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Lisa Madigan: Concern troll

Thursday, Oct 2, 2008

* Attorney General Lisa Madigan ought to be ashamed of herself today. Her office tried and failed yesterday to convince a Cook County judge to keep the constitutional convention ballot question as originally written. The judge, as I told you yesterday, flat-out nixed that idea, ruling the question and a ballot instruction unconstitutional. As a refresher, here’s the question in, um, question…

In 1988 the electors rejected the call for a constitutional convention, with 75 percent voting against calling a convention and 25 percent voting in favor of calling a convention.

That’s clearly leading language and a completely unnecessary addition. But Madigan’s office argued that it was just fine and dandy.

* So when the constitutional arguments came up short, Madigan’s mouthpiece tried blatant scare tactics

[Judge Howse] ought to have lowered the lights in his 17th-floor courtroom and issued the attorneys flashlights to hold under their chins to illuminate their faces as they outlined the horrors they said would result from efforts to remedy the problem.

“You’ll be putting the presidential election at risk,” Assistant Atty. Gen. Thomas Ioppolo said. “You’re going to be disenfranchising people. We cannot blow up the whole election over this.”

Ballots already are printed. Absentee ballots already are in the mail. Voting systems vary in Illinois’ 102 counties, and making systemwide changes would pose insurmountable printing and computer programming challenges.

What about creating a new, separate paper ballot with appropriate wording?

“There are too many quality-control issues,” Ioppolo said. “Too many problems. Too much risk. The election judges haven’t been trained. You’re going to have confusion.”

At one point, he said, “I am shouting the sky is falling because maybe it will be falling.”

Please.

So, this is how Lisa Madigan wants to kick off her 2010 gubernatorial campaign? Blatant fearmongering for the powers that be?

* This is the attitude we need

“What I’m trying to do is do the right thing by the people of Illinois,” [Judge] Howse said

* Meanwhile, Progress Illinois reports that the anti con-con folks are coming up way short in their fundraising goals

The AFL-CIO is part of the Alliance to Protect the Illinois Constitution, which is organizing against Con-Con and had $224,871 in the bank as of June 30.

While the economic downturn may prevent the Alliance from hitting their original fundraising targets, Drea says there will be “plenty of money” to carry out an effective campaign. What does that mean? They’ll hit lots of union and editorial board meetings and also take out print ads in newspapers and bulletins.

“I think there will be some ads. I don’t think you'’re going to see us on network television in Chicago. I’d be surprised to see us on TV downstate,” he said. [emphasis added]

TV ads move voters. Period. The Alliance may go on cable, but it’s hard to tell from that quote. Cable ads are just as good as the nets for targeted campaigns. We’ll see. Downstate polling shows lots more opposition to the con-con there, so maybe that’s why they won’t bother running ads in the region.

But this is certainly an opening for the proponents.

* Related…

* A look at disputed language on Illinois ballot

* Judge Orders Con-Con Rewrite

* Judge Orders Stop On Absentee Ballot Mailing

* Judge: Constitutional convention must be remedied before election

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:14 am:

    Why didn’t the AG express such concern about the original language? An 8th grader would be able to see the bias.

    If there is a problem it is entirely of their own (AG, SoS, MJM, etc.) making.

    Neutral language probably would have allowed the con-con question to be quietly defeated. Instead, the folks in power showed their insecurity, and, now, they will have to answer for it.


  2. - phocion - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:15 am:

    Boo, Lisa! Don’t make me vote for Pat Quinn against you in the 2010 primary.


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    I’ve never understood why attorneys do the bloviating overacting bit in court. Are they trying to impress their clients? It certainly can’t be the judge.

    Do they teach those histrionics in law school? Or do they all just take the opportunity to indulge their inner William Shatners for their own pleasure?


  4. - Princess - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:19 am:

    I’m not seeing why Lisa should be ashamed of herself. Representing the state happens to be her job. What kind of an attorney would she be if she walked in and said ‘right, this sucks, the other side should win’?

    I’m not liking what I see here. Lisa has to represent this and chance being the lady who tried to can the con-con and also recently she has to defend the state with Blago’s wild ideas of moving TS and shutting Pontiac. Is there an attempt to make Lisa look bad over these sensitive issues?


  5. - Bruno Behrend - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:19 am:

    When it came my turn to argue the voter’s rights in this case, I used the metaphor of a “tainted product.”

    Madigan would move heaven and earth to get a tainted product off the shelves in Illinois (one would assume).

    I pointed out that the Legislature, Sec. of State, State Board of Elections, and virtually every county clerk now printing the false (Notice) and prejudicial (1988 results) language is guilty of promoting/defending a tainted product (the ballot).

    I got a kick out of the fact that one of the AGs attorneys tried to object to my very appropriate metaphor.


  6. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:26 am:

    With a month to go whoever starts advertising may win this.


  7. - Tom B. - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:26 am:

    Cable is not as good as broadcast. It takes time to burn in and we’re 33 days away. The ad has to be pretty negative on Con Con and needs to be up for a month to burn in a message that it’s bad.

    Plus, any ad that goes up is slightly risky because it brings more attention to an issue voters know almost nothing about.


  8. - Pat collins - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    Defending Chicago Dems. How did it come to this?

    Well, I might point out that it’s her job to defend it, and she OUGHT to do her job in the best way she knows how.

    And I guess she wasn’t asked to sign off on it when the committee wanted it.

    What I want to know is who were the 5 people (or more) who voted FOR that language?

    And I still don’t think it’s that big a deal.


  9. - Question for you - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    I REALLY do not understand why Lt Gov Quinn, the Bar Association and others did not speak up when it was in committee? Do they all not have people in Springfield to monitor this type of thing? Why do they insist on grandstanding on this. OH… I get it… If they did it in committee when they should have they might not get their name in the paper… I see….


  10. - BandCamp - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    Pat, how about you go to the store to purchase some aspirin. You’ve bought your brand for years without incident. However, your brand was involved in a tampering case recently. All product has been recalled and the culprit caught. Your brand is back out there on the shelf and…

    There’s a sign above your brand:

    Two months ago, five people died from buying this product at this location.

    Do you think your product will move as well as other brands that were not tampered with?


  11. - Rep. John Fritchey - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:46 am:

    Question for you -

    Actually, I did bring this up in committee, on more than one occasion, saying that it was both irrelevant and inflammatory.

    And it just so happened, that those members of the committee who are opposed to a Con-Con were also the ones who strongly felt that the language was ‘appropriate historical perspective’.

    Blame placed at those bringing the lawsuit for bringing it late is misplaced. This issue could have been avoided.


  12. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:49 am:

    Slap down to Question! Did it ever occur to you that some people WANTED that language on the ballot and thought it would fly because they thought they CONTROL every level they need to because they had the votes to ADVANCE it to final ballot? Is the sun always shining where you live?


  13. - BandCamp - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    Rep. Fritchey, then take us through the floor action on the resolution. Was there any discussion when it was brought up for vote?

    Just askin…


  14. - Harry Caray's glasses - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    Rep. Fritchey is correct this all could have been avoided. Despite the view that this was some how put in by the “powers that be” it is the only factual item in the con con question. Since people now have id’d this issue as an outlet for their anger about Springfield all of this grassy knoll stuff needs to be brought back down to earth.


  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===all of this grassy knoll stuff ===

    Exactly what are you talking about? Legitimate disagreement with the anti con-con legislators who deliberately inserted an unncessary and misleading and unconstitutional sentence into the ballot question?


  16. - Question for you - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:15 pm:

    Rep. Fritchey

    Thank you for your response. Just wondering what was the committee vote? Was it discussed on the floor when it was voted on?


  17. - The Election Code - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:15 pm:

    Harry Caray -
    Actually, it’s not the only factual statement in the con-con question — it’s the only factual statement in the explanation taken out of its historical context as a means to undermine the referendum.

    NON-MISLEADING FACTUAL STATEMENTS IN EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED CALL:

    Additional non-misleading factual sentence #1:
    “This proposal deals with a call for a state Constitutional Convention.”

    Additional non-misleading factual sentence #2:
    “The last such convention was held in 1969-70, and a new Constitution was adopted in 1970″

    Additional non-misleading factual sentence #3:

    “The 1970 Illinois Constitution requires that the question of calling a convention be placed before the voters every 20 years.”

    Also, and I think Rep. Fritchey would confirm this, the meetings of the committee of 8 legislators that designed the question were not open to anyone but the members and their staffs. These meetings were not posted or advertised. There was no opportunity to participate in the discussions by any outside parties.

    The resolution encapsulating the report of the committee finally passed on May 31, 2008, when the legislature was considering the FY 09 budget, the capital bill, the lotto lease, among other things. It’s not like that in that maelstrom of action people were paying a lot of attention to a JOINT RESOLUTION.


  18. - The Election Code - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:22 pm:

    Also and sorry to vent and take up so much space, but this argument that the plaintiffs in the con-con case did not follow the “process” is such a red-herring. Like so many things in this state, it’s like those who have made an a priori judgment that any change is by definition wrong religiously insist that strict adherence to arbitrary and non-transparent “procedures” is the preeminent good. Since when is it appropriate to elevate form over substance? Blind adherence to arbitrary procedures at the expense of vindicating substantive rights is a prescription for tyranny.

    The issue in the case, in part, is the process itself. How exactly do you meaningfully participate in a process which is non-transparent and which you believe and contend is in fact an unconstitutional “end-around” designed to circumvent the clear mandate of the Constitution that when the legislature does not put the con-con question on the ballot, the Secretary of State must do so as a fail safe?


  19. - Juice - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:25 pm:

    Also, the Notice that was struck down was not added to the question until the Board of Elections decided to throw it in there on August 31, and not made public until the first week of September.


  20. - Dark Knight - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    What can the AG do? She has the sad job of mopping up after the other executive miscreants like Jesse White and especally Blagojevich and his henchmen. White is responsible for this obviously slanted language and frankly, he should be personally financially liable to cure the defect. As a trial lawyer, I am seeing time and again the AG is getting set up by other branches of government to fall. Usually it’s CMS refusing to fund the defense of the State in litigation, leaving the AG’s office in court holding only its briefcase. This time it’s the SOS’ fault. All the AG can do is play the hand she was dealt.


  21. - phocion - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    Sorry, Lisa apologists, but you’re wrong about what the AG’s duties are. The AG is not required to defend challenges to state law. In fact, the AG has recently refused to defend the constitutionality of a certain new statute (but I’d rather not say which since my identity may be ascertained). I remain a fan of Ms. Madigan (I actually like her Dad, too). But she could have dodged this one and instead chose the low road. The assistant AG didn’t help her much either. Sometimes a good lawyer knows when to keep his mouth shut.


  22. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    Lisa Madigan has a proven track record of anti-democratic behavior now. Lisa Madigan also now has a track record of failure trying to defend election laws that are unconstitutional and anti-democratic. She lost this case and Lee v. Keith two years ago making similarly childish, fear-mongering, corrupted power protecting, unsubstantiated, and idiotic excuses for Illinois’ worst in the democratic world election laws.

    “All elections shall be free and equal” - Article III, Section 3 Illinois Constitution.

    They aren’t, and Lisa Madigan has only tried to keep it that way.

    BTW


  23. - People's Court - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 12:56 pm:

    I preface my opinion by asserting that I have never been a Lisa Madigan supporter; and have never voted for her for any nomination for office; or office that she has run for or been elected to. I found her professional qualifications for the AG position to be woefully lacking when she first stood for election.

    I also support the Constitutional Convention and will vote for it, and opposed the proposed ballot language inserted into the ballot question language and approved by Secretary of State White, as being both prejudicial and biased, as well as unnecessary and irrelevant. I do not know however whether its inclusion on this ballot is done with out precedent, or is consistent with past practices and similar langueage was included on previous Constitutional Convention question ballots in the past.

    That being said; I think you are being unreasonably harsh on Lisa Madigan in this situation for several reasons. First, unfortunately for her and her office, the constitution and the duties of office occassionally requires her and those that work under her to provide a defense for some things that on their face seem indefensible, and even further, they may be required to defend something with which they do not even agree in principle.

    Second, by indicating “she should be ashamed of herself”, you seem to rush to judgement and assign guilt without due process. Shame is an emotion that one can; and should place on themselves when they themselves have done something worthy of public embarassment. I don’t see where that fits the circumstances here, because the actions in question were performed by somebody else, not Lisa Madigan.

    Second; your piece here refers to the person performing the actions as Lisa Madiagan’s “mouthpiece”, which to me connotes official spokesperson, rather than the attorney actually presenting the defense case in court. Each role has solely different responsibilities; and the role of the attorney providing the defense is to represent the client at trial and advocate on their behalf, not to serve as a spokesperson for the AG. It seems as though he did the former, and not the latter here.

    Third, based on the excerpts and quotes provided in your post here, there is nothing that suggests to me that the actions of the attorney are outside the boundaries of the scope of their representation of the client, or in violation of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Illinois Supreme Court. While one could certainly take issue with someone’s style, in this case the claims made by the attorney, and the way in which they appear to have been presented were not frivolous, and could be constured as meritorious and worthy of consideration by the court under the law. They also fall well within the accepted norms of trial advocacy before a tribunal in Illinois.

    For the reasons cited above this court finds the defendants; Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ioppolo not guilty as charged, and the punishment of self shame shall not be applied.


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===constitution and the duties of office occassionally requires her and those that work under her to provide a defense for some things that on their face seem indefensible===

    AG Hartigan was infamous for telling Gov. Thompson and state agencies that he wouldn’t defend them. There is no hard and fast requirement.

    ===the actions in question were performed by somebody else, not Lisa Madigan.===

    Her staff, so she wears the jacket. Period.

    ===“mouthpiece”, which to me connotes official spokesperson===

    Mouthpiece is old slang for attorney.

    ===the way in which they appear to have been presented were not frivolous===

    Warning that the sky is falling appears frivolous to me.

    Also, you didn’t count right. You had “second” twice. Oops.

    My analysis and opinion stands. Lisa Madigan should be ashamed of herself.


  25. - People's Court - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:11 pm:

    As mentioned previously, I am a supporter of the Constitutional Convention, and I also agree with the judges ruling in this case. I also agree however that some of the Assistant Attorney General’s assertions with respect to the administration of this ruling.

    I disagree with the remedy prescribed by the court because I do believe that this opens up the opportunity, and perhaps even increases the likelihood of electoral mischief from those that might be inclined to take such actions.

    I also believe that this remedy is going to create confusion amongst both those administering the election and those asked to vote on this issue.

    I am genuinely concerned that both the remedy prescribed and the administration of this ruling will not be performed uniformly and equitably across all jurisdictions. As such this ruling could create a different set of problems for supporters of the Constitutional Convention, which could result in either successfully overturning the judge’s ruling in a pre; or even a post election appeal, and also runs the risk of invalidatiing and/or overturning the outcome of the election on the question of convening a Constitutional Convention. This remedy and the execution of its administration could well result in disenfranchising those that it sought to enfranchise; without them being subject to prejudicial bias in the wording of the question.


  26. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    If it is true that the AG didn’t have to defend the language for this resolution why did she do it? Is she is not in favour of a new convention and wants this bogus lagnuge to help kill it, or am I missing something?


  27. - Harry Caray's glasses - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    Unlike the majority on this blog I am not convinced that it is deliberately misleading or unnecessary. Is it ok to disagree with the majority opinion? The pro con con people have as many good points as the anti con con in my opinion. Point is the animosity toward this Governor is clouding the real debate on the question.


  28. - the Other Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:56 pm:

    Phocion writes,

    In fact, the AG has recently refused to defend the constitutionality of a certain new statute

    Just curious, is this a case in which the State of Illinois is a party? If it’s not, then we’re talking about something completely different — and she is not required to defend the case or statute.

    More generally, the duties of an Attorney General in this case can get somewhat complex. The AG (even Hartigan, btw) must provide a defense for all suits filed against the state — whether it’s through assistant AGs or through private counsel.

    Furthermore, the risk of creating election chaos by changing the language on a ballot this close is very real.

    Did the AAG exaggerate the problem? Sure sounds like it, but that happens so often in litigation that I would hardly take note.

    Is it possible that a last-minute ballot change could create a whole new set of lawsuits? Well, yes, especially if the con-con question is close.

    While I agree with the concept that LMadigan is responsible — as a manager and constitutional officer — for things done in her name, these things have to be considered in context. And the context here, imho, does not justify the conclusion drawn by some that LMadigan is trying to torpedo the con-con ballot.


  29. - Steve - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 1:56 pm:

    Lisa Madigan is for the status quo.Where would she be without it? Madigan doesn’t want any real constitutional changes like preventing relatives from seeking constitutional offices.Sadly,Illinois voters don’t seem to care about quaint notions like “separation of power”,”check and balances”,and reform.


  30. - People's Court - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 2:28 pm:

    =======You didn’t count right. You had “second” twice. Oops====

    That’s astonishing! Why I have never made a mistake before in my life. I’ll be sure to record the date and time for posterity and vow never to do anything like that again here!

    ======AG Hartigan was infamous for telling Gov. Thompson and state agencies that he wouldn’t defend them.
    There is no hard and fast requirement.===========
    15 ILCS 205/4) (from Ch. 14, par. 4)

    Sec. 4. The duties of the Attorney General shall be

    First To appear for and represent the people of the State before the supreme court in all cases in which the State or the people of the State are interested.

    Second To institute and prosecute all actions and proceedings in favor of or for the use of the State, which may be necessary in the execution of the duties of any State officer.

    Third To defend all actions and proceedings against any State officer, in his official capacity, in any of the courts of this State or the United States.

    (Source: P.A. 94 291, eff. 7 21 05; 95 699, eff. 11 9 07.)

    This seems pretty straightforward and unambiguous to me. The failure of the former Governor; or state agency directors to undertake legal action against AG Hartigan for dereliction of duty does not result in a dissolution of constitutionally mandated or statutorily required duties and responsibilities. Maybe this is just evidence that not all Executive Branch officers pick and choose which laws they want to follow.

    =============Her staff, so she wears the jacket. Period.===============
    First you indicated that she should be ashamed of herself, when perhaps instead you could have argued that she should be ashamed of her staff. You seem to indicate that she should be ashamed because her office was fulfilling its constitutional and statutoraly required duties.
    If one of your interns got pulled over for doing 100 mph on I-55 on the way to cover a political event, is that something you should be ashamed for; just because that is the way in which he chose to do his job?
    While you can argue against the way they presented the defense stylistically, no punishment including the penalty of self shame is appropriate for doing what is required of them under the law.
    ========Mouthpiece is old slang for attorney.======
    Sorry; maybe I am not that old , but for certain I am no Barbara Billingsley on this Airplane, and I don’t speak jive.

    =============Warning that the sky is falling appears frivolous to me.=========
    No question it’s hyperbolic, not unlike the opinions expressed by many here on occasion.
    I am pretty confident however it was not uttered in support of a specific aspect of the law to be interpreted and decided, but rather to simply to describe the ensuing result if it was interpreted in a way adverse to their defense position.
    ==========My analysis and opinion stands. Lisa Madigan should be ashamed of herself.============
    Mine does too. While I often agree with your analysis sometimes I do not, and if everyone reading and positing here agreed all the time, there would be far fewer clicks and as a result a lot less advertising, not to mention a much worse site to invest any time in.

    Thanks for the forum. Court is adjourned; now back to the SOX game.


  31. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 2:31 pm:

    ===This seems pretty straightforward and unambiguous to me. ===

    Thompson thought so, too. lol

    That’s why we have private attorneys appointed as special deputy ag’s.


  32. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 2:32 pm:

    ===If one of your interns got pulled over for doing 100 mph on I-55 on the way to cover a political event, is that something you should be ashamed for===

    It would be if I told him to drive that fast. This is a high profile case, so AG Madigan’s personal involvement would be mandated.


  33. - snordgrass - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 2:55 pm:

    yeah, yeah, yeah, and you should be ashamed of your potty mouth in public Rich…as long as were waggin fingers…


  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 2:57 pm:

    lol

    Only in private company. Maybe in public places, but with pals. But the next time you hear me do it, please feel free to wag your finger in my face.

    Also, call me. [I know who you are and need to talk to you.]


  35. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==First To appear for and represent the people of the State before the supreme court in all cases in which the State or the people of the State are interested.==

    The people of the State are on both sides of this case. The AG could represent either side.


  36. - BandCamp - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 3:28 pm:

    Bruno Behrend brought the suit, not the State.


  37. - Harry Caray's glasses - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 3:33 pm:

    ==Election Code==
    Let me tell you who would have missed a meeting of the HJR 137 language committee if it was an open meeting that would be Lt Gov Quinn. He was to busy passing petitions on a no trans fat zone (ice cream) around elementary schools. Red herring I think not.


  38. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 4:00 pm:

    I was speaking more broadly. I realize that, technically, the State was on one side of the suit, but, arguably, the people of the State were on both sides.


  39. - The Election Code - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 6:08 pm:

    Dear Harry Caray,
    It is indeed flattering to have someone respond to reasoned argument with an ad hominem attack. I always appreciate an opponent’s tacit admission that I am correct. Thank you again.


  40. - curly - Thursday, Oct 2, 08 @ 7:17 pm:

    To properly remedy the harm caused by the unconstitutional wording in the already-printed ballots, the perpetrator (legislative committee) should be identified, and the judge’s reasoning behind the ruling should be explained to each voter.

    This could be done in a handout to be given to each voter containing the language such as the following 3 paragraphs:

    “This handout to the Con Con questions was ordered by the Illinois court.

    It is necessary that Illinois voters know that the wording of the con-con question, as printed in their ballot, was drafted by a committee of the state legislature, but this wording has been held to be unconstitutional by the court.

    The wording in your ballot was held unconstitutional because it is likely to have the effect of discouraging voters who want to vote yes, or suggesting to all voters that it’s an unimportant topic”.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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