Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blagojevich Is Right

What was Illinois Governor "Hot Rod" Blagojevich to do? Yes, he got arrested and charged, and is probably as crooked as the rest of the Chicago political machine. But he is still the governor of the state of Illinois. And he had a problem.

A good chunk of that problem was created by the state legislature. They met to consider changing the law, as recommended by the governor, so a vacancy in a U.S. Senate seat would be filled by a special election instead of by appointment by the governor. But the legislature's Democrats decided they couldn't do that because, with the Democrats' corruption on all the front pages, they feared the seat might actually be won by a Republican. (!) As a result, since the law was not changed, the only legal way the Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama can be filled is by the governor appointing someone to fill it.

But that creates another problem. The Congressional Democrats' leadership has said they will not allow anyone named by Governor Blagojevich to be seated. That means they are unwilling to allow Illinois to be represented by a Senator named in the only way provided for by Illinois law — which means they are unwilling to allow Illinois to be represented by two Senators as provided in the Constitution. And that gives them yet another problem since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1969, in the case of Adam Clayton Powell, that what the Senate leadership intends to do is unconstitutional — the Senate can expel a member, for cause and by a 2/3 vote of the full Senate, but they cannot refuse to seat a properly elected/appointed Senator.

So Rod Blagojevich, as governor of Illinois, was presented with this problem: He could follow the warnings and illegal orders of the Democrats' state and national leadership and leave Illinois without complete representation, or he could follow the state law and appoint a new Senator. In this instance, for good reasons or bad, he decided to follow the law.

Blagojevich is still the governor. There is no legitimate or legal basis for blocking or voiding this appointment to the Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone trying to block this appointment should have to spent a LOT of time in court, at their own personal expense. After all, violating the law is never part of a public official's job description. And, in this instance, the one following the law is Governor Blagojevich.

No comments: