Monday, January 5, 2009

Senator Roland Burris is in Fact, a Senator

On Friday, CNN reported that the senate leadership has decided to not accept Roland Burris, the junior Senator from Illinois, to be admitted into their caucus, their body, or even on the floor of the Senate. This move, which has only been done by the House, is a rare move that it usually used only for the purposes of removing a person who will not remove themselves. It has never been used on a new comer, and it is Constitutionally dubious.

Nobody is questioning the fact that Burris is clearly a well qualified man for the job. He is the eldest black statesman from Illinois, served as the first black elected to two high-power positions, and basically laid the groundwork for Obama. He also has a granite carving of his qualifications, and it is quite impressive. Also, nobody is arguing that Blagojevich has the power to appoint Obama’s replacement. Really, the Senate is arguing that they have the right to make a power play over the states, and this is essentially a bad move.


While currently there is a state-wide court battle to confirm Burris as appointed (the SoS is refusing to do it, but the office will probably be ordered to by a court), the bigger battle is with the Senate. The Senate is arguing that they have the power to decide who is admissible into their membership. By using Article 1, section 5 of the Constitution the Senate is arguing:

“judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members”.

Basically, the Senate is saying that they have the right to decide who becomes a member of the Senate, and who does not.


The Senate, as has been their fashion lately, is conveniently ignoring the fact that the Constitution then spells out what the qualifications are in Section 3 of Article 1:

“No person shall be senator who shall not have attained to the age of 30 years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States.”

Basically, the Senate can enforce these conditions, but if the person meets them, and they were put in legally, as Burris was, then they must be allowed to be in the Senate.


The Senate, of course, disagrees with the Constitution.


The Supreme Court, who, on the other hand like the Constitution, has held that the qualifications are not up to the Senate to decide. In ruling against the House the court said that:

“The House is without power to exclude any member-elect who meets the Constitution's requirements for membership”

Basically, if they meet the requirements (age, residency, etc.) then they have the right and power to be seated in the House. This ruling should also apply to the Senate.


Basically, the Senate is ignoring the Constitution and precedent simply to make a political point.


Now, let’s take this a step further, let’s talk about the fact that this is an attack on state’s rights. While I support state’s rights somewhat, depending on the situation, I see this as a major attack on the power of each state in picking their own leaders. Sure, this is a very iffy nomination, and arguably, it shouldn’t be happening, but that is irrelevant. The Senate is blocking a legally selected appointee from their position! This should be freaking people out, I mean, the Senate could, in the future, BLOCK AND ELECTED PERSON, simply because they disagree with who the person is. No citizen of the US should support this move, as it greatly harms the states.


Lets take this even further, what if the Senate decided that it wanted to punish Ohio? Well, they could remove Voinovich and Brown, or just not let them talk. What if Brown proposed a measure that they didn’t like, but that would help Ohio out, well, they could fire him. Think about it, the body that was created to represent the states will be able to override them, simply because they disagree.


Basically, I think that the Senate should seat Burris as he is the legal appointee to the seat left vacant by Obama. Plus, if they do not at least let him vote (via phone) as the Junior Senator from Illinois, then I think the state should sue.


As a side not, I think that Blago himself should show up to the Senate. Forum rules provide him the right to walk around and address (not formally) the body. Seriously, this would be hilarious and kickass.

7 comments:

Al Barger said...

You are quite right here. This is some bogus crapola from Senate Democrats. Burris eventually goddam well will be recognized as a senator.

Other than that the governor of Illinois is an embarassment to them, what is beef against Burris? He was unquestionably legally appointed, and there's not the least hint that he's engaged in any impropriety. Blagojevich got arrested, and obviously wasn't going to get to sell the seat, so he appointed one of the most absolutely unobjectionable and qualified people possible. Good counter play.

And the governor himself may well survive. It's not entirely clear that he has in fact actually done anything illegal. There's some crap on tape talking about the idea of selling the senate seat, but that could just be the beer talking. Let's see if they manage to come up with any evidence of him actually soliciting a bid.

Plus, I'll be right interested in how many of those white Democrats have how much resolve in holding Burris out. The Republicans will presumably all favor seating him. How long does Robert KKK Byrd want to hold the duly appointed Negro from his seat?

Whalertly said...

--I am glad that you found this article as well, as I figured it would spark your interest. Hopefully you stay around and read all of my entries (three a week), but if you only want those with a more political leaning you can send me your email (I am a BC writier as well, and my email is on the side of my blog) and I can send you an email when those are up. Hope you come back and comment often--


"You are quite right here. This is some bogus crapola from Senate Democrats. Burris eventually goddam well will be recognized as a senator."

--Of course I am right; I always am... :) --


"Other than that the governor of Illinois is an embarassment to them, what is beef against Burris? He was unquestionably legally appointed, and there's not the least hint that he's engaged in any impropriety. Blagojevich got arrested, and obviously wasn't going to get to sell the seat, so he appointed one of the most absolutely unobjectionable and qualified people possible. Good counter play."

--Actually, without the SoS signature he is arguably not allowed inyet. When they argue that, he sues the SoS, wins, and then is in. Even if blago is kicked out, he is the senator as he was appointed legally before--


"And the governor himself may well survive. It's not entirely clear that he has in fact actually done anything illegal. There's some crap on tape talking about the idea of selling the senate seat, but that could just be the beer talking. Let's see if they manage to come up with any evidence of him actually soliciting a bid."

--I Do not know if a bid needs to exist, merely the intent...--


"Plus, I'll be right interested in how many of those white Democrats have how much resolve in holding Burris out. The Republicans will presumably all favor seating him. How long does Robert KKK Byrd want to hold the duly appointed Negro from his seat?"

--I like keeping race out ofthings like this. But, seeing as the dems. were concerned over the comment "he is a good candidate, with no shadow of a doubt", race seems to show up... I think a compromise might include Frankin--

Ben said...

I agree and I agree with the first commenter that at some point he will be recognized.

And yes, Blago should show up.

C. Beth said...

This is great. I've only heard the "other side" of this issue and hadn't even thought of it from a states' rights point of view. Great points you have. Thanks!

This comment is far, far longer than your response to yesterday's TOMW prompt--which earned you One-Minute Writing of the Day. Congrats. :)

C. Beth said...

P.S. That's actually Barger who won, not whalertly--sorry; forgot there were two contributors to this blog!

Whalertly said...

I will be sure to let him know :)

that said, I hope that your opinion has thus changed (and everybody who reads this will, hopefully)

I also would love to see you back here actually debating a point (though telling me i am correct is always right, I like debates)

C. Beth said...

"though telling me i am correct is always right,"

Ha!

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