” Ueland said, keeping courts out of the dispute because the Senate has proper jurisdiction.

Forget all the bloviating about whether the Senate does or does not have jurisdiction here. A very strong case can be made by the Senate.

* From Politico we have another Senate tactic

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.

Roland Burris is about to hit a major brick wall.

Like I said, forget all the bloviating. The Senate has significant power here.

* Meanwhile, I’m not completely sure what is going on here yet

A bill to hold a special election to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat may be getting another life in Springfield.

The measure, which had been shelved by House Speaker Michael Madigan, on Wednesday was quietly posted for a committee hearing next Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 7. […]

If a special-election bill were to pass, it could effectively nullify the appointment, or restrict it to the period until a special election could be held.

First of all, any attempt to nullify the appointment could be met with a veto. Moot point.

And even if it did become law, Burris could argue in court that it’s an ex post facto attempt to nullify his appointment.

What a mess.

Also, the only bill posted for the House Elections & Campaign Reform Committee is SB761. The measure, sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) is not a special elections bill. The underlying bill is a vehicle, and the Senate amendment deals with constitutional amendment balloting.

The House could add a special election amendment to it. I couldn’t reach Fritchey, but it’s New Year’s Eve, so I kinda figured I wouldn’t get ahold of him.

* Also, the committee was canceled after the Crain’s article appeared. Nothing will happen now.

Here’s the original statement from House Speaker Madigan’s spokesman about the bill postings for next week…

Several Illinois House committees are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to accommodate members with unfinished business in the current GA in the event the full House returns to Springfield.

The decision to return will be determined following the Monday court hearing on the release of the tapes in the Governor’s criminal case

Should the House not return, the committees will be rescheduled for the days already set for the following week.

The other committees weren’t canceled, just Elections. Hmmm.

The ILGOP responds…

“Once again Blagojevich Democrats failed the people of Illinois.

“It appears Rod Blagojevich’s campaign co-chairman Mike Madigan would rather allow this senate appointment to stand instead of doing what’s right and giving the voters what they want.

“Blagojevich Democrats could have solved this problem 15 days ago by passing a special election, instead they refused to strip the Governor of his appointment powers and contributed to yet another constitutional crisis for Illinois.”

* Other stuff…

* Why Is the Governor’s Criminal Defense Lawyer Making Political Overtures?

- Posted by Rich Miller   114 Comments      


What Blagojevich, Genson and maybe Burris want us to believe *** Plus: Fitz asks for extension *** Guv formally makes appointment ***

Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008

* A commenter posted this the other day. Maybe Roland Burris believes this is what really happened…

THE REAL, UNEDITED FBI SURVEILLANCE TRANSCRIPT*

(Begin recording 534)

(Assistant) Hey, how’s everything going?

RRB: Oh you know, it never stops, my hard work trying to find sources of revenue to plug the holes in that horrible budget the fine but misguided people of the Illinois General Assembly gave me. By not taking my guidance on the GRT, they’ve overspent us into a terrible hole.

(Assistant) That’s so sad. If only they’d listened to you, we’d have a surplus right now…

RRB: I KNOW! Oh, well, they are the people’s elected representatives and I must, as you know, honor their commitments, misguided as they may be. Fine, decent folks they are, to be sure, but just not as far-sighted as we are. Anyhow, I came up with a little project for the holidays coming up. You know that reclining office chair that Senator Obama used to sit in?

(Assistant) Yeah, those are really nice chairs.

RRB: Yeah, plush. When you jump into it, it’s so soft it’s like I could parachute into it. Might have some of that space-age foam in it…

(Assistant) …that’s good for a bad back, I hear…

RBB: … yeah, or something. And the leather is first-rate. If nobody wants it, I’m gonna keep it for myself, it’s worth it. Well, see, Obama doesn’t need the chair in Washington, the new guy in Springfield will probably want a new chair too, so I figured, it’s a pretty famous chair, and people LOVE to buy souvenir stuff, you know. Jim Thompson told me, collecting antiques is BIG money. So, I thought we could…

(Assistant) …Sell the chair?

RRB: …yeah, sell this actual chair, like in an auction, on ebay or something, or let that fine Gianoullias boy auction it for us, I think he does that stuff, and send the money to the general revenue fund. I’m not gonna give it up for (REDACTED) nothing, though. It’s a valuable thing. We could get, I dunno, a couple thousand for it. At least. That’s just a spit in the ocean, I know, it’s not the cure for cancer or anything…

(Assistant) How’s that project coming, by the way? Got the test tubes I sent over?

RRB: Oh, well, you know, if I had a little more research money to throw at it, I think we’d turn the corner on it finally, this stem-cell thing I’m playing with I feel certain is the answer… but wouldn’t you know it, the money’s tied up in building excess hospitals to treat symptoms instead of more research for the cure… I wish we could do something about that…

(Assistant) I’ll see what I can do… anyhow, this chair of Obama’s?

RRB: Yes, I’ve got this thing here in the rec room, and it’s (REDACTED) golden: hardly worn, I just checked it over and took some pictures of it for the ebay page. I think a lot of people would be interested in having it.

(Assistant) We should advertise.

RRB: Well, not if that costs money, it would reduce the amount we send to the people for that budget gap. Maybe we can start the ball rolling by making a few calls and let word of mouth do the advertising. If we can get a couple of rich folks into a bidding war against each other, this seat will skyrocket. The people deserve the most I can raise for them.

(Assistant) Can’t argue with that. Let me make some calls.

RBB: Call up some of his friends and co-workers: I bet they’d like to buy it and surprise him with it or something. Hey, while I got you on the phone, what about the Tribune thing?

(Assistant) They are being sticklers about the issue: they say the boy can’t throw the Sunday edition far enough to hit the front door stoop, you’re going to have to walk out there and pick it up off the walk like everybody else does.

RBB: Oh darn, when he does that, the sudoku puzzle gets all soggy in bad weather. Patti loves to do those while I take my morning run. Do you think if they made the paper lighter, the kid could throw it a little farther?

(Assistant) Like what, you mean, leave parts of it out?

RBB: Why not? I don’t really need the editorials or the sports sections, I already know everybody loves me..

(Assistant) …True…

RBB: …and I know everything about the Cubs…

(Voice of Gubernatorial Spouse A in background): Great idea, we don’t need the (redacted) Cubs scores, we get ‘em on the radio, and get rid of that editorial (redacted), I just want my sudoku puzzle!

RBB: Ain’t she a treasure? (yelling) Thanks, Hon! (quietly) See, I think that’s a compromise we can all (redacted) live with.

(Assistant) I’ll get right on it, may have to go over the circulation manager’s head tho’.

RBB: Whatever you do, be sure to always be polite and gracious about it, and be diplomatic: that’s what I learned from my years as a politician.

(Assistant) I’ll just ask myself, “what would the boss do in this situation”, and I know it will be the right thing.

RBB: You’re too kind. Stick with me, and great things will come your way.

(end of recording 534)

*-according to Rod Blagojevich and Ed Genson

* This is a fresh Blagojevich/Burris open thread. Don’t go over the top and get all goofy, since I won’t be monitoring the thread very closely. Thanks.

Also, see…

* THIS JUST IN: The U.S. attorney’s office today asked a federal judge for an extra three months to formally indict Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his former chief of staff… The move by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald’s office was expected because the deadline for handing up an indictment had been set for Jan. 7. The extension would give them until April 7… A hearing on the extension request is expected to be held Monday. [Defense attorneys are not opposing the motion.]

* THIS JUST IN: 11:23 am - Gov. Rod Blagojevich has formally submitted a proclamation to the US Senate appointing Roland Burris. The proclamation is not co-signed by Secretary of State Jesse White, per Senate requirements, so this is just the first legalistic step in the dance.

* Rich Miller: “It’s tough to scream ‘witch hunt’ when your client is riding a broom”

* Burris failed his only major test in office as AG

* In crazy Illinois, this makes sense

- Posted by Rich Miller   110 Comments      


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