Judge dismisses Blagojevich attempt to keep 183rd jets in Springfield

Sarah Antonacci

U.S. Judge Richard Mills on Friday dismissed Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawsuit attempting to stop the Defense Department from moving the 183rd Tactical Fighter Wing’s F-16 jets out of Springfield.

Mills said Blagojevich had no standing to challenge the recommendation, which was made by the Base Relocation and Closure commission in 2005 and later adopted by the Pentagon.

“It appears to the court that Congress intended to preclude judicial review over the BRAC Act. Even if Congress did not so intend, however, the Court finds that the Governor’s claims have no merit because the relevant statutes do not have a gubernatorial consent requirement in cases such as this,” Mills wrote.

The governor originally filed the lawsuit in 2005. Blagojevich went back to court in recent weeks, asking Mills to put an immediate stop to the move, which is scheduled to be completed by this fall. Mills earlier this week rejected the governor’s request for a temporary restraining order.

The base itself is not being moved, only the aircraft. But if no other flying mission replaces the F-16 fighter jets -- something Springfield's congressional representatives have been lobbying for -- the 183rd’s base at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport will lose 163 full-time personnel.