Keep the lieutenant guv


Michael Madigan: What's he up to? Chicago Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James /

For some unfathomable reason, House Speaker Michael Madigan has introduced legislation that would abolish the office of lieutenant governor. It's hard to take it seriously when Madigan is getting blasted for not properly vetting Scott Lee Cohen, who won the Democratic primary for the office. It's a nice diversion that requires an extensive process for amending the state constitution. It's also a blatant appeal to those who, in the interests of smaller government, would be in favor of eliminating any office.

But it would screw up Illinois even more than it already is. 
The order of succession would be attorney general and then secretary of state. The obvious beneficiary would be Madigan's own daughter, the current attorney general, but I don't think that's the problem. 
What happens when the governor is, say, a Democrat, and the attorney general a Republican? Or vice versa. The removal, incapacitation or death of the governor could cause a change in the political control of the executive branch, a situation that I don't think anyone would want. What would that do to an impeachment process if the two were from separate parties, other than to cast it into political chaos?
If we're to open the constitution for changes in the executive branch, let's stop electing those other statewide offices, such as the attorney general, comptroller, secretary of state and treasurer. It would make the executive branch more responsive to the head of the executive branch--the governor. If you think that's radical, it's how the federal government does it. 
 I can't see anyone as politically astute as Michael Madigan proposing anything like this seriously
Tribune story is here.


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  • why isn't the second most vote getter being put on the ballot?Where are the outraged black voters?Don't let this napolian complexed pirate get away with this.Lets stand up and vote all incumbants out............

  • I don't know either way. The Lt. Gov. is a fairly useless office. Maybe the AG would be a Republican, but, for the very little little Lisa has done to combat corruption in this state, imagine how it would be if Blago had appointed the AG and Treasurer, given that at that time, the Senate, under Emil Jones was in Blago's camp in its feud with Madigan the Elder, and probably would have confirmed his appointments.

    Of course, for waterbill's ilk, there seems to be a type of situational ethics when Illinois supposedly has to be the one to provide a Black U.S. Senator, but balancing the ticket the other way isn't allowed. Others have mentioned that if his theory is in play, why wasn't Forrest Claypool stated instead of the person of minimal intelligence, who, fortunately, will be leaving office this December, not too soon.

    The whole problem is that the party committee gets to slate the candidate. If, in this age of the internet and probably verifiable mail voting, why there can't be a revote, say in September, is beyond me, except that guys like Madigan and Berrios want to keep the power.

  • What we need most of all is an appointed Supreme Court. I had great faith in them until the medical malpractice decision which, if I understand it correctly, is going to next to impossible to appeal.

  • In reply to BobM:

    Picking up on what I previously said, how about a Supreme Court picked by Blago? Then you know that it would be more corrupt, but I guess people who judge legislation by what they get out of it would applaud if Blago's court had held whatever his unconstitutional health plan was constitutional.

    I assume that most of the people who post here didn't read the opinion itself, and do not have the legal training to understand it.* What is clear is that the court said that the last time around, it was unconstitutional, as a violation of separation of powers, to tell a judge that he or she has to reduce the verdict. So, what does the legislature do? It included a provision saying that the jury is to submit a secret verdict, and the judge has to reduce the noneconomic damages to the cap. Lisa argues that the point was not essential to the prior decision, and loses.

    BobM, maybe you should direct your ire to the legislature, which, in my opinion, put a poison pill in the bill, and then assured that the whole bill was knocked out by inserting a clause that it was not severable. That is the opposite of any other law I have ever seen.

    But, to get to the original point, I agree that judicial elections are a farce, but, as in the Lt. Gov. situation, no one as figured out a suitable alternative in this politically corrupt state.

    *As indicated by your "next to impossible to appeal" statement. It is impossible to appeal, since it is based on the Illinois Constitution, and the only way it is appealable to the U.S. Supreme Court is if somehow that decision violated federal law. However, the U.S.S.C. does not have jurisdiction to rule on purely state law matters.

  • Waterbill, I"ve raised the same point here: I think that it is outrageous that the party leaders would even consider passing over the runner-up because he's black. Oh, pardon me, because he's not from Downstate, ya sure. Kass also raised the same point here:,0,2351107.column. What happened to the supposed Democratic principles? What happened to MLK's judge not by the color of one's skin but the content of his character?

    The Democratic Party is rotten to the core.

    Jack, the issue is, of course, more complicated than what I wrote above. Two good, but opposing viewpoints, are in the Tribune, an editorial (not yet posted on the website) and Zorn, at:,0,1972850.column

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    Zorn had a better analysis of the "what ifs" than I expected, and at least I concur with his "what if" scenarios, although not necessarily with the suggestions posted (most of which apparently came from the readers).

    With the Secretary of State, let's also remember that George Ryan was Secretary of State with Edgar, and both were Republicans. Ryan's folk were selling licenses at the time.

    There is definitely no reason to have a Lt. Gov. separately nominated from the Gov., but "having someone waiting in the wings" doesn't seem sufficient justification for having a Lt. Gov., either. At least the Vice President of the U.S. is officially and occasionally President of the Senate (although it appears that Al Franken is Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, which supposedly is where the debate actually occurs).

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