Impeach Blagojevich Now (Updated)

Under Illinois state law Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s power to appoint a replacement for President-Elect Barack Obama’s seat in the United States Senate does not end with his indictment but only with his resignation, impeachment, death, or other removal from office. The senator he appoints would serve until November 2010 (November of the next even numbered year).

At this point no appointment by Gov. Blagojevich could remain untainted by the governor’s indictment for corruption. There would always be a suspicion that he or she had bought the office in some manner, that there was some quid pro quo in the appointment, especially the idea that it might help Gov. Blagojevich in defending himself.

There is some doubt that Gov. Blagojevich’s successor could remove or reverse the appointment. On the one hand the Illinois Constitution says in Article V, Section 10:


The Governor may remove for incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office any officer who may be appointed by the Governor.

That would imply that Gov. Blagojevich’s successor, presumably Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, could remove any senator appointed by his predecessor. However, the United States Constitution says in Article I, Section 5:

Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.

Under the principle of the priority of federal over state law this could be construed to limit the state’s ability to remove the senator.

In order to take an initial step to restore the good name of the state of Illinois and to preserve the state and, possibly, the country from a political, legal and constitutional nightmare, I would urge the Illinois legislature to impeach Gov. Blagojevich immediately.

This need not be a time-consuming process. Impeachment and removal from office are political acts not acts of criminal justice. The standard of proof is not necessarily innocent unless found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. There are no clear standards of proof: those are mostly up to the Illinois House and Senate. The preponderance of the evidence would be standard enough or even as low as the appearance of impropriety.

I urge all Illinoisans to write or call their Illinois Representatives and Senators to urge them to reconvene and remove Gov. Blagojevich from office immediately.


Illinois Lieutenant Gov. Pat Quinn has urged the Illinois legislature to strip the governor of his appointment power:

He advised the General Assembly to quickly pass legislation taking away the power from Blagojevich to appoint a U.S. Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama. If Blagojevich were to veto that bill, the legislature should override the veto, he said.

It would take at least three days to pass such legislation, Quinn said.

Under Illinois law Quinn would succeed Blagojevich if he were removed from office.

Some action of this sort is an urgent necessity.

Update 2 (3:31pm)

Politico is reporting that Blagojevich will not resign:

CHICAGO— The attorney for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the governor will be vindicated and he has no plans to resign.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” attorney Sheldon Sorosky told reporters after Blagojevich was arraigned. “A lot of this is just politics.”

Blagojevich should be in the office Wednesday, Sorosky added.

So, reporters asked, he does not intend to resign?

“Not that I know of, no,” said Sorosky, who added that the governor was “surprised” by the day’s events

That means it’s in the hands of the legislature. They’ve got to act now.

Update (3:36pm)

Dare I mention that, if the U. S. Senate refuses to seat a Blagojevich-appointed replacement for Barack Obama, it reduces the Democratic majority in the senate by one vote?

9 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I believe Durbin and Illinois Senate President are proposing that when the power to nominate Obama’s replacement is taken away from the Governor, that it be given to the voters of Illinois in a special election. Interesting, if there is a state wide race that a Republican might win, that might be it if the G.O.P. didn’t screw it up.

  • We’d be hard put to get a special election set before March. At this point the Illinois Republican Party is so disorganized I doubt they could mount an effective campaign in that time.

  • PD Shaw Link

    As to impeachment (YES!), I think the House should carefully craft its grounds for impeachment. It’s not a criminal process, but if criminal-like charges are made, I believe the Governor (as a delaying action) would seek to call as witnesses the people involved who would all plead the Fifth. I think the Governor will resign once it’s inevitable, but give him the opportunity, he will delay. House Speaker Madigan put together a list of impeachment grounds several months or more ago, and add the ground that the pending criminal matter disables the Governor from fully fulfilling his duties.

    WILDCARD: The Governor still might try to challenge any impeachment process in court. Illinois courts are more liberal than federal courts in issues of standing or political question doctrine. It would be a delay action.

  • PD Shaw Link

    A couple of Republican names come to mind: former Governor Jim Edgar and former Senator Fitzgerald. Both seem to have expressed interest in the job in the past, but not running for it. Both would probably be hard-pressed to want to go to Washington to be in the minority party.

  • MDElliot Link

    This guy isn’t going to resign. I bet he has connections in the illinois judiciary that he feels will clear his name. Whats your take on it?

  • Well, first of all I suspect that Blagojevich is a sonavagun who doesn’t have a friend in the world. Second, the case will be tried in the federal courts not the Illinois courts. I doubt he’s got a chance in the world of getting off.

  • Maria Comolli Link

    Can’t anyone stop this madness? The PEOPLE Do NOT want Blagojevich as our governor. Please!!!!!!!!!!!

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