Senate turns away Burris

January 6, 2009 9:07:02 PM PST
ButDemocrats' opposition to Roland Burris becoming a U.S. senator may be weakening.Amidst the clouds and rain, a ray of sunshine emerged late on Tuesday for Roland Burris.

Influential senator Dianne Feinstein told reporters she believes Mr. Burris has a right to the Senate seat.

"If you don't seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America," said Feinstein.

"Halleluljah, Dianne Feinstein has certainly shown some extraordinary leadership," said Rep. Bobby Rush, (D) Chicago.

Congressman Bobby Rush now predicts Burris could be seated in a matter of days. That's if the Illinois Supreme Court orders Secretary of State Jesse White to sign and certify the Governor's appointment.

"I think Jesse White don't want to remain on the wrong side of history," said Rush.

"I can't speak for Jesse White, but if he's listening: sign it!" said Tim Wright, Burris' attorney.

The day began with a captivating moment at the Capitol. Roland Burris arrived amidst a crush of cameras. Former Illinois State Police director Terry Gainer - whose now the Senate's sergeant-at-arms - greeted Burris at the door.

Thirty minutes later, Burris was back outside without the Senate seat he came to claim.

"I presented my credentials to the secretary of the Senate and advised that my credentials were not in order and I will not be accepted and will not be seated and will not be permitted on the floor," said Burris, Senate appointee.

"The Senate will proceed in a manner that is respectful to Mr. Burris while ensuring there is no cloud of doubt over appointment to fill the seat," said Sen. Harry Reid, (D) Senate majority leader.

So what's next?

Burris is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to force the Secretary of State to certify his appointment. He's also considering asking a judge in Washington to rule on whether his appointment his legal. On Wednesday, Mr. Burris will meet with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. A compromise seems like a longshot, but not impossible.