Roland Burris Denied Entry to US Senate
As the 111th Congress opened for business, Mr Burris entered the US Capitol thronged by reporters and photographers and made his way to Nancy Erickson's office.
Appointed while a cloud of scandal hangs over Blagojevich, Senate leaders vowed they will not formally seat Burris, who believes he is a legitimate and duly appointed member of the chamber.
Burris arrived in the Capitol and was led to a meeting with the secretary of the Senate. The office rejected Burris’s appointment on Monday before he does not have proper documentation from state officials.
Having left the Capitol grounds, Mr Burris was left to his own devices.
"My name is Roland Burris, the junior Senator from the State of Illinois," Burris told reporters as he stood in the rain in a park. "I was advised that my credentials were not in order."
The former attorney general of Illinois said he would take legal action, challenging the Senate's refusal, but averted any showdown at the door of the Senate chambers. "I am not seeking to have any kind of confrontation," Burris added.
Timothy W. Wright, a lawyer for Burris, said: "We have presented our credentials to the secretary of the Senate ... Our credentials were rejected by the secretary ... We were not allowed to proceed to the floor." He vowed to fight the case.
Since press photography is banned from that area of the Capitol, there were no visual records of Mr Burris' rejection.
However House Ways and Means chair Charlie Rangel said the Senate leadership could have handled the controversy better.
Rangel, adding his voice to other irked Congressional Black Caucus members, likened Burris's situation to the credentials controversy that engulfed his Harlem predecessor Adam Clayton Powell, who successful sued to be admitted to the House in 1969 after Democratic leadership refused to seat him.
"[The Burris situation] just reminds me of when Adam Clayton Powell was turned away," he told Politico, asserting that both Burris and Powell complied with the basic requirements for service, "age, citizenship and residency."
Rangel, standing outside the Speaker's office in the Capitol, took issue with the speed of deliberations in the Senate Rules Committee, which is tasked with ruling on the controversy.
"In this particular case, I have to find out what was the impediment constitutionally that should have prevented [indicted Illinois] Governor [Rod Blagojavich] from appointing him," Rangel added.
Mr Burris' lawyer Timothy W Wright said the prospective senator would meet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week to try to resolve the situation.