Blago Could Be Impeached By Next Week

The Illinois House has moved up its consideration of the impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich to next week:

The Illinois House could vote as early as next week on whether to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich. . . . A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the chamber may vote on a recommendation from the special committee studying whether Blagojevich should be impeached.

More . . .

If Blago is impeached next week, and the Illinois Senate moves quickly, Blago could be removed from office before President-elect Obama is inaugurated. In addition, Blago's replacement, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, could have a Senate appointment before the Senate before the end of the month. Assuming the appointment of Roland Burris is referred to committee, then the Senate could accept the Quinn appointment. This makes the legal posture of the Blago/Burris Farce quite different than it would be if it were solely rejecting the Burris appointment. In the proposed scenario, the Senate would be choosing between competing "returns."

We can presume that Quinn will tap an African American for the seat, defusing the race bomb launched by Rep. Bobby Rush at the behest of Blago and Burris. At that point, the rationale for Burris persisting loses all political impetus.

What we are left with then is an academic exercise on the power of the Senate to judge the elections and returns of its members. It's been fun of course to debate all of this, but the litigation loses its urgency, both legally and politically. What judge will be eager to inject himself into that situation?

The real world is intruding in our academic debates. We may be done with Blago and Burris by the end of January.

Speaking for me only

< Tribe: Senate Can Refuse To Seat Blago Farce Choice Burris | A Short Lived Concern For "The Rule Of Law" >
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    Can a real investigation (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 06:18:52 PM EST
    actually be completed and evidence be gathered and presented that quickly?

    I haven't experienced much in the way of impeachments, but I was under the impression that they are not conducted very quickly.

    Fitz gave them his criminal complaint (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 06:20:37 PM EST
    Give them the tapes too (none / 0) (#11)
    by MKS on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:20:59 PM EST
    and it is over....

    reid (none / 0) (#28)
    by jedimom on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:25:45 AM EST
    apparently harry reid is on the tapes also, telling BLago he does not want Jesse Jr, Davis or Jones appointed to PEBO seat...

    the IL Senate trial is expected to wrap up in Febrary, then Blago would be forced out, allowing Quinn to appoint replacement part two..

    coincidentally February is the new date for PEBO stimulus...they seem to be waiting for us to have 60 to invoke cloture, of course that assumes that Cornyn and others dont block Biden Jr, Maloney of NY, Bennett of CO and Franken, and we blocking Burris opens a huge can of worms...

    I say we take Burris and the other 4 replacements, and get our 60 now and put our stimulus thru!


    59 when all are seated (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:27:07 AM EST
    We do not have 60.

    Doesn't Blago get a defense (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 12:09:53 AM EST
    In the IL Senate?  

    Can he be impeached and convicted without being convicted of any crime?  Can they do that on their assumption that he did something wrong?  

    We do seem  to be a bit quick to convict Blago which is not common on this website for other criminals who have not had their day in court.  For instance, I know we're not permitted to say that that OJ Simpson is a murderer.  Yet we can say that Blago is a criminal and should be impeached and convicted?  How much time in jail should he get?  Or should he just be hung?  Have we decided that also?  

    Yes, I am being snarky,  but I am rather surprised that anyone thinks Blago will be gone in two weeks when he hasn't been  convicted of any crime.  I have little doubt that he will mount a vigorous defense.  

    again (none / 0) (#26)
    by lilburro on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 05:16:30 AM EST
    impeachment is different than a prosecution.

    I'll quote James Ferguson here, since he said it better than I probably would be able to:

    "This flexible framework comports with the purpose of an impeachment trial, which differs sharply from criminal prosecution. An impeachment trial does not seek to deprive an official of his liberty, but only to determine if he should continue to enjoy the privilege of holding office. Like all other public officials, Blagojevich does not have a presumptive "right" to remain in power. Rather, he is a public trustee--a fiduciary--who has been entrusted with power on the condition that he wield that power for the public good. As such, the governor is held to the highest standards of integrity with special obligations of public accountability.

    If Blagojevich violated this trust, he should be removed from power before he does any further harm to the state. By requiring him to explain his conduct in office--and by requiring him to be held publicly accountable--Illinois lawmakers can make this determination as soon as possible."

    Blago counting on haste (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by abdiel on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 12:23:52 AM EST
    The reason everyone is trying to hurry the impeachment is so Blagojevich can be replaced and Burris gets kicked out without causing any more trouble.  This appointment is causing a lot of unnecessary problems for Democrats and they'd rather be rid of him before Burris goes to the Supreme Court.  

    However, I'm sure that's exactly what Blago wants.  A hasty trial with a lot of pressure is exactly the kind of thing that causes prosecutors to screw up (see AG Madigan's poor argument to declare him "disabled").  The absolute worst case scenario is that Blago gets off on a technicality while everyone still thinks he's guilty.  

    Impeachment vs innocence (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by disillusionedbabyboomer on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 08:50:45 AM EST
    It seems to me that the political maelstrom in Illinois has allowed the presumption of innocence to be diluted if not eliminated altogether. So far, there is nothing known except the pronouncement by Fitzgerald and his own Criminal Complaint, not even an Indictment.  Even an Indictment is no guarantee of guilt, much less a conviction, but it would add a little credibility to the otherwise empty gesture by Fitzgerald. Any DA or US Atty could get an Indictment from a Grand Jury in a day, even for a ham sandwich, so I can't help but wonder if this whole fiasco isn't just an orchestrated conspiracy to crush the Dems of Illinois.  Why hasn't Fitzgerald gotten his Indictment in the 4 weeks that elapsed since his announcement, and worse yet, why would Fitzgerald need a further 3-month extension to accomplish what the law expects him to have done already? This whole thing stinks of politics to me. Remember that Fitzgerald was not one of the US Attorneys fired for not going along with the DOJ political purging. Maybe he agreed to orchestrate his prosecutions for political reasons? In any event, the Constitution affords Blago and everyone else a presumption of innocence, and to remove him from office on the say-so of only one man is an outrageous affront to our constitutional sensibilities. The Illinois Legislature would be way out of line to try to impeach Blago now, thereby impugning the presumption of innocence and gutting Blago's 5th Amendment privilege against self-incerimination and his 6th Amendment right to confront his accusers. Maybe Fitzgerald should be removed for incompetence, if not violation of his oath of office? It also pains me to see Obama, the supposed constitutional scholar, to hop on the Fitzgerald band-wagon, and demand that Blago resign. It is equally upsetting to see the Senate, our law-making body, conspire to ignore the Constitution also, again based only on rumor or supposition. This whole mess stinks!

    Blago was presumably trying to stir up (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:16:20 PM EST
    some support within the IL legislative black caucus. I hope that doesn't work, but listening to Bobby Rush, I have to wonder if it might.

    That could make a quick impeachment/removal more difficult. (Could: I expect the Republicans will vote to remove him too).

    Whose goodwill (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:19:44 PM EST
    will you be more worried about? Obama and Durbin? Not to mention Quinn? Or Bobby Rush, Blago and Burris?

    In the IL State House (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:23:29 PM EST
    That's Blago's most pressing concern right now. He wants to throw a wrench in impeachment.

    Quinn could appoint Burris (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:42:05 PM EST
    and keep everyone happy.

    Absolutely not (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Warren Terrer on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:51:08 AM EST
    Burris is tainted. If Quinn appoints him he calls into question his own independence, i.e. it just looks like Quinn was in on the whole Burris appointment.

    The smart move for Quinn is to say nothing now about who he might appoint, since he's not Governor yet. And then, if and when he becomes, to appoint someone who was never under consideration by Blago at any time.


    Lots of "ifs" in that post ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:19:17 PM EST
    but I hope it happens, because, politically, it would be the best result for Dems.

    And this circus can be ended, and we can move back to real issues.

    No, Blago was trying to game his own (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:40:47 PM EST
    criminal case, by being more of a pain than could be borne.

    Deluded, but that's Blago.

    Hypothetical: Blago is impeached. (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:03:38 PM EST
    Quinn appoints Jesse Jackson, Jr.  Better than Burris due to no taint?

    Better? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:08:36 PM EST
    Well no.

    Acceptable to the Senate? Yes.


    JJJr. would be acceptable to the Senate? (none / 0) (#12)
    by pmj6 on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:33:00 PM EST
    Despite all the "Candidate #5" stuff? I think a good case can be made he was in negotiations with Blagojevich over the exact sum for which that seat would be his. This meets Tribe's "perception of crooked process" criterion with ease.

    Pardon me for feeling mighty cynical about Reid's concern for "the rule of law", if JJJr is seated while Burris is rejected, even though they were both involved in Blagojevich's maneuvering to name Obama's successor, and even though Burris seems not to have been talking $$$ with Blago.


    not acceptable to reid (none / 0) (#30)
    by jedimom on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:29:08 AM EST
    take a gander at sun times, Reid said NO to Jesse Jr, Davis AND Jones,

    in fact Reid did not propose ANY AA for PEBO seat, I am sure Bobby Rush will use this reporting to help inspire the CBC to fight for Burris instead of taking chances with Quinn, now that Reid is outed as pushing Duckworth or Madigan and no AAs for the post...

    see here


    Jjj is an unindicted... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Salo on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:55:47 PM EST
    Co conspirator.  Rahm might even be vulnerable.

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich (none / 0) (#10)
    by 165 Valley on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 08:20:13 PM EST
    I'm sorry, but I'm still totally clueless; he is considered innocent until proven guilty.  What am I missing in all of this?

    Please respect the office and wait until whatever happens.

    You want to hand over (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:01:01 PM EST
    executive authority for the state of Illinois to "innocent until proven guilty?"

    Nope, Impeachment is political.


    I found it amazing (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Warren Terrer on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:53:44 AM EST
    how often I hear 'innocent until proven guilty' about Blagojevich and yet not one single progressive would dare suggest that we should go easy on Bush because he too is 'innocent until proven guilty'. Yes, let's not be in a rush to judge Bush. He has rights!

    but.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by jedimom on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:30:47 AM EST
    yes but andgarden, how is this different than Rove and co pushing out Alabam GOV?? couldnt GOP later use this to block ANY appointed DEM by ginning up a bogus case of impeachment against ANY sitting DEM GOV

    sure they can, we are playing with fire here IMO....


    An impeachment with no evidence? (none / 0) (#16)
    by ericinatl on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:16:03 PM EST
    You must be joking.  There will be four tapes introduced into evidence.  All chosen by Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Will we get to see all the other tapes that Fitzgerald collected?  Doubtful.

    This impeachment is a farce -- playing right into the hands of Fitzgerald whose only goal was to destroy Blago politically.  

    Appearance of impropriety does not mean impropriety when the only evidence has been picked and choosed by the prosecutor.

    I would have thought we would have learned from the Clinton impeachment that all impeachment is politically motivated, and not based on actual impeachable offenses.  But I guess not.  A sad, sad day.

    Nothing says the lawyer presenting (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:19:29 PM EST
    the evidence supporting impeachment couldn't go beyond the tapes Fitzgerald turned over.

    yes! (none / 0) (#32)
    by jedimom on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:33:12 AM EST
    yes I asked about this

    REID is apparently on tape saying he doesnt want, davis, jesse jr or jones...BLAGO was under pressure from REID, THAT is his defense, he was playing ball.....

    when that tape comes out, and it is directly related to the tape that comes after with Blago saying he is under pressure to NOT appoint jesse jr, that is his defense and the CBC will feel hurt that Reid blocked ALL AA candidates saying they couldnt win reelection, and pushed for Madigan or Duckworth.....

    Were I blago's peeps I would fight to introduce REID tape and call it playing ball and not a crime.,...


    Impeachment has only ever been political (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:23:32 PM EST
    It's hard for me to imagine any exculpatory evidence.

    How can their be any exculpatory evidence (none / 0) (#19)
    by ericinatl on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:27:13 PM EST
    where there is no crime?

    It's just going to be a bunch of politicians saying that what Blago said makes them feel "Icky."  As I've said before, it's not a crime, it's a violation of "crassness" -- and politicians and the rest of the elite prefer to have their crassness unrecorded and out of the light of day.


    No crime (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:31:22 PM EST
    It looks damn sure to me like there's been a crime. Just no conviction yet.

    A crime without an indictment? (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by ericinatl on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:33:52 PM EST
    Perhaps we should wait for the indictment to decide whether there's actually an impeachable offense.  But that's just me.

    Since when (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Warren Terrer on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 11:55:18 AM EST
    is an indictment required to initiate impeachment procedings? Answer: never.

    Oy (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:30:06 PM EST
    Why are you in such a rush to string this guy up? (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ericinatl on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 09:35:37 PM EST
    Even the prosecutor has asked for 90 more days to come up with a crime.  Yet, you are convinced of criminality.  Odd.  That.