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Blagojevich: Madigan action “unlawful”

Saturday, Jul 7, 2007 - Posted by Rich Miller

Remember yesterday when there was some confusion over whether Speaker Madigan or Gov. Blagojevich had the right to name the exact time of the special sessions? Madigan called today’s session for ten o’clock while Blagojevich called the special session for 2.

Well, the governor is insisting that Madigan is violating the law by not following his special session proclamation. This letter was sent by the governor to Madigan and all members late yesterday. Noteworthy stuff is highlighted…

July 6, 2007

The Honorable Michael J Madigan

Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives

Dear Mr Speaker

I am in receipt of your letter of July 6, 2007, in which you state that the Illinois House of Representatives intends to take the unprecedented step of convening a special session prior to the time set forth in the proclamation I issued pursuant to the Illinois Constitution and the Special Session Act. Your letter states that you intend to convene the Third Special Session at 10:00 am tomorrow morning. While I applaud your eagerness to engage in discussions that will hopefully move us towards resolving the grave problems facing the State Employees Retirement System tomorrow morning, I must remind you that the Third Special Session I have called to address this issue is to convene at 2 p.m tomorrow afternoon, as set forth in the proclamation, not at 10 am. as your letter suggests.

The issues facing the State Employees Retirement System are critical, which is why I have set a specific date and time to convene a special session, pursuant to my constitutional and statutory authority. As you know, the Illinois Constitution and the Special Session Act confer upon the Governor the authority to convene the General Assembly in special session by a proclamation stating the purpose of the session. In fact, the Supreme Court of Illinois has explicitly recognized that the Governor “possesses the authority to convene the General Assembly in special session at any time when, in the exercise of his official discretion, he deems the occasion warrants such action ..” […]

The authority to convene a special session, at the date and time designated by the Governor, has also been acknowledged by statute in the Special Session Act, which was passed by the House, and which provides…

Nothing in this Act affects the power of the Governor under Article IV. Section 5 of the Constitution of Illinois (1970)to call a special session. The Governor, when calling a special session, shall file the proclamation calling the session with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall take whatever reasonable steps necessary to notify the members of the General Assembly of the date and time of the special session,

25 ILCS 15/3 (West 2007).

Numerous Illinois Governors have, throughout the last century. convened special sessions of the General Assembly and set the date and time for special sessions by proclamation pursuant to their constitutional authority. See, e.g., Journal of the Senate of the Forty-Sixth General Assembly (Proclamation of Special Session). December 14, 1909 (Governor Charles S. Deneen issuing a proclamation for special session “to commence on the 14th day of Pccember, AD. 1909, at twelve o’clock noon …”). And previous Illinois Aorney Generals have consistently affirmed the propriety of such practice. […]

Your attempt to unilaterally change the time for the Third Special Session, set by lawful proclamation, is in contravention of this well-established law and longstanding practice. In addition to being unlawful, it will cause practical problems and confusion among the individuals testifying on this issue, as well as the members of the General Assembly, who have been formally notified to appear at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon to consider and debate this issue.

While it is certainly within your prerogative to convene regular session days at the time of your choosing, it is expected that you, as a State elected official, will comply with the mandates of the Illinois Constitution by convening the Third Special Session at the date and time set forth in the legal proclamation issued.

It’s a wonder that they can agree to the shape of the bargaining table.


  1. - Luca Brazzi - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:18 am:

    This has reached beyond amusing or entertaining. Rod is certifiable. Maybe if he (or his misdirected disciples) spent the time to study fundamental economics instead of creative writing, he would understand that selling the lottery is a one-time non-recurring revenue source as opposed to an perpetual annual capital infusion. Of course, it would be so “Rod” to announce to the public that he created a windfall and blame someone else for the consequences upon enlightenment. Such a Moron. Go for a jog and let the legislature do its job. They’ll summon you in time for you to blow dry your hair for the press conference.

  2. - Randall Sherman - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:20 am:

    I am beginning to wonder if the Governor is looking to become a political martyr. His rantings are particularly troublesome, and do nothing to bringing about a resolution to the current crisis.

    There is a serious question that now must be asked; how long does this nonsense go on before the Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly team up to strike back at a Governor who has clearly lost touch with political reality? And does the General Assembly have the courage to strike back in a manner which insures that Rod Blagojevich cannot cause a repeat round of chaos in state government in the future?

  3. - wndycty - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:35 am:

    Say what you want about Rod and its clear he is not helping himself, however if he calls a special session for a certain time does the speaker have the legal authority to override that?

    This looks like a p#$%ing match between these two but the law is the law and if it turns out that Madigan does not have the authority change the time then he needs to be called on it.

    Popular opinion is definitely not on Rod’s side but that does not automatically give the speaker to ignore the Governor’s authority.

  4. - unclesam - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:39 am:

    If Rod had bothered to actually check the House calendars (plural) for today, he would notice that Special Sessions #1 and #2 are scheduled to convene at 10 am… while Special Session #3 (which is the one being argued in the letter) is scheduled to be convened at 2pm… just as his proclamation states.

    It really only took me about 2 minutes to read the House calendars online. I just wish the Governor was able to take 2 minutes to “wake up” and do his job.

  5. - So Ill - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:51 am:

    Unclesam makes an incredibly good, relevant, and in some ways hilarious point.

  6. - Randa - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 9:54 am:

    I think this whole thing is getting beyond ridiculous. To quote a friend of mine, it is insane that the entire legislature is being held hostage in Springfield while the gov and the legislative leaders try to prove who has the biggest d**k.

  7. - Free Byrd - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:09 am:

    You have to wonder how many state employees are posting as who else normally would on a Saturday???

  8. - So Ill - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:12 am:

    Heh…no state employee here, though I am stuck at work for a little while!

  9. - unclesam - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:19 am:

    Also not a state employee… but working today.

    House just adjourned Special Session #1 and #2, and will reconvene them tomorrow at 5 pm.

  10. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:20 am:

    It is time for someone in the GA to start looking at the articles of impeachment. This is starting to move into the realm of incompetence and malfeasance on the part of the Governor and it is time for the legislature to put an end to it.

    Personally, the longer this drags on, the more damage it does to the Democrats which is fine by me. The problem is that tens of thousands of people dependent upon various services and programs (many of which we already have trouble paying for) get steamrolled by the intransigence of this cartoon caricature of a governor. It is time for this to end.

  11. - proud state copper - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:36 am:

    Rich. I guess I should get my uniform on. I’ll be waiting on orders from higher up to go arrest somebody. I hope its not a hundred or so Reps because I’m grillin’ this afternoon…poolside.

  12. - Zora - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:37 am:

    Did his lawyers really write “attorney generals” instead of “attorneys general”? Classy.

  13. - Rich Miller - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    One thing I’m pretty sure of is that only Madigan and Jones can order the coppers to compel members to attend.

  14. - 4% - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:43 am:

    Illinois allows for succession should the Governor have a temporary disability. It could almost be argued that the Governor is insane. Let’s hope that Pat Quinn recognizes this and takes action.

  15. - Squideshi - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    If those are the best citations that the Governor can find, he has a pretty weak argument.

  16. - Larry Mullholland - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    Did they really use that typo? What is an “Illinois Aorney Generals” I have several issues with this langauge.. lol

    Maybe this is the reason he can’t get anything passed…he doesn’t understand basic english. :-)

  17. - Dozer - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    The Governor is being less than honest – shocking.

    The Constitution says:

    “(b) The Governor may convene the General Assembly or the Senate alone in special session by a proclamation stating the purpose of the session; and only business encompassed by such
    purpose, together with any impeachments or confirmation of appointments shall be transacted. Special sessions of the General Assembly may also be convened by joint proclamation of the presiding officers of both houses, issued as provided by law.”

    Note it says NOTHING about time. It says he can call one. The Special Session Act the Governor refers to also is silent to his powers. He can “call a special session”. It only says that the Secretary of State shall take steps to notify members of the time.

    “25 ILCS 15/3) (from Ch. 63, par. 193)
    Sec. 3. Nothing in this Act affects the power of the Governor under Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution of Illinois (1970) to call a special session. The Governor, when calling a special session, shall file the proclamation calling the session with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall take whatever reasonable steps necessary to notify the members of the General Assembly of the date and time of the special session.
    (Source: P.A. 84 1288.)”

    Section 6 under the Constitution says:

    “(d) Each house shall determine the rules of its proceedings,…”

    Hence, the House shall set the rules and I’ll bet they say the Speaker shall call the time of session.

    In past, the Governor may have been afforded the courtesy of naming a time, but the Governor is misleading people as to the true language of the constitution and statue as to what they ACTUALLY say.

    I’ll bet on the Speaker.

  18. - Larry Mullholland - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:46 am:

    I am not a state employee either……

  19. - Rich Miller - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 10:51 am:

    It doesn’t matter who is or who is not a state employee. Move on, please, and stop trying to undermine people without evidence.

  20. - Malibu Law - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 11:05 am:


    You forget this is a self-confessed below average lawyer who didnt do well in Constitutional L-A-W. He and Lon Monk must have spent more time on the Malibu beach than actual studies while at Pepperdine Law School.

    You didnt really expect him to actually read the L-A-W, did you?

  21. - Anon - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 11:13 am:

    Sounds like Article 3 implies Jesse sets the time. Jesse, please help us.

  22. - FED UP - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    Just another example of rod being an idiot. He has no authority to name the start time and he sounds like a whinning little girl. I hope he takes his ball and goes home. Maybe he should ask the current attorney general to rule on the matter she seems to put him in his place often.

  23. - Peoria Pete - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 11:56 am:

    Re: who is a state employee and who is not on Saturday– It is clear that no state employee would be caught dead on the capfax blog at work- you should clear out your desk first. Not only that, they would use you as an example on next year’s online “ethics” test.

    That being said- it does seem that the anti-Blago rhetoric is up a couple of notches today.

  24. - Mullholland Drive - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 12:03 pm:

    Larry: I’m not lol on your point, which should be taken seriously. I do not think the Governor or his staff understand basic English OR principles of democracy. Or how to tie a tie. Malibu Law (or anyone else here): Any idea why Milorad (or Senator Wonderful–Barack) is not currently registered to practice law this year with the A.R.D.C.? I thought it was a generic political move, but Dick Durbin and Dan Hynes are both registered.

  25. - Gregor - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    Quoting Rod:

    “And previous Illinois Attorney Generals have consistently affirmed the propriety of such practice. […]”

    Lemme see, what is the name of the current Attorney General again?

    Oh yeah.

    Good luck with that. :-)

  26. - Little Egypt - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 1:35 pm:

    I’m quite sure Jesse is very happy to be left out of all this mess. Will someone please call the national press and give Rod the attention he so richly deserves? I would not be surprised to see a showdown unlike any other happen in the next couple of days. Memo to legislators: Lake of the Ozarks is a really pleasant place to be this time of year if you need an out-of-state place of exile. But please don’t bill the taxpayers for your per diem while there.

  27. - Dozer - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 1:43 pm:

    No I didn’t ewxpect him to read the law, I just thought for a fleeting moment that someone in the adminstration might actually know better than tryign to lie or bluff their way around this when it is so easily researched.

    I now wait for Nix or Becky to utter — No controlling Legal Athority…..


  28. - Norseman - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 1:55 pm:

    Dozer, excellent post. The reason past Governors noted a time and place for the special sessions they called is because the General Assembly had adjourned or were otherwise out of town. Clearly that is not the case now.

  29. - Papa Legba - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 4:04 pm:

    I thought it was Attorney’s General when discussing them in a plural sense.

    Not whatever that gibberish was from Rod.

  30. - Dozer - Saturday, Jul 7, 07 @ 4:13 pm:

    After a review of House Rules, here is what I found, and as I thought, the rules give ample room for the Speaker to set the time of the House Sessions.

    (House Rule 4)
    4. The Speaker.
    (a) The Speaker has those powers conferred upon him or her
    by the Constitution, the laws of Illinois, and any motions or
    resolutions adopted by the House or jointly by the House and
    (b) Except as otherwise provided by law, the Speaker is the
    chief administrative officer of the House and has those powers
    necessary to carry out those functions. The Speaker may
    delegate administrative duties as he or she deems appropriate.
    (c) The duties of the Speaker include the following:
    (1) To preside at all sessions of the House, although
    the Speaker may call on any member to preside temporarily
    as Presiding Officer.
    (2) To open the session at the time at which the House
    is to meet by taking the chair and calling the members to
    order. The Speaker may call on any member to open the
    session as Presiding Officer.

    Subsection 15 of House Rule 4 states:

    (15) To enforce all constitutional provisions,
    statutes, rules, and regulations applicable to the House.

    House Rule 9 states:

    (c) The Speaker may schedule or reschedule any necessary
    deadlines for legislative action during any special session of
    the House. The Speaker may establish a Weekly Order of Business
    or a Daily Order of Business setting forth the date and
    approximate time at which specific legislative measures may be
    considered by the House. The Weekly Order of Business or Daily
    Order of Business is effective upon being filed by the Speaker
    with the Clerk and takes the place of the standing order of
    business for the amount of time necessary for its completion.
    Nothing in this Rule, however, limits the Speaker’s or
    Presiding Officer’s powers under Rule 4(c)(3) or Rule 43(a).

    House Rule 29 states:

    (House Rule 29)
    29. Hour of Meeting. Unless otherwise ordered by the
    Speaker or Presiding Officer or as provided in Rule 1, the
    House shall regularly convene at 12:30 p.m. on the first day of
    each week that the House convenes in regular, veto, or special
    session and shall convene at noon on all other days.

    So what we have here, ends up being a show down of speration of powers between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch.

    I will stick by my earlier post that the Contitution and statute gives the Governor the ability to call a special session. He doesn’t get to set the time. The “running” of the House is the purview of the Speaker.

  31. - Jechislo - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:04 am:

    This crazy, insane stuff is what happens any time one party holds complete control of the Illinois Legislature and the Governorship. More to come……………

  32. Pingback SmartRemarks » When Obama succeeds, who succeeds Obama? - Monday, Nov 3, 08 @ 8:41 pm:

    […] Some states hold special elections, but here in Illinois, Senate vacancies are filled by the governor. That governor is Rod Blagojevich, and yes, he’s a Democrat… but not one who’s on particularly good terms with anyone. His current public approval rating is a whopping 13%. He’s estranged from his own father-in-law and former political mentor, Dick Mell. He hasn’t spoken in months to his own Lieutenant Governor, Pat Quinn. He can’t manage to get along with the Democratic leadership in the Illinois State House (especially majority leader Mike Madigan) even on trivial matters. Oh, and he’s under investigation for corruption. Basically, his administration defines the term “epic fail.” […]

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