Madigan: Secretary of state not required to sign off on Senate appointment

Chris Rizo Jan. 7, 2009, 1:46pm

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-The Illinois secretary of state has done everything he is legally required to do regarding Roland Burris's controversial appointment to the U.S. Senate by the state's embattled governor, court papers say.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in papers filed with the state Supreme Court that Secretary of State Jesse White has not violated state law by refusing to sign off on embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment to the Senate seat vacated by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

"The secretary has performed all of his legal duties regarding the Burris appointment. This court cannot compel the U.S. Senate to seat petitioner Burris. But nothing remains to be done by the secretary to complete the appointment process and to enable the U.S. senate to seat Burris," Madigan's filing said.

The governor, who has been arrested for trying to sell Obama's former seat to the highest bidder, appointed Burris to the post despite objections from state and federal leaders, including Madigan and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

On Tuesday, Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, was turned away from the Senate because his appointment papers lacks White's signature.

"We determine who sits in the Senate. And the House determines who sits in the House. So there's clearly legal authority for us to do whatever we want to do. This goes back for generations," Reid said in an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

For his part, Burris has asked the state Supreme Court to order White to sign and seal the document.

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