* 4:09 pm - AP…
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said the Senate won’t seat Roland Burris without the signature of Ill. Secretary of State Jesse White
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was banking on the Illinois court to resolve the matter after turning away Burris earlier in the week because his paperwork was not signed.
But White says he still won’t sign the document, since the court didn’t force him. And Democratic leaders on Friday maintained that Burris still cannot take President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat without White’s signature.
“Mr. Burris is exactly where he was a week ago,” a senior Democratic aide told FOX News. “He does not have a valid certificate, and we cannot seat him.” […]
But White told several Democratic officials Friday that he will not sign the appointment, maintaining his position that he wouldn’t certify any Blagojevich appointment in the wake of the governor’s federal corruption arrest unless the court forced him.
* 1:57 pm - CNN…
Senate Democratic leaders are weighing their options in light of the Illinois State Supreme Court decision that Roland Burris’s certificate of appointment does not require the secretary of state’s signature.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois senior Sen. Dick Durbin had been very clear that their path to seating Burris began with the signature of Secretary of State Jesse White, citing a Senate rule from 1884 that seems to require it. The court ruled Friday afternoon that no such signature was required.
The court ruling leaves Burris in a new state of limbo, just two days after his seating in the Senate seemed imminent. But Burris, in a Friday afternoon statement, portrayed the ruling as a victory.
“I am very happy that the Supreme Court ruled supporting our argument that everything surrounding this appointment was legal and complete,” Burris said in a statement. “This appointment meets the qualifications required by the U.S. Senate of all gubernatorial appointees to fill vacated seats.”
Democratic leaders have refused to allow Burris – the 71-year-old former state attorney general – to serve because they said Senate rules require all appointees to have a signature from the secretary of state and the governor on their certification papers.
Burris believes the ruling helps him pass the test established by Democratic leaders.
“I am confident I have cooperated with all the requests of the U. S. Senate and I expect they will validate my credentials and seat me in a timely manner,” Burris said.
* 1:44 pm - From Attorney General Lisa Madigan…
It is clear that Secretary White is not the roadblock to Mr. Burris’s appointment to the U.S. Senate.
It remains within the power of the U.S. Senate to seat Mr. Burris. They should do so immediately.
* 1:43 pm - Here’s the alternative route suggested by the Supremes…
There is one final point we feel constrained to mention. While the Secretary of State has no duty under Illinois law to sign and affix the state seal to the certificate of appointment issued by the Governor, he does have a duty under section 5(4) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS 305/5(4) (West 2006))
“to give any person requiring the same paying the lawful fees therefor, a copy of any law, act, resolution, record or paper in his office, and attach thereto his certificate, under the seal of the state.”
The registration of the appointment of Mr. Burris made by the Secretary of State is a “record or paper” within the meaning of this statute. A copy of it is available from the Secretary of State to anyone who requests it. For payment of the normal fee charged by the Secretary of State in accordance with this statute, Petitioners could obtain a certified copy bearing the state’s seal. Because such relief is possible, no order by this court is necessary or appropriate. [emphasis added]
* 1:37 pm - AP…
The Illinois Supreme Court says Secretary of State Jesse White doesn’t need to sign Roland Burris’ appointment to the U.S. Senate to make it valid.
The ruling says no Illinois official has to do anything further to validate the appointment made by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
* 1:32 pm - Crain’s looks on the bright side…
The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Roland Burris can take his seat in the U.S. Senate without further action by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
In an action which may remove the last legal or political impediment to Mr. Burris becoming senator, the seven justices on Friday unanimously ruled that Mr. White does not have to sign a certificate attesting to the appointment of Mr. Burris by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
”No further action is required by any officer of this state to make that appointment valid,” the court ruled. “We further hold that the only ministerial act required of the Secretary of State in this case is that he register the appointment.”
Mr. White already had done so, but had refused to sign a certificate delivered to the Senate, saying Mr. Blagojevich should not have appointed anyone to a seat he is accused of attempting to sell.
* 12:52 pm - The Illinois Supreme Court has just rejected Senator-Designate Roland Burris’ motion to force Secretary of State Jesse White to co-sign Burris’ appointment form…
Because the Secretary of State had no duty under section 5(1) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS 305/5(1) (West 2006)) to sign and affix the state seal to the document issued by the Governor appointing Roland Burris to the United States Senate, Petitioners are not entitled to an order from this court requiring the Secretary to perform those Acts. Under the Secretary of State Act, the Secretary’s sole responsibility was to register the appointment (15 ILCS 305/5(2) (West 2006)), which he did. No further action is required by the Secretary of State or any other official to make the Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris to the United States Senate valid under Illinois law. Moreover, to the extent that additional proof of the validity of the appointment is necessary, Illinois law provides a mechanism for obtaining it without the need for judicial intervention.
For the foregoing reasons, petitioners’ request for issuance of a writ of mandamus is denied. Mandate to issue forthwith.
The ball is now in US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s, um, court. Reid has said that the rule requiring the secretary of state to co-sign has never been waived in the history of the Senate. So, he’ll have to back off that as well if Burris is to be seated.
Reid said this week that the full Senate might vote on whether to seat Burris.