I Like Things That Don’t Happen Very Often

According to CNN, Governor Blago has the right to access the Senate floor. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see that clown walking and talking amongst the Senators? He is crazy enough to do it.

Roland Burris, the *legally appointed* Junior Senator from the State of Illinois does not have legal access to the Senate floor, it appears.

The aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders’ plans said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him, said the aide.

“They (police) probably won’t arrest him” but they would call the sergeant-at-arms,” the aide said.

When asked about what would happen if he shows up and tries to be seated, Burris told the Chicago Tribune that he’s, “not going to create a scene in Washington.” He added, “We hope it’s negotiated out prior to my going to Washington.”

Burris told CNN that, “We’re certainly going to make contacts with the leadership to let them know that the governor of Illinois has made a legal appointment. And that I am currently the junior senator for the State of Illinois. And we’re hoping and praying that, you know, they will see the reason in appointing me as a very qualified, capable, able and ready-to-serve individual.”

Coincidentally, the senate sergeant-at-arms, Terrance Gainer, served in the Illinois government at the same time as Burris. Gainer was the director of the Illinois State Police from 1991-95. Burris was the Illinois attorney general from 1991-95.

Senate Democratic leaders, who consider Governor Rod Blagojevich a loose cannon, also have discussed what might happen if Blagojevich shows up on Capitol Hill Tuesday, said the aide familiar with their plans. But the leaders see that move by Blagojevich as unlikely at this time.

This would be a “radioactive” situation, according to the aide, because Senate Democratic leaders could not deny Blagojevich entry, as sitting governors have floor privileges in the Senate. Governors are allowed to walk around the Senate chamber or talk with senators while on the floor, though they cannot vote or formally address the Senate.

Interesting times indeed. As Lex Green has pointed out elsewhere, the Illinois Clown Show is on the road in Washington.

By the way, the comments to that article are pretty interesting.

15 thoughts on “I Like Things That Don’t Happen Very Often”

  1. I have to say, the Clowns may be the smartest guys in the room, this time.

    I do not see that anything has been done, as a matter of law, to deprive Blagojevich of his power to appoint the successor to Obama.

    I do not see that under the existing case law, the U.S. Senate has the authority to deny him his seat.

    Everybody expected Blago to just skulk off like Elliott Spitzer.

    He is not playing that game. He is acting like he is still the governor, which he is.

    His f-bombs include a big f-you to the whole world that wants him to stop being governor.

    It will take a SWAT team to get him out of there, or those guys with dreadlocks who took out Tony Montana at the end of Scarface.

    He ain’t going quietly.

    Why should he? What’s in it for him?

    He is not indicted. He is not impeached. He is not convicted of anything.

    He is not otherwise barred from appointing Burris.

    Burris is now the Junior Senator from Illinois, period.

    I don’t think I am missing anything.

    And it is too late for anyone to do anything about it.

  2. “I am becoming sort of a closet Blago fan.”

    Me too. He is saying, you guys don’t have the stones to actually remove me.

    It is a big game of chicken, and he keeps winning.

  3. I agree completely Lex, I don’t understand why the Dems won’t seat Burris and I find it quite the spectacle thus far. And guys like Bobby Rush are adding fuel to the fire with the racism card.

    In fact, I am becoming sort of a closet Blago fan – not because of the way he handled his job with the mountain of evidence against him, but because he is just giving everyone the finger and daring him not to do what he is doing. There must be a BOATLOAD of people in Chicago and Springfield crapping their pants about now – because if he goes down, he is going to sing like a canary to stay out of club fed.

    Anyways, he is daring anybody to do anything to stop him, and thus far, nobody has done anything that says he isn’t the Governor, nor that Burris isn’t the senator that I have seen, unless that ploy by the Illinois Secy of State about rejecting the nomination works out. Pretty delicious.

    **Dammit, I wanted to rewrite my comment a bit, but you beat me to the punch Lex. I will just leave it as it was since you commented on it already, please excuse the horrible grammar.

  4. This shows up everybody badly. Burris for taking the poisoned chalice, the legislature for not moving to have a special election before Blago acted, reid for making a threat he will probably not follow through on — but mostly Obama and Rahm Emanuel. They’re leting this overshadow the transition and inauguration and take all the headlines. Where’s all the hardass Emanuel style everybody keeps talking about? They need to buy Burris off now, maybe an undersecretary job at HHD or HUD, or ambassador to an minor country — Ghana might be nice, they wouldn’t take the corrupt origins of the appointment as an insult. Then lean on the IL legislature to get that damned special election set up. They’ll need Republican support – – how about refusing to certify Franken and demanding a special election in MN as part of the deal.

    Clock’s ticking, Barry.

  5. I think Lex will be right in practice though I think the Senate as an institution are within their rights as a co-equal branch to refuse to seat Burris.

    I have not read the 40 year old SCOTUS decision that touches on this issue. That said, my take on Lex’s take:

    Blago has all the powers of the gov office until he is removed. So Lex is right there.

    Technically, Jesse White needs to certify the appointment which he has refused to do. However such state lvl shenanigans are most likely unconstitutional for filling a Fed office. White as Sec. of State really needs some kind of clear-cut, factual, legal justification to refuse certification. It’s not a kingly whim on his part. So
    Lex is right there as well. Legal appointment.

    OTOH- The House of Reps has previously refused to seat legally elected Republicans in favor of their Dem opponents who lost narrowly. Then there are clear Reconstruction era precedents of not seating unrepentant ex-Confederates in either house of Congress who were quite legally elected. Burris is not elected, just appointed.

    Ultimately each House is going to be the master of their own house, if Senate leaders choose to go to the mat on it before SCOTUS. I doubt though, that they will have that nerve.

  6. I would add that Senate Democrats are trying to refuse to seat Burris for lack of certification yet swear in Al Franken, who lacks certification becuse he most likely has lost the election in due to improperly rejected absentee ballots and legal challenges. They can’t have it both ways on this one.

  7. Non-lawyer’s observation: Fitzpatrick seems honest; Blago seems out of the sopranos. That said, Ronnie Earle often prosecutes from what appear to be political motives. He’s not always successful (Iowa trade as I write this is 11.0/27.9.) At this point Fitzpatrick has accused, not proved. We can understand why Fitzpatrick wanted to act. And, certainly, Burris put his career above the good of his state. Blago looks like a clown.

    But is it truly legal (and should it be) to deprive a governor of his prerogatives because a prosecutor has decided to go public with accusations? Do we want Ronnie Earle to determine who makes decisions here? The people of Illinois seem to have too little sense of how some laws were designed to protect them – and officials don’t understand why they should be restrained; if they did, they’d sense that nepotism at the level they practice it is a temptation that should be renounced. (Of course, these people elected Blago.)

  8. Ha ha, I’d buy tickets.

    “We can understand why Fitzpatrick wanted to act.”, said Ginny.

    I assume that’s because too many enforcement types were in on the investigation and Fitz needed to blow the whistle before even more (Democratic) officials allowed themselves to become snared in an ever-increasing web of corruption?

  9. Jay, I like the idea of that posse shooting the crap out of the Governor’s mansion, and Blago, coked out of his mind, with his M-16 with attached grenade launcher, screaming “I’m still standing!” and finally going down in a hail of rifle bullets.

    It would be Wagnerian climax to a Keystone cops slapstick act, a tragic end to stoopid farce.

    I suppose the Illinois Clown Show does not deserve such high drama. These idiots just get put in handcuffs and taken away. No one gets shot. That’s probably good.

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