Burris wins, will be seated

Senate lawyers approved Roland Burris' paperwork Monday, prompting Democratic leaders to announce that he'll be sworn in later this week.

Published January 12, 2009 9:24PM (EST)

Roland Burris is now, officially, the next junior senator from Illinois.

Senate lawyers decided Monday afternoon that new paperwork Burris received from the Illinois secretary of state on Friday was sufficient, and that he should be seated. With that hurdle -- a largely symbolic one, used to give cover to the chamber's Democratic leadership -- overcome, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), his deputy, announced that Burris will be sworn in later this week.

The full joint statement from Reid and Durbin:

The Secretary of the Senate has determined that the new credentials presented today on behalf of Mr. Burris now satisfy Senate Rules and validate his appointment to the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In addition, as we requested, Mr. Burris has provided sworn testimony before the Illinois House Committee on Impeachment regarding the circumstances of his appointment.

We have spoken to Mr. Burris to let him know that he is now the Senator-designate from Illinois and as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a Senator-elect.

Accordingly, barring objections from Senate Republicans, we expect Senator-designee Burris to be sworn in and formally seated later this week. We are working with him and the office of the Vice President to determine the date and time of the swearing-in.

As we had outlined to Mr. Burris, a path needed to be followed that respects the rules of the Senate. We committed to Mr. Burris that once those requirements were satisfied, we would be able to proceed. We are pleased that everything is now in order, we congratulate Senator-designee Burris on his appointment and we look forward to working with him in the 111th Congress.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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