SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Supreme Court yesterday denied an effort to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich, rejecting what could have been the quickest way to force the disgraced Democrat from office.

The ruling came as the governor's attorney challenged the strength of the corruption case against Blagojevich before a panel of lawmakers that is considering whether to recommend impeachment.

Chicago attorney Ed Genson said the wiretaps that ensnared Blagojevich amounted to all talk and no action.

"It's just people jabbering," Genson told the House panel.

But the the committee's Democratic chairwoman, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago, rejected Genson's objections that the panel hadn't given the governor time to mount a defense. *