Illinois (ECWd) –
Attorney General Kwame Raoul provided a most interesting letter to the Senate President, Senator Harmon, dated May 20, 2020.
According to the 15-page letter, Senator Harmon inquired if a prior Attorney General opinion had considered all the legislative history of the Emergency Management Agency Act. The prior opinion was a blow to Governor Pritzker since it outlined he does not have the power to exercise emergency powers beyond 30 days.
What makes this so interesting is not what Attorney General Raoul says in the letter, but what he does not say.
- It makes no reference to the purpose of the 30-day limitation and the fact ignoring it would render the limitation clause meaningless-From AG Ryan’s opinions bureau.
“A construction of its provisions to allow the Governor to extend the 30 day period would render the limitation clause meaningless.”
- It makes no reference to well-established rules of Statutory Construction.
“Legislative intent is best evidenced by the language used in the statute. People v. Marshall, 242 Ill. 2d 285, 292 (2011). Where statutory language is clear and unambiguous, it must be given effect as written. First American Bank Corp. v. Henry, 239 Ill. 2d 511, 516 (2011 ).”
- It makes no mention of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s opinion on Application of Executive Orders
“Accordingly, the Governor does not have power to legislate by executive order, and, therefore, unless authorized by law, an executive order relating to matters other than executive reorganization can be no more than a policy directive to agencies under the Governor’s control.”
- It makes no mention of established Illinois Case law from the Illinois Supreme Court on the Governor’s Executive Orders
“The present order does not regulate the conduct of officers and employees of the executive branch. Instead, its impact, including its sanctions, is upon third persons who are not a part of State government. It does not therefore fall within the authority granted by section 2 of article XIII.”
For those that have been following the legal case against the Governor, once we exposed the prior Attorney General opinion that put him in check, the claims that opinion was from a Republican administration or only an informal opinion spread quickly through social media.
For the record, the opinion written in 2001 had nothing to do with any politics, and just because it was an “informal” opinion it does not mean the legal analysis is any less accurate.
While the Governor continues to claim anyone that dare challenge his edicts is being political, it warrants the question, is this new letter from Raoul political? In light of the fact he took 15 pages to answer a simple question, it appears the Governor’s legal team knows they are in trouble in the court battles over his Executive Orders.
One can only wonder why Senator Harman did not ask the most important question, does the Governor have the power to issue Executive Orders to the people of the state.
We note that the letter does not designate this as an official opinion, informal opinion, or advisory opinion.
You can download the letter at this link or view it below.Raul