Attorney General Lisa Madigan gave Gov. Pat Quinn the cover he needs Monday to gracefully pull his head out of his fanny and kill off this notion that he gets to pick Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s replacement beyond this last month of her expiring term.
Madigan’s legal opinion — clarifying that Quinn’s appointee should serve only until the end of the current term and that Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner may name someone to replace Topinka for the new term that starts Jan. 12 — ought to put an end to the matter.
Although legal theories to the contrary have been advanced by Democrats since Topinka’s death, most likely in hopes of finding a safe place to park some of their loyalists after the loss of the governor’s office, Quinn needs to make clear that anyone he appoints should step down when he does.
Ever since the November election, Quinn has seemed either determined to embarrass the people who voted for him — or indifferent when he does so — beginning with his Election Night refusal to concede defeat.
He followed that up with the wrong-headed decision to allow his appointees on the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to hire his campaign manager for the lucrative job of executive director.
Now, we have him flirting with the idea he has the power to appoint a constitutional officer who could continue to serve until the next election — up to four years into the future.