May 5, 2006

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to court we go

Though it comes as no huge shock, it is a bit unfortunate to hear that the controversy over elected vs. selected committeemen being eligible to vote for Evans' replacement appears all but guaranteed to end up in a court battle.

No state figures or authorities seem to want to touch the question with a 10 ft. pole...

Tory Brecht provides insight and sets the stage in the QC Times:
Though requests for an unbiased third-party opinion were made to the State Board of Elections, the Attorney General’s Office and the state Democratic Party, none of those entities is likely to weigh in on the matter.

The board of elections already has turned down a request for an opinion from 17th District State Central Committeeman Don Johnston, and a spokesman for Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan said he does not plan to get involved either.

“The process is set in the law, and I don’t know how a political party could offer that kind of advice,” said Steve Brown, a spokesman for Madigan, who is House Speaker. “I think even if the party did make some opinion, I don’t know that it would bind the (17th District State Central) committee. It may be something that has to be resolved in court.”

In dispute is whether precinct committeemen appointed after the primary can participate in the selection process. Johnston says Illinois election law clearly states only elected committeemen can vote, while Rock Island County Democratic Chairman John Gianulis and his favored candidate, former Evans aide Phil Hare, disagree.

Johnston has vowed to not let appointees nominate or second the nomination for potential candidates at a May 13 meeting or vote in a planned mail-in ballot to elect a ballot successor to Evans, who is retiring.

Illinois Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, and Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, favor allowing appointees to vote. They have drafted a letter seeking Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s opinion. Jacobs said the letter was forwarded through the House Speaker’s office and sent out May 2.

“I sent it to the Speaker and he said he passed on the request, but at this point, the attorney general is not going to get involved in it,” Verschoore said. “I think it’s likely there will be some type of legal challenge to this thing.”

Jacobs agreed.

“If there’s no answer, someone is going to have to challenge it and take it to court,” he said. “I expect it will happen at the time letters are sent asking committeemen to come to the nomination meeting. If an appointed committeeman doesn’t receive a letter, I expect a challenge. That’s what I think will happen.”

Meanwhile, Johnston has solicited legal help from Stuart Lefstein, a prominent Quad-Cities lawyer who has been involved in his share of squabbles over election law.

Lefstein said he plans to issue a written opinion early next week but said in general it appears Johnston and co-chair Mary Boland are on solid legal footing in regard to the appointee question.

“The statute is ambiguous, and when statutes are ambiguous they should be interpreted in light of the object sought to be accomplished by the legislation,” Lefstein said. “And in my judgment, the object is to select a new candidate in as democratic a manner as possible given the unfortunate circumstances where the voters aren’t going to be able to vote. In my opinion, allowing appointed committeemen to vote would undermine that and give county chairmen control of the process.”


At 5/05/2006 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone cares about this party and its congressional nominee, he or she will do everything possible to avoid having this issue turned into a contest of attorneys in a room. What a sad turn of events.

I am adamant that the Illinois Attorney General issues a prior opinion that sets a legal blueprint for us all. The alternative is unacceptable.

Lisa Madigan, where are you when we really need you?

At 5/06/2006 7:06 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Lisa Madigan is too high and mighty to get involved in any thing as trivial as slating someone to run for congress!

At 5/06/2006 7:11 AM, Blogger diehard said...

The State Legislators who are not involved in this race should send a letter to Queen Lisa asking her for an opinon.
The letter should also go to their boss,[her Daddy], Mike Madigan.
I know 'We the people' are supposed to be the state legislators boss, but just ask Pat Verschoore who his boss is.

At 5/06/2006 12:19 PM, Anonymous thegoodson said...

We agree with Chairman Johnston and Madam M's lawyer. Allowing more to vote would "undermine the system and give county chairman control of the process." Although high-priced lawyer has it backwards - more, not less, appointers proved harder rather than easiers to control.

The armfulls we control now have been appopinted and groomed over the years to carry out the wishes of Chairman John Gianulis, Chairman Lowell Jacobs, Chairman Richard Maynard, Chriaman Jerry Bjork and other great Party Chairman. The Party doesn't need newly apppointed factors thinking he or she is going to change the outcome of the exercise.

What we need now is to vote. Commrade Evans, Gianulis, Johnston and the Jacobs have assured us that they have the votes. They are now ready to appoint Phil Hare to Congress.

Democrat Leader Lane will attend the final meeting and make an impassioned plea for "brother" (Congressman Phil Hare). Although this is not necessary, we feel it adds drama and seals the deal to unsuspecting public.

The deal was done before it started. Praise to Party Leader Johnston and Madam M. for making this done-deal seem exciting.

At 5/07/2006 4:03 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

There is no unbiased entity in IL to mediate this. All three branches of the IL government are controlled by Democrats. Even if this goes to the IL Supreme Court, Tom Kilbride will have to recuse himself----he owes his judgeship to John Gianulius.

At 5/07/2006 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people are not the boss of Legislators. This is not a democracy with pupet type leaders anon 6/5/06 07:11.

At 5/08/2006 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boland and Schwiebert should get out of the race for Lane Evans sake. To let this thing get out of rock island county because these men are so egotistical that they can't put the good of the party ahead of themselves is just plain reckless. Phil Hare should be the guy. Lane Evans wants it this way.

At 5/08/2006 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know where to put thisbut I couldn't help noticing the positive press that the Asain Carp story garnered in the Chicago Tribune Sunday. First page and two others in the front section. This was quite interesting to see the positive in Chicago and the negative of the D/A.

At 5/08/2006 8:53 AM, Blogger rope-a-dope said...

I thought Kilbride owed his position to Speaker Madigan :)

At 5/08/2006 2:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'm confused. How can there be a positive story on Asian Carp or a negative story on Asian Carp. The Trib is pro-carp and the D/A is anti-carp?

Or do you mean that someone is for or against Sen. Jacobs plan to give a million or more to Shaeffer Fisheries?

At 5/08/2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Asain Capr for Phil Evans's sake!

At 5/08/2006 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what anonymous 8:48 is saying, or means to say, is that the Sunday Chicago TRIBUNE had an excellent feature article about the menace of the deep (asian carp), while the Dispatch-Argus hasn't spent nearly as much time delving into the predators from the deep and how they're wiping out species.

But I think that can be explained very easily: The Chicago TRIBUNE has about 200 more reporters on payroll and lots more time and talent to devote to serious topics.

And what the TRIBUNE's excellent reporting discovered is that these commercial fishmen to our south are catching up to 10,000 (yes, 10,000) lbs. of Asian Carp a day and are hardly putting a dent into the supply of vicious fish. If anyone hasn't read it, please look up yesterday's article or perhaps INSIDE DOPE can supply a link for her readers?

At 5/08/2006 4:45 PM, Anonymous Brian F said...

Maybe they should have said interesting story that the Chicago Tribune seemed to think was potentially progressive regarding the asian carp problem and potential solution. Or are you just taking a personal swipe at Jacobs?

At 5/08/2006 5:37 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Here's what strikes me as appropriate, although not grounded in law.

Committeemen appointed before the vacancy was announced get to vote. Those appointed afterwards don't.

At 5/08/2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

BTW, it seems possible the courts could demure by saying that it is a matter for the Democratic Party to resolve. Absent a ruling by the Democratic Party the case is not ripe.

At 5/08/2006 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our local newspaper is regressive and is generally responsible for our area's growing "can't do" attitude. Instead of lifiting people up, the small minds tear them down. Nothing good can come from here, except John Deere.

I thnik taht is waht tehy are triyng to say!

At 5/08/2006 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am anon 8/5/06 08:48. What I was not clear enough for a moran like you is that the press here represent most things in a negative way. Local press calls the bill pork. The Chicago Tribune has a positive spin on trying to control these fish and what these fish can and do do.
You are an idiot if you can't figure out the meaning. I assume you were ignorant to the stories. That you don't read the Chicago Tribune is understandable but to not read the local rag shows your ignorance. You would never make it with our young crowd and our text messaging if you are having trouble with this. Get with the times dude. Like how old are you.

At 5/08/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks, I figured you were some fool who'd react like that to an honest question. Nice gibberish too.

I guess we were supposed to get all that from "postive" and "negative" huh?

I didn't read anything in the Trib which supported Jacobs proposal. Did you?

Did the D/A piece say the problem didn't exist or argue that nothing should be done? Or... did they argue that Jacobs specific proposal was "pork"?

I haven't found the D/A article on line. I'll go look again.

You might try to draw distinctions without lumping everything together into some bleary reckless gob. But then again, if you did that, you wouldn't be able to erupt in irrational anger. I suppose I see why you avoid it.

At 5/08/2006 10:21 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Is THIS the piece you think is a negative piece? It must be in the eye of the beholder. I see a hell of a lot more positive than negative.

At 5/09/2006 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the headline that is what most people do genius.

At 5/09/2006 11:02 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

OH! So you don't even READ the articles you comment about. That explains a lot. Thanks.

I agree that most people read the headlines, but I kinda think that they read the articles as well, at least if it's something they're then going to turn around and make judgements about.

At 5/09/2006 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the stories. The fact that you hadn't read the Chicago story when you first commented is ok. The point is that most people don't read the story. You seem to get confused a lot.

At 5/10/2006 12:20 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yup. When people leave cryptic comments assuming people can read their minds, yeah, I do.

At 5/10/2006 8:31 AM, Anonymous Huck Finn said...

Not sure if this thread needs to be "freshened," but we are coming up to the weekend of the "convention" to pick the 17th District Democratic candidate.

One of the questions running in my mind is how that's all going to play out. Is there going to be a shouting match between John G and Don J that culminates in a walkout ("I'm taking this to court")?

I heard John G has a meeting scheduled with all the county party chairs at the same time as Don J's convention. Is he trying to convince the party leaders to get all the committeemen to vote as blocks? Is he setting the stage for an angry walkout from Don J's forum? What's the real story?


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