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Unusual? Sure. Constitutional? Probably. But definitely not a “slap”

Friday, Apr 4, 2014

* Senate Republicans were really upset yesterday

Gov. Pat Quinn engaged in a “sneaky abuse of power” when he sidestepped the Illinois Senate in an attempt to keep two controversial appointees on the job, Republicans said Thursday.

A week after the Democrat from Chicago used an unprecedented parliamentary maneuver to extend the tenures of two agency heads, GOP senators called on the Attorney General’s office to weigh in on the move and filed legislation designed to close a loophole in the Senate rules that govern gubernatorial appointees.

“This is really a slap in the face to the Senate,” said state Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle.

* But this is what Gov. Quinn said yesterday…

“Well, the Senate President asked for more time and we were happy to give it to him.”


It can’t possibly be a “slap in the face to the Senate” by the governor if the Senate President is the one who asked Quinn to do it. Pretty much every story written on this topic has made it appear as though Quinn did an end-run around Cullerton, when in fact, as subscribers already know, this was a negotiated deal.

* However, there is a good argument here

State Sen. Tim Bivins’ amendment would prevent an extension of the 60 session days of consideration the Senate has by law to confirm appointments made by the governor. Senate Republicans are also sponsoring a modification of the Senate rules, and have asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to issue an opinion on the current law.

“This flies in the face of the constitution and its intent,” Bivins, of Dixon, said of Quinn’s actions. He noted that under the constitution, “the potential exists to make all appointments in this manner.” […]

The governor’s withdrawing the names of Hamos and Flores from consideration by the Senate and then moving to re-nominate them allows the time clock on the appointment process to restart, giving supporters of the an extra 60 [session] days to secure votes in their favor.

A governor could conceivably do this forever to get around the “advice and consent” clause of the Constitution. That’s a problem.

* However, the Illinois Constitution is weighted heavily in favor of the governor

The Governor shall nominate and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a majority of the members elected concurring by record vote, shall appoint all officers whose election or appointment is not otherwise provided for.

Any nomination not acted upon by the Senate within 60 session days after the receipt thereof shall be deemed to have received the advice and consent of the Senate.

The General Assembly shall have no power to elect or appoint officers of the Executive Branch.

Unlike the federal branch, our state Constitution deems appointees confirmed if there is no Senate action. If the Senate chooses not to act, you can’t really compel it to do something here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Captain - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    The Southern Illinoisan must not be into the whole brevity thing. Where they wrote:

    “A week after the Democrat from Chicago used an unprecedented parliamentary maneuver …”

    They could have more easily written:

    “A week after the Governor used an unprecedented parliamentary maneuver …”

    I’m sure they had their reasons.

  2. - Ahoy! - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    Senate Republican’s are barking up the wrong tree, this is not the Governor’s fault, it’s the Senators fault. The Senate could always just vote the two candidates down (or in). If they want to attach someone, it should be Cullerton, ask him for an up or down vote.

  3. - Walker - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Different, and telling, reactions from Connelly and Bivins.

  4. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Basically the “advice and consent” power in the IL Constitution is effectively symbolic/ceremonial at best.

  5. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    I don’t see how this is getting around advice and consent. The Senate has the authority to vote down the nominee at any point and be done with it. This is on the Senate, not the Gov.

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    As noted above - this couldn’t be abused by going on forever without the cahoots of the Senate. They would only need to vote the nominee down. The only folks who don’t have a say, really, are the minority party of the Senate, but then they rarely do.

  7. - Reformed Public Servant - Friday, Apr 4, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Much Ado About NOTHING…no ABUSE, just folks upset about not being in the majority.
    Senate can act whenever it wants to act, and if “not acted upon by the Senate within 60 session days after the receipt thereof shall be deemed to have received the advice and consent of the Senate.”
    The Senate, at its request, can even allow a person rejected by the Senate to be nominated again for the same office in the same session, or [HERE’s a KICKER that Obama learned in IL] to be recess appointed by the Gov
    In reality, a savvy Gov simply plays the clock out on a questionable appointment so that a session expires and if unsuccessful then, the appointment can be made in the following session

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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