* 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.
“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?