IL AG: No Special Barrier to Replace Sen. Burris
Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, told leaders of the state’s legislature that she sees no constitutional impediment to the Illinois General Assembly passing legislation that would allow the state’s citizens to vote in a special election for a U.S. Senator to replace the appointed Democratic Senator Ronald Burris.
Controversy has followed Burris ever since he was appointed by former Democratic Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevic, to fill the seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
The former governor was criminally charged in December with seeking to extort campaign contributions and other personal benefits from candidates he was considering appointing to the seat; he was removed from office last month. Burris has issued inconsistent statements regarding his contact with the former governor about his appointment.
“The General Asembly possesses inherent authority, derived directly from the federal constitution, to specify the timing and manner of elections to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy,” stated Madigan, citing the 17th Amendment
Along with lawyers from the Chicago firm, Frankel and Cohen, Chicago labor lawyer, Tom Geoghegan -who is running in a special election to fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated by White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel – has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, calling on the Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the people of Illinois to hold a special election. The plaintiffs argue in the lawsuit that such an election is required by the 17th Amendment.