Scandalized Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will today appoint Roland Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama.
Burris was Attorney General of Illinois from 1991 until 1995. Then-state senator Obama backed Burris over Blagojevich in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002.
Blagojevich will make this announcement despite his attorney Ed Genson’s Dec. 17 prediction that the governor would not appoint anyone to the Senate seat, citing the Senate Majority Leader’s warning that they might not seat the embattled lawmaker’s pick.
Asked if Blagojevich would name someone to fill the Illinois seat, Genson replied, "No. Harry Reid said that they’re not going to accept anybody, so why would he do that?"
Senate Democrats had written to Blagojevich: "Please understand that should you decide to ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment we would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated."
– Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe
UPDATE: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has pre-emptively released a statement saying: "As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United States Senate seat from Illinois. Although I have respect for former attorney general Roland Burris, because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the governor, I cannot accept the document."
From Springfield, Ill., to D.C., Senate Democrat Leaders Harry Reid and Illinois homeboy Dick Durbin saying: "Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus."