Judge slaps down ex Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawsuit seeking to undo ban on running for office


Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs autographs after arriving at O’Hare International Airport following his release from prison on Feb. 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Just go, Blago!

That’s what a federal judge said to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in dismissing his lawsuit asking the federal government to reverse a ban on him from running for political office. The Illinois Legislature impeached the disgraced governor in 2008 when he tried to sell off the U.S. Senate seat held by then President-Elect Barack Obama. Blago was then convicted in federal court and served almost eight years in prison before President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.

Blagojevich filed a lawsuit in 2021 in the U.S. District of Northern Illinois, saying the state Senate’s disqualifying provision violated his Sixth and 14th Amendments. But U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger dismissed the lawsuit in a snarky 10-page decision that quoted Dr. Seuss.

“The book is closed. The last page already turned, and the final chapter of his public life is over. The case never should have been filed. Read generally Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (1972) (‘The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just Go. Go. GO! I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!’),” he wrote.

Blagojevich argued that banning him from office strips the rights of voters.

“He adds that the ‘people’s right to vote is a fundamental right,’” Seeger wrote. “And by that, Blagojevich apparently means the fundamental right to vote for him.”

Seeger argued that the separation of powers between the state and federal government prohibits the judiciary from intervening in state matters regarding impeachment. Legislatures, and legislatures alone, have the power to impeach politicians, Seeger pointed out. It doesn’t matter if the legislature got the facts wrong in the impeachment, the judiciary still can’t intervene, he said.

The judge also pokes fun at Blagojevich’s rather loud pronouncement when filing the lawsuit when he showed up to the courthouse with a megaphone to conduct a press conference.

“The case started with a megaphone, but it ends with a whimper. Sometimes, cases in the federal courthouse attract publicity. But the courthouse is no place for a publicity stunt. He wants back. But he’s already gone. Case dismissed.”




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