Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Why Quinn is appealing
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Why Quinn is appealing

Monday, Sep 30, 2013

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

A bipartisan chorus seemed to rise as one last week to urge Gov. Pat Quinn not to appeal a ruling by a Cook County judge. The judge ruled that the governor had violated the state Constitution when he vetoed lawmaker salaries last summer. Quinn said he vetoed the appropriations because he was tired of waiting for legislators to finish a pension reform plan.

Despite urgings by both Democrats and Republicans to drop the whole thing, Quinn forged ahead, issuing a defiant statement in which he vowed to pursue an appeal of Judge Neil Cohen’s decision voiding the veto and ordering lawmaker paychecks to be processed “immediately.”

Judge Cohen agreed with Quinn on one issue about veto process, but then went on to declare Quinn’s veto wasn’t valid from the moment it was issued. Cohen did so by relying on the meaning of a single word: “Changes.”

Quinn had argued that transcripts from the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention clearly showed that delegates hoped to stop legislators from increasing their salaries when they agreed on language that prevented “changes in the salary of a member” from taking effect during their term of office following their most recent election.

Cohen relied on two dictionary definitions to declare that the common meaning of “changes” included both increases and decreases. Therefore, Quinn’s veto violated the Constitution and was declared null and void.

It’s actually a pretty well reasoned and informed decision, especially considering the fact that Judge Cohen seemed more than a little out of his element during a previous hearing. He didn’t appear to understand the briefs that had already been presented, and appeared confused at times about the Constitution and general procedure. He even agreed to put off his decision by a week so that Madigan and Cullerton could file another brief, but then went ahead without them and gave them what they asked for.

OK, back to the appeal, which is no surprise, to say the least. Even setting aside the overwhelming popularity of the governor’s veto and Quinn’s natural stubbornness, there should have never been any doubt that Quinn would attempt to appeal this ruling.

Quinn has jealously guarded his powers and attempted - often bungling - to expand the powers of his office ever since he was elevated in 2009. One of the ways he’s done this is by issuing presidential-like “signing statements.” His latest, issued in July, promised that he would not allow a bill he’d signed to undermine the state’s compliance with a class action consent decree. Quinn is the first to use such statements, which are normally reserved for vetoes.

He has also constantly meddled in the affairs of various boards and commissions, demanding resignations of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees after a political influence scandal and recently calling for the ouster of the director of the state’s torture commission. He attempted to pack Southern Illinois University’s board this year in order to get his way at that university, but was solidly rebuked when the Senate unanimously rejected his appointees.

Quinn called for the “fumigation” of state government when he was first elevated to the office, but then resisted several legislative efforts designed to get rid of Blagojevich holdovers, saying it was his job to fire them.

An appeal, therefore, would be right in line with Quinn’s history of protecting and expanding his powers. He clearly believes he had the absolute right to veto those salaries and that the judge was wrong to stop him. This is more than just a political game to Quinn, even though the game is most definitely part of it.

He acts like such a goofball at times that it’s often difficult to take what he says and does at face value, but this is obviously very serious business to the governor. Make no mistake, Quinn wants the right to do this again. And he wants his successors to have this right in order to bring the General Assembly to heel.

Most people don’t know that Chicago mayors are legally quite weak. They compensate by building strong political organizations.

Illinois governors are constitutionally strong, so state legislative leaders have compensated for their comparative weakness by building huge political fiefdoms and devising innumerable rules to stymie the governor’s powers. Quinn appears to be trying to inject some balance into the government with this veto.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    The courts are apparently finding the Governor’s request un-appealing.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:40 am:

    ===…overwhelming popularity of the governor’s veto and Quinn’s natural stubbornness,…===

    And …

    ===Make no mistake, Quinn wants the right to do this again. And he wants his successors to have this right in order to bring the General Assembly to heel.===

    Great article, and those very two important points really breaks this down that many in the media refuse to see what is actually “going on”, and why Pat Quinn has made this so personal, and so divisive. You try to take powers away that the Constitution requires as Co-Equal, and parlay that with a Polulist move seen as a positive by “the people”, Rich, you really lay it out there for those looking to the politics of the governing, and not the Populism of the decision.

    Spot on, well done, and glad to see an article that goes beyond the pandering, and the “slight to the Governor”, and see those very critical points put so well by you, Rich.


  3. - RonOglesby - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:41 am:

    The biggest part of the problem with Quinn:

    “He acts like such a goofball at times that it’s often difficult to take what he says and does at face value”…

    In serious times you need serious leader ship.


  4. - RonOglesby - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    Leadership… dang you auto correct!


  5. - Wensicia - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:43 am:

    That’s why we have constitutions and a court system to protect them and us from would be power seekers.


  6. - OLD BRASS - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    Rich,
    I agree with Oswego Willy, nicely done and great perspective!

    I’m hopeful, now that Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton have been subjected to the power of the constitution, that they will also obey it as well when it comes to pension reform (pension reduction for those of us currently held hostage to this debacle).


  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    Even though we talk about Illinois having a strong Executive, the legislature final say on vetoes, or even bringing proposed legislation for a vote, is a pretty fair counter-balance. I would say that the current Speaker of the House recognizes this and puts all his faith in it, to the point where recent Governors seem weaker than they ought to be. Recent Governors seem to have the idea that since they are elected statewide, the whole state must be onboard with their agendas. They have not seemed to realize that, as a body, the legislature also represents to the whole state. There is tension in balance, but balance seems to have been maintained.


  8. - reformer - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    A decision from a higher court will create a stronger precedent to deter the next governor from trying the same unconstitutional stunt. So I favor the appeal.


  9. - Stones - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:47 am:

    PQ also made a career out of throwing stones at the establishment. It’s not a surprise that now he is part of the establishment he doesn’t know how to play in the sandbox with them. PQ might not be dishonest as Blago and Ryan were but he is probably the least effective Governor we have seen since Dan Walker.


  10. - Sir Reel - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:48 am:

    Quinn’s abysmal record of developing working relationships with the legislative branch especially its leaders may explain why he goes on these power trips and demands action. He wants to be the sole definer of what “the people” want and power over that GA.


  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    ===Make no mistake, Quinn wants the right to do this again. And he wants his successors to have this right in order to bring the General Assembly to heel.===

    I did not know that. I thought it was strictly a one-off stunt for his own personal popularity.

    If you’re right, that makes the veto a much more serious matter.

    Under what principle of representative democracy can the executive seek to blackmail members of the legislative branch in order to achieve a specific result?

    It’s never been done before on the national level, in Illinois or in other states, that I’m aware of. Where did Quinn discover this tool?

    On that basis, the appeal is necessary so that the Supremes can smack down this abuse of power for good.


  12. - Soccertease - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 9:56 am:

    Quinn’s natural stubbornness has many times led to poor decision making and bad leadership. He tends to take the populist bait and run with it. As we all know the popular things aren’t always the right things.


  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    ===I thought it was strictly a one-off stunt for his own personal popularity.===

    In a way, it is. But I believe he wants the right to do this whenever he thinks it’s necessary.


  14. - shore - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Not a fan of this. I don’t like your position on an issue so you don’t get paid? No thanks.


  15. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    PQ just wants to do what he wants to do. His political diagency rectors conduct themselves in much the same way — they just throw out the operations manuals, guide lines, regulations, contracts, past practice and just do what they want. They know best and they seem so stuned when their decisions are overturned by grievances, arbitration, and judges. He is a good man and attends (and has for many years) all of the funerals of our fallen guard heros that have given their lives in Iraq and Afganistan. You never hear about that on the news because he does it out of his desire to honor them period. He is a good man and a nice mam, but a very poor govenor.

    The word “change” means just what it says. You can not “change” the pay of legislators during the term. He was pandering for political gain and is now doubling down. I believe he will be playing to an ever shrinking audiance on this one. Take your political chips and cash them in and go home…drop it already. He has slowed the very pension issue he has railed about by his antics.


  16. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    I attemped to say his political directors.


  17. - langhorne - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    next time, maybe he can call the GA into session 16 or 17 times to consider his veto.


  18. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    Not sure what it is with my key board (can not be my fingers) but a certain key stroke moves my cursor and I end up with giberish. Political agency directors becomes. political diagency rectors


  19. - SAP - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    Anybody else wondering what the Governor’s line is going to look like in the budget next spring?


  20. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    @SAP - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:

    MJM has a good memory.


  21. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    Word, along the lines Rich mentioned I believe Quinn and his handlers came up with the stunt to mute the narrative that he had no way to enforce his arbitrary deadline on the conference committee. He then fell in love with the idea.

    To put a stake in this monster, the Supreme Court needs to rule.


  22. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    SAP, that would be the next shoe to drop if Quinn’s tactic isn’t effectively stopped now.


  23. - Bill White - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    ===Make no mistake, Quinn wants the right to do this again. And he wants his successors to have this right in order to bring the General Assembly to heel.===

    This is why the IL Supreme Court needs to have the final word and why I believe the IL Supreme Court should repudiate Quinn’s position with as much force and finality as possible.

    That said, I wonder if Bruce Rauner (or the Trib Editorial Board) will seek leave to file an amicus brief in support of Quinn’s position.


  24. - Elo Kiddies - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    Rich, you write your own headlines? I like the duality of this one– suggesting both that Pat Quinn is continuing this case because he thinks it plays well with the public, not because anyone thinks he can win, and that Pat Quinn is seen in a favorable light by some voters because he takes on these high profile, symbolic acts that have nothing at all to do with governing but nonetheless strike a chord with a segment of the voters.


  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    ===Rich, you write your own headlines? ===

    Of course. lol


  26. - Hans Sanity - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Quinn’s holding the mirror for legislators to take look at themselves as they gripe about their failure to pass pension reform was one way to deal with legislative leaders from all sides attempting to sabotage his re-election bid.

    I won’t be surprised by a show of even greater resourcefulness on his part if the legislature fails to act if and when they get paid.


  27. - otoh - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    The settlement talks about back pay with additional interest.

    How much additional interest?


  28. - siriusly - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    I thought your headline was Why Quinn is Unappealing.

    Your version makes more sense after I read the column.


  29. - A guy... - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:08 am:

    The state earned interest on the money while it was being withheld. It only seems fair they pay interest once the judge ruled. My guess is that it’s a wash or the State came out slightly ahead. Nothing to see here. Well written article Rich. I don’t want Willie’s head to get too big, so I don’t agree with him, but I’ll concur! lol


  30. - homunculus - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    Quinn is not advancing a trivial legal argument. This, and a couple other cases in the pipeline, are going to put Illinois’s constitutional fabric to the test.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    - A guy…-,

    Yopu are agreeing with Rich and my point, not necessarily with me. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The message is far more important than who is saying it, so the more the better for the point, not necessarily for me.

    - Todd -,

    Make sure Sen. Raoul knows how to get a hold of - Norseman -, and I vote in GOP Primaries, and I will “own” it, not blame it on others or say, “that’s how business is done” or something Dopey.

    To the Post,

    I don’t want to miss a good point makes at the end, bringing the political angles in sharper focus.

    The legislative politcal Caucus arms and the Ground Troops of Mayor Daley and their impact on the Chicago Wards are the balance needed to offset some governmental “inequalities” areready in wrinkles in the “Co-Equal” or even the “Strong Council-Weak Mayor” organization of government.

    Good politics is good government and that side of the equation is seen with those two instances and their influences in the process of governing effectively.

    Like a dance, you have to know the “steps” in the dance, otherwise you will fall flat on your face.


  32. - A guy... - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    OW, I’m seeking professional help because I find myself agreeing with you so often. What I liked about Rich’s article was the reasoned approach and comprehensive view he reported. I know this issue hits very close to home for a lot of posters on this blog. I am witnessing an electorate that is uncomfortable enough to slide out of conventional thinking these days. It’s been a hard 5 years for a lot of people who don’t understand why everyone isn’t sharing in the sacrifice. The morale out there is very anxious. So Willie, whether I agree or concur, your thoughts are always poignant, except for when you don’t mean them to be :)


  33. - WithIt - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    What was Pat Quinn’s agenda for Southern Illinois University? Thought it was too far down south for him to care about what was going on down there.


  34. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Siriusly, my brain did the same thing that yours did with the headline. Are we both conditioned to think negatively card when we see PQ’s name in a headline? Interesting.
    And I agree with the rest of your comment as well.


  35. - Retired G-man - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Think Quinn and the cutback amendment, Quinn blocking legislative pay, Quinn wanting to retain/expand his powers as Governor…

    Seems like Quinn is a zealous advocate of executive power, the most dangerous type of government power because it is vested in one person. (Legislative power, while great, is at least divided up between 177 individuals, and the judicial branch only addresses issues someone else brings to it.)

    The GA and leaders are right to oppose Quinn.


  36. - Belle - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    Terrific article Rich!


  37. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 6:57 pm:

    - A guy… -,

    My only hope is My Party can grown and undeerstand the politics of the governing, and how governing can lead to some really good politics. The rest is just the Dopey things I post that you are wise enough to steer clear of becuase you are smarter than me.

    To the Post,

    I think - Retired G-man - makes a good point that I want to expand. It appears that Pat Quinn, man of the people, might be more about the Power to do the People’s Business, at the cost, the high cost, of Co-Equal government, which is, at its core, THE best way Illinois has found to keep the people safe.

    Dripping with irony, I liked the point very much.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
* Pritzker's inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation
* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller