Friday, December 19, 2008

Blago Refuses to Resign - I Think That's Good for the Process of Law

Rod Blagojevich just announced that he won't resign as Governor of Illinois, and will fight the charges that Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made against him.

I think that's for the good of the country - seriously. Our laws say that people accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty. Not only has Blagojevich not been found guilty in a court of law, he has not even been indicted by a grand jury. All that has happened is a Federal prosecutor has brought very serious charges against him.

For all I know, the charges may well be true. But the point is that I don't know, and neither do most Americans. What we know is that we live in a society governed by laws. If a duly elected governor is obliged to resign because he is accused, not because he is found guilty, what does that say about our laws? Should a prosecutor have such power?

I think not, especially when that power could not only remove a governor, but stop the state of Illinois from sending one of its two Senators to Washington. I know that Harry Reid has said the US Senate would not seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich - but it's not even clear that the Senate would be sustained in court if they tried to do that in this case (those decisions can always be challenged in court, and I wonder if a judge would uphold voiding a Governor's appointment on the basis of his being accused not convicted of a crime).

Laws are designed to protect all of us. Let's not short-circuit them by behaving as if someone has been convicted, when he has only been charged.
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