Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pick of Roland Burris to take President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat will face armed police officers if he shows up to be sworn into the Senate next week. According to CNN, Senate Democrats are prepared to deploy the Capitol Police to stop Senator Burris from entering the Senate chamber. This is the same Senate that is possibly going to seat funny man Al Franken from Minnesota without being the certified winner of the Minnesota Senate race according to MinnPost.com.
The Senate Democrat Leadership may kick off a new Congress by seating one Democrat who has yet to be the certified winner in Minnesota and using armed guards to prevent the legally appointed Senator from Illinois from showing up for work. Over the past two years Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged more “civility in how Congress conducts its work” and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised “a new era of bipartisan progress.” Were they serious? If Leader Reid blocks the appointment of Burris, yet seats Franken without a certification, it will show that the Democrats are going to run the Senate with minimal input from Republicans. Republican John Cornyn of Texas has called for a special election to fill the Illinois seat and pledged to block the seating of Franken pending an official certification of election from Minnesota.
Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution states that “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.” In carrying out the Senate’s consitutional duty, what makes Burris unqualified to be a senator? Burris is a former Attorney General of the State of Illinois; he is far more qualified than say Caroline Kennedy who has no experience in elected office.
Here is a revoluionary idea. Why don’t the governors with open seats schedule public debate to help them pick a Senator? This would allow goverors and the voters of a state to judge if Kennedy, Burris, and potential appointees from Colorado, Delaware and New York are worthy of a Senate appointment. At a minimum, the Senate should not make the appointment of Senator Burris and the election results from Minnesota a wholy partisan exercise.