Ill. AG asks high court to declare gov. unfit

Madigan: Blago 'unable to serve', says aide
December 13, 2008 9:03:41 AM PST
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked the state's highest court to temporarily remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office.
  • VIDEO: Watch Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's complete news conference
  • VIDEO: Watch ABC7's Paul Meincke interview Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn about the situation involving Gov. Blagojevich
  • DOCUMENT: Verified Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (PDF)
  • DOCUMENT: Supporting Record for Temporary Restraining Order (PDF)
  • DOCUMENT: Brief in Support for Motion to Leave (PDF)


  • It is the first time in Illinois history such an action has been taken.

    Madigan filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court, asking the court for a temporary restraining order that would stop Blagojevich from serving as governor.

    "In light of his arrest in the filing of the criminal complaint, Governor Blagojevich can no longer fulfill his official duties with any legitimacy. In the interim, state government is paralyzed by a governor who is incapable of governing," said Madigan.

    The attorney general is filing a document that is apparently unprecedented in the annals of American politics because the governor is not medically incapacitated. However, according to Madigan, he is so drenched in corruption he cannot be trusted to handle any state business, including contracts, financial disbursements, and of course, the filling of Barack Obama's Senate seat.

    "I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances," Madigan said during a press conference Friday.

    The attorney general wants Blagojevich removed temporarily with or without pay, which would empower Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to run the state while the General Assembly is deciding whether to fill the Obama seat by appointment or special election and whether to impeach Blagojevich, if he hasn't resigned by then. The governor met with several Chicago area ministers Friday morning before heading to his office in the Thompson Center.

    One of the state's most respected lawyers, Abner Mikva, calls it the perfect bridge from today's uncertainty and an eventual certainty imposed by the legislature.

    "It's very difficult if there's nobody in charge of contracts, if there's nobody in charge of the state's apparatus, to run the business of the state," Mikva said. "I think this is the least invasive way of solving the immediate problem.

    The Illinois House minority leader says the Madigan plan is fine, if it works.

    said minority leader and State Rep. Tom Cross. "The bottom line is I think most people are okay with whatever track works to have him removed. I think the one track that brings finality to the whole situation is the impeachment process. We think we ought to start on that with that on Monday," said minority leader and State Rep. Tom Cross.

    The legislature is meeting in Springfield next week to consider an impeachment resolution and a call to fill Obama's U.S. Senate seat by special election.

    As for the Illinois Supreme Court, there was no reaction on Friday afternoon to the Madigan filing. Madigan wants the court to act within five to 10 days but it is uncharted water. The most compelling reason is a $1.4 billion bond issue for Medicaid reimbursement which nobody is willing to underwrite at this point with so much uncertainty. That could be the strongest argument for action soon.

    The rumors have been swirling that the governor was planning to resign on Friday, or this weekend, but there is no official news on that front.


    Load Comments