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GOP leaders respond to special election push

Thursday, Dec 18, 2014

* Statement from Senate Republican Leader Radogno and House Republican Leader Durkin…

“The Illinois Constitution requires the Governor-elect to appoint a new comptroller to a four-year term. A partisan and constitutionally-dubious eleventh hour law would face a certain legal challenge and force the people of Illinois to endure a protracted and legal battle that no one wants. The only Constitutionally responsible choice is to allow the Governor-elect to appoint a Comptroller to a four-year term.”

* And here’s their legal analysis…

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that “the State constitution is supreme within the realm of State law.” See People v. Gersch, 553 N.E.2d 281, 287 (Ill. 1990). In this case, Section 2 of Article V of the Illinois Constitution governs the terms of office and the timing of elections for state officers, including Comptroller. It speaks in clear and mandatory terms in two important respects. First, the “officers of the Executive Branch shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January… until their successors are qualified.” As the Attorney General indicated in her advisory opinion, that means that a vacancy will occur in the Comptroller’s Office for the term of office that runs from January 12, 2015 to January 14, 2019. Second, Section 2 also provides that the state officers, including the Comptroller, “shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter.”

If the General Assembly were to pass a state law that creates a special election for the Comptroller in 2016, that law would violate the express terms of Section 2 in two ways. First, it would presumably create two two-year terms of office, despite the fact that Section 2 clearly provides only for a four-year term that runs until January 14, 2019. Second, it would provide for an election of a state officer outside of the schedule established by Section 2 requiring that the election of the Comptroller will be held every four years after 1978.

Section 7, Article V dealing with vacancies does not authorize the General Assembly to order a special election to fill a vacancy or replace a person who is appointed to fill a vacancy. Rather it says that the Governor “shall fill the office by appointment” and that person shall “hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law.” The phrase “as may be provided by law” modifies “qualified” and not the word “elected.” In fact, the only support that this language was intended to provide for a special election comes from statements of a delegate to the 1970 Constitutional convention. Those statements directly conflict with the clear language of Section 2, as noted above. When a conflict exists between the express language of the Constitution and any legislative history, the Illinois Supreme Court states that “the best indication of the intent of the drafters is the language which they voted to adopt.” See Coryn v. Moline, 374 N.E.2d 211, 213 (Ill. 1978). Where the adopted language is clear, as it is in Section 2, “it will be given effect without resort to other aids for construction,” including statements of individual delegates. See People ex rel. Baker v. Cowling, 607 N.E.2d 1251, 1253 (Ill. 1992). In this case, it is also important to note that the legislative history cited comes from the debate over Section 7, not Section 2 dealing with the term and timing of the election of state officers. Therefore, the direct conflict between the express language of Section 2 and the legislative history of Section 7 would likely be resolved by enforcing the clear terms of Section 2.

Our own review of the committee reports and verbatim transcripts from the Constitutional Convention show that the election schedule for constitutional officers established in Article V, Section 2 was deliberately intended by delegates to allow voters to concentrate their attention on the state election contests in those years, rather than risk that an informed debate of state issues would be overwhelmed by the sound and fury of a national presidential contest. Those intentions should not now be lightly set aside.

We do not contest the right of the General Assembly to seek a special election. That is within their authority and judgment to do so. In the case of a state officer, like the Comptroller, however, it would require a constitutional amendment that revises the clear and mandatory terms of Section 2. As for Governor-elect Rauner, his only authority under the Constitution, as currently constituted, is to appoint a person who will assume a four-year term on January 12, 2015.

* “The phrase ‘as may be provided by law’ modifies ‘qualified’ and not the word ‘elected’” seems like a huge stretch to me. If there was an “or” in there, I could see it, but not this way.

Your thoughts?

* Also, from Bruce Rauner’s office…

“There is a real likelihood that a statute mandating a special election would violate the Constitution and result in costly litigation and uncertainty for Illinois taxpayers. The only route to enact a special election for a statewide officeholder that is absolutely consistent with the Constitution is passing a constitutional amendment. Additionally, any major change like this should apply to all future vacancies and be carefully and thoughtfully discussed - not rushed through in a last minute special session that would look overtly political.”

…Adding… A commenter points out this section of the above legal analysis…

First, the “officers of the Executive Branch shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January… until their successors are qualified.”

They left out two very important words: “elected” and “election”

These elected officers of the Executive Branch shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January after their election..

…Adding More… From commenter Norseman…

I read a little further on the committee report presentation on the relevant sections. GOP staff probably read it too, but don’t want to mention it. This seems cut and dried.

    “We leave unaltered the existing constitutional language, in this and other sections, which in the past has served to support statutes calling for special elections when an appreciable time remains in an incompleted term.”

Explanation and Commentary on Section 8. Vacancies in Other Elective Office, 1970 — COMMITTEE PROPOSALS, Page 373

…And the final nail in the coffin… This is from the original Con-Con documents that Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent out the other day. Click here and check page 8

In the 1870 Constitution the wording is “elected and qualified in such manner as may be provided by law.” (Article V, Section 19.) The Report of the Committee on the Executive indicates no intention to change the thrust of the original provision. (P. 37.) But if that is true, it seems essential to change “qualified as provided by law” to “elected and qualified as may be provided by law.” Then it is clear that the General Assembly (a) can do nothing, (b) can provide for special elections to fill the vacancies other than Lieutenant Governor, but (c) cannot provide any other method for filling vacancies.

Done.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

84 Comments
  1. - huh - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    The analysis misses a very important word in Section 2: “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.”

    The person holding the seat is not an elected officer, but an appointed officer.

    Then look at Section 7: ” 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.”

    There is no conflict between the two Sections. It’s possible to read them so they both have meaning.


  2. - Anonymoiis - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    The only thing that’s clear at this point is that all of this will not end in a bipartisan agreement on how it should end.


  3. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    I just wish the leaders were this concerned about the constitution and what is says when it comes to pensions. I think that there are no absolute rights and given the crisis we are in they should just do whatever they want.


  4. - IllinoisO'Malley - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    Sounds like the Supremes should get involved for both the ‘two appointments’ and the special election. All of these analysis’ are not rulings.


  5. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    Let the real people decide not the politicians.


  6. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    ===The Illinois Constitution requires the Governor-elect to…===

    OK, I’m no constitutional scholar, but does our Constitution really proscribe certain duties to, or place requirements upon, the newly-elected-but-not-yet-inaugurated governor? I don’t think it does.


  7. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    I understand the politics, but not the policy.

    Legally, I don’t see them winning either. I’m with them on 2 vacancies. But the provided by law leaves the opening for special election IMH(non-lawyer)O.


  8. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Looks like we’re going to court one way or the other, folks.


  9. - Snucka - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Imagine if a Governor were to appoint a US Senator for six years or even the Attorney General for four years. It’s just not right, and the public would never stand for that. Maybe because the office of Comptroller is sort of obscure and low-profile, the Republicans may be able to get away with this. That doesn’t make it right.


  10. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    Boy, is this dumb.

    When you start sneakily editing the constitution to make your “constitutional” argument, you’ve already lost.

    Does the GOP really want to fight to shut out voters in this unique circumstance? How is a comptrollers appointment worth that p.r. disaster?


  11. - The Captain - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Things I find troubling:

    - Quinn contemplating a constitutional crisis by appointing a 4+ year term
    - Rauner trying to tell Quinn who to appoint
    - Rauner trying to force a full four year appointment and preferring an appointment over an election by the people (especially for a fiscal office)

    Our government may not always serve the voters well but it still belongs to them and I wish the participants in this drama would better demonstrate they understand that.


  12. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Bruce, do you really want to start your administration this way? make the appointment, and that person will be well on their way to running in the special election if they wish. democracy baby!


  13. - A. Nonymous - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    @ Huh -

    Czar Rauner the Supreme Dictator of the GOP Fiat of Illinois does not like it when the little people vote.

    (/snark)

    If the Republicans want to avoid the impression they’re anti-democracy they are failing miserably.

    Appointing someone to a full 4-year term is literally unprecedented whereas the precedents for special elections are numerous.

    What is the GOP afraid of?


  14. - anon - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    So far no one seems to be taking Speaker Madigan’s advice. Each camp is acting like spoiled kids.


  15. - AlabamaShake - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    I get why the GOP doesn’t want to do a special election.

    But what a lousy legal analysis.


  16. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    47, that’s hilarious.

    Can Durkin guide us to the constitution’s powers of the governor-elect section?

    Geez, take a mulligan on this one, guys.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    I understand the politics, heck, I even thought “one” made “sense” but allowing for 2, one for each governor was my hope, and then when the AG gave the opinion, I was more than comfortable with the interpretation.

    The opinion also indicated…an opinion…that a 2016 Special Election is a consideration.

    That is where I begin,

    To the Post, given all that…

    Staking a claim of a 4 year appointment, and your premise is that “politics” is driving the idea to “deny” democracy?

    That’s a possible framing in this instance.

    Like I said, I get the political. I understand the politics and the risk of a GOP appointed Comptroller facing “election” in 2016.

    It’s a difficult box you find yourself staking that a statewide office appointment of 4 years is right and just, as another election in 2 years can allow the people a chance to voice their support and elect their choice when given an opportunity.

    My fear?

    “Here we are, and the GOP is telling the voters of Illinois, in a partisan legalese interpretation of the Constitution, that voters can’t, at the earliest convenience, have an elected, and not an appointed Comptroller for Illinois.”

    Scary.

    “Republican insiders, led by Bruce Rauner, are denying the voting public a voice”

    What is Rauner chooses a “Career Politican” for a 4 year term?

    “Does ‘Shaking up’ Springfield include appointing a career politician to a position in which Rauner refuses to allow the voters the chance, at the earliest convenience, a chance to have their choice over Bruce’s insider, the career politician?”

    Yikes.

    Tough sledding, the politics are here.


  18. - Bill White - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    And, Oswego Willy, by issuing today’s call for a special session Pat Quinn dropped the banana peel the IL GOP might very well slip on.


  19. - Big Muddy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Proposed solution:
    Quinn appoint until Jan 12.
    Rauner appoint 4 year term
    Gen. Assembly combine offices of Comp and Treas for the 2018 election.
    I know, too easy right?


  20. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    I read a little further on the committee report presentation on the relevant sections. GOP staff probably read it too, but don’t want to mention it. This seems cut and dried.

    “We leave unaltered the existing constitutional language, in this and other sections, which in the past has served to support statutes calling for special elections when an appreciable time remains in an incompleted term.”

    Explanation and Commentary on Section 8. Vacancies in Other Elective Office, 1970 — COMMITTEE PROPOSALS, Page 373


  21. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    Let’s look on the bright side…as yet no allogations of money exchanging hands.


  22. - Bill White - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    @Norseman

    Game, set, match . . .


  23. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    It is unfortunate that there is not a consensus candidate so we can skip this garbage. Because it stinks. I wish somebody would do something that makes me think, “what a good idea.” Thanks veto-proofed leaders for your unbelievably bad analysis. Coming to the conclusions that you have, is only trumped by the idiocy to go public with it. Thanks.


  24. - Dave Fako - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    There is s simple way to avoid the costly and protracted legal battle. Accept the fact that after a brief appointment until the new term starts and after a two year appointment beginning with the new term, the citizens of the State get to decide who is the Comptroller for the remaining two years of the term. Beyond being the right thing to do, problem solved, money saved. Unfortunately, too simple for some to simply accept all over an administrative office.


  25. - East Central Illinois - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    Maybe Quinn or Rauner can appoint Jay Cutler . . .I understand he might be looking for a job after this Sunday.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    ===And, Oswego Willy, by issuing today’s call for a special session Pat Quinn dropped the banana peel the IL GOP might very well slip on.===

    Whaaa?

    The GOP has made it clear that Rauner gets a 4 year appointment. Period.

    The GOP was always going to approach it this way, no matter what Quinn wants, even if it’s ignorant and ignoring the wishes of one of the chamber’s leader’s criteria.

    If Quinn issued his Dopey resolution to nothing getting accomplished to achieve this response, Quinn could have gotten these points by just threatening the Special Session.

    The GOP position is not new, nor was it a new idea laid out because of Quinn’s direct actions earlier today.

    Period.


  27. - 2 Cents... - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    HMMM…just wondering if Rauner would’ve refrained from his post-election crying about Quinn passing a dishonest budget and all the other finger pointing garb…would Quinn had been less inclined to push Rauner’s buttons.

    Being a sore winner is just as bad as being a sore loser.

    Something for Rauner to think about as he tries to learn how to work WITH the General Assembly…unless of course, he just buys them too.


  28. - Jaded - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    Both sides have staked out their political ground. I see it, I personally don’t agree with it, but I also don’t see it as an issue anyone other than partisans will care about. It is like the old joke, put 10 lawyers in a room and you will get 10 different opinions. Everyone can opine, only the Supreme Court can decide.

    The speaker still holds all the cards here. If he wants a special election it will pass. If for whatever reason he does not want it to happen, then it won’t. That is really the final word on this.


  29. - Anonymoiis - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==Let’s look on the bright side…as yet no allogations of money exchanging hands.==

    I’m never comfortable or confident believing that


  30. - OneMan - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Ok…

    What I think should be done, like anyone cares.

    Bruce and the GOP come out and say, not so fast. If we need to establish the parameters for Special elections for state constitutional offices due to vacancy, we should do it in a deliberate and intelligent way.

    I agree that whomever I appoint to the office will agree to me to resign (with the potential to be reappointed) on such a date as to trigger a special election (avoid the risk of hence post facto applying to any change). This on the condition that any change in law regarding a vacancy in an elected office applies to all consiutional offices besides Governor (since that is what the Lt. Governor is for) and Lt. Governor since the state Constitution already specifies that Lt. Governor should remain vacant if it becomes vacant.

    Lets do this right, with deliberation and discussion and with the input of the people of Illinois…


  31. - Conservative Veteran - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    According to the current constitution, the appointed comptroller will serve until Jan. 2019. That should only be changed by a constitutional amendment. I hope that, this week, the legislature will propose that amendment for the Nov. 2016 ballot.


  32. - ??? - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    Geez, can we at least get someone appointed now (or very soon) to fill the vacancy until the expiration of the current term and then haggle over the long-term stuff later?


  33. - Just Saying - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    Back to my original argument in an earlier thread.

    Article IV - Sec 2 states for State Senate vacancies:

    “(d) Within thirty days after a vacancy occurs, it shall
    be filled by appointment as provided by law. If the vacancy
    is in a Senatorial office with more than twenty-eight months
    remaining in the term, the appointed Senator shall serve
    until the next general election, at which time a Senator
    shall be elected to serve for the remainder of the term. If
    the vacancy is in a Representative office or in any other
    Senatorial office, the appointment shall be for the remainder
    of the term. An appointee to fill a vacancy shall be a member
    of the same political party as the person he succeeds.”

    If the writers of the 1970 Constitution wanted special elections for Constitutional officer vacancies with more than 28 months left on a term they would have provided for that just like State Senate vacancies. They didn’t. They clearly stated the vacancies would be filled by Governor appointment for the remainder of the term.


  34. - Juan Maclean - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    How’s that Indiana attorney working out for ya?


  35. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    Anonymoiis @3:39 That’s why I was careful to add “allogations”


  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===they would have provided for that===

    They did: “as may be provided by law.”

    Also, check the “nail in the coffin” update.

    You have no leg to stand on here.


  37. - downstate man - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    No special or mid term elections are held if a township would die or could not serve under current law. Maybe it is time for Illinois to take a serious look at election changes with the SBE and election authorities rather than the strange way the General Assembly handles election laws at the last moment.
    Least we forget about 4 years holding a special US Senate election to fill the Obama seat with the 6 year term election of US Senator seat.


  38. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    I think Rauner better be careful here. It looks petty to oppose a special election. While some are angry at Quinn for what they believe is a political decision, Rauner is just as guilty of politics if he opposes this. Perception is everything. The public is going to see a special election as reasonable. You look like a jerk if you oppose it. Just sayin . . .


  39. - jim - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    who cares if anyone is appointed? these are administrative offices that run on their own power. the only point of having an elected treasurer or comptroller is so some aspiring politico will have something to run for.
    the public doesn’t care who is treasurer, won’t care if one doesn’t get appointed, won’t care how long the eventual appointee serves. this is inside baseball for political geeks.


  40. - Say It Ain't So!! - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    If Bruce really wants to avoid costly litigation, he should refrain from filing a lawsuit over this matter and use his power of influence on the Republican party to make sure that litigation is not filed. He should let the voters have their choice and not create costly litigation for the Illinois taxpayers to pay for. He can use his influence to save the state money, rather than encourage wasteful lawsuits.


  41. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    ==won’t care if one doesn’t get appointed==

    I think quite a few people will be upset when they don’t get paid by the state. If you don’t understand that somebody has to be appointed then don’t participate in the conversation because you clearly don’t understand things.


  42. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    ==would face a certain legal challenge and force the people of Illinois to endure a protracted and legal battle that no one wants.==

    You know a way to avoid that Leader Durkin? Don’t challenge it. Problem solved. You look petty if you oppose a special election. You’ve done well in your new position up to this point. Don’t ruin that streak.


  43. - Anonymour - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    Good work, folks. Excellent crowd-sourced legal research in one hour.


  44. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    I looks as if the inaugral activities in Springfield are going to begin a few days ahead of time. The innkeepers give thanks.


  45. - From the 'Dale to HP - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Why is this so hard? How did this become such a mess? Everyone looks horrible right now.

    Quinn and Co: do the right thing. Also why not have a meeting with Rauner, or at least let the public know you’ve reached out to him/his people, keeping them informed on your thought process concerning the replacement.

    Rauner and Co: you are not governor and won’t be until 1/12/15. Don’t try to govern. Quinn owes you nothing, so why not try working with him instead issuing press releases?


  46. - jim - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    since we’re all playing lawyer based on virtually no knowledge, here’s my brain teaser.
    can Quinn and the legislature vote to hold a special election for a vacancy that will exist as of Jan. 12 but doesn’t exist yet?
    say what?
    Here’s my point.
    JBP died and, as a consequence, the comptroller’s office is now vacant. That terms expires on Jan. 12, but since the new term for the comptroller hasn’t started it isn’t vacant yet. Obviously, it will become vacant because JBT isn’t available to fill it. but it’s not vacancy yet, only her current term is vacant.
    that’s the kind of legal mumbo jumbo we’re wading into. why can’t the GOP argue credibly that current legislature can’t call for a special election, only the next legislature can because while the comptroller’s office starting noon on Jan. 12 will become vacant it isn’t vacant yet.


  47. - Annuitant - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    Suddenly everyone cares about the constitution.


  48. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    @jim:

    They can change the law to say if there is a vacancy a special election must be held. It doesn’t have to be specific to this circumstance. There will be a vacancy on Jan 12. Therefore, according to the new law a special election would be held. I believe that’s the way the law would read.


  49. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    If this is the foreshadowing of the Reign of Brucie, it’s going to be a long four years where we look back on Quinn as “the good ole days”!! And, Juan, great line on Brucie’s Indiana GC!


  50. - Bill White - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    @jim

    The language in the constitution provides that the appointee holds office until a special election. The special election is not to fill a vacancy, it’s to replace the appointee

    == The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law ==


  51. - Bill White - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    Also, the special election law will apply to all future vacancies not just this one.


  52. - Been There - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    ===Good work, folks. Excellent crowd-sourced legal research in one hour. ====

    Well maybe crowd sourcing is slowly making lawyers obsolete.
    From Crains:

    Law school enrollment plummets to 27-year low

    With continuous news of a weak market for young lawyers, enrollment of first-year law students at accredited schools is at a 40-year low and overall enrollment is at its lowest in 27 years.


  53. - jim - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    well, I suppose there are many ways to skin a cat. not that it matters much, these events are rare.


  54. - Reality Check - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    Amen to @facts at 3:01. Suddenly Durkin and Radogno regard the Constitution as sacrosanct and any legal question about its interpretation wasteful. Where was their concern when they both voted for a flagrantly unconstitutional pension-cutting bill?


  55. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    47th — I’d like to introduce you to a little thing we like to call “subtext.” If you read the Constitution sensitively, you find that it is imbued with suggestions and foreshadowing that intimate the fundamental role of the Governor-elect as first mover in the legislative bildungsroman.


  56. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    I still believe the Constitution needs to be amended first, before legislation calling for a special election. Ignoring the Constitutional language, or trying to by-pass it by limiting a term of office post-election by legislating a special election remains a problem.

    “As may be provided by law” doesn’t mean changing the term specified in the Constitution. I don’t see any court ratifying that concept. The term was framed by the constitution, and must be changed through a constitutional amendment.

    If the players in this drama want to be smart about it:

    1. Call for two constitutional amendments to be put on the ballot in 2016: (a) A special election for offices where a vacancy occurs less than two years into the term, effective 11/2018, and (b) consolidating the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer, also effective 11/2018.

    2. If (b) is enacted by the voters in 2016, then (a) would apply to the other Constitutional officers should tragedy strike again.


  57. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    By “term” I mean “term of office.”


  58. - COPN - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    Clear/plain language arguments do not require a law degree, and it may take more political research than legal research on whether the IL SC would see the language as “clear.” If it’s clear, then no Con Con delegates’ statements should be considered at all, but is the language actually that clear?

    (1) “shall hold office until…a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law”
    (2) shall hold office until…a successor is elected **or** qualified as may be provided by law
    (3) shall hold office until…a successor is elected and qualified **,** as may be provided by law


  59. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    Assteves, if the players in this or any other drama want to be smart they should avoid taking advise from a guy who is only really known for voter suppression via armed ’security’ guards! Lol


  60. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Seems like both sides are saying my cynical partisan power grab has more legal backing than yours. Sadly I did not expect more.


  61. - Stan - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Only. In. Illinois.


  62. - Mandy - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:04 pm:

    “costly litigation?” - please - and no where near the $27 million he just spent on the governor’s race.


  63. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    Rauner’s friends on the Tribune editorial board pile on:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-session-1219-20141218-story.html


  64. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    currently, the Comptroller’s office is elected. Someday it may be combined with that of the Treasurer’s Office, but currently that is not the case. the duties of the office may seem perfunctory in many regards, but they are oversight related. that is why they are not just done under the Governor’s Office. If the governor gets to choose this position for the full four years, it’s not fully independent of him. Special election must be held.


  65. - Andy S. - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:15 pm:

    Sooo typical of what the Republican party has become. The Constitution is all important, even if it has to be twisted and contorted to change its true meaning. But only when it benefits us. When it does not benefit us, e.g. with pensions, then even though the Constitution is totally clear, we will simply ignore it.


  66. - Enviro - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:45 pm:

    This is what happens when a venture capitalist wants to run state government like a business…and he hasn’t even become the governor yet. This will indeed be a long four years.


  67. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 5:57 pm:

    Wow. Thats some real bad faith spinning of the constitution there by the legislative leaders. Not cool.


  68. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    Seems clear that PQ needs to appoint a Comptroller asap to do the peoples business. He needs to do so.

    When BR takes office, he needs to do the same. Now the veto proof legislature has 2 years to figure out how to merge the office with the Treasurer’s or to commit to a 2016 election.

    Why is this so hard?


  69. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 6:22 pm:

    The GOP is just taking a cue from their friends at the NRA who have the 2nd Amendment on the wall of their HQ–minus the militia clause.


  70. - Out Front - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 6:26 pm:

    -William Kelly- what seeing how you weren’t allowed into Rauners celebration victory party after begging now your a lawyer? Please Billy just go bother some Alderman


  71. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 6:29 pm:

    ==- Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 4:33 pm:==

    I thought right wingers were all about the intentions of Framers? The Framers clearly state the constitution they drafted allows for a special election.


  72. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 6:47 pm:

    Out front, I am not surprised your reaction to truth is to lie about me, pretty standard strategy but not very effective. I say let the people decide who their comptroller should be not the politicians.


  73. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 7:09 pm:

    Plutocrat03:

    Some are of the mind that legislation creating a special election must be enacted prior to Rauner’s appointment.

    Otherwise, it is an ex post facto law.

    I will defer to Mike Kasper on this one.


  74. - walker - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 7:32 pm:

    ===I will defer to mike Kasper on this one.===

    YDD: With you on that. I’m staying out of this one entirely.

    My opinion on constitutional law has proven worthless. I thought the pension reform that passed had a real chance.:)


  75. - Moist von Lipwig - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 8:23 pm:

    Bruce Rauner was disingenuous during the campaign — and now he’s being disingenuous about the law. This’ll be a rocky few years for those who pay attention.


  76. - RNUG - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 9:26 pm:

    I think — Norseman — is right but I also think I see a loophole of sorts. (I might be over thinking it.)

    As long as the statute calling for a special election in 2016 is passed and signed before the (2014 - 2018 term) vacancy exists, I see it being legal. If it was passed after both the vacancy exists and the appointment is made, then I see the special election being open to challenge as affecting the current (appointed) officeholder … hence the rush to get it passed.


  77. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 9:57 pm:

    It is beyond me why the GOP would oppose a special election. It looks like the opposite of “shaking up Spingfield”


  78. - Allknowingmasterofraccoondom - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 9:57 pm:

    So all the “bi-partisan good government folks” here - if the D and R tables where turned here, meaning a D governor with a super majority R house/senate, you would all be making the same argument right. As provided by law my pituty. Who’s law? The law this lame duck will make in 2 weeks? So many high horses on this page-hysterical. I’m so happy my guy won I could just pee.


  79. - Just Me - Thursday, Dec 18, 14 @ 10:56 pm:

    The Republicans don’t have to be right, they just have to confuse the issue enough for another four weeks. Unfortunately for them, Capital Fax commenters are wicked smart.


  80. - PublicServant - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 5:52 am:

    ===I’m so happy my guy won I could just pee.===

    Apparently all over the constitution.


  81. - Micelle Flaherty - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 6:29 am:

    Suddenly everyone’s so concerned about the constitution.


  82. - PublicServant - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 6:34 am:

    RNUG makes a good point. I believe you’re referring to the Ex Post Facto prohibition. True RNUG?


  83. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 7:40 am:

    Allknowing…

    Apparently you are new to this blog. Most of the commenters here would favor a special election no matter who was gov or gov to be.


  84. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 8:00 am:

    @Louis:

    Did you read any of this post? Because if you had you would know your “opinion” is nonsense. It apparently was clear that a special election should be an option. Now who’s spinning themselves into a knot for partisan purposes?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* *** UPDATED x2 *** How independent is Madigan's new independent counsel?
* Fourth Legionnaires’ case confirmed at Quincy veterans' home
* Biss endorsed by Sierra Club
* Question of the day
* Two Metro East GOP primaries take sharp turns toward weirdness
* Rotheimer becomes issue in Rep. Hammond's primary
* Agencies a no-show for Senate hearing on Quincy veterans' home
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and other campaign news
* Rauner on pension cost-shift's impact on property taxes: "It'll help bring them down"
* *** UPDATED x4 - Cassidy explains - Madigan responds - Mendoza, Bustos and Ammons issue statement - Sen. Bush echoes demand *** Rep. Cassidy wants independent probe into "culture that appears to pervade the organizations led by Speaker Madigan"
* Ives, Kennedy up with two new ads
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* *** UPDATED x1 - Madigan responds *** Madigan operative removed from campaigns after complaints, Biss demands resignation of party chairmanship
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner slammed from the right over Janus case
* *** UPDATED x3 - IDCCA clarifies - Biss buy - Quinn responds *** Holiday Monday quick takes: Rotering's new ad slams Quinn; Biss is up on Downstate TV; Pritzker reloads; Daily Journal endorses Ives; IDCCA unveils zero-tolerance policy and pledge
* Konkol out at Chicago Reader after "tumultuous ten days"
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* Saturday quick hits: Mendoza wants Quincy veterans moved; Biss and Raoul report big bucks; Reader cover fallout intensifies
* Yesterday's stories

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» Lawmaker Rips Rauner On Legionnaires' Response At Vets' Home
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» After Husband's DUI, Supreme Court OKs Seizure Of Wife's Harley
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