Monday, January 12, 2009

Roland Burris to Be Seated in Senate: Winners and Losers

Politico and everyone broke the news a few hours ago that the Democratic leadership in the Senate is now prepared to seat Roland Burris.

Good for the rule of law.

Here are the winners and losers in this little saga:


1. The American people, whose only protection from the abuses of government is the law, which needs to be followed, even in the case of a governor accused of a crime, who still has the legal authority to make an appointment.

2. Senator Roland Burris (D-IL), who bravely went to Washington, DC to claim his seat, to which he had been legally appointed.

3. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who last week broke ranks with the Democratic leadership, and said she saw no reason that Burris should not be seated.

4. Rod Blagojevich, who also stood up for the rule of law in making this appointment, whatever his motives. (This has no bearing on whether Blago is guilty or not of the charges which have been brought against him, and for which he has still not been tried.)


1. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who at first outrageously said that the Senate would seat no one appointed by Blagojevich. Frankly, he should be brought up on charges of impeachment for this himself, or at least voted out as Senate Majority leader.

2. President-Elect Barack Obama, who first said on December 30, 2008 said that "Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision..." Obama later changed his mind, but, as Al Sharpton observed after Obama's initial statement, Obama should have stayed out of this. All in all, a misstep for the President-elect. On the bright side, this, along with Obama's invitation to Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration next week, are about the only serious mistakes Obama has made as President-elect.

3. All Americans who said Burris should not be seated. Wake up folks - the law, whether we like the actors or not, is the bedrock of our democracy.
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