Being a Crook as a Disability, Part II

As I suggested before I oppose Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s attempt to get the Illinois Supreme Court to declare Gov. Rod Blagojevich incapable of fulfilling his duties as governor. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know the case law but I’m pretty sure that this isn’t what the statute giving the Illinois Supreme Court the ability to declare the governor unfit was intended to do. It’s a novel theory but no.

What’s next? Unfit by reason of lack of popularity? Low poll numbers?

Rod Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois by the voters of Illinois, God help us. (Not me: I voted for Burris in the primary and Jim Ryan in the general.) It would be a perversion of the democratic system for him to be removed by the Illinois Supreme Court however expedient it might be. We have a process for that: he should be impeached by the Illinois House and tried by the Illinois Senate, both composed of the elected representatives of the people.

5 comments… add one
  • Randy Link

    I wonder if Madigan’s over-reach will play well with voters, or is the only voter she really has to impress known to her as “Daddy?” BTW, did you sit out 2006 or did you vote for Judy Baar Topinka? (Don’t tell us you voted to re-elect this idiot? 😉

  • PD Shaw Link

    I’ve read the legal sections of the A.G. filings and was not persuaded. The Illinois Constitution authorizes the Illinois Supreme Court to remove the Governor by reason of “disability.” The legislative history is sparse, but suggests “physical or mental impairment.” The A.G. is not arguing such an impairment, but that the common dictionary definition of “disability” applies here. I saw no other caselaw cited; no analogous precedents; nothing that I would feel comfortable as identifying as a judicial standard. Notably, physical and mental impairments are not issues with which courts are unfamiliar — people are adjudicated incompetent to handle their own affairs.

    I think the Governor is under a severe political impairment, for which there is a political solution: Impeachment.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Let me add that I’m not as hostile as Dave to the effort. It’s an arguable take and a dire situation. I also think the feds should look at their authority to withhold federal moneys to Illinois as long as the Governor is in office and taking federal appropriations for other purposes.

  • Randy:

    I voted for Topinka. Was there another alternative?

  • PD:

    What concerns me most is the precedent. Imagine the following.

    Republican governor. Democratic AG, legislature, and, importantly, Supreme Court justices. After a fractious confrontation between the governor and the legislature the AG files to have the governor declared unfit using this decision as precedent.

    As you said: this is a political impairment; clearly not the intent of the statute nor, presumably, supported by case law.

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