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Madigan: Blagojevich lawsuit seeks 'rule by single man'
Associated Press
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Published: 9/26/2007 12:17 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- State Capitol feuding has escalated with House Speaker Michael Madigan blasting the governor's lawsuit over special sessions as an assault on the Constitution's declaration of equal branches of government.

"The governor's actions are far beyond the bounds of political gamesmanship," Madigan wrote in a 58-page response to the lawsuit, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich slapped on him a month ago for refusing to call special sessions at the specific times Blagojevich wanted during the legislature's record-breaking budget stalemate.

"Though his means may be the legal mechanism of a lawsuit, his ends traverse into a dark realm that ultimately seeks to replace the rule of law with rule by a single man," said the response filed Monday in Sangamon County circuit court.

Blagojevich also argued his constitutional authority to call special sessions was being eviscerated because Madigan told lawmakers to skip special sessions after a state budget was passed.

But Madigan said in his response that Blagojevich, in an "unprecedented misuse of executive authority," called 16 special sessions at inconvenient times and with little notice to apparently punish lawmakers for refusing to pass legislation he wanted.

"He wants to force lawmakers to remain in Springfield indefinitely, with the hope that this effective imprisonment will force members to the point of exhaustion and capitulation to his will," Madigan wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers Monday explaining his position.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said the administration is standing up for the governor's constitutional authority and would welcome a resolution out of court if Madigan would comply.

"We don't care where the question is resolved -- whether it's in a courtroom, or out of a courtroom," Rausch wrote in an e-mailed statement. "We just care about making sure the Constitution is upheld."

Blagojevich and Madigan have battled all year over the state budget and other issues. The tussle is expected to continue next week when the legislature returns for its two-week fall veto session.

Madigan wants the court to throw out the lawsuit.

He contends it is flawed for several reasons, including because Blagojevich did not sue the Senate and because the state Constitution gives the House authority to set its own rules, and therefore, the right to schedule its session times.