Supreme Court denies Burris request to intervene in Illinois Senate election

Supreme Court denies Burris request to intervene in Illinois Senate election

Published September 20, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it won't stop a special election for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat that leaves out current Illinois Sen. Roland Burris.

Burris had asked the high court to block plans for a special election to decide who serves out the final two months of the term, which began when Obama entered the Senate in 2005. Burris was appointed to the seat after Obama won the White House, and he's not seeking a full Senate term in November.

The Chicago Democrat argued that the federal courts overstepped their authority by declaring that the candidates in the special election would be the same people running for the new, six-year Senate term. That means Burris would have to leave office soon after the Nov. 2 elections instead of serving until January.

The Supreme Court refused to intervene.

Burris' attorney, Timothy Wright, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday. He has said the Supreme Court was Burris' best chance for stopping the election or being placed on the ballot. Now his only hope is a case slowly making its way through the normal appeals process.

Burris was chosen to replace Obama in the Senate by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, shortly before the governor was ousted from office amid charges that he had been trying to sell the appointment. The courts later ruled that Burris' appointment would last only until election day, and then voters would choose a senator.

Burris appealed that ruling, arguing that it was unconstitutional to deny him a chance to run. He said lawmakers, not judges, control the rules for elections.

The state of Illinois and two voters who launched the legal battle argued against Burris' position. They said the top priority is for voters to pick their senator, even if the tight schedule makes it necessary to leave Burris off the ballot in favor of the party nominees, who are Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for the Democrats and U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk for the Republicans.


Associated Press Writer Jesse Holland contributed to this report from Washington.

Written by <P class="ap-story-p">By CHRISTOPHER WILLS, Associated Press Writer</P>


Latest in news