December 13, 2008

"I wonder if that family of ticks in my yard knows that they're going to change the Tennessee state Constitution as a result of their actions."

I was just about to create an "Insects and the Law" tag... and I was getting some big ideas about teaching an Insects and the Law course at the law school. (You know about my longstanding interest in insect politics.) But then I thought: Hey, wait a minute. Ticks are not insects. And all my grandiose ideas came crashing down at 6:44 a.m.

I confirmed my suspicion by consulting Tikipedia. Arachnid! Will there be enough posts to justify an "Arachnids and the Law" tag? The thing about tags is that you don't want them to be too small, but they shouldn't get too big either. Something that will have 5 to 35 posts -- that's the target zone. I'm thinking Arthropods and the Law. And then just a plain old arachnids tag.

Anyway, the quote in the title is from this news article, which is linked by Glenn Reynolds, in a post about -- naturally -- the Blagojevich controversy.

(We need a cute name for the Blagomess. Blagosmear? Not Blagogate. The opportunities are too ripe to squander on another "-gate." Blag-oh-no.)

Glenn agrees with me about the interpretation of the provision of the Illinois constitution that the state attorney general, Lisa Madigan, is trying to use to push Governor Blagojevich aside without the troublesome safeguards of the impeachment process. Glenn worked on an amendment to the Tennessee constitution that is analogous to the provision Madigan has seized upon in what I consider to be an illicit power grab.

The Tennessee amendment was the consequence of a tick bite: Governor Phil Bredesen got quite sick after an arachnid attack, and it was decided that there needed to be a procedure to transfer power in case the governor becomes incapacitated.

There's also a provision in the United States Constitution, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
You may remember the dramatic moment in the movie "Air Force One" -- spoiler alert -- when Secretary of Defense Dean Stockwell tries to use the 25th Amendment to oust President Harrison Ford, and Vice President Glenn Close refuses to sign.

Now, I've finally gotten Glenn Reynolds and Glenn Close together in one post -- with ticks. I think that says something about my authority to say that these constitutional provisions are about dealing with physical incapacity -- including unconsciousness and brain damage -- not with political and legal problems, however severe.

Impeachment has important procedural safeguards that should not be bypassed, and the importance of the protections of constitutional process is not diminished by an opinion that the executive in question is a blood-sucking tick.

IN THE COMMENTS: BlogDog coins "Blago-a-gogo."


AllenS said...

Tic tac toe?

Ron said...

Blogona Sandwich?

You need to get Glenn Ford and John Glenn in there for the Grand Slam!

Ron said...

Glenn Gould for the Quint!

AllenS said...

Blagorama, damnit!

X said...


X said...

or the Toupee Dome Scandal

Anonymous said...

Will the blogging cockroach make an appearance on this thread?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Your tag needs to be, "bugs and the law"...

Everyone knows what they are.

DaLawGiver said...

But then I thought: Hey, wait a minute. Ticks are not insects.

Hey, don't get all technical on us. They are all insects to us common people: ticks, roaches, Michael, spiders, ant, bees, leaches, mosquitoes, lice, lawyers, politicians, etc.

Richard Dolan said...

Ticks make you itch, and itching inspires scratching, which is what baseball players are always doing (when their not spitting, that is), and it's well known that a scratch in time lost nine. So it all gets back to the infield fly rule.

As for power grabs in Illinois, even scratching will never get rid of the local Illi-pols' itch to do that.

Ron said...

Why do I fear Sir Archy will show to write about spiders/tics/Bugs In General?

George M. Spencer said...

A poem about ticks that is a tad strange.

(scroll down)

Rich Beckman said...

I completely agree that disability refers to physical and not political incapacity.

But the d part keeps eating at my brain...

"(d) The General Assembly by law shall specify by whom and by what procedures the ability of the Governor to serve or to resume office may be questioned and determined. The Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to review such a law and any such determination and, in the absence of such a law, shall make the determination under such rules as it may adopt."

The Assembly has not passed an applicable law (presumably). Doesn't the last sentence give the Court a lot of wiggle room here? Isn't it implicit that courts cannot inject themselves into a process/situation? Doesn't someone have to ask them?

So Madigan is just asking the court to excercise it's wiggle room.

Why is this not right?

Ann Althouse said...

Rick, I would say that language refers to the procedures to be used, not the standard for removal.

BlogDog said...

Flaming Blago poo on Obama's doorstep.

Nope. Too long.


dick said...

Wonder if this article from the Chicago Trib will have legs when it comes to this case. It appears there is a lot more than is being said in this one:,0,3359611.story?xid=rss-page

blogging cockroach said...

i am glad your ideas crashed a 6 44 am
because ticks are not
repeat not
sheesh give us a little credit
anyway ticks are spiders without brains
now spiders can be very very smart
and they can impress you with their cleverness
you think wow that spider may be disgusting
but she sure knows her stuff
hillary is a spider
so was nixon
but you can never trust a spider
they ll sweet talk you and make you
feel like you re so smart and part
of some great intellectual adventure and then
they jump you and eat out your substance
like it says in the famous spider clause
in the declaration of independence
on the other hand ticks are so dumb
all they know is how to suck blood
and make you sick
agnew was a tick
looks like gov blags is one too
there are plenty of other examples
i could point to just now
but i don't have time
because i have to go make my own honest
living in the recycling business

reader_iam said...

Some name suggestions from readers of The Corner.

Rich Beckman said...

"...that language refers to the procedures to be used..."

Thank-you for the answer. I see that now.

Peter Blogdanovich said...

Due process. That is so Sam Irving, 1970's retro, it's chic.

JM Hanes said...

Over at Just One Minute, poster PeterUK proposes:


JM Hanes said...

And PeterUK used BlagoRahma the day before it showed up over at HotAir -- apparently that Feiler Faster thing is fast.