PI Original Josh Kalven Thursday January 1st, 2009, 9:52am

Not So Symbolic After All? (UPDATED)

On Tuesday, I pointed out that Jesse White's refusal to sign the certificate appointing Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate didn't appear to be enough to actually stop the appointment in its tracks. That assumption still stands: Gov. Blagojevich appears to be able to send the ...

On Tuesday, I pointed out that Jesse White's refusal to sign the certificate appointing Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate didn't appear to be enough to actually stop the appointment in its tracks.  That assumption still stands: Gov. Blagojevich appears to be able to send the certificate onto the Senate without White's signature and the Democrats appear to be able to seat him without it.  But by not signing off, is White giving the caucus a justification for ultimately rejecting the appointment?  Talking to TPM yesterday, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that the Dems are considering such a gameplan:

Reid spokesman Jim Manley just told Election Central in an e-mail: "Yes- the lack of a signature from the secretary of state may be a separate ground on which we could refuse to seat."

So even though White's office says Blagojevich can go around them under state law, it should be pretty clear by now what he's doing.

I really didn't believe that Jesse White had any chance of being at the center of the ensuing legal/political battle.  But if the Illinois Supreme Court finds that he can't be forced to sign the certificate, we might be headed that direction.

Still, this from the Washington Post seems to be the most likely scenario:

Burris shows up in Washington, and his appointment is referred to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which conducts an investigation of his selection by the governor to determine whether Burris should be seated.

The matter ends up in Illinois and federal courts as Burris tries to force the Senate to seat him. [...]

Outside experts on Senate procedure think this will be a stalling tactic to await impeachment proceedings to conclude in Illinois, so Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn can become governor and make a new appointment.

UPDATE: Mike Allen's sources back up the Post's reporting on the stalling tactic.  He quotes one Senate official saying Blagojevich "will not be governor by Valentine’s Day."  And then there's this:

Sources say Blagojevich’s s successor if he’s removed from office, Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, is likely to point someone who is African- American, but likely not Burris because of the taint or Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill), who is often mentioned as a possibility but would be too controversial.

Sources said the choice is likely to be someone young and dynamic, like Dan Seals, who ran in a northeast Illinois House district in 2006 and 2008. It needs to be someone who would appeal to the white Republicans in downstate Illinois, to prevent the seat going to the GOP in a future election.

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