Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illinois Legislature Moves on Blagojevich

Illinois legislators are moving to strip Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich (of Illinois) of his power to appoint someone to Obama's vacated Senate seat. They are going to try to change the law so that the governor no longer has the power to appoint someone to the seat and a special election will be held instead. A special election adds an interesting potential twist to Obama's replacement. Theoretically, a Republican could win. If memory serves, it was a scandal a while back that turned the state blue. Could a scandal now tint the state red? Not to long ago the Democrats were looking at the real possibility of a filibuster proof 60 seats in the Senate. Now the Republicans have a small chance of having a three seat cushion.

The main problem with the legislature's plan is that Blagojevich has a tremendous amount of warning; and all the while he still has the power to appoint someone to the seat. I doubt (or at least hope) that no one would accept that appointment, but you never know. If I was Blagojevich I would appoint myself. Chances are good that he is going away for a long time, so what does he have to lose? That self appointment would really cement his place in the history books.

"In separate statements, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones said they will call a special legislative session next week to repeal the state law that now gives the governor the power to fill Mr. Obama’s seat. Both said they will press instead for a special election to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Obama’s term.

“I am prepared to convene the House next Monday to change state law to provide for a special election for the U.S. Senate replacement,” Mr. Madigan said. “I would urge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to take note of this action.”

Mr. Durbin earlier on Tuesday had called for such action in the wake of Mr. Blagojevich’s arrest on federal corruption charges.

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