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article imageOp-Ed: An Appeal To Dick Durbin To Let The Senate, and Illinois, Heal

By Hargrove Jones     Jan 10, 2009 in Politics
Is there something about Roland Burris that Dick Durbin doesn't like? If so, he'd better get over it fast, because Roland Burris is the only other Senator representing his home state, Illinois.
What part of obeying the law doesn't Dick Durbin understand?
The Supreme Court of Illinois said: (PDF doc.)
(T)he appointment is complete when the appointing officer makes his choice.
To that, Dick Durbin said:
That is of course the Illinois Court's right and responsibility to reach that conclusion, however . . . (it's a question of) whether the actions taken are sufficient for the person to be appointed to fill the vacancy under the rules of the United States Senate where I serve.
When Dick Durbin swore an oath, as part of his admission to the Senate, he did not swear to uphold the rules of the Senate, he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
But while his comments reveal that he understands that the Supreme Court of Illinois declared Roland Burris' appointment legally effective, his response suggests that when he doesn't like a law, he doesn't obey that law.
As a matter of common sense, a Governor's use of his appointment authority is valid, without the confirmation by a lesser official.
Now, as a matter of the Supreme Court of Illinois, a Governor's use of his appointment authority is valid, without the confirmation by a lesser official.
Finally, as a matter of equal protection, the Senate better check their records to be sure that they have never before admitted a Senator, whose commission was not signed by a Secretary of State.
Does Dick Durbin intends to press the Senate to resist until the Supreme Court of the United States declares that Burris is entitled to his seat? Or, does he want the Senate to keep going until the Supreme Court actually Orders the Senate to give Roland Burris his seat?
This is all so reminiscent of school desegregation . . .
So far, I am aware of Adam Clayton Powell, Julian Bond and Roland Burris, as elected or appointed officials, who had to force the effect of their entitlement to hold office. All of them are African American . .
If justice doesn't move the Senate, then they should be moved by embarrassment at this public display of disparate cordiality and fairness. Remember, Senators stood to honor an ousted felon, convicted of seven felonies, committed while in office. They should at least stand down, to allow the admission of an honorable man, who is entitled to take his seat in the Senate.
As the other Senator from Illinois, it is outrageous that Dick Durbin is leading the charge for division and exclusion, when Roland Burris, the other Senator from Illinois, is the man he will have to work with, more than any other. Durbin should make peace now, before he earns Burris’ disdain. However you cut it, no matter how long the Senate delays, Roland Burris is, the junior Senator from Illinois.
I know that there are some fantasies floating, that by removing the Governor, an appointment by another, could override the Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris. But no Court would uphold that ball of confusion. Imagine the effect, every appointed official would be at risk. Political appointments would resemble a game of musical chairs!
Even though Durbin seems to think that the rules of the United States Senate, "where (he) serves," are the guiding force, he should take a moment to reflect on the fact that he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and he serves the State of Illinois.
So, before the Senate subjects the American public to more humiliation, distractions, and wasted time and money, they should take heed that the Illinois Supreme Court, and legal precedent, have already put them on notice that they can’t win. (PDF doc.)
(N)o explanation has been given as to how any rule of the Senate, whether it be formal or merely a matter of tradition, could supersede the authority to fill vacancies conferred on the states by the federal constitution.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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