JANUARY 12, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced that it notified Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today that Judicial Watch intends to seek emergency relief from the court if the U.S. Senate continues to deny Roland Burris his rightful position as the junior senator from Illinois. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on January 7 on behalf of an Illinois resident against the United States Senate in order to remedy the Senate’s unconstitutional rejection of the Burris appointment.
According to Judicial Watch’s letter, signed by Judicial Watch’s Litigation Director Paul Orfanedes:
"With confirmation hearings on President-elect Obama’s cabinet nominations beginning this week and with the U.S. Congress about to begin consideration of an economic stimulus package reportedly valued in excess of $770 billion, among other important business, it is of the utmost importance that Mr. Vincent and the people of the State of Illinois to be represented fully in the U.S. Senate. We therefore demand that the U.S. Senate cease its unconstitutional refusal to allow Mr. Burris to take his lawful seat as the junior U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois. If the U.S. Senate continues to refuse to seat Mr. Burris, we intend to seek emergency relief from the Court."
Judicial Watch’s letter also made note of a January 9, 2009 Illinois Supreme Court decision that confirms the Burris appointment was made in accordance with the law.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama. Nonetheless, at the direction of Senate leaders, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson rejected Mr. Burris’ appointment and has denied him entry to the U.S. Senate.
Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit on behalf of John Vincent, a longtime Illinois resident. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and names as defendants the United States Senate, and its Secretary and Sergeant at Arms.
"Senate leaders do not have the law on their side and they know it. Senator Reid should dispense with political gamesmanship and allow Mr. Burris to assume his position in the U.S. Senate for the good of the citizens of Illinois and the country," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.