STATE AG MAY FORCE BLAGOJEVICH’S HAND…. Mulling over the various options for Rod Blagojevich’s future, the most obvious possibilities boil down to resignation or impeachment.

But there’s another option to consider if the other two take too long.

If Gov. Blagojevich refuses to relinquish power and avoids impeachment, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is prepared to force his hand, aides said Tuesday.

The state’s chief law enforcement officer is prepared to invoke an obscure Illinois Supreme Court rule under which the state’s seven justices could vote to oust a sitting governor deemed unfit for office.

“The attorney general is prepared to take action but believes the Legislature should have a reasonable time to act,” Madigan spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said.

Bauer did not specify a timeline for Blagojevich to resign or for the House and Senate to act on impeachment before she would get involved.

Apparently, the state legal provisions are a little murky when it comes to language. The state Supreme Court, for example, has authority to intervene in order to determine “the ability of the governor to serve.” Would the state AG be able to make the case that Blagojevich is simply unable to serve? It’s potentially tricky.

All of this would be moot if the impeachment drive moves quickly, but the Chicago Sun Times noted that lawmakers are concerned about “how evidence now held exclusively and tightly by federal prosecutors could be presented to a legislative impeachment panel before a Blagojevich trial.”

Increasingly, it seems obvious that Blagojevich will leave office. It’s only a matter of time and mechanism.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.