Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A note on Blago and impeachment

I've heard some well-informed and well-intentioned people misspeak about the impeachment of Gov. Blagojevich, pictured below



For example, Bill Press said on his show this morning that Blago had not been CONVICTED of any crime, is it fair to impeach him?

YES, a thousand times YES.

[NOTE: ENTERING LAWYER MODE BELOW]

For one thing, the rather awful Illinois constitution allows impeachment for "cause." No one knows what "cause" means, but let's assume for sake of discussion that the more developed "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard from the feds applied. The concept is the same. I would recommend to you the House Judiciary Committee report prepared in 1974 in anticipation of the Nixon impeachment, which obviously was short-circuited by his resignation. As that report makes clear, impeachment is a POLITICAL matter, not a criminal one. In fact, in the federal constitution specifically provides that removal from office/disqualification is the ONLY penalty.

As the report makes clear, going back to the English origins of "high crimes and misdemeanors," these actions arise from charges of official power or trust. Impeachment and removal is appropriate even if there is no criminal conviction.

4 comments:

jimbow8 said...

Bill Press was annoying the piss out of me this morning..... as he often does.

My 'favorite' was when a woman called in and mentioned many, many things which Blago has done (not been convicted) and Press responded that it "sounds like you just hate the man. But there's no evidence" - dismissing all the examples she had given.

I REALLY wish WCPT would find a new morning program.

jimbow8 said...

A friend pointed out (you may want to verify this) the IL constitution requires that convicted felons lose their office immediately, so ONLY non-convicted politicians can be impeached. In other words, if conviction was required for impeachment, there would be no need for impeachment.

Carlos said...

The view from here is that Blago knows he's gone but now is playing to the jury in a criminal trial.

After all, why would he mention Oprah, Jimmy Stewart, MLK, Mother Theresa, and Ghandi in the same sentence, while making his "case" on the View, Larry King, and tonite Rachel Maddow show, instead of at his impeachment trial?

OK, he's "cuckoo" says Da Mayor -- it's pathetic and bizarre but Blago might avoid incarceration with this high visibility PR blitz aimed at appealing to a future jury pool in his upcoming criminal trial.

Peter said...

felony conviction means automatic and immediate removal, but that is by statute rather than in the constitution. The point is certainly valid though.