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Jan 6, 2009

It was a morning of pomp, circumstance and high drama today on Capitol Hill, kicking off with the expected refusal to seat Roland Burris, the man Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich chose to fill Barack Obama's senate slot. The Washington Post sets the scene:

Placing himself at the center of a nationally televised spectacle, Burris arrived at the Capitol in a steady rain with an entourage of aides and lawyers, followed by dozens of journalists, including some broadcasting the procession into the Capitol and up to the third floor on hand-held digital cameras and cell phones. ...

Burris was met at the Capitol entrance by Terry Gainer, the Senate sergeant at arms, who escorted him through the regular visitors' entrance and up to the third floor of the Capitol to Erickson's office--in a regular elevator bank, not the one reserved for senators only.

When Burris was rejected, he marched out of the Capitol and across the street, with a media army in tow, where he held a press conference next to the Russell Senate Office Building.

"I am not seeking to have any type of confrontation," said Burris, shielded from the rain by an umbrella and surrounded by three attorneys and what seemed liked dozens of reporters and camera crews. "I will now consult with my attorneys, and we will determine what our next step will be."

Talking Points Memo adds an update on what those steps may be:

Burris' lawyer Timothy W. Wright III declared that the rejection of Burris "was improperly done and is against the law of this land." Wright added: "We will consider our options and certainly let you know what our decisions will be soon thereafter." So it sounds like we're looking at a lawsuit -- or at least the threat of one, as a bargaining chip.

The AP has video of both statements:

 

Drama-free but also notable was the moment when current Vice President Dick Cheney swore in Vice President-elect Joe Biden--who was also re-elected to his position as one of Delaware's senators, a position he will vacate on Jan. 20 when he officially becomes vice president. As vice president, Cheney is responsible for swearing in all all new senators. He also swore in Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar, who will vacate their seats upon confirmation to Obama's cabinet.

In total, nine new senators were sworn in today. Other than Burris, a notable absence from that list was Al Franken, who cannot be seated pending Norm Coleman's legal challenge to his victory in the Minnesota Senate race.

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Posted: Jan 6, 2009 12:59pm

 

 
 
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LiAnna D.
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