The party line among Senate Democrats is that Burris’s appointment has not been certified, and therefore he cannot be seated. Because of the Blagojevich controversy, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has simply refused to sign the certification documents. This technicality saves Democrats from an embarrassing Senate showdown for now, but it also prevents them from seating Franken, which they would like to do. Franken cannot receive his certificate of election under Minnesota law until a legal election challenge is completed.
But if anything, Burris has the more legitimate claim to a Senate seat right now. Franken’s election result is in legal limbo for now, but Burris has been appointed by his governor, the legitimate legal and constitutional authority on the matter. Only a technicality, the lack of a perfunctory signature from a state official, stands in the way.
“I don’t see what the problem is on Burris, but that’s their call,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). “I don’t think that Franken can be, because under Minnesota law, he’s not certified yet.”