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Illinois Supreme Court: Burris Needs No Signature

Friday, 09 Jan 2009 02:10 PM

The Illinois Supreme Court says Secretary of State Jesse White doesn't need to sign Roland Burris' appointment to the U.S. Senate to make it valid.

The ruling says no Illinois official has to do anything further to validate the appointment made by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Burris was refused President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat this week in part because Senate Democratic leaders said his paperwork was incomplete without White's signature.

The state Supreme Court says nothing in state law requires White to sign the appointment.

White has said he wouldn't certify any Blagojevich appointment in the wake of the governor's federal corruption arrest unless the court forced him to.

[Editor's Note: Here is an excerpt of the court's ruling:]

Docket No. 107816.


ROLAND W. BURRIS et al., Petitioners, v. JESSE WHITE,

Secretary of State, Respondent.

Opinion filed January 9, 2009.

JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with


Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride,

Garman and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.


The issue presented by this original action for mandamus is

whether Jesse White, the Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, is

required by section 5(1) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS

305/5(1) (West 2006)) to countersign and affix the seal of the state to

the document issued by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich on December

31, 2008, certifying the Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris to

the United States Senate. For the reasons that follow, we hold that

section 5(1) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS 305/5(1) (West

2006)) is inapplicable to the Burris appointment, and that no further

action is required by any officer of this state to make that appointment

valid. We further hold that the only ministerial act required of the

Secretary of State in this case is that he register the appointment in

accordance with section 5(2) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS

305/5(2) (West 2006)). The Secretary of State having performed that

responsibility on December 31, 2008, the writ of mandamus is denied.

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