The continued trouncing of the rule of law in this country is really starting to get on my nerves. I suppose everyone has heard about the allegations that Governor Blagojevich tried to sell Obama’s vacant senate seat. Lisa Madigan, Democrat Attorney General, has asked the Illinois state supreme court to strip the governor from his position.
I have no love for Blagojevich. Frankly, I have no love for any Illinois politician. My five years in Illinois was like being front and center at a circus. There is also no question in my mind that Blagojevich is guilty as sin- and this is certainly not his first offense. What is the difference between Blagojevich, Daley, and Obama? Blagojevich got caught. We’re talking Chicago politics, here. You’re living in la-la land if you expect anyone- even the Messiah- to have clean hands in general, and few places in the country get hands dirtier.
So it should be clear that I have no special fondness for Blagojevich. Nonetheless, in this country- allegedly- people are innocent until proven guilty. To try to get the state supreme court to toss the governor out before the man has even had his trial is simply wrong. Should the man resign? Of course. But then I think almost every politician in Illinois should resign, and that probably includes the Republicans, but the Democrats for sure. If the man doesn’t resign, will the state suffer? Probably. But that still doesn’t mean you can just ignore the rule of law and it doesn’t mean that just because a guy is an arrogant knucklehead that you can strip him of due process.
Lisa Madigan is naturally just following the Democrat playbook, running to the courts rather than following available procedures. Here, though, the pressure is such that conviction or not, resignation or not, the man is probably going to be impeached in short order, anyway. Not fast enough for Lisa.
What troubles me is that I can’t say that I’ve heard anyone else raise this point. Not even conservatives. We conservatives are supposed to be the ones sticking up for the rule of law. I think this indicates how far this country has moved from its founding principles. I’m not saying that conservatives are willfully giving Madigan a pass here, I’m just saying that its become so commonplace to manipulate the law that sometimes we hardly notice when its happening.
Anyway, I say impeach the guy if he doesn’t resign, but you can’t strip the man of his position based on allegations made in an indictment that haven’t yet been aired in trial. I mean, you can’t if you care about the rule of law. Which is exactly why I would not be surprised one bit to see Lisa Madigan succeed in her efforts.
How would that be for a little stare decisis, eh? A little precedent in your coffee sir? Thank you, make it a double. What’s that? Congressman SuchandSuch has been accused of ThisandThat? Bammo! Take it to court! Illinois vs. Blagojevich will solve your problems without the messy business of actually convicting him!
(And of course after the dust clears I suppose we’ll see the Lt. Govenor appoint Madigan to the empty senate seat. And it will turn out that Madigan was one of Obama’s personal favorites for the job. We will be asked not to read into this but many of us will suspect the truth: Blago didn’t play ball; Obama showed what happens if you don’t play it his way. He is from Chicago, after all.)
EDIT: Well, I’ll be! Someone did take note of the precedent angle, and it was an Illinois Democrat! Well, there is an exception to every rule, I guess. 🙂 It was in the very article I posted:
The decision to go to the state’s highest court was not welcomed by everyone. Democratic Rep. Jack Franks said it would set “a dangerous precedent” for the court to remove a governor as proposed by Madigan, who is a likely candidate for governor in 2010.
Franks, a fierce Blagojevich critic, said that kind of decision should be left to the General Assembly.
Seems a little late for Democrats to be worrying about ‘dangerous precedents’ but we’ll take what we can get.