Why Roland Burris is unlikely to be removed from office

One might think that things look bleak for Senator Burris, but not so says John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary.

Mr. Burris is under relentless fire from the media too, with the Springfield Journal-Register reporting that he apparently did not disclose all of his lobbying work for horse racing interests to state lawmakers.

But the embattled Mr. Burris has two trump cards. Senators are notoriously reluctant to expel a member, especially the chamber's only African-American. Such a move requires a two-thirds vote. In addition, Democrats need Mr. Burris's vote, as demonstrated by their agonizing pursuit of the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority needed to pass last week's stimulus bill.

Lastly, should Mr. Burris resign, there would be enormous pressure to hold a special election, which Democrats could well lose. Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a likely candidate for any vacancy, is calling on Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to require a special election to fill the seat should it become vacant. Governor Quinn is on record as supporting such a move, and would be embarrassed if he reneged on that commitment. . . .

If John Fund is right, this might be a win-win for a lot of Democrats. They can could out against Burris, and not have to worry about the Dems losing the seat. Governor Pat Quinn made this statement.

Gov. Pat Quinn this morning called on his good friend Roland Burris to resign his U.S Senate seat.

"There's just too much of a cloud of controversy over the appointment process," Quinn said.

Quinn said he supports a bill to fill U.S. Senate vacancies with a temporary appointee by the governor and special primary and special general election within 115 days.

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