Burris Dilemma Should Teach A Valuable LessonThere seems to be no small outcry in some quarters that the United States Senate has refused to seat Roland Burris, who was appointed ro replace the President-elect by arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Diane Feinstein, who has always been a member of the "Rules Don't Apply To Me Club" in the Senate, thinks that failure to seat Roland Burris "has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America." Senator Feinstein is correct, in that the rejection of Burris serves as a reminder to Governors and State officials all over America that Senate and constitutional rules must be followed.
There are also those who have called the Senate action "an affront to democracy." One old friend of mine called the refusal to seat Roland Burris " a coup on American democracy." The Constitution says something entirely different:
Article I, Section 5:Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.
The framers of our Constitution did not create a democracy. We do not pledge allegiance to "the democracy for which it stands" or sing "the Battle Hymn of the Democracy." We were given a free government, yes, but not a democracy-the framers thought democracy was equivalent to mob rule. So what kind of government are we supposed to have in this country?
Aricle IV, Section 4.The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
It is on occasions such as the Blagojevich scandal and the resulting Senate rejection of Roland Burris' appointment that Americans desperately need to be reminded of the kind of government that we are supposed to have.