Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blagojevich "The Antithesis Of Leadership"

The political currents are running strongly against Rod Blagojevich, with a former state official saying if the Illinois Governor does not resign, every measure must be taken to remove him from office.

Yesterday in an unprecedented move, the state's highest law enforcement official asked the state's highest court to strip Blagojevich of his powers.

"The state government is paralyzed by a governor who is incapable of governing," said Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan.

Madigan is petitioning the State Supreme Court to temporarily remove Blagojevich from office, kicking him out while the legislature works toward a permanent exit through impeachment, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

But does the Illinois attorney general have the power to force the governor out of office?

Former Ill. attorney general Jim Ryan said the attorney general is the right person to file an action in the state Supreme Court but adds, "Whether or not she'll prevail is still problematic because there's no precedent."

Appearing on The Early Show Saturday Edition, Ryan told anchor Chris Wragge, "I think she did the right thing because if Rod Blagojevich won’t go voluntarily, then we have to use every legal means at our disposal to try to remove him."

Under the Illinois Constitution which references the reasons for removing a sitting governor ("If the Governor is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability …"), a question is whether the federal indictment into Blagojevich's alleged attempts to financially benefit from selling a political favor means he is "disabled" from serving in his position as governor.

Ryan said this reading of the law is technical, and remarked, "That's untested, unchartered waters that the attorney general is in right now. We have to wait for the court to decide that. But from a practical standpoint, I think he's incapable of governing. No one trusts him and no one is going to listen to him. He is the antithesis of leadership right now.

"He has to go either voluntarily or we have to force him out," Ryan said.

Ryan said the charges against Blagojevich indicate "reckless" behavior which would taint any decision he makes - whether appointing a successor to Obama, issuing executive orders or spending state money - as a "travesty."

The Associated Press reported that on Saturday, Blagojevich's vehicle was seen parked outside the offices of high-profile defense attorney Ed Genson, whose clients have included newspaper magnate Conrad Black and R&B singer R. Kelly.

Blagojevich "The Antithesis Of Leadership"
CBS News, NY