Madigan said that she took the action with the Supreme Court because she thinks that this is a faster way to strip Blagojevich of his power than through impeachment, which could take several weeks.Oh, the irony! Grabbing power to oust someone for grabbing power. As noted in yesterday's post, Madigan is relying on this language in the state constitution:
"I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances," Madigan said at a news conference.
If the Governor is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability, the office of Governor shall be filled by the officer next in line of succession for the remainder of the term or until the disability is removed.Madigan has to argue that Blago's troubles amount to "other disability." Given that "conviction on impeachment" is one of the specified reasons for inability to serve, using this procedure as an alternative to the impeachment process looks like an abusive power grab.
It is the first time in Illinois history that such an action was taken. The attorney general is applying a rule that was intended to cover cases where a governor is incapacitated for health reasons. Her motion indicates that his inability to serve because of the scandal is akin to a debilitating health issue.Much as I am willing to believe Blago is unfit for office, I think it's obvious that Madigan's effort should fail. Does anyone in Illinois government know how to use power appropriately?
The decision to go to the state's highest court was not welcomed by everyone. Democratic Rep. Jack Franks said it would set "a dangerous precedent" for the court to remove a governor as Madigan proposes. Franks, a fierce Blagojevich critic, said that kind of decision should be left to the General Assembly.Franks is right. Now, get on the task.
ADDED: I react to the oral argument before the state supreme court.