"Does the governor have the power, under law, to make the appointment? And the answer is yes," said Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, which judges the credentials of senators.One of the proposed tactics for the Democrats was to send the question of what to do with Burris to the Senate Rules Committee where it could be buried for long enough for the Illinois legislature to impeach and convict Blagojevich. Then his replacement could appoint someone new who would be sworn in. Now it sounds like Feinstein doesn't want to play along.
....Late Tuesday, Feinstein urged the Senate to settle the matter.
"If you don't seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America," the California senator said. "Mr. Burris is a senior, experienced politician. He has been attorney general, he has been controller, and he is very well-respected. I am hopeful that this will be settled."
She's absolutely right. As Erwin Chemerinsky writes today, the Senate Democrats are in very questionable ground in thinking that they can keep from seating Burris. And allowing the Senate to reject someone who had been nominated by the duly elected governor of a state would be creating an ugly precedent. We don't want to give Congress the power to rule on the suitability of the people that states through either elections or gubernatorial nominations send to represent them.
During the roundtable on Special Report tonight on Fox, Charles Krauthammer proposed a way for this to be settled. The Illinois Supreme Court will tell the Illinois Secretary of State that he can't refuse to sign off on the Burris nomination. The Senate Democrats will then discover that they can seat Burris because he has now been certified and they'll back down. Such a scenario would take less time to go into effect than an impeachment and conviction of Blagojevich. And the Reid Democrats might actually be glad to have a way to get out of this hole they've dug for themselves.
Charles Krauthammer was the one who first proposed a face-saving way for Harriet Miers to withdraw her name from nomination by claiming that she couldn't give the Senate Judiciary Committee the papers that they were requesting from her time as White House Counsel. And lo it happened. Political leaders should pay attention when Krauthammer suggests way for them to extricate themselves from the fine messes they've managed to make for themselves.