Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Blagojevic Appointment

Yesterday, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevic made his pick to fill the vacant Senate seat left by Barack Obama's election as president and it caused a firestorm all across the spectrum of politics. Harry Reid has stated he will refuse to seat former attorney general Roland Burris. This has thrown the entire drama into chaos. The question remains as to whether or not Mr. Burris can be blocked. The Illinois Secretary of State has said he will not certify the appointment. The problem with that statement is that Jesse White has no authority to certify an appointment made by the governor.

As long as Rod Blagojevic is governor, and the legislature has not stripped him of his appointment powers, he has the legal right to make this appointment. Harry Reid, Jesse White, and even Barack Obama can call this decision foul all they want, but they cannot prevent Mr. Burris from being seated. Some may not understand this, and may even cite that the Constitution gives the right to refuse anyone a seat on any grounds.

Powell v. McCormack, which was decided in 1969, set the precedent for this issue. Powell, a duly-elected member of the House, was embroiled in a scandal, yet still won reelection. The Speaker at the time refused to seat him, and this case ended up before the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the majority opinion, and in it he concluded that:

"The Constitution does not vest in the Congress a discretionary power to deny membership by majority vote," wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren. Congress may "judge only the qualifications set forth in the Constitution," he said. ...

Warren said in his opinion that the Senate's power over its members "is identical" to that of the House.

If the Senate does indeed have the same powers as the House does, as Chief Justice Warren ruled, then the Senate cannot forbid him to be seated either. Harry Reid's bold stance is moot, and if this is challenged to the high court, neither Thomas or I see them reversing set precedent. Roland Burris will be seated, regardless of the taint he may have from being a Blagojevic crony.

What is interesting in this move by the governor is that he has painted his own party into a corner. Everybody and their brother in the state party is trying to get rid of him. Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general, appealed to the state supreme court to have Blagojevic ruled incapable of fulfilling his duties, and the court rightly rejected her assertion; refusing to step in. Her father, Mike Madigan, is Speaker of the Illinois state House, and he is moving forward with impeachment proceedings, but Governor Blagojevic's own attorney is arguing that no crime has, as yet, been proven to have been committed by the embattled governor. The governor has said he will fight the impeachment, and that he refuses to step down. His very presence is an embarrassment to the state, and to his party, but mostly to his own party.

As long as he stays he continues to draw attention to a corrupt machine running the state. He also draws attention to the president-elect and his appointed chief of staff (Obama and Emanuel) because they are integrally linked to the governor. They both served as chief strategists to Governor Blagojevic in his initial election, and his reelection. Mr. Emanuel is even implicated, to an extent, in this by allegedly asking Governor Blagojevic to appoint a successor to his House seat to "keep it warm" for his return to it. That is illegal and unconstitutional under Article I, Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

The governor cannot appoint someone to a House seat. There has to be a special election to fill a vacancy. that is enumerated in state law, and if the governor did appoint an interim replacement, that would be an impeachable offense. I should note, however, that this is only alleged. Nothing has been revealed regarding Mr. Emanuel asking Governor Blagojevic to appoint a successor. The allegation stems from news reports that are not exactly clear whether he asked for the appointment, or if he simply wanted a patsy chosen to win the seat, and keep it warm for his return. Why would he want that? Because he has his eyes on the Speaker's chair someday in the future.

As this drama continues to unfold, Republicans and conservatives should sit back and enjoy the show. This is just the newest chapter in an unfolding comedy of corruption exposed in Illinois. As Thomas notes, Chicago was founded on corruption, and if it were dispensed with, the state would not know how to conduct business. He has reminded me, and others, that the state is not run from the legislature. It is run out of Chicago. He would know as he used to live there.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

FREE Unlimited Streaming TV Shows, Movies, Music (over 6 million digital tracks), Unlimited Games, Money, Books, and College Educations (Stanford, Oxford, Notre Dame and more) http://www.InternetSurfShack.com

December 31, 2008 at 2:14 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home