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Question of the day

Friday, Dec 12, 2014

* Tribune

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn can fill the vacancy created by Topinka’s death. But Quinn leaves office in a month, and Republican Bruce Rauner will take over as governor. The question: Would a Quinn appointee serve as comptroller only until Jan. 12, when a new term begins and Rauner would get to choose a comptroller, or would Quinn’s selection get to serve the new term as well?

The state constitution speaks to the succession for comptroller in a couple of places. The succession clause states that “the appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified.”

But another section limits the terms of statewide officeholders to four years “until their successors are qualified.” […]

Ann Lousin, an expert on the state constitution at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School, said neither the charter nor state law lays out a clear contingency for replacing Topinka so close to the start of her next term.

“The scenario that would be the least likely to lead to litigation would be for Quinn to appoint someone to serve just to Jan. 12, or even just let Topinka’s deputy fill the post until then, and then let Rauner appoint somebody for four years on Jan. 12,” Lousin said.

* The Constitution

If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.

* The difference of opinion here is whether there is one vacancy (JBT’s death) or two (JBT’s death and inauguration day). One vacancy means Quinn’s appointment would serve until January of 2019, two vacancies would mean Rauner would appoint a new comptroller next month.

We’ve had lots of discussions about this issue, so let’s vote on it.

* The Question: One vacancy or two? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        

165 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Clearly on the side of two. See: https://capitolfax.com/2014/12/11/madigan-work-it-out-amongst-yourselves/ for my arguments.


  2. - Lawya - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    There are two vacancies but it is a red herring… the appointee serves until successor is elected and qualified which means even if there is a “subsequent” technical vacancy, it doesn’t really matter. The plain English meaning is pretty clear unless you can argue intent of “elected and qualified” is that the due replacement is selected and can take oath, post bond, etc.


  3. - WappySprayberry - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    On the side of 2 for a couple of reasons.

    But more than anything - it seems clearly against the spirit of the law to have an outgoing Governor appoint someone to a full four year term that they themselves will not be in office for.


  4. - aufjunk - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    If someone other than JBT had won the new term, there would be two vacancies. The fact that JBT won reelection doesn’t change the facts. Two vacancies.


  5. - Not Constitutional Scholar - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    The issue to me is the term “qualified”. I think we can certainly agree that a successor was elected (JBT herself), but is unable to qualify for the next term. In my opinion, that renders the second vacancy moot if ever it existed and extends the appointee’s term until 2019 (Or until a special election is possibly decided on).

    Either way, I really can’t see this ending up any other way than going to the courts, even if - and this is a big if - Rauner and Quinn manage to agree on a candidate.


  6. - corvax - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    One–the vacany exists now and tha appointment stands until a successor is elected. Unless there’s a legal requirement for a special election (don’t think there is), there’s no election until 4 years from now.


  7. - RWP - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    This seems clear *until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.*

    Having said that, Governor Quinn should appoint the current COS since that seems to be what Comptroller Topika would have wanted. This is not an opportunity for political games. The unanswered question is; does she (the current COS) want the appointment?


  8. - Casual Observer - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    I voted one because I dont believe there is a resignation requirement at the end of a term. In other words, does Jesse White have to resign his position every 4 years prior to being re-inaugurated? If the appointee is not required to resign at the end of the term there is no vacancy.


  9. - aufjunk - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    I should have saic, “…had won the new term and died,”’”


  10. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    Couldn’t Pat Quinn do the right thing just once?


  11. - Diogenes in DuPage - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Two. JBT’s current term ends in Jan. 2015, hence, Gov. Quinn appoints her successor for that term. JBT’s new term was to begin in Jan. 2015, when that governor can name her successor for the new term (either the same person or a different one.)


  12. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    I think it should be two, but the law reads as if it is one.

    Once an appointment is made that person will hold the office “until the elected officer qualifies” which cannot happen OR “until a successor is elected and qualified” which won’t happen until the next election.

    Ann Lousin’s scenarios don’t work:

    1) “Quinn to appoint someone to serve just to Jan. 12″ the law is clear here: “shall not be subject to removal by the Governor” So, Quinn cannot specify an end to the term.

    2) “or even just let Topinka’s deputy fill the post until then” In what role? As Chief of Staff, she cannot sign the checks. As an appointee, the Governor cannot remove her. She could agree to step down, but she would not have to.

    People will be upset no matter what Quinn does appointment-wise. The best we can hope for is an agreement from the involved parties to proceed in a certain fashion. Even so, someone will likely sue.


  13. - uptown progressive - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Voted 2. @Casual - Jesse White does not resign but he is sworn in to a new term.


  14. - DCSouth - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    I would say two, but either way I would hope that Quinn would take the high road and appoint someonw with the understanding that the appointment was only temporary until the Governor elect is sworn in and is able to appoint his choice. I am sure that is more that Quinn would be willing to do. He continues to take the wrong path that has consistently cost the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers fees just to be told he is wrong. Maybe the
    Christmas spirit will move him and he will leave a gift of cost savings to the citizens of Illinois and make the right decision?


  15. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    I voted two, one being the short-term completion of the current term, the other being the term that would have begun at inauguration. The statutes and constitution are not clear though, and this unfortunate scenario wasn’t contemplated by either. I guess you can’t have every possible contigency written into law, can you?

    So I suppose Governor Quinn could attempt to appoint someone for the short- and long-term. There is enough vagueness in the law to allow him to try. Would Rauner or someone else with standing file suit to block it at some point? Probably. At least then we’d get a court to rule in it and then we’d know for sure what is and isn’t legal if, God forbid, we find ourselves in a similar situation, however unlikely.

    And as tempting as it may be for Quinn, I suspect he’ll do the right thing and appoint a care-taker to complete the current term. Nancy Kimme would be great. Joe Topinka could also be a fine interim choice.

    Then, following Rauner’s inauguration, the interim selection could resign, allowing Rauner the chance to fill the four-year term.

    I think that would be the ideal way to resolve this, but Illinois isn’t exactly famous for doing anything political in an ideal way.


  16. - anonymous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    It is two because it creates a vacancy in both the current term, and in the upcoming term.


  17. - William j Kelly - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    It seems clear to me that Quinn is the current governor and he makes the appointment and that appointee stays in the office till there is an election. The one concession that should be made in my opinion would be a special election held in 2016 vs waiting till 2018.


  18. - Ahoy! - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    To me this is so obviously two. Take the person out of the mix and there isn’t discussion. For example, person A is serving until January 12 at Noon. At 12:01 Person B becomes the new treasurer. When you take the incumbent winning the election out of the mix, there is obviously two vacancy’s.


  19. - Casual Observer - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Thanks uptown. I should add that I hope Quinn appoints someone who will offer their resignation at the end of the term allowing Rauner to fill the vacancy.


  20. - Percival - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    I do not see any theory under which Quinn appoints for the new term.


  21. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Voted 2. Seems unconstitutional to me to have an appointed Constitutional Officer serve more than a term to which they could be elected (4 years 1 month). I also lend some weight to the argument expressed above that an outgoing governor shouldn’t have the power to fill a four year term for another office when they themselves will not be serving during that term.


  22. - Roamin' Numeral - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    ==If someone other than JBT had won the new term, there would be two vacancies. The fact that JBT won reelection doesn’t change the facts. Two vacancies.==

    This is exactly right. If Simon or the Libertarian had won, the Quinn appointee’s term would be up in January.


  23. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    My understanding of the language is that there is one vacancy.
    But I’m not on the Supreme Court.

    I don’t see how a Gov. Quinn or a Gov. Rauner have the power to interpret the Constitution and decide the length of term for another constitutional officer. The only thing that’s clear is that Quinn has the power and responsibility to make an appointment soon.

    I have no idea what Rauner was talking about at the news conference he called on the day of JBTs death to assert his entitlement to appoint a four year successor. Based on what?

    If Quinn and Rauner are inclined to make a deal, I could see where Quinn appoints someone now with the understanding that person would resign when Rauner takes office so he could appoint a successor.

    But that doesn’t seem to be required by law or the Constitution. The Supremes will probably have to weigh in. It’s their job to interpret the Constitution.


  24. - Very Fed Up - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Common sense is for Pat Quinn to appoint someone that Bruce Rauner chooses.


  25. - Jorge - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    2, based upon the 2010 Senate scenario where I got to vote for both Giannoulias and Kirk. While no election has been mandated as of yet it would be reasonable to surmise that inauguration creates a new mandate and opening.


  26. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    ==Couldn’t Pat Quinn do the right thing just once? ==

    I’m not sure what that would be. It depends on how you look at the problem. Quinn cannot appoint someone with the caveat that they resign on Jan 12, so whoever he appoints may end up with a full term. Pick any possible appointee you like and a large number of people will criticize the selection. The current COS was never elected to anything, COS is a very different position than the office of Treasurer. Simon lost. Rutherford didn’t run for the office. Cross lost. Vallas lost.

    I think the only solution is to name Roland Burris as designated place-holder. He is familiar with the role and the mausoleum has room for another title.

    Bottom line is that whatever Quinn does will be heavily criticized.


  27. - Steve Reick - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    The question is what does “qualified” mean? My guess is that one becomes qualified upon certification of the vote. Thus, since the vote’s been certified, JBT would have been qualified for the next term.
    I think Quinn’s authority extends only through the end of the current term, and that a new vacancy opens up in January.


  28. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    I say one. The law doesn’t suggest anything related to end of term.


  29. - Phenonymous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    There are two vacancies. There are 4-year limitations on the office. A Quinn appointment would be constitutionally required to win an election (not provided for) to exceed the 4-year appointment that others are arguing. That limitation is the most clear aspect of this whole process. It is unconstitutional for someone to serve more than 4 years without an election/reelection.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    ===Quinn cannot appoint someone with the caveat that they resign on Jan 12===

    That’s nonsense. Of course he can.


  31. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    I voted that there are two vacancies.

    One for the current term which expires in January

    The second, when no one is able to present themselves to take the oath of office.


  32. - atbat - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    One, if current Governor appoints. This sad fact pattern is so difficult under the current law. It seems the constitution requires an election or a “law” for the appointee’s term to end. The GA and Governor should act to create a new law calling a special election this Spring to fill the post. Costly approach but gives voters the say.


  33. - Not it - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    While the vacancy clause says the appointment serves until the next election, I said two people (a) If Topinka had not run again or not won election clearly whoever did win would be sworn in still in January, and (b) another section of the Constitution says the term of office is four years, so you can’t appoint someone for four years and a month.


  34. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    ==Take the person out of the mix and there isn’t discussion. For example, person A is serving until January 12 at Noon. At 12:01 Person B becomes the new treasurer.==

    Person A serves “shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified” At 12:01 on Jan 12, no one “elected and qualified” is present to take the oath. Another appointee can show up, but they would not have been “elected.”


  35. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Rich, that could be the deal, but it would be a handshake deal. I don’t see how it could have the force of law once the appointments made.

    Phenon, if youre going to cite the constitution on this one, throw us a bone. Otherwise, the constitution appears to be clear as mud on this.


  36. - DuPage - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Considering they can’t see plain language on things like pensions, they are surely going to disagree on the legality either way. The best thing would be to appoint someone both Quinn and Rauner agree to. Have them finish the term, resign and be re-appointed. That should cover all the bases.


  37. - Conservative Veteran - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    I voted for one. According to the state constitution, the governor may appoint someone who will serve until the next election. Since I usually vote for Republicans, I don’t like the fact that Gov. Quinn might appoint someone who might serve for four years and a month, but I think that would be legal.


  38. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    I am certainly not a lawyer, but it seems to me that since the Constitution does not explicitly state that PQ cannot appoint until January of 2019, then it his appointment to make until someone is rightfully elected to the office.


  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    ===it would be a handshake deal===

    Correct. And if the person was at all decent, that appointee would honor the deal. So don’t appoint an idiot.


  40. - Anyone - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    One, and there should be a special election post haste. Treat it like a US Senate seat, which means the person who completes JBT’s term is chosen by the voters, not an elected official.


  41. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    The more I read it the more I think that it is only one vacancy. It says until a successor is ELECTED. There isn’t an election between now and then so until a new person is elected it is my opinion that the person appointed now serves until somebody else is elected. The fact that a new term starts in January is irrelevant to my reading.


  42. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    ===PCK: Quinn cannot appoint someone with the caveat that they resign on Jan 12

    RM: That’s nonsense. Of course he can. ===

    I think “shall not be subject to removal by the Governor” implies that Quinn could not require an appointee to agree to an end of term. The person could do so voluntarily, but could later claim coercion.


  43. - ??? - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    I voted one because the language certainly sounds like an appointment is made and serves until a successor is ELECTED. But, like Pot calling kettle, I would prefer it be two vacancies and hope that’s what the courts decide.


  44. - walker - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    It could more easily be argued that the Constitutional requirement is one vacancy to be filled until the next election.

    But, the best solution is for Quinn to defer to Rauner’s choice, and appoint that person for the full term plus two weeks.

    Pat: “Let the will of the people be the law of the land.”


  45. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    I voted one. The intent vs what the constitution actually says is very different. I don’t know. Maybe it is two. But that is not what I read if you are interpreting literally. I just wish Pat Quinn would select a republican that Bruce Rauner absolutely despises.


  46. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    Quinn can appoint someone (indeed, he must). However, neither he nor Rauner has the authority to set the term. That would need to be interpreted by the Supremes.


  47. - tikkunolam - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    “Until a successor is qualified and elected”

    I voted for one vacancy. The language in the Constitution clearly states that a successor must be elected, and unless there’s an obscure legalese meaning of “elected,” I don’t see the January roll-over resetting the lack of an elected successor.

    That said, this is not good law. I don’t think a four-year appointment by Quinn is what’s best for the state, and obviously that’s a widely shared opinion. A special election (either in 2015 or 2016) is the obvious call, but that will require legislative action. The Speaker’s Pilate act is disheartening; when faced with a tricky political problem, no one in their right mind should think. “Well, Rauner and Quinn should be able to sort something out,” Particularly when Pat Quinn is in the job market himself.


  48. - Mouthy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Quinn doesn’t have to appoint anybody if the Comptroller’s office has a big enough supply of pre-signed pre-approved blank checks. That would make the Chief of Staff the acting State Comptroller already.


  49. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    ==Pat: “Let the will of the people be the law of the land.”==

    I don’t really like that argument. It was the “will of the people” that Pat Quinn be Governor. He’s still Governor as far as I know until the new one is sworn in. I don’t think we should expect elected officials to abdicate their decisions just because an election was held.


  50. - Hotel Ibiza - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Quinn shouldn’t touch anything. Quinn’s done enough damage to Illinois.


  51. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    ==So don’t appoint an idiot.==

    LOL Good luck with that.


  52. - Casual Observer - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    RM: “so don’t appoint an idiot”. Sorry Roland.


  53. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    ==Quinn doesn’t have to appoint anybody if the Comptroller’s office has a big enough supply of pre-signed pre-approved blank checks.==

    The Comptroller’s office has indicated they can make it through next Wednesday.


  54. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    I agree with Lawya, Not a Constitutional Scholar and Wordslinger.

    It’s two vacancies with only one appointment, because Section 2 and Section 7 of Article V, taken together, mean that:

    1) Quinn appoints someone whose term does not end until someone is qualified;

    2) That appointee can only be replaced by someone who is elected and qualified.

    So yes, the second term is indeed “vacant”, but because of this unique situation it can only be filled by an election, and until then whomever Quinn appoints will still be serving their first term. They won’t even have to be sworn in again or anything, I imagine.

    Section 2 also gets you around the common law barrier initially raised that prevents governors from appointing someone whose term begins after their term ends.

    Some folks have called this a “grey area.” It seems to me its pretty clear. Clearly not a situation anyone intended, maybe flies in the face of common sense. But that is not uncommon for constitutions or laws of men.

    Some would even make the same charge regarding the Second Amendment, although at least there you have some intent language to point to.

    That said, I hope both teams can find a bipartisan solution. Rauner gives Quinn the names of five Democrats, or Quinn gives Rauner the names of five Republicans. Who knows. We ought to be able to avoid going to court over this one and earning the famed Topinka eye-roll.


  55. - Soccertease - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    Two-seems to me that is the intent of the law and constitution. It also seems to be the right thing to do.


  56. - so... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ==Quinn doesn’t have to appoint anybody if the Comptroller’s office has a big enough supply of pre-signed pre-approved blank checks. That would make the Chief of Staff the acting State Comptroller already.==

    Checks that were already approved before JBT passed are one thing. Just signing her name to new checks is an invitation for lawsuits and confusion. They wouldn’t be valid.


  57. - x-pol - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Quinn cannot set a term that is greater than the people can or the constitution provides for an office which is (4 years); therein lies the answer. Quinn can only appoint to fill the vacancy until the end of this term.


  58. - Niles Township - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Disclosures upfront: Voted for Quinn in 2010 and Rauner in 2014. I am a lawyer, though no expert on this matter in the Illinois Constitution.

    My view based on the language of the provision is one vacancy until such time as there is a new election (2016 or 2018). The easiest way to handle this would be to have Quinn appoint Nancy Kimme, have Nancy resign on 1/12 voluntarily, and allow Rauner to appoint someone to the position. The legislature may call a special election for 2016, but I think there could be some interesting arguments about whether the then incumbent would have to vacate in favor of the person elected in that special election.


  59. - Anonymoiis - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Two. There is a vacancy until Jan 12, then a new term begins creating a vacancy again.

    Similar to 2010 with the Senate. There were two elections that November: one to fill the remainder of Obama’s term, and a Second for the term beginning in 2011. It was possible at the time that there could have been one winner for the two month remainder, and another winner for the new term.


  60. - Rockford's Finest - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    I feel like this line is pretty clear, unless I’m just an idiot (could be).

    “The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.”

    So unless there was a special election (”until a successor is elected”) it would appear that the appointee would serve a full term.

    What am I missing?


  61. - orzo - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    It seems like the equities are on the side of two, but the law is ambiguous. I think a fair compromise is an interim until 1/12/15, then a new appointment. Rauner should be allowed to do this, especially since the voters elected a Republican to this position. Then pass legislation for a special election concurrent with the 2016 general (this avoids the four year unelected comptroller).I think it would require legislation.


  62. - RMW Stanford - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    I would argue that there are two vacancies, on that expires on Jan 12. and then the one for the new term that begins after that. As one person mentioned, I doubt the intent of the law was for a Governor to be able to appoint someone for a term when he would no longer be in office


  63. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    you would think two, but it reads like just one. and it says until an election. which is why Madigan has to get his hands dirty and schedule a special election.


  64. - Gooner - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    You have one vacancy now.

    Under the law, that person holds the office until a successor is elected.

    It does not say until the term ends. The text refers to an election.

    If there is no election, the person stays in office.


  65. - Just the Facts - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    I believe there is one vacancy under the plain language of the constitution. The constitution states: “The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.” The appointee holds office until a successor is ELECTED AND QUALIFIED. Comptroller Topinka was elected to a new term, but by virtue of her death will not be qualified on the date that would have been the commencement of her new term. Therefore, the person appointed by Governor Quinn would continue to serve until the next election in 4 years.

    I also don’t believe that the General Assembly has the authority to pass legislation that authorizes a special election. The constitution sets the term of the Comptroller and when elections are held. The General Assembly doesn’t have the authority to trump the constitution by enacting legislation. (There is ample case law for this proposition in other areas.)

    I think this result is the “wrong” answer from a policy standpoint, but I think one appointment for the next 4+ years is the “right” answer from a constitutional standpoint.


  66. - Commander Norton - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Two vacancies, but Quinn still gets to appoint a successor until 2019, unless provision is made for a special election before then, because the first appointee cannot be removed until a successor is “elected and qualified.” I think everyone, no matter how partisan, feels the tugging of a sense of fairness that says it’s a little bogus to let an outgoing, lame duck governor from one party to appoint a successor to a victorious constitutional officer from another party to serve for more than four years. But that situation exists because of the outcome of the governor’s race (what if Quinn had won? What if he hadn’t sought another term, and a different Dem were poised to take office in January?) - which technically isn’t related to the question at hand about the Comptroller vacancy. If we want to indulge that sense of fairness, it seems like a special election is the way to go. Either way, it’s clear to me from the constitutional language that Quinn gets to make the appointment.


  67. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Oh please. Guys. Governor Quinn should appoint someone who will keep the trains running for a few months, with the understanding that the appointee will step down at some future date.

    Then Rauner will choose somebody to hold the office until the next election.

    The GA can decide whether that election takes place in ‘16 or ‘18.

    No lawsuits. No wrangling. Just getting stuff done for the people who are footing the bills.


  68. - anon - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    One: PQ gets to appoint to the current vacancy and because JBT is legally no longer a person the PQ appointee continues to serve until the next general election as there is no qualified successor.


  69. - Anonymoiis - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    ==There isn’t an election between now and then so until a new person is elected it is my opinion that the person appointed now serves until somebody else is elected==

    Reading it strictly that way would also mean that if Simon had won, she wouldn’t take office in January since the no election would occur after the Governor made an appointment.


  70. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    As far as the argument that the voters clearly wanted a Republican for the office, I didn’t vote for JBT because she was a Republican, and I doubt I’m alone.


  71. - Gator - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    The Constitution is clear that Quinn’s appointee will serve both terms. I don’t think it is a fair result, but we have to respect the Constitution.


  72. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    I don’t like my answer, but I think it’s a single vacancy.

    The Trib left out an important word of the Terms clause, and it contradicts those who think Constitutional officers serve four years terms. “And” is the word.

    Specifically, the language reads: “These elected officers…shall hold office for four years…AND…until their successors are qualified.” (emphasis on ‘and’ is mine)

    The term is four years AND until a successor is qualified, not necessarily just four years. Coupled with the Succession clause, under which the appointee serves until a successor is elected and qualified, it looks like one to me.

    Someone mentioned it before me, but I agree that it comes down to the definition of “qualified” and in an ideal world, there is case law that addresses the issue.

    Again, my interpretation is one vacancy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.


  73. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    ===Correct. And if the person was at all decent, that appointee would honor the deal. So don’t appoint an idiot.===

    Could this be a work release opportunity for Rod? (Ducks)


  74. - Sir Reel - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    2 because I want it to be 2. Appointing someone to more than 1 term, much less 1 entire term, just seems wrong. It negates the voters’ right to elect the office completely.


  75. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    I see it as one and voted accordingly;

    That said, I can’t think of a better way to resolve the situation than having an appointment made after the memorial service, and whomever is sworn in treats this as a transitional role and sometime, maybe on Jan. 12th, resigns, allowing the inauguration(s) of the other Constitutional Officers pass and the swearing-in of the new Comprtoller be a few short days later, away from the festivities of the gubernatorial transition of power.

    I would like to see that play out like that.

    A great deal of “better selves” at play here with Quinn, Rauner, and the appointee.


  76. - downstate commissoner - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I read the constitution as one, but hope that Quinn will accept the fairness of two…


  77. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    TWO
    That’s how we voted because
    a. Correct Answer
    b. We like being right
    This only complicated for those thirsting for media attention — no names, but initials are Expert Ann and Expert Rick.


  78. - Rotunda - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    Under the constitution the term for comptroller/gov .ag etc is 4 years. I am not sure how PQ can appoint someone for a longer term than the people could by electing them. Since there is no special election the term would be 4yrs plus. The constitution cannot be interpreted to provide absurd results and a court would look for a reasonable interpretation to synthesize the two provisions. I think the most likely result is the two terms.


  79. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Sir Reel -

    Death negates voters’ rights, and more often resignation.

    The general assembly may still act to create a special election, if Quinn and Rauner can agree.

    Or the courts may find some sort of premise upon which to hang their hat that requires a Special Election.

    The General Assembly could of course act now, without agreement from either governor or governor-elect, but that would require Durkin and Radogno reaching out to Cullerton and Madigan and offering to put as many votes as needed on a Special Election bill, and then someone would have to convince Quinn not to veto it or he will destroy his legacy.


  80. - MisterWhipple - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Whatever I think is the right or logical thing to do, I can’t get past the language “the appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified.” Following that language, the appointee can be replace only by someone who has been elected. And we don’t have an election coming up. So, while life ain’t fair, the appointee gets to serve until we have an election result.

    As to Rauner’s role, I have to ask why his opinion makes a difference giving the timing of the vacancy. He’s not the governor and won’t be when the Comptroller is appointed. The appointment is for a constitutional office, not a staff position. I’m guessing that Rauner may not have voted for Lisa or Jesse but he’ll have to work with them. And he’ll have to work with whoever serves as the Comptroller.


  81. - Lt. Guv - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    It’s clearly one based on “The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law. . .”

    That said, the honorable thing to do is for Quinn to appoint someone of Rauner’s choosing. That said as a D. I’d love to grab the office, but that would thwart the will of the voters in both the election for Comptroller & Governor.


  82. - Anon III - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    == The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.==

    Two vacancies.

    In an ambiguous situation, the intent of the Constitutional provision controls.

    The intent of sec. 7 is found in the general and usual application of the provision, not the unusual and unprecedented death of a Constitutional Officer between her election and the beginning of her term. The intent is that the appointee shall hold office for the balance of the vacant term, which in general and usual application would be until that point in time when the successor was elected and qualified.

    The provision “until … is elected and qualified” describes an event in time which would have occurred here in the normal and usual application on January 12, 2015. Elected
    means elected for a term of office; that term is know, January 2015-19.

    JBT was elected to the 2015 term, and if living on January 12, would be qualified.

    The conjunction “and” is in statutory interpretation often read as “or” where it carries out the intent of the statute. The usual and general application of Sec. 7 can be carried out in this tragic set of facts only if the conjunction is understood as disjunctive, “or”.

    In that sense, Sec. 7 may be understood to mean that the vacancy now existing in the Comptroller’s office shall be filled until a successor is elected (for the next term), or until the elected successor is qualified.


  83. - Mouthy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    ==Quinn doesn’t have to appoint anybody if the Comptroller’s office has a big enough supply of pre-signed pre-approved blank checks. That would make the Chief of Staff the acting State Comptroller already.==

    ==Checks that were already approved before JBT passed are one thing. Just signing her name to new checks is an invitation for lawsuits and confusion. They wouldn’t be valid.==

    Somebody needs to approve what goes on those checks on a daily basis under the authority of the Comptroller. Who’s making that decision now?
    I still go by my wish that Quinn would make an appointment consistent with the appointment that the incoming governor will make.


  84. - Anon - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Assume JBT instead of dying decided to relocate to Florida.
    On Inauguration day there would be a vacancy because she wasn’t there to get sworn in and the governor would appoint the Comptroller.
    A successor has been elected and qualified, JBT.


  85. - Secret Square - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    I say 2 vacancies. Ideally, the best solution would be 1) interim appointment by Quinn until Jan. 12, 2) appointment by Rauner to serve until the 2016 general election, 3) candidate elected in 2016 to serve the remaining 2 years. Could there also be a step 4) — a constitutional amendment is passed at the 2016 election to abolish the office of comptroller and merge it with the treasurer’s office effective in January 2019?


  86. - Anotherretiree - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    One…Constitutions can be ambiguous. PQ could appoint himself.


  87. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    The executive officers have a term beginning the first Monday of January after the election. The people taking office must meet certain requirements noted in the constitution. The most important of these requirements, essentially the qualifications, is that the person be elected. We have a person who has been elected and meets all the other requirements for holding office. Because that duly elected and qualified person will not be able to take the oath of office a vacancy will exist on January 12, 2015. Quinn’s temporary appointment to the current term will not be qualified to assume the new term either in that the person will not have been elected.

    IMHO, the only time there would be a BRIEF holdover is when there is some doubt over the winning candidate, i.e. still in recount, court dispute over election, etc.


  88. - Jack Handy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    There should be no deal making between anyone for a constitional office.

    Get an opinoin from the AG and abide by it. If someone doesn’t agree then take it to court.


  89. - Cheswick - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Fixing the first sentence of that paragraph of the constitution:

    If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment through the end of the term of said office.


  90. - Knome Sane - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    I voted for “one vacancy” because of the tricky words: “or until a successor is elected”. It doesn’t say “until the next governor is sworn in”.

    I find it ironic that the state law is clear on what happens if the Speaker of the House or Senate President dies after “sine die”.

    (25 ILCS 10/2) (from Ch. 63, par. 23.2)
    “In the event of death or resignation of the Speaker of the House or of the President of the Senate after the sine die adjournment of the session of the General Assembly at which he was elected, the powers held by him shall pass respectively to the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives or to the Majority Leader of the Senate who, for the purposes of such powers shall be considered as holding continuing offices until his respective successors are elected and qualified.”


  91. - Under Further Review - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    I voted for “two” vacancies because the prospect of a lame duck governor appointing someone to a full term is problematic.

    Ideally, new governor would appoint the replacement to a two year term, so the voters could take up the matter at the next regularly scheduled statewide election.


  92. - Vibes - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Voted one. OW said it best


  93. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    The hard thing is removing the passion from the conversation. I think almost all of us WANT two appointments, but that is the much looser interpretation of the Constitution. And the idea Governor Elect Rauner plays into this, while somewhat logical, isn’t consequential. We have one Governor at a time and it is not his time to be Governor yet. And the US Senate race from two years ago is not similar at all, if for no other reason it is more clearly laid out how the process works.


  94. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    ==I voted for “two” vacancies because the prospect of a lame duck governor appointing someone to a full term is problematic. ==

    Problematic, yes. Constitutional…


  95. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    ==The hard thing is removing the passion from the conversation. I think almost all of us WANT two appointments, but that is the much looser interpretation of the Constitution.==

    Well said.


  96. - Apocalypse Now - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    I would say one, although I would prefer two. Quinn will make a mess of this and appoint a Democrat and the whole thing will be settled by the Supreme Court and bring more embarrassment on the State of Illinois. Should Quinn do the right thing? Yes. Will he? Probably not. Quinn hasn’t shown much competency in his decision making process over the last 4 years. Why would anyone think that will change now?


  97. - x ace - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    One
    Until “Election”
    Seems Simple

    Now need to hash out “Special Election” or not


  98. - Langhorne - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Two.

    Appoint Roland, just til jan 12.(kidding-appt the deputy) Then let rauner appt for two years, w a request the GA send him a bill for a special election to fill the remainder of the term, and remedy the situation going forward.

    Isn’t a special required for other offices w greater than a half term to go? Any relevant lessons from when Alan Dixon resigned and walker wouldn’t play ball, so thompson got to appt Edgar?


  99. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    Langhorne -

    Walker left office January 1977, Dixon got elected in November 1980.


  100. - Eli - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Do those of you who think Rauner is entitled to replace Quinn’s appointee and make a new appointment believe that the same would be true had Quinn been re-elected? That is, could Quinn, despite the language stating the appointee “shall not be subject to removal by the Governor,” appoint one person to serve until January, and then force that person out and appoint someone else in January?

    To me, that would be pretty plainly in contradiction to the constitutional language, and I can’t see any reason why things should be different because there are two governors in the mix rather than one.


  101. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    There are two terms here, Comptroller 2011-2015, and Comptroller 2015-2019. There is one vacancy now (2011-2015) from an unfortunate death. That same death will create another vacancy on January 12, 2015 for a NEW term. Since the new term starts on 1/12/15, it cannot yet be considered vacant. I know that may sound odd, but that 1/12/15 date is important here. The vacancy will occur when the oath of office cannot be administered to anyone present on 1/12/15. The qualification for that office and the ability to serve starts on 1/12/15 for the NEW term. Clearly, the person elected to serve on 1/12/15 will not have the ability to serve on that date.

    Those wishing for a single long term appointment by Quinn are blurring the above reality to reach that result. Two positions, two terms, two vacancies. Declaring something “vacant” before the vacancy actually occurs will not legally fly in my opinion.

    The adults in the room seem to agree that Quinn can and should appoint someone to serve as comptroller to finish the term ending 1/11/15. The newly sworn into office Governor Rauner would then appoint a comptroller for the new term, since Quinn would be out of office at that time.

    Can the legislature call for a special election in the absence of any language to the contrary for this position? That should be Monday’s question of the day.


  102. - Nick - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    There are many comments on here saying that it was the will of the voters that the Office of Comptroller be held by a Republican. NO! It was the will of the voters that the Office of Comptroller be held by JBT. The office doesn’t belong to any political party. I am about as partisan a Democrat as you can get, but I voted for JBT because she is awesome. If the race was between “generic Republican” and “generic Democrat”, I am sure that myself and the majority of voters would have chosen “generic Democrat”. The Governor(s) get(s) to decide who would be the best replacement, and shouldn’t worry about the party.


  103. - Even as a Democrat, I say .... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Quinn should keep this simple using common sense principals:

    First, We all know Judy would want Nancy to complete her term. Appoint her now.

    Second, Judy won the new term as a GOP member. A Demo Gov has no right to name a Dem over a qualified GOP candidate. Let the new Gov decide.

    I realize lawyers will want to argue all the angles, but if you can make the legal case for either 1 or 2 vacancies, common sense says Quinn should do what’s right. The electorate does not want this partisan fighting. Take the higher road Gov Quinn!


  104. - Andy S. - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    The succession clause states that “the appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified.” But another section limits the terms of statewide officeholders to four years “until their successors are qualified.” […]

    I voted for one vacancy. lets say Quinn names person X as the new Comptroller. Reading the second of the above clauses literally, doesn’t that mean X can serve 4 years from the date of appointment, since (unless there is a special election) no successor will be qualified? So maybe the person appointed by Quinn serves 4 years, and when that time is up Rauner gets to name someone for the small remaining balance of the time until the newly elected Comptroller takes office in January 2019.


  105. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    There is one vacancy.
    It doesn’t matter than Quinn’s term ends.
    He is a governor and this is a separate statewide office. The person appointed to replace Topinka should be in office until the next general or special election, as determined by the GA.

    If I was Quinn, I’d appoint someone strongly Democratic and get them to be a friend of The Speaker so that there won’t be seen a need for a special election until November 2018.


  106. - scott aster - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    When the clerk calls for the person that won the comptrollers race and that person does not appear the office is considered vacant. Then Rauner having been sworn in first will make the appointment to that vacant office.


  107. - Federalist - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    The language is really very clear except to those who like to strain gnats and swallow camels. (Much like those who try to rationalize reducing pensions from state employees when the language is, again, very clear.)

    There is one vacancy and Quinn can appoint anyone he wants for the full term.

    Do I think he should do that? No. He should let the Deputy take over and Rauner appoint a new person. That would be gentlemanly to do but this is Illinois.


  108. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    @aufiunk nails it. These are two separate terms in office.

    That one person was elected for two separate terms does nothing to alter the fact that these are two separate, clearly distinguishable terms in office. One term ends in January, just as it does for Lieutenant Governor Simon, Treasurer Rutherford and Governor Quinn, and then the next term begins.


  109. - Joe M - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    I voted one. My read is that the Constitution says that Quinn can appoint someone to serve until the next election.


  110. - Forgottonia Republic - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    I didn’t vote in the poll, because I think only experts in constitutional law are qualified to figure out the nuances of word use here in the context of legal norms. What I learned in English class and what my version of “common sense” is are both totally irrelevant to interpreting the constitution. The ideal time for common sense and plain English would have been when this language was originally drafted.


  111. - The old William j Kelly - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Atsaves, please stick to your area of expertise, voter suppression. There is one appointment required, by the current governor and then one special election required by the people. It’s called democracy, I know you are not a big fan.


  112. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Again I do not think anyone is disputing there are two terms, but you cannot discount the fact that once someone is appointed there is no LEGAL distinction forcing them to leave office until someone meets the parameters set forth in the Constitution. And that is the key to me. That does not mean a logical settlement can be reached, but what should logically happen and what I think will happen Constitutionally are not the same. There are smart people on both sides of the debate, but it is important to note for anyone who says Governor Quinn should not play politics, the same standard needs to be applied to Governor Elect Rauner. One Constitution and one Governor. It is far from perfect, but there is also more potential damage if anyone attempts to create a second potential Constitutional Crisis by having another appointment in Janaury (which I do not think will happen, but cannot be ruled out). This is one of those times where the opinion of the AG and presumably the sign off of the Supreme Court need to be respected. OK,I am off my proverbial soap box.


  113. - Anonymoiis - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    == there is no LEGAL distinction forcing them to leave office ==

    What is the legal authority for them to be sworn in for a second term on January 12? That’s the rub.


  114. - Bill White - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    == What is the legal authority for them to be sworn in for a second term on January 12? That’s the rub. ==

    There is no need to be sworn in again in January 2015. Whoever is appointed in December 2014 should NOT be sworn in a second time in January.

    The original December 2014 swearing in will remain valid and effective until a successor is elected and qualified.


  115. - Western Ave. Doug - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    - The old William j Kelly - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Gadfly, please stick to your area of expertise, chasing down Quinnochio while pretending to run for mayor.


  116. - D.P.Gumby - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    They are separate terms and are separate vacancies. troubled by possibility of 4year appointment, but doesn’t seem to be anything unconstitutional about the new gov appointing to fill that second vacancy for the full term.


  117. - The new William j Kelly - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    Doug, been there, done that.


  118. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    Two terms. Rationale below.

    SECTION 7. VACANCIES IN OTHER ELECTIVE OFFICES
    If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, it shall remain vacant until the end of the term.

    –The office is currently vacant, so Quinn can appoint someone. That appointee shall hold office until the elected officer (JBT) qualifies OR until a successor is elected and qualified as provided by law. JBT (Quinn’s Appointee) qualifies for the Comptroller term until 2015. The term “qualified” is used one other time in Article V of the Illinois Constitution in Section 2, which describes the term length of office.

    SECTION 2. TERMS
    These elected officers of the Executive Branch shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January after their election and, except in the case of the Lieutenant Governor, until their successors are qualified. They shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter.

    –The term “Qualified” is used to describe an elected, four-year term. One ceases to be qualified after four years and when their successors become qualified (sworn in).

    –Qualification for office occurs once every four years, beginning on the second Monday of January after a general election. JBT, the deceased elected officer, “qualifies” for the 2011-2015 term. JBT, the deceased elected officer, also “qualifies” for the 2015-2019 term. She is, and will be, “vacant” in both.

    –At inauguration, the “successor” and “qualified” candidate for Comptroller (JBT) will not be able to be sworn in for a four-year term, leaving the seat vacant. At this point, Section 7 of the Constitution starts over i.e. The Governor (Rauner) shall fill the vacancy by appointment. This appointee shall hold office until the elected officer (JBT) qualifies, or until a successor is elected.


  119. - Esteban - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    JBT was elected to TWO terms in office, in 2010 and 2014. End of story.


  120. - Jon Lester - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    -Western Ave.Doug- Just ignore him and he will go away. Well maybe not, I heard he is starting a committee to elect William J Kelly. You can lay odds this gadfly will do it…..


  121. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    To the folks who think a Republican must be selected because a Republican was elected (in 2010 and 2014) consider what would happen if one of the Dem constitutionals were to leave office in 2015. Would you argue that Gov. Rauner must select a Dem? Seems unlikely.

    Because of the ambiguity of the language, the inability of Quinn to dictate a term, and the need to pick someone immediately (who may be in for a full term), I think Quinn should pick a strong, respected Dem with state-wide support (which will surely be tested once in place). I would expect the appointee to keep the current staff in place until a decision on the term issue is decided. After that, they would exit or transition in.


  122. - Not NPR - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    Who would Bruce appoint if Jesse White died the day after Bruce’s inauguration?


  123. - A modest proposal - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Not NPR - at this point Glenn Poshard might be the answer to your question…


  124. - Not NPR - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    It does not say Appointed until the end of the term. It says appointed until the next election. Sorry Charlie.


  125. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    ==- Jorge - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 10:57 am:==
    ==- Anonymoiis - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:22 am:==

    Um, American Government 101. State versus Federal. Check out the 17th Amendment to the United State Constitution. That’s the federal one. Clear?

    Let’s also not forget that a federal court ordered the special election in 2010 since the state election code held that there would not be a special Senate election until the next general election. Considering that certification of the vote would mean such a person would serve about a month in office, the state was going to let Roland Burris serve it out until January 3rd, 2011, but the federal courts ordered the special election to be held pursuant to the 17th Amendment.


  126. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Louis, Rauner doesn’t have the power to declare a constitutional office vacant after be takes office. That’s Banana Republic stuff.

    Quinn’s only formal power is to appoint someone now.

    The judicial branch has the last word on interpreting the law and the constitution. Been that way for some time now.

    Barring an informal arrangement involving a short term appointment followed by resignation, they’ll have the final word on this, too.


  127. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===Louis, Rauner doesn’t have the power to declare a constitutional office vacant after be takes office.===

    Actually, he does. It’s in state statutes.


  128. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    SECTION 7. VACANCIES IN OTHER ELECTIVE OFFICES
    If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, it shall remain vacant until the end of the term.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)
    (10 ILCS 5/25-5) (from Ch. 46, par. 25-5)
    Sec. 25-5. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of Secretary of State, State Comptroller, Treasurer or Attorney General, the Governor shall fill the same by appointment, and the appointee shall hold his office during the remainder of the term, and until his successor is elected and qualified.
    (Source: P.A. 78-592.)


  129. - Barney - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    I don’t know how Quinn could give an elected official a term that is longer than the one the voters could give? that’s why I voted for 2


  130. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    ==Second, Judy won the new term as a GOP member. A Demo Gov has no right to name a Dem over a qualified GOP candidate. Let the new Gov decide.==

    One set of rules for Democrats and one for Republicans? Who might Jim Edgar be if not for Thompson appointing him as SoS when Alan Dixon became a Senator?


  131. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Anonymous @2:30

    To your point. The “Or” in the Constitution is more relavent than the “And” in state statute.

    Illinois Constitution > State Statute

    This bolsters my argument about qualifications and terms at 1:59 pm.

    Two separate terms. Two separate vacancies. Two separate appointments.


  132. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Rich, Im not reading it that way. It doesn’t say who decides that the office is vacant.

    We’re back to where we started with a Quinn appointment. “The appointee shall hold office until…..”


  133. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    I know it was difficult for Arizona Bob to find the budget book a few weeks ago. For everyone trying to keep up on why it might be one vacancy, here is the link to the full Illinois Constitution. Try to keep up.

    http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/conent.htm


  134. - regular democrat - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    Rauner should be able to appoint a person until special election can be held The person appointed will have a leg up if they want to run. It is fair and gives the voters a choice.


  135. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    AP: “Governors have filled 16 vacancies since 1848″

    http://hosted2.ap.org/OHPOM/6c7a07eb5e314546bfc286fa4d495637/Article_2014-12-11-IL–Illinois%20Comptroller-Succession%20History/id-01b133d1aebb40c09cd25c4e80da7b5f


  136. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    ==I don’t know how Quinn could give an elected official a term that is longer than the one the voters could give?==

    I don’t know why people believe that Quinn can waive a magic wand and just decree how long the appointment would be for. He gets to make the appointment. That’s the only thing that is absolutely known right now. He can’t wait. He can’t appoint an “interim” (unless somebody agreed to do it). We are all offering our opinions on what we think the Constitution says. Hopefully we won’t get to the point where there is a judicial fight about it. I’m not so confident there won’t be.


  137. - BMAN - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    fill only one vacancy, why give another chump a big boast in retirement pay. other than not adequately funding pension program. Illicit bumping of pensions are what people hear about when the fat cats start complaining about ridiculous pension benefits. Truth is most retirees legitimately earn their pension benefit. instead the whole pension system is attacked because the legislator who vote on the system don’t police themselves. Remember the example of Glenn Poshard.


  138. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Phenomynous - I believe it definitely proves there are 2 vacancies to be filled by 2 Governors.


  139. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Voted One. Both Article IV (The Legislature) and Article VI (The Judiciary) set out clearly what happens to vacancies for those offices. Article V (The Executive) sets out a clear plan of succession for the governor’s office. While Sec. 2 of that article refers to terms, Sec. 7 dealing with vacancies in other elective office uses the language “office becomes vacant”, the situation here. The Lt. Gov. just stays vacant, but the other offices are subject to the governor filling “the office by appointment” and that person holding office ” until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.” It seems that situation does not consider the beginning or end of a “term” but rather the “office.” In that case a new comptroller must be appointed soon for the business of that office, and that person stays until someone else is elected and qualified. “As provided by law” would seem to indicate the GA could pass a law calling for a special election with a term beginning whenever they want it.


  140. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    West Side,

    The appointed person holds that office until the elected officer (JBT) qualifies OR until a successor is elected and qualified. I go into detail on what “qualified” means in an earlier post.


  141. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===Louis, Rauner doesn’t have the power to declare a constitutional office vacant after be takes office.===

    Actually, he does. It’s in state statutes.

    Ole!


  142. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Voted one vacancy since there isn’t time for an election before the next term starts.

    Hopefully Quinn just appoints Kimme to cause the least disruption as possible for Topinka’s staff.

    If he wanted to be a jerk but not involve the Supreme Court, I guess he could appoint Frerichs, who would of course resign in order to take his next elected office.


  143. - Jaded - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Hey Phenomynous where did you find the definition of qualified? Is it a common law definition, or is it in the statutes somewhere?


  144. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    ===I guess he could appoint Frerichs,===

    Stop already. Frerichs wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole.


  145. - Tough Guy - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    I think one. As much as I tried, I read the Ill. Constitution for what is says, not what I want it to say. Doesn’t seem fair but that’s how it is written.


  146. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Jaded,

    I used the only other reference from Article V of the Constitution (Section 2) which deals with Terms of Office. Specifically, that officers shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January after their election and until their successor is qualified.

    Section 7 states that the appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified…

    Qualified most certainly pertains the person being elected and the term of that office. Leading to JBT being qualified for both terms, leaving two vacancies, and two appointments.


  147. - Scmods - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    Phenomynous, it seems improbable that a deceased person could be qualified to hold office.


  148. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Scmods,

    And they were determine that on Inauguration Day, and then declare a vacancy.


  149. - Scmods - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    Quinn’s appointee continues until there is an elected and qualified successor. While JBT was elected, she cannot qualify. There needs to be an election to replace Quinn’s appointee.


  150. - steve schnorf - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    I meant “that provision”


  151. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    Until the elected official qualifies OR there is an elected and qualified successor. Again, I believe and maintain JBT is qualified and elected for both terms, which leads to two vacancies and two separate appointments.

    It’s just my reading of it. Doesn’t mean it is correct.


  152. - A modest proposal - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    I think its safe to say that Mike Frerichs wouldn’t touch it with a 1000 ft pole…


  153. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    Scmods, Quinn’s appointee won’t be qualified either when the new term starts. He/she wasn’t elected.


  154. - steve schnorf - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    we can argue this til the cows come home, but a multitude of angels swearing would be of no more value that our wise insights. Only the courts can actually decide.


  155. - Scmods - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    Norseman, the appointee’s term is not the term to which the original office holder was elected. Per the constitution, ” The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law.”

    The appointee’s term is however long it takes to get an elected and qualified successor.


  156. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    The belief being expressed in the poll appears to be pretty clear, by a two-to-one margin.


  157. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    == Only the courts can actually decide. ==

    Respectfully, this assumes the politicians who have a choice to make here deliberately choose to throw the state into a ==Constitutional Crisis==, as some have put it, and force this issue to trial.

    Professor Lousin offers a very practical and logical approach to this situation. As the most expert one among us at the moment, unless others choose to post under their real names along with their credentials as Constitutional scholars, then her expert opinion bears significant weight and serves as a very viable option. The only way this goes to court is if one or two politicians in particular decide they want to force it to go to court.


  158. - Phenomynous - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    Scmods,

    I have to disagree with you. The Constitution says, “The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law.”

    There are two avenues for the successor to be relieved of office:

    1. The elected official (JBT) no longer qualifies (I read this as the end of the elected term)
    2. A successor is elected and qualified.

    The appointees term is one of these two. And I maintain that a Quinn appointment falls under number 1.

    That’s just my reading of it though. I’ve been wrong before.


  159. - Scmods - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    I think you’re mis-reading the constitution:

    If the…Comptroller…fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.

    The two scenarios for triggering an appointee are 1)the elected comptroller fails to qualify (maybe they don’t meet age or other requirements to assume office) and 2) vacancy. In the event of scenario 1, the appointee would hold office until the elected person met all the qualifications to hold office. Under scenario 2, the appointee holds office until there is an elected and qualified successor. JBT’s death caused a vacancy. The appointee holds office until there is an elected and qualified successor.


  160. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    Scmods, were not going to agree on this issue. There has been a lot of us who have explained our rational for two vacancies, you have explained yours. I’ve done a quick run through of the constitutional convention transcripts and don’t see anything to buttress either argument. They simply took what the previous constitution said. I haven’t seen anyone reference cases that would apply. Therefore, if the two grand poobah’s don’t agree then we’ll have a court battle and see what the courts say.


  161. - titan - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    As I understand it, qualifying for office includes taking the oath of office and filing any necessary bond. On that basis, qualifying for office is a bit different than being eligible for the office and winning the election.


  162. - Sunshine - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    I hereby appoint Rich Miller as Comptroller to fill both vacancies. There, problem solved!


  163. - northernwatersports - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    I voted two separate vacancies…for many of the reasons already stated.
    I covet the most important part of our Democracy and our Republic…the right of the voters to choose.
    While they spoke during the most recent election and wanted JBT, that’s just not where we find ourselves.
    Sheila Simon is a non starter. She lost.
    IMHO, the Constitutional solution is to let Quinn appoint, the GA to set a special election as quickly as they see fit. Let the voters choose again. That’s why we have campaigns, primaries, and elections after all.


  164. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    ===steve schnorf - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    we can argue this til the cows come home, but a multitude of angels swearing would be of no more value that our wise insights. Only the courts can actually decide.===

    This is true. This is without precedent. A rarity these days. George Washington set a precedent declining to run for a third term. It held until FDR. After which, the previous “precedent” became codified with a Constitutional Amendment.

    If you’re setting a precedent, what side might you err on? The side that says the guy leaving can appoint a Constitutional Officer for a time in excess of a full term, or the side that says, fill out the term and let the new duly elected Governor fill a new vacancy?

    There is political opportunism in play. But the people have shown a resilience in catching up with opportunists. There’s plenty to lose here. In my opinion, far more than what might be gained in a manner unappetizing to the people.


  165. - elginkevin - Tuesday, Dec 16, 14 @ 8:21 am:

    Not having taken the time to read the entire body of law to look for other references to the situation, I see this as one vacancy. I’m not sure if the law allows for a special election, but based on that phrase, I think the issue turns on the legal interpretation of the word “shall” in Illinois (which I don’t know). If it’s interpreted as “should” then Quinn should leave this for Rauner. If it’s interpreted as “must” then he is required to fill the vacancy. I think it’d be best if he left it for Rauner to avoid controversy.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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