IL. AG Asks Court to Declare Blagojevich Unfit

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked the state supreme court to declare Gov. Rod Blagojevich unfit to serve.

The move came as the governor prayed with several ministers in his home before heading to his office, telling them he is innocent and will be vindicated "when you hear each chapter completely written," according to one of the pastors.

Madigan will hold a press conference on her motion today.

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    What I find ironic and amusing (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:52:34 AM EST
    is that the people who didn't make a peep for years are suddenly implying that Blagojevich is/was mentally ill and/or incompetent.

    Sure, that could be true, but what the wiretaps caught didn't seem to be out of character for him.  Maybe the pressure of being arrested and indicted caused Blagojevich to crack, but no one seemed surprised at anything but the stupidity of continuing his SOP when it was public knowledge he was being investigated.

    I'm going to be highly annoyed if people start saying "Oh, he was ill/incompetent all along!" as a means of distancing Blagojevich from the rest of the presumably stable, sane and ethically pure pols.

    Well (none / 0) (#10)
    by Claw on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:49:22 PM EST
    I think it's unlikely he'll get off with any defense related to mental illness.  I haven't been following this case all that closely, but it's extremely difficult to get the REALLY mentally ill declared unfit for trial, etc.  Sure, those still loyal to him may try to absolve him by citing mental illness, but they'll be the only ones buying it.  

    It doesn't sound like mental illness (none / 0) (#16)
    by nycstray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:36:56 PM EST
    or incompetence is the issue. From CNN:

    Madigan said wants Blagojevich out of office because -- given the charges against him -- she does not think he can do his job. The court filing asks that Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn become acting governor.

    Whatever happened to "pressured (none / 0) (#19)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:47:42 PM EST
    to resign"?  Traditionally, this is done under threat of impeachment.  See Nixon, Richard M. and Dann, Mark for examples.

    Good grief, what a bunch of cowards!  


    Fabian, you're way behind here (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:20:43 PM EST
    The legislature is going to start impeachment procedings, but they can't do it in the time remaining until the new lege comes in, so have to wait until January.

    Madigan explained that in her presser and that she's taking her own action now because the state's business is hog-tied in various ways as long as he's sitting there. (Something about financial stuff she has to sign off on as AG, certifying that there's no legal encumbrance or somesuch, which she clearly cannot do under the circumstances.)


    I'm just keeping up on Ohio biz (none / 0) (#27)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:42:52 PM EST
    which consists of listening to various state and local budget shortfalls and listening Jennifer Brunner steadfastly refuse to become a rampaging reformer of everything election related.

    The Republicans get up on their soapboxes every so often about something Brunner has done, but she keeps acting deliberately and methodically and they have to settle for rants about some little detail or other.

    And I'm so very glad that Mark Dann fiasco was dealt with quickly.  Things were a little uncertain until the Governor had the little "I'm sorry, but if you don't resign, you will be impeached." chat.  ...and the legislature went Democrat in November.  

    The feds are busy up in Cleveland and environs but fortunately things are quiet here - except for some Republican who was just convicted on one of the 2006 Bureau of Worker's Comp scandals.  Is it a coincidence that a long set of (R) branded scandals was followed by a loss of (R) seats?


    Off Topic. Blago's Chief of Staff just resgined (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Saul on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:36:43 PM EST

    There is already a way to get him out of office (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:42:35 PM EST
    Impeach him.  No need to go making up new methods.  Believe it or not, the government bureaucracy will trudge along in the time it takes him to get either impeached or tried in court. He will probably be a model governor in that interim.

    My preference is that he resign, but the world won't end if he does not. As for Obama's seat being left unfilled, if Obama and the Senate Dems can't even keep Claire McCaskill in line, it really doesn't matter how many seats they end up with in the Senate.

    when you hear each chapter completely written.. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by vml68 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:22:39 PM EST
    For some reason when I read that, my brain translated it as "If I'm going down, I am taking everyone with me"

    Attorney General Madigan's (3.00 / 1) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:56:30 PM EST
    motion may be questionable legally, but, based on the gravity of the complaint, it seems right politically  that attempts be made by Democratic office holders and party leaders to get the Democratic governor to step aside. Impeachment, while cumbersome, would be a better and broad-based political remedy. That process should get off the ground quickly and Mayor Daley (the real power) should spearhead the efforts.  Since the Democratic party in Illinois fielded Blagojevich and presented him to the electorate they bear responsibility for removing him.  It always seemed to me that the Republican party never paid a sufficient price for presenting Nixon and Agnew. Daddy Bush and Bob Dole were among the fiercest defenders of Nixon, right up to the very end.

    chief prosecutor (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by txpublicdefender on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:24:41 PM EST
    She's the chief prosecutor of the state.  She shouldn't be using her proseuctorial/legal authority to do something that seems like the right thing to do politically.

    She's twisting the statute in a way that I believe sets a terrible precedent.  There isn't an ethical doctor/shrink in the world who would find him unfit/incompetent to serve, as envisioned by this statute.

    There is a constitutional mechanism for removing a governor for misconduct, and that is impeachment.  I know it may take a while to get around to doing that right, but, unless he resigns, that is the appropriate process.


    You have a good point, (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:45:53 PM EST
    and I did note that General Madigan's motion was questionable. Her motion claims that the pending charges disable Blagojevich from making gubernatorial decisions (e.g. dealing with a budgetary crisis) and is seeking a temporary restraining order or an injunction from serving based on being cleared or leaving office. The Illinois Supreme Court can decide not to hear the motion or to deny it; the penalty sought is not a criminal or civil one, but an order to temporarily step aside.  To me, this is not abuse of prosecutorial discretion, but rather responsiveness to a critical matter of governance.  I agree that reaching to impeachment is the better choice, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

    right (none / 0) (#17)
    by sancho on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:45:14 PM EST
    or as i heard somebody say once, innocent until proven guilty. the presumptively innocent can still be impeached by a legislature.

    Her father, Mike Madigan... (none / 0) (#18)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:47:33 PM EST
    ...is Speaker of the IL House and doesn't exactly have the repuatation of being squeaky clean himself.  

    Lisa is rumored to have an eye on the coveted Senate slot or the Governor's office.  

    I saw her interviewed on WGN the other night and she was saying that she's had maybe two conversations with teh Rod in the whole time they've served in office together.  A little bad blood there with a touch of political ambition, it would appear.  

    Things are hardly ever what they seem when it comes to IL politics.  Never dull though.


    She also stated that she will not sign off on bond (none / 0) (#25)
    by jawbone on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:36:49 PM EST
    sales--or something of that ilk--while Blago is in office, on the grounds he's not ethically able to make such decisions or some such argument, which struck me as weak. Or that she can't vouch for him, or something like that.

    A little blackmail? The bonds are needed to make Medicaid payments.

    Good grief, this could get even uglier, right?


    AG is supposed to sign off (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:54:22 PM EST
    on that stuff specifically that there are no legally questionable financial issues involved that could later be an encumbrance.  Given Blago's recorded threats to do thigns like withhold Medicaid reimbursements from the Children's Hospital, I can see why she would be, um, imprudent to sign off on such a thing.

    This sounds to me like it's perfectly legitimate to go to the SC and at least ask to have him restrained from acting on behalf of the state until the new legislature can follow through on impeachment proceedings.


    Does this set a precedent for doing this kind (none / 0) (#23)
    by jawbone on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:33:06 PM EST
    of removal in the future? Yes, based on what is currently known, what was made public, Blago behaved very, very badly and resignation would seem to be a good decision.

    However, I recall that Repubs and the MCM, plus a few Dems, were howling for Bill Clinton's resignation when the Monica Lewinsky thing broke. He did not resign; he was tried in the Senate and was not impeached--in a purely politically motivated gratuitous action, imho.

    This action by the Atty Gen'l seems to set the stage for, say, a Loyal Bushie type Federal prosecutor (or any unscrupulous Fed prosecutor of any party) to make things public about a public official, talk about bringing charges, etc., and then a sitting state official is pushed out of office, perhaps by an atty gen'l of the opposition party or, as in this case, by a member of the same party--for politically expedient reasons, possibly in bothe situations.

    Yes, there is outrage, but there is not a full hearing of evidence.

    I hope the IL SC tells the atty gen'l of IL, no matter how well motivated, to reconsider this action. I can see it becoming a tool for political fights (and infighting) in the future.

    Note: I am not a lawyer, so may be way off on how this actually could be a precedent. But seems dicey to me.


    wow, praying (none / 0) (#1)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:49:28 AM EST
    why do all these corrupt politicians think that turning to prayer is going to change anything?  they need to send that guy packing...now.   the longer this festers the worse it becomes for him, his family and other Dems.  If it goes to a special election, the seat could very well fall into republican hands.  Heck, the right is already asking why Palin's experience, rather lack of, mattered but Caroline Kennedy's doesn't in NY?

    The hand picking of senators may be a practice that might find itself in peril when all this junk is said and done.

    Praying with SEVERAL ministers...... (none / 0) (#5)
    by vml68 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:11:26 PM EST
    Is he hoping that atleast one of them has an inside track with a divine entity (and I am not talking about Obama here!)?

    I can hear the minister now... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:30:11 PM EST
    "Blags...this place called heaven is f*ckin' golden, I'm not just gonna get ya in the big guy's good graces so you can get passed St. Peter for your mere f*ckin' appreciation ok, whaddya got on ya?"

    Um (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:06:09 PM EST
    Funny, except if the guy cuts a deal with St Pete, and offs himself..

    Then it will not be funny at all.


    "Whaddya got on ya" (none / 0) (#13)
    by vml68 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:17:25 PM EST
    I'll take "things ministers and politicians have in common" for 500, Alex.

    Minsiters, Politicians... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 01:55:35 PM EST
    and gangsters...can't forget the gangsters.

    Probably the most honest profession of the three to boot:)


    Would not like to be SC justice at this time (none / 0) (#3)
    by Saul on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:53:53 AM EST
    in Ill.  The gangster mentality of Chicago is enough to scare any SC justice from ruling on whether the governor is fit or not.

    Unfit? (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:59:42 AM EST
    Looks like he fits right in out in Illinois:)

    All kidding aside, as unpleasant as it may be, he's got a right to keep his job until he is found guilty.  Trumping up some "unfit to serve" charges would be a case of the end not justifying the means.

    They are just running away (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 12:23:50 PM EST
    as fast and as far as they can.

    Or as BTD would say: Pols are pols.  I'd love to think they are looking out for the interests of the common citizen, but I'm inclined to think that self interest is the prime motivation.


    Of course. Dangerous precedent (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:34:28 PM EST
    to do this to a gov still innocent unless and until proven guilty.  After all, the former gov of Illinois in prison now somehow managed to run the state until trial.  So . . . only a corrupt Dem is nuts, not a corrupt Repub?

    And Blago signed legislation into law today that benefits autistic kids.  What, now he was nuts when he did so, so the law is not in effect, and the kids are outa luck?


    Presumption (none / 0) (#24)
    by kmchicago on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:33:09 PM EST
    I'd like to think I'm objective when I say that he should be presumed innocent.  Is this the new "Minority Report" attitude--to convict on the mere appearance of intent?  Since when is that against the law?  Heck, if I were bugged I imagine then they'd be coming for me.  Isn't this a free speech issue?  He can SAY all he wants, but that doesn't mean he will carry out a crime.

    Presumption of innocence for anyone charged with (none / 0) (#26)
    by jawbone on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 02:38:50 PM EST
    Terra! Terra! Terra! was tossed out several years ago. I think there's a new mindset that you act while you hold the whip hand and get rid of as many enemies or awkward people as possible.

    It's why some here might end up in those lovely camps.... Heh.


    ILL. governor, Blago & President-elect,, Obama (none / 0) (#31)
    by Rajan on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 09:45:51 PM EST
    It is absolutely inconceivable that Obama is not extremely interested in who will succeed him in the US senate seat which he has just vacated.  If the corrupt Blago, out of sheer spite (because he is not getting anything in return), appoints a Republican or, even,  a known critic of Obama to the Senate, the President-elect will have one less senator to support his legislative plans and one more  senatorial enemy to contend with. But, it has been widely reported that Obama has been receiving regular, daily briefings from various federal intelligence agencies including the FBI.  Hence, it is equally inconceivable that Obama had not been fore-warned about the court-authorized wire-tapping of Blago's phone conversations by the FBI  and that he was advised well in advance to keep a safe distance from the Illinois governor and keep his nose clinically and scrupulously clean in this regard so that he can  claim with a straight face that he had no inkling of what  Blago was conspiring to do when the story will inevitably break out (as it has done now)!