"Illinois law is silent on whether a governor must leave office after he's arrested on corruption charges...." While that's hardly a shocking sentence to read, it does seem like it's come up often enough for Illinois lawmakers to have a plan in place. So. What happens now to Rod Blagojevich and the governorship and and Barack Obama's vacant senate seat? It's a hilarious, Chicago-style mess!
- As the Tribune sez, Blago doesn't have to resign, and he's not automatically fired, just because he's been arrested. So he's still the Governor!
- As Governor, he still has, obviously, the power to both appoint anyone he likes to Obama's Senate seat, and the power to veto legislation.
- So if he wants to appoint himself to the Senate, he's still free to do so!
- Now the Illinois legislature is going to hurriedly pass a bill allowing for a special election to choose Obama's successor. They hope to have it passed early next week.
- But... not only can Blagojevich veto this bill, it's still not clear that such a bill would even be constitutional.
- The Illinois House "has managed to impeach just one official, a Supreme Court justice accused of running amok in the 1830s."
- If the special election legislation passes, and Blago doesn't resign, he can veto or ignore the bill for months, while it perhaps went to the Supreme Court, leaving Illinois with one senator.
- According to some guy who wrote into The Corner, "there is nothing in Illinois law to prevent Blagojevich from serving as governor from Mexico or Canada, should he choose to flee."
- Today is Rod Blagojevich's birthday!
So. Will Blago resign or temporarily step aside? Who knows what he's thinking. The Illinois legislature will act to get a special election underway, but Blago—or Lt. Guv Quinn!—could block it. Rod could still say fuck all y'all and appoint someone terrible unless he gets, who knows, contributions to his legal defense fund. A senate seat is a valuable fucking thing! Or the Illinois House could vote to impeach, at which point it would go to the Senate, and then, assuming it passes, Illinois could have a second senator again in mid-2009 or so.