Last month, an Illinois Appellate Court found an individual ineligible to serve as Mayor because of his previous conviction of a federal crime, reversing the circuit court and Municipal Electoral Board that both determined that the individual was eligible for that office because former Illinois Governor Rauner had issued a “Restatement of Rights” to the individual. The Appellate Court noted that although the Governor has the authority to “grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons,” there was no constitutional provision that granted the Governor the power to issue a certificate to restore rights. Instead, the court held that the proper legislative process to restore a person’s eligibility to run for municipal office is a pardon. However, in this case, the Appellate Court determined that (1) the Governor’s certificate did not qualify as a pardon and (2) even if a pardon had been granted, the Governor has no authority to pardon a person convicted of a federal offense. As a result, the Appellate Court found the plaintiff ineligible to serve as Mayor. Walker v. Barron.
Based on news reports, the plaintiff says he plans to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court and is seeking a pardon from the President.