The Illinois Saga Just Keeps Getting Better - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Illinois Saga Just Keeps Getting Better

When Roland Burris, the Senator-designate for Illinois, shows up in Washington to be sworn in, he is likely to be met by armed guards at the Senate door.  What a great symbol of Democratic Party inclusiveness!

Reports the Los Angeles Times:

Should Roland Burris show up for duty in the Senate on Tuesday, armed police officers stand ready to bar him from the floor.

This cinematic showdown is among an elaborate set of contingencies that Democratic leaders are planning if, as expected, the former Illinois attorney general appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich shows up with newly elected senators to press his claim that he is the legitimate replacement for President-elect Barack Obama.

Democratic leaders hope to avert such a standoff. And Burris, in an interview Wednesday, said he hoped to claim the Senate seat without added drama.

“We’re not going to create a scene in Washington,” Burris said. “We hope it’s negotiated out prior to my going to Washington.”

Still, the Senate leaders’ planning, detailed by a Democratic official briefed on their deliberations, even covers scenarios such as Blagojevich appearing in person to escort Burris.

Ironically, as a sitting governor, the scandal-plagued Blagojevich is allowed floor privileges. But Lucio Guerrero, Blagojevich’s spokesman, said the governor had not decided whether to go to Washington with Burris.

With Democratic leaders vowing to bar anyone appointed by Blagojevich because of federal charges that he attempted to sell Obama’s seat, leaders hope to stall Burris with paperwork. Senate rules require that an incoming senator’s selection be certified by the secretary of state for his home state, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has declined to sign a certification of Burris’ appointment.

But Senate Democrats also have a follow-up plan: refusing to seat Burris until the Senate Rules Committee completes an investigation into whether the appointment process was tainted by corruption.

The plan is for the Senate investigation to extend longer than the Illinois Legislature’s impeachment process underway against Blagojevich, leaving open the possibility that a new governor will make a rival Senate appointment that the Democratic leaders could seat.

Ah, schadenfreude!  It’s such a great word.  You’ve got to wonder why we’ve never come up with a comparable word in English.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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