Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the Illinois Supreme Court to temporarily remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office and replace him with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. But the process to get Blagojevich out of office — if he doesn’t resign first — already started in the legislature and in the federal courts.
It’s unknown whether the high court will even hear the case or how long it would take, but Madigan said with Blagojevich in office, the state is paralyzed and in crisis.
“In light of his arrest and the filing of his criminal complaint, Gov. Blagoejvich can no longer fulfill his official duties with any legitimacy,” she said during a Chicago news conference, carried live on multiple media outlets, including CNN.
She seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, which she said could be quicker than the impeachment process. However, she wants the Illinois legislature to continue pursuing impeachment and trial.
If Madigan’s motion were to succeed before the Supreme Court, Blagojevich would be prevented from filling the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, acting on legislation, directing state contracts, directing the Illinois Finance Authority and dolling out state funds.
Among the items held up by this week’s events is a $1.4 billion borrowing plan that would help the state pay an extreme backlog in bills owed to medical providers who care for Medicaid patients. The plan was supposed to be carried out this week; however, it needs the attorney general’s signature to certify that she’s unaware of any proceeding or threatened litigation challenging the authority of the governor to hold his office. “So I, at this point, would not necessarily be able to sign that,” she said.
Madigan said is her job as the attorney general to serve as the lawyer for the people of the state, and it is her job to present the question to the court. However, the motions beg political questions, to which she did not address during her press conference. “Political issues and political matters are not even on my radar screen this week,” she said to a question about her filling the vacant U.S. Senate seat.
She is exploring a run for governor in 2010. She also is the daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan, arch nemesis of Blagojevich.
Here are the documents filed in Springfield this morning:
The motion for a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary injunction
The brief in support of the motion
The motion for leave to file a verified complaint
The Supreme Court Rule 382 upon which Madigan’s motion is based
(If the links still aren't working, try here.)