Illinois pushing Roland Burris out of Senate ASAP

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Upshot

The state of Illinois is sending Sen. Roland Burris home early from Congress.

A federal judge yesterday ruled that Burris' name cannot appear on the ballot for the Nov. 2 special election, which will be held the same day as the regularly scheduled general election, the Associated Press reports.

To say the Democrat has had a rocky tenure would be an understatement.

Then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to the seat in late 2008> Blagojevic, of course, was later ousted from office amid accusations that he was trying to sell the Senate appointment--which was to fill the vacancy left by newly elected President Barack Obama--for personal benefit. Then, officials tried to block Burris' entry to the Senate. And once Burris finally claimed his seat, calls editorialiast and political leaders started calling for his resignation. One such leader was Burris' homestate Senate colleague, Democrat Dick Durbin. In May 2009, the Senate ethics committee accused Burris of perjury and admonished him for his conduct.

Burris declined to seek a full term this year--a decision that was widely applauded. But the senator still kept up his fight to ensure that his name could appear on that special election ballot, which would allow him to finish out his term. But under the new court ruling, the winner of the Nov. 2 Illinois Senate contest will automatically be sworn in to fill out the balance of Burris' former term, which will run from the day after the election until the first day of the new Congress in January.

It remains to be seen, however what effect the ruling will have on the design of Burris' famous mausoleum.