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No, he can’t do that

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019

* Tribune

A Muslim civil rights organization called on Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign an executive order cracking down on hate speech by elected officials after a faux movie poster labeling four Democratic congresswomen “The Jihad Squad” was posted on the Facebook page of a statewide Republican organization.

“It’s not about one meme that brings us here today,” Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday at a news conferences at CAIR-Chicago’s Loop headquarters. “It’s about a culture that exists within the Republican Party, unfortunately, and really that exists in the political fabric in America today. And it is problematic and poisonous.” […]

CAIR-Chicago has not yet reached out to the Pritzker administration about its idea for an executive order, said Maaria Mozaffar, the organization’s legislative attorney. […]

The governor’s office declined to comment on CAIR’s request. It’s unclear whether it would be within Pritzker’s authority to issue an executive order addressing hate speech by elected officials.

Huh? There’s nothing “unclear” about it. The governor has no such power to issue an order about anything outside of his direct control. Read the Illinois Constitution, for crying out loud.

The governor can order agencies and state employees under his command to do certain things (like cancel a concert). But he most certainly can’t officially order a political party, or a candidate, or a legislator or another constitutional officer (like, for instance, the auditor general) to do anything. And the Illinois State Board of Elections is also beyond his direct reach. By the way, he also can’t shut down a manufacturing plant by fiat (no, not even Sterigenics). He has to follow the laws on the books.

And I doubt anyone who thought about it for more than a few seconds would ever want an executive - any executive - to have such massive authority.

* Racism has poisoned and divided our country for centuries. And instead of trying to work our way through it, far too many people today appear to prefer rejoicing in it. That’s just disgusting behavior, particularly when some of our supposed leaders either encourage it or turn a blind eye (which is just another form of encouragement).

But handing dictatorial powers to a governor would be disastrous.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    He could always bring back the Hate Crimes commission that is on the books…but I don’t think anyone wants to open that can of worms after its messy history.


  2. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    This isn’t the first time CAIR has shown disregard for the first amendment - google them and “censorship” and though you’ll find a lot of biased attacks on them, you’ll also find a number of legit attempts at censorship.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    We want a dictator-type order to stop free speech… because… America?

    The rule of law works different


  4. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    Agree about not limiting public officials’ hate speech.

    We can work through our racism by defeating our racist president, who is deliberately attacking people of color and demonizing brown-skinned undocumented residents to keep the GOP base ginned up. We have to admit things are different now, with a president deliberately opening wounds and relishing causing other people pain.


  5. - A Jack - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    And if the people of Illinois were to someday elect a Governor who had Trump-like ideas and that kind of power, imagine the damage he could do.


  6. - SAP - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    There is a reason that the first amendment was put first in the Bill of Rights.


  7. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    CAIR would do better to encourage its members to show their disgust at the ballot box.


  8. - Dude - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    How did having a Governor not once, but twice (both Quinn and Rauner) authorize not paying the Legislature work out?

    Blatantly unconstitutional, should likely have come with a jail
    sentence for openly shaking down another branch of government, organized crime style.

    This is a close cousin. Absurd on its face for the reasons that Rich articulates.


  9. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    My goodness. Do some basic legal and Constitutional homework before suggesting such nonsense. A draconian solution for an admittedly terrible problem. It’s ideas like this that inadvertently feed the racists, who really don’t need any feeding.


  10. - A guy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    In Texas Hold Em’ you better show up with more than a pair of threes. Or fold ‘em and wait for the next hand.
    Bluff and bluster are the same thing. Demanding silly things will discount your voice when it truly matters.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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