Burris camp heads to Washington

January 12, 2009 1:13:04 PM PST
The attorneys for Roland Burris are headed back to Washington. Attorneys for Burris were fine-tuning their case Sunday night, before heading back to Washington Monday morning. They will hand-deliver a document to the Senate's legal counsel that they say should guarantee Burris a seat in the Senate.

"I am the junior senator from the state of Illinois. There is no question of my legality of appointment. Illinois has two senators," Burris said in an interview with CBS.

Roland Burris appeared confident Sunday that the U.S. Senate will accept his appointment. He was not in Washington, however. Instead, he attended services at the South Side church he has attended for the last 40 years.

"I expect that all the matters will be cleared up, and I will be seated. That's all that we're concerned about because we must get about the business of representing the people of Illinois," Burris told ABC7 Chicago.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The governor made his choice after he was accused of trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says, with the cloud hanging over Blagojevich, he and other Senate Democrats were skeptical of the appointment of Burris.

Last week, the Senate refused to seat Burris, saying his paperwork was not in order because Illinois Sec. of State Jesse White refused to sign it.

Now, the Senate is considering a new document to see if it complies.

"As time has gone on and we've looked closely, we want to be fair to Roland Burris. If he has the proper certification and papers, then we're going to take one look at the process and move forward from there," Durbin said.

Sunday, a group led by Congressman Bobby Rush, called the National Coalition for Fairness and Justice in the U.S. Senate, sent letters to Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The group feels Senate leaders are trying to deny Burris his rightful place as the only African-American in the U.S. Senate.

In the letter, members request a meeting with Reid and Durbin to discuss the appointment of Burris. The letter to Durbin reads, in part, "Currently the U. S Senate does not reflect all of America?And there are no African-Americans serving in this prestigious body. Your decision to block Senator Burris is a political one and not a constitutional or lawful one."

Burris says he might join his lawyers in Washington later in the week if necessary.