Dick Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois who is also the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, said his governor's decision to handpick a successor to Barack Obama is "an act of political defiance."
"This effort today will lead nowhere," Durbin said in a recorded statement, after joining other Democratic leaders warning that the Senate would block Gov. Rod Blagojevich from appointing former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to Obama's now-vacant seat.
Durbin said his position has nothing to do with Burris' qualifications. Blagojevich, who denies criminal charges for allegedly trying to sell the open Senate seat to the highest bidder, announced Tuesday that he would use his legal authority to appoint Burris to serve alongside Durbin in the Senate.