Main | Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Burris Turned Away At Senate Swearing In

Roland Burris, former Attorney General for Illinois and disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, was turned away today from his Senate swearing in ceremony.
Senate officials this morning rejected Roland Burris's effort to be seated as the successor to President-elect Barack Obama, telling the former Illinois attorney general that he lacked the requisite approval of state officials to be sworn in with the rest of the class of 2008 in today's launch of the 111th Congress. With a stand-off remaining among Illinois officials over Gov. Rod Blagojevich's effort to appoint Burris to Obama's seat, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson instructed Burris in a closed-door meeting that he would not be seated.

Placing himself at the center of a nationally televised spectacle, Burris arrived at the Capitol in a steady rain with an entourage of aides and lawyers, followed by dozens of journalists, including some broadcasting the procession into the Capitol and up to the third floor on hand-held digital cameras and cell phones. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and a bipartisan group of leaders have rejected Burris's appointment on the grounds that the criminal charges against Blagojevich, including one that he tried to sell the appointment in exchange for financial gain, make it impossible for him to pick a successor to Obama without tarnishing the decision.

It looks to have been quite the spectacle - I'll try to get some video up later today. Also: I told you this would get interesting.

UPDATE: Here's Burris' press conference after he was turned away.

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