Gov. Rod Blagojevich who is currently facing federal public corruption charges stemming from his plot to auction off Barack Obama’s former Senate seat has selected Former Illinois Attorney Gen. Roland Burris to fill the seat. The news of the appoinment amidst allegations that Blagojevich conspired to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder brought on strong criticism from both the Senate Democrats and President Elect Barack Obama. President Elect Barack Obama has stated that it is disappointing that Blagojevich appointed Burris after he had been advised not to appoint a successor to the Senate Seat. The Senate Democrats have called the Governor’s actions defiant and have stated that they will not admit anyone to the Senate appointed by Gov. Blagojevich.
Was Blagojevich’s appointment of Burris to the Senate Seat legal?
Blagojevich’s selection of Burris to the Senate Seat was indeed legal due to the fact that Blagojevich remains Governor of Illinois and by the law of IL, only the Governor of the state can appoint the successor to the Senate Seat.
Along with the Senate Democrats and President Elect Barack Obama’s displeasure with the Governor’s decision to appoint a successor to the Senate Seat are U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both of who do not agree with Governor Blagojevich making an appointment to the seat.
The opposers to Blagojevich’s decision have stated that their opposition is not towards the appointee, but the towards Blagojevich. President Elect Barack Obama called Roland Burris a fine public servant, however he stands behind the decision of the Senate Democratic Leaders in their decision to block the appointment of Burris.
Blagojevich has stated that he is required by law to fill the Senate seat and that the people of Illinois would be deprived of their voice in the Senate had he not appointed someone to fill the seat. Blagojevich, who was arrested earlier this month on the charges of public corruption and criminal conspiracy has not only stated that he is going about business as usual as the Governor of IL but he has also refused any and all advice to step down.
Should Burris have accepted the appointment from Blagojevich?
Roland Burris has asked they he be judged on his own merit and not that of Gov. Blagojevich. Burris stated that he does not look upon the Governor’s problems as his problems and that he has no issue with accepting the appointment from Gov. Blagojevich to serve the remaining two years of former Senator Barack Obama’s term.
Roland Burris stated that he does not fill that his appointment would be tainted by Blagojevich’s problem, however he is definitely placing himself in the hot seat along with Blagojevich; even though the governor does not seem to mind the hot seat one bit. Personally I feel that accepting the position in the midst of the scandal affiliated with Blagojevich is bad business. Burris must know that accepting a seat that the Governor tried to sell to the highest bidder and was advised after being arrested not to fill was not an offer that Burris should have accepted. There has been talk that much of the disdain for the appointment by politicians stems from race issues, but I think that anyone accepting this seat right now would be questioned, criticized and left to face some of the backlash of Blagojevich’s corruption. Below is the video of the press conference (held after Burris offered himself for the seat (yep didn’t know that didcha and afterBlagojevich selected Burris and even after Blagojevich had been advised not to fill the seat) where Governor Blagojevich and Roland Burris spoke about the appointment and took questions from the media. I won’t say anything about Congressman Bobby Rush except that sometimes your idea of helping a situation only makes it worse.
Press Conference Gov Blagojevich, Roland Burris and Congressman Bobby Rush