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Commentary: Very few legal reasons to reject Burris

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A federal prosecutor's accusations didn't stop Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from messing around with the appointment of a senator to replace President-elect Barack Obama.

Even though Blagojevich was arrested in December based on a criminal complaint that said he tried to sell the Senate seat and engaged in other wrongdoing, the governor snubbed his detractors and named Roland Burris, a former state attorney general, to the seat.

Not only that, Blagojevich chose a well-respected African-American for a body that, with Obama's departure, is conspicuously lacking in black members. How's that for daring the Senate’s Democratic leaders to a game of chicken?

If those involved were interested in doing the right thing, Blagojevich would have bypassed making an appointment so the new senator wouldn't have been soiled by scandal residue; Burris would have turned down the offer, recognizing that his legitimacy and effectiveness would be hampered; and the Illinois Legislature would have helped avoid the problem in the first place by calling a special election before the governor could outmaneuver everyone.

Instead, Blagojevich went forward, Burris presented his credentials Tuesday, when other senators were sworn in, and he was refused entry to the Senate.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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