The Constitution of Illinois provides that the state Supreme Court can remove the Governor from office temporarily “If the Governor is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability.” Lisa Madigan, the state Attorney General, has now asked the Supreme Court to do just that on the grounds that the corruption case against Blagojevich “disables” him from serving.
At first blush, I’m inclined to agree with Ann Althouse that this is a stretch. But in one important respect Blago truly is “disabled”: the Governor of Illinois must appoint a replacement for Barack Obama in the Senate, and Blago, having put the seat up for auction, has disabled himself from making that appointment. Not only would no one with any self-respect take the appointment under these conditions, but whoever was so appointed wouldn’t be seated (or would be expelled at once).
So if I were one of the Illinois Supremes, I might be inclined to grant the motion to make the Lieutenant Governor the Acting Governor for just long enough to name a Senator, after which Blagojevich would resume power until he resigns or is impeached and convicted by the legislature.
Footnote I’m pleased to note that, by contrast with, for example, the case of Tom DeLay, no Democrat has risen to Blago’s defense, or attacked Patrick Fitzgerald the way the Republicans and Red bloggers attacked him for indicting Scooter Libby.