December 12, 2008
State Constitutional Law - Removal of Governor
As the New York Times reports, today the "Illinois attorney general petitioned the State Supreme Court on Friday to remove Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich from office, challenging his fitness to serve after his arrest Tuesday on corruption charges." The story continues:
“I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances,” the state attorney general, Lisa Madigan, said at a news conference after filing the petition to remove the governor. At the same time, she urged the State Legislature to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
Ms. Madigan said did not know when the court would respond. If Mr. Blagojevich is temporarily removed, which is what Ms. Madigan is seeking, the lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn, would become acting governor.
A helpful discussion of the issue of "Gubernatorial Removal and the State High Courts" is available from the National Center for State Courts here. The Press Release/ Backgrounder provides:
Illinois is one of at least 15 states with constitutional provisions that place the power of removal of a governor, temporary or otherwise, in the hands of the state’s highest court. The most recent invocation of such a power by a state high court was in Indiana in 2003, when that state’s governor was removed after having suffered a stroke (In re O'Bannon, 798 N.E.2d 838, 2003 Ind. LEXIS 737).
It also lists the 15 states and gives some information, as well as two additional cases.
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