Must a public official convicted of a felony give up his job? The Illinois constitution requires it. But state Attorney General William Scott, judged guilty on one count of federal income tax fraud last week by a federal jury, may fight it on grounds that due process justifies a wait until the conviction can be appealed.
It would be the first direct challenge of the constitutional directive. The state's top law enforcement officer is slated to be sentenced June 6 and must step aside at that time.
Editorials in both the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times have urged Mr. Scott not to fight his removal from office, and legal experts here say they doubt such a bid to stay on would be successful. Most agree he could retrieve his job and back pay if his appeal goes in his favor, but they doubt any court would override the constitutional provision or that the Legislature would pass a special law on Mr. Scott's behalf.