Burris Seat Back up in the Air

Court hears arguments for new election

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Mr. Burris, we hardly knew you.

    We might not have Roland Burris to kick around anymore. At least not as long as we thought.

    The Seventh Circuit Court heard arguments on Thursday calling for a special election to be called to fill the Obama-Burris seat, vacating his appointment on Constitutional grounds.

    The argument has been most forcefully made by noted labor lawyer, author and former congressional candidate Thomas Geoghegan, who filed the original lawsuit in the case alogn with former Chicago Ald. Marty Oberman.

    Oberman argued to the Seventh Circuit that the 17th Amendment requires the governor to set a special election, WBEZ reports.

    A ruling, if affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, would have implications nationwide for handling vacant Senate seats; a wrangle similar to what happened in Illinois with Obama's seat once he became president occurred in Massachusetts with partisan arguments about how the seat should be filled.

    The basic principle seems simple enough, of course: Let the people decide! 

    In cases where a seat is vacated, say, just weeks before an election, setting an additional election might not be practical, but relatively harmless.

    Oberman argued that the date of a special election isn't important, just that one is called as required by the Constitution.

    Of course, Team Burris won't go down without being a pain in the keister. According to WBEZ, Burris' attorney Timothy Wright says that his client might actually run again if a special election is called.

    That would certainly be his right, but it just goes to show you that being Constitutional isn't always pretty.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.