Roland Burris talks at a rally at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago on Sunday.
Despite clear indications that not everyone on Capitol Hill is ready to acknowledge him as a U.S. senator, Roland W. Burris headed to Washington from Illinois on Monday, announcing that he was, in fact, the rightful new occupant of the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
The New York Times:
In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, a defiant Mr. Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Mr. Burris to the Senate.
“Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?” he said. “I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that.”
He later added, “This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation.”
Senate leaders have repeatedly said that they intend to block Mr. Burris from joining the chamber, given his appointment last week by this state’s embattled governor, Rod R. Blagojevich. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, has said that the Senate has the legal right to bar Mr. Burris from the new session, which begins Tuesday. And CNN reported Monday that an aide to Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the United States Senate, said that Ms. Erickson had rejected Mr. Burris’s certificate of appointment because, though it was signed by Mr. Blagojevich, it was not cosigned by Mr. White, as the Senate’s rules require.