SERVE OR BEING SERVED: THE SAME OLE SCHICKARDY
BY: Sam Curtis
“He was a warm, giving, sharing human being who served people without fanfare or asking for accolades. And even in serious situations, he had a sense of humor.” These words were spoken of Howard University School Of Law professor, Herbert O. Reid Sr. in 1991 by former D.C. Mayor Marian Barry.
Professor Reid, who died in 1991 served on the faculty of the Howard University School of Law for 41 years. He also taught many of today’s black leaders, including the former Governor of Virginia, L. Douglas Wilder, and the former Mayor of Washington, Sharon Pratt Dixon, and yes Roland Burris.
Roland Burris graduated from the prestigious law school in 1963. In 1967, Congress refused to seat Adam Clayton Powell II after he had been re-elected by voters from his Harlem district. Powell turned to Reid to represent him. Reid was successful in his representation where it was found that Congress did not have the authority to refuse Powell his seat. The case was Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969). Burris relied on this case to obtain the Senate seat. Now with revelations by Burris, that he not only spoke with Rod Blagojevich’s brother about his interest in the vacate Senate seat, but tried to raise funds for the impeached Governor, this very case may be used to dethrone him. Please see Sam Curtis: The Same Ole Schickardy, From Powell To Burris
Professor Reid once told a Washington Post reporter that he and other unsung heroes of the civil rights movement did not risk their lives for equality to only find that we are replacing whites who provide no representations of the black community needs with blacks who serves their own needs.
One time supporters are now questioning whether Burris who has had a blemish free political career as a public servant is now looking to be served. The answer is yes, but not for financial gain or power, but for legacy purposes.
There is no doubt that Burris has followed the proud Howard tradition set by Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Herbert O. Reid, Sharon Pratt, and many others who have gone on to become judges and politicians.
Burris has accomplished a few first. He is the first Illinois Attorney General. He is the only African-American currently serving in the Senate. Although the third African-American from Illinois after Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama, he is the first to serve during the administration of the first African American President. Prior to his Senate appointment, he was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois, when he was elected Illinois Comptroller in 1978. All his accomplishments before the Senate seat definitely places him on the law schools wall of fame.
Burris who has already set his legacy in stone (tombstone) will now be able to add the Senate seat during the Obama administration. But is it worth it?
Now for the first time the former Illinois Attorney General faces the possibility of impeachment and a perjury conviction. Although the Senate did not have the power to refuse to seat him because he was not a member of the Senate, now that he has been sworn in, they have the power to impeach him.
Further, he gave sworn testimony denying any contact with Blagojevich or any representatives including his brother. Burris latest revelations of contact with Blagojevich’s brother refute his sworn testimony. This is a legacy I am sure he does not want on his tombstone. Worst of all he doesn’t want to be known as another politician not serving the interest of the people he was selected to serve.
Charles Hamilton Houston always reminded his students that a lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society. This legacy has been passed down from class to class including Burris’ class. Not serving the interest of the people you are selected or elected to serve definitely falls under the parasite category. Sadly, this may cancel out all his accomplishments he has set in stone and all in pursuit of a legacy that has gone to far.
Once again was it worth playing the same ole schickardy? You tell me. Register and/or log in under comments and sound off.