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.I don't know a think about Burris other that was is in this story. But given the track record of the Blagojevich administration in Illinois, the fact that Burris is a former member of that Administration is not a good sign in general.
"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.
Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris told the Illinois Senate president early Tuesday of Blagojevich's decision to appoint him.
Senate leaders, scattered for the holidays, immediately convened a conference call to respond to what they saw as a sticky situation. Some involved in the call were wary of being seen as denying a black man a seat in a chamber where there are no blacks, according to two officials knowledgeable about the talks who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.
That sensitivity is why the statement includes a section explicitly saying that any "shadow" of impropriety or the Democrats' refusal to seat Burris was a reflection on Blagojevich, not Burris.
The governor has the ability and power to appoint a replacement, but I think he and the state would be better served by holding a special election.