Friday, December 12, 2008

Removing Blago

The Chicago Tribune reports,

Atty. General Lisa Madigan called on the Illinois Supreme Court today to temporarily remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office and appoint Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn as acting governor, "so the business of the state of Illinois can go forward."...

"We think it is very clear he is incapable of serving," Madigan said of the governor during a news conference in downtown Chicago.

She said, "We want to make sure the people of Illinois have a governor who can legitimately fulfill the duties of that office."

Blagojevich has been charged in federal court with trying to sell the seat to the bidder that would help him out politically and financially.

A spokesman for the state Supreme Court confirmed Madigan filed the motion this morning.

Madigan said she is asking the court to intervene because it would be quicker than impeachment. She said papers related to the motion were being delivered to the governor immediately.

In the motion, Madigan argues that, given the nature and severity of the federal corruption allegations against Blagojevich, the Supreme Court should stop the governor from performing his duties. She asks the court to allow Quinn to temporarily assume those duties under the Governor Succession Act in state law...

Madigan's motion is untested in the state's history. The case could determine whether the governor is fit to serve.

It is not clear how quickly the Supreme Court could consider Madigan's request.

Emphasis mine.

The Illinois Supreme Court should refuse Madigan's motion. These sorts of removal clauses are generally in place to remove a governor who is in someway incapacitated. It's a law to provide for the continuance of government not to oust (allegedly) crooked politicians. We have a system for removal of politicians that we deem morally or ethically unfit to serve. It's called impeachment and in a democracy that should remain the only means of removal from office short of criminal convinction and incarceration.

What Madigan is proposing is to set a precedent whereby future Attorneys General of the state of Illinois could petition for the removal of any governor that the Attorney General believed was unfit. Needless to say this is a precedent that would be ripe for political abuse. It would enshrine in Illinois law precedent allowing Attorneys General to engage in a coup d'etat against duly elected governors of the state. It's a dramatic over-reach by Ms. Madigan.

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