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Dispute Over Obama's Senate Seat May Come to an End


U.S. Senate Democratic leaders say they will be ready to end a controversy over the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, once some legal issues are resolved.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and the number two Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, met on Capitol Hill Wednesday with the man nominated to fill that Illinois Senate seat, Roland Burris.

The Senate leaders said they will decide whether to seat Burris after his home state of Illinois clears his nomination, and he appears before Republican and Democratic lawmakers Thursday.

Senators initially said they would not seat Burris because he was picked by fellow Democrat Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich - who was arrested last month for an alleged scheme to profit from the appointment. Illinois state officials did not certify Burris' appointment - Senate leaders say that makes him ineligible to take office.

But, Reid today said lawmakers are waiting for a decision from the Illinois Supreme Court on whether Burris' appointment must be certified.

Burris was turned away from the U.S. Capitol building Tuesday when he tried to claim his seat.

The 71-year-old former state attorney general would be the only African-American in the U.S. Senate if he is successful in the bid for the seat. Reid and Durbin both insisted that the controversy over his appointment is not about race.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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