Durbin Hopes Ruling on Burris Appointment Is Imminent

Posted January 11, 2009 at 4:45pm

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he hopes and expects the Senate legal counsel will have a decision — in writing — on the validity of the Senate appointment of former Illinois attorney general Roland Burris by Monday.

“I would like them to do it in writing, so we all understand it,” Durbin told reporters after a special caucus in which he briefed his fellow Senate Democrats on the matter.

Durbin said no decision has been made on whether to send Burris’ appointment by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to the Rules and Administration Committee for review. The Illinois state house is in the process of impeaching Blagojevich for, among other things, attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for political favors.

Durbin indicated that he did not believe Burris’ current certification papers are valid under Senate rules, but he said the decision is up to the Senate legal counsel in consultation with the Senate parliamentarian and secretary of the Senate.

“The documents are really clear, as far as I’m concerned,” said Durbin, who pointed out that the last Senator to be appointed from Illinois had one sheet of paper with both the signature of the governor and the secretary of State. Burris has submitted one document with the governor’s signature and another that bears Illinois secretary of State Jesse White’s certification that the governor’s document “is a true and accurate copy of the certificate of appointment.”

White sent the document Friday after a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court.

“I believe he believes that what he sent complies with the Illinois Supreme Court decision,” Durbin said of White. “We have to decide what it means to the United States Senate.”