Now that Democrats see (or remember) the implications of rushing to condemn individuals before facts, they will probably retreat from such a strong line on these matters. Indeed, Reid had already softened his public stance on Burris during an interview on Meet the Press, and he now suggests that Burris might have a seat at the Senate table:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened the possibility Sunday that former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris might serve in the Senate despite the aggressive opposition of Democratic leaders to his appointment by a scandal-tarnished governor.The fact that Reid's employed more flexible rhetoric on the same day that Richardson formally announced his withdrawal is probably not coincidental. Nonetheless, a Senate aide says that Reid's comments "were not meant as an overture but merely an attempt to leave open the possibility of a negotiated settlement, and said that leaders remained determined not to seat Burris."
"I'm an old trial lawyer. There's always room to negotiate," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat, on NBC's "Meet the Press."
When pressed by host David Gregory on whether there was a possibility Burris might ultimately be seated, Reid responded, "That's right."
Furthermore, Reid continues to claim the authority to exclude a lawfully appointed Senator:
Under the Constitution, Reid said, "we determine who sits in the Senate. And the House determines who sits in the House. "So there's clearly legal authority for us to do whatever we want to do. This goes back for generations."Most constitutional law scholars who have addressed this issue, however, seem to disagree with Reid's approach. Despite his rhetoric to the contrary, the objections of constitutional law scholars possibly informs Reid's moderation as well.
Related Readings on Dissenting Justice:
Will Bill Richardson's Case Lead to a Softening of the Rhetoric of "Taint"?
Patrick Buchanan Shows Greater Commitment to Liberal Values Than Senate Democrats, Defends Roland Burris
So When Exactly Does "Change" Arrive? Senate Battle Over Burris and Blagojevich Offers "More of the Same"!
Do Nepotism, Wealth and Dynastic Power "Taint" Kennedy's Likely Senate Appointment? Taking Reid's Arguments Where He Wouldn't Want Them to Go
Some Media Outlets Begin "Palinizing" Roland Burris
On Day That Bill Richardson Announces Withdrawal Harry Reid Softens Rhetoric on Burris
Defiant Blagojevich Names Obama's Successor: Decision Raises Political and Constitutional Questions
Like It or Not, Democracy Prevails: Illinois Supreme Court Refuses to Declare Blagojevich Unfit to Serve
Blago Impeachment: What Would Lincoln Do?
Playing or Paying Politics: Blagojevich, Political DealMaking, and the Difficulty of Drawing Lines
Pick Me! Caroline Kennedy Officially on the Job Market