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Judge quotes Dr. Seuss in tossing out Blagojevich lawsuit: "Will you please go now!"

Federal judge tosses Blagojevich lawsuit; says "riddled with problems"
Federal judge tosses Blagojevich lawsuit; says "riddled with problems" 00:57

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Three years after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban on him ever running for state or local office again, a federal judge issued a blistering ruling on Thursday, quoting Dr. Seuss in telling Blagojevich to "go away."

"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!')," U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger wrote in his ruling throwing out Blagojevich's lawsuit.

Blagojevich served nearly eight years of a 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges before his sentence was commuted in February 2020 by then-President Donald Trump. Months later, he filed a federal lawsuit claiming his removal from office by the Illinois Senate following his 2009 impeachment trial was unconstitutional and seeking to allow him to run for state or local elected office in Illinois.

"Blagojevich didn't have a graceful exit from public life. It was disgraceful. And by the look of things, it wasn't even an exit. Because Blagojevich wants back in the game, and back on center stage, microphone in hand," Seeger wrote.

Seeger pulled no punches in ruling Blagojevich's lawsuit was "riddled with problems."

"If the problems are fish in a barrel, the complaint contains an entire school of tuna. It is a target-rich environment. The complaint is an Issue-Spotting Wonderland," Seeger wrote.

Seeger wrote that legislatures have the sole authority over impeachment proceedings, and the separation of powers prevents courts from interfering.

"It does not take much interpretative detective work to figure out that the judiciary has no seat at the table," Seeger wrote.

While Seeger said some states allow courts a degree of latitude to review impeachment proceedings, he said Blagojevich gave no reason to believe Illinois is one of the states that would allow judicial review.

"There isn't a lot of case law in Illinois. In fact, there isn't any case law. And for good reason. In its 205-year history, the Illinois General Assembly has impeached, convicted, and removed one public official: Blagojevich," Seeger wrote. "The simple reality is that federal courts have no role to play when it comes to a state impeachment. The state legislature decided to remove Blagojevich from public life, and it is not the place of a federal court to bring him back."

Noting Blagojevich held a press conference outside the Dirksen Federal Building before filing his lawsuit, Seeger said the former governor was essentially using the courthouse for a "publicity stunt."

"He wants back. But he's already gone. Case dismissed," Seeger wrote.

A spokesman for Blagojevich said the judge's ruling "came as no surprise."

"The law banning Rod Blagojevich from running for office in Illinois is unconstitutional. The people should be able to decide who they want or don't want to represent them -- not federal judges or establishment politicians who are afraid of governors who fight for people," Blagojevich spokesman Mark Vargas said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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