WASHINGTON--Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday took some initial steps that could result in the Illinois General Assembly bouncing embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) from office by cutting his term short and calling for a special election.
Key to the legal reasoning, issued Wednesday night in the form of an official opinion, is considering Burris' appointment by ousted Gov. Blagojevich as temporary.
Release from Madigan.....
As the General Assembly considers bills to address the process for filling a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, the Attorney General has received inquiries specifically asking whether the legislature can constitutionally pass a law that changes the date of the next election for the U.S. Senate.
The Attorney General is releasing the following statement:
"It is my opinion that the legislature may pass a law allowing the people of Illinois to elect a U.S. senator to fill the seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Such a law would be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The 17th Amendment expresses a clear preference for having the people of a state elect their U.S. senators. In keeping with the purpose of this amendment, the legislature may constitutionally change the current law to set an earlier date for the election to this U.S. senate seat. I am providing this opinion to offer guidance to the legislature as they consider this issue."