Down for the Count?

A federal judge has once again rejected Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s lawsuit to prevent the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing from losing its F-16s under BRAC 2005. The Associated Press reported June 14 (via the Chicago Tribune) that US district judge Richard Mills on June 13 dismissed the state’s last-ditch attempt to thwart the transfer of the wing’s 15 F-16s from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield to the Indiana ANG’s 122nd FW at Fort Wayne International Airport. Four days prior to that, Mills turned down the governor’s request for a temporary restraining order. Blagojevich has argued that, as governor, only he and not the Department of Defense, has the authority to order such a move. Twice before, a federal judge dismissed his suit on procedural grounds. But in March, the governor won an appeal and the case was ordered back to court to be measured on its merit. According to AP, the first of the 183rd FW’s F-16s are already leaving Springfield. Without a turn of events, all 15 aircraft are expected to be gone in September. In January, Blagojevich asked then-Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne to reconsider the move or at least to assign the C-27 transport to the wing if the fighters go.