Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The New York Times
Updated Senate Democratic leaders today cleared the way for Roland Burris to be seated as a senator from Illinois, after his appointment by the state’s now impeached governor had turned into a weeklong spectacle shifting between the nation’s capital and the corruption scandal back in Illinois.
Now, it’s likely that Mr. Burris, 71 and a former state attorney general, may be sworn in to the Senate as early as later this week in a ceremony presided over by Vice President Cheney. His seating will bring the Democratic Senate majority to 58, including two independents.
At a news conference in Chicago a short while ago, Mr. Burris said, “I’m truly humbled and honored to learn that later this week I will officially be sworn into the United States Senate as the Illinois junior senator.”
Late last month, Gov. Rod Blagojevich defied critics by naming Mr. Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama, setting off a firestorm of criticism that the appointment was tainted because the governor already faced criminal allegations that the Senate seat was up for sale in a “pay-to-play” scheme. As late as midday Friday, Senate officials were insisting that Mr. Burris lacked the necessary credentials – under Senate rules – because the Illinois secretary of state, citing the tainted appointment, refused to sign the governor’s appointment papers....(Click for remainder).