The defiant move by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name a Senate successor to Barack Obama has triggered a political and legal mess that could drag on for months and is already prompting uncomfortable racial questions for Democrats.
The case also presents Senate Democrats with a major distraction hanging over their return to Washington this week for the start of the new Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made clear that he won’t swear in Roland Burris, the 71-year-old former state comptroller and attorney general who was appointed to the Senate by Blagojevich last week. But Democratic Senate aides are tamping down the idea that Burris would be physically blocked by Capitol Police when the Senate is gaveled into session Tuesday. Burris has said that he will leave upon being denied entry to the Senate chamber.
But Reid’s office isn’t backing down on its plan to not seat Burris — and top advisers to Burris are suggesting that Reid doesn’t want an African-American to succeed Obama.
“It’s interesting that all those who are viable are white women and the ones who are unacceptable are black men,” Prince Riley, a senior consultant to Burris, told Politico.
Read the rest: