Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed papers with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking to have Governor Rod Blagojevich declared “unable” to serve, and stripping him of his executive powers pending impeachment proceedings. In filing these papers, however, the Attorney General has boxed herself and the State into a corner.

One of the stated reasons for the application to the Supreme Court is that the State faces a fiscal crisis precipitated by the Attorney General’s inability to certify that the Governor is entitled to act on behalf of the State. As reported by AP:

Illinois has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, including payments to Medicaid patients, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and schools, and the state has approved $1.4 billion in short-term borrowing to keep cash flowing. But before the borrowing takes effect, Madigan said she has to certify that there is not any legal proceeding threatening the ability of the governor to hold his office.

In light of Friday’s filing by her office, Madigan said she can’t sign that.

“We will not be able to move forward on it until we have a different governor,” Comptroller Dan Hynes said.

One problem. What if the Supreme Court rejects the motion? What does the Attorney General do then? She already has made representations to the Court that she is unable to certify that the Governor is able to act on behalf of the State. Is she going to rescind that representation and then certify the Governor so that the State can borrow money necessary for its operations?

The Attorney General took a long shot in going to Court to resolve a political dispute. If she loses in Court, she will have to go back on her word to the Court or let the State sink into complete fiscal crisis. The Illinois Attorney General has boxed herself and the State into an unnecessary fiscal box, from which she will find it hard to escape.


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