Burris Is Rejected by Senate

Senate blocks Burris from filling Obama's seat


In what wasn’t too surprising news today, Roland Burris announced he was rejected for President-elect Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

The former Illinois attorney general was appointed by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the seat. The post is viewed as tainted because Blagojevich is accused of trying to auction off the position for cash or other favors.

During a press conference on the Capitol grounds, Burris, 71, told reporters he had been informed that “my credentials are not in order and will not be accepted.”

The former Illinois attorney general said he was seeking “not seeking to have any type of confrontation” over taking the seat that he was appointed to by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to the Associated Press. Burris also said he was looking at options for taking the seat.

When Burris presented his credentials to the secretary of the Senate for the swearing in of the 111th Congress, he was escorted by Senate sergeant-at-arms to the secretary’s office for a 20 minute meeting. It was after that meeting that he informed reporters that he would not be allowed to become the junior senator for Illinois.

“I presented my credentials to the secretary of the Senate and advised that my credentials were not in order, and I would not be accepted, and I will not be seated, and I will not be permitted on the floor,” Burris said.

In an earlier interview with CBS’s “The Today Show,” Burris defended his nomination, saying that there was nothing wrong with him and “I am qualified, I was elected four times in my state.”

Maggie Rodriguez of “The Early Show” said she didn’t dispute his bona fides, but asked him why if he is so qualified that he didn’t request a special election. His answer, “Illinois needs to have two senators on the ground.”

Certainly. But shouldn’t both of those lawmakers be free of the taint of scandal?

Even without seating Burris, for the first time in 16 years Democrats control both houses of Congress and will see a Democrat in the White House.

Deborah Creighton Skinner is the editorial director at BlackEnterprise.com.

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