Sunday, January 11, 2009

Legal Pay To Play Politics In Illinois.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled, on January 9, 2009, that Roland Burris's appointment to the United States Senate did not require the signature or seal of the Illinois Secretary of State to be valid. (PDF here.) So Burris's appointment is valid and the Secretary of State's refusal to sign, or affix a seal to, the appointment order has no legal effect.

The legal analysis on the last page of the opinion is entertaining and ironic, especially since Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is being impeached over "pay to play" politics. It turns out that if Governor Blago and Burris want a copy of the appointment order signed and sealed by the Secretary of State, they can pay for it. So says the Illinois Supreme Court on page 9 of its decision.
"There is one final point we feel constrained to mention. While the Secretary of State has no duty under Illinois law to sign and affix the state seal to the certificate of appointment issued by the Governor, he does have a duty under section 5(4) of the Secretary of State Act (15 ILCS 305/5(4) (West 2006))

'to give any person requiring the same paying the lawful fees
therefor, a copy of any law, act, resolution, record or paper in
his office, and attach thereto his certificate, under the seal of
the state.'

"The registration of the appointment of Mr. Burris made by the Secretary of State is a “record or paper” within the meaning of this statute. A copy of it is available from the Secretary of State to anyone who requests it. For payment of the normal fee charged by the Secretary of State in accordance with this statute, Petitioners could obtain a certified copy bearing the state’s seal. Because such relief is possible, no order by this court is necessary or appropriate. See People ex rel. Devine v. Stralka, 226 Ill. 2d 445, 450 (2007) (for mandamus to issue, the petitioner must be without any other adequate remedy)."

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