January 10, 2009 / 1:39 AM / 10 years ago

Burris may return to the Senate next week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Roland Burris, buoyed by a favorable court ruling, may return to the U.S. Senate next week and demand to be sworn in to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, a Burris adviser said on Saturday.

U.S. Senate-designate Roland Burris (D-Ill) speaks to the press on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 7, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing

“Roland is considering going back to the Senate and his advisers are urging him to do so — unless this is suddenly resolved by Monday,” the adviser said on condition of anonymity.

On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled as valid embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of fellow Democrat Burris to the Senate seat.

Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell that seat to the highest bidder and was impeached Friday by the Illinois state House. He faces a trial that could remove him from office.

Burris, 71, a former Illinois attorney general, failed to gain entry to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday when the chamber’s secretary rejected as incomplete his credentials for the seat.

U.S. Senate rules say certification of his appointment was needed from the Illinois secretary of state.

That official, Jesse White, had refused to certify Burris’ appointment because of the Blagojevich charges. But after the court ruling, he signed a separate statement certifying that Burris’ appointment letter was legally filed with the state.

Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said it was unclear if White’s signed statement would meet the Senate’s certification requirement.

Burris’ legal team will present his credentials again to the U.S. Senate as early as Monday, the adviser said. If Burris isn’t sworn in soon, he plans to file a federal lawsuit demanding that the Senate seat him, the adviser added.

With Obama set to be sworn in as the first black U.S. president on January 20, Burris seeks to replace him as the only black member of the 100-person U.S. Senate. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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