* There’s just no way to tell how long the impeachment process will take…
The estimated timeline has ranged from a few weeks to a few months. Madigan said the governor’s decision about whether to attend the proceedings as “invited” could play into how long the process takes. “If he does not appear personally or through an agent, it will greatly shorten the proceedings of the committee. If he appears personally or through an agent, it will lengthen the proceedings of the committee. That’s all I can tell you.”
* It’s also very likely that the committee will continue to meet, at least briefly, after the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 14th…
If the proceedings run into the next General Assembly, which is scheduled to start January 15, committee members said they would vote to allow their work to carry over.
There will likely be no problem with that.
* The Chicago Tribune is exactly right today…
Can the governor be impeached by the House and stripped of office by the Illinois Senate on the basis only of Fitzgerald’s criminal complaint?
Our belief: Yes. But there are reasons for this action beyond the criminal complaint, including the governor’s efforts to usurp the power of the legislature. The governor has lost his capacity to lead, and should be ousted from office so someone else can guide state government at this treacherous time. Separately, whatever happens in court, happens in court.
Right on, Tribsters.
* And before anyone else editorializes or writes a column about the impeachment process, I suggest they Google “Evan Mecham.” For example…
My guess is that at this point, Blagojevich would go to the state Supreme Court and attempt to block the impeachment proceedings, claiming that he’s being investigated by federal prosecutors for criminal conduct and cannot defend himself against impeachment for fear of compromising his right against self-incrimination.
The Supreme Court justices, all of whom have respect for the trial process, might be likely to accept that sort of argument.
Highly doubtful. Arizona Gov. Mecham was impeached and removed while awaiting trial on corruption charges. The Arizona constitution has a “high crimes and misdemeanors” component, unlike Illinois’ constitution, but the courts there refused to step in.
I still don’t see how you can use the current federal charges against Blagojevich as the basis for an impeachment proceeding and expect him to be able to fairly defend himself.
Mecham argued that defending himself in the Senate trial would compromise his criminal trial. Too bad, the state Supremes ruled. Deal with it.
Impeachment is a political process, not a courtroom legal process. People need to stop thinking like a criminal defense lawyer and start treating this as a constitutional legislative process.
At every turn, state officials need to consult with the U.S. attorney’s office to ensure they’re not working at cross-purposes. It would be counterproductive, for example, for the committee to interview witnesses before the feds got to them.
Maybe so, but Illinois has the right and the duty to deal with this as it sees fit. And Fitz has been consulted…
Rep. Gary Hannig, a Litchfield Democrat who will serve on the committee, said Fitzgerald had neither ruled out nor committed himself to helping the legislative inquiry.
“He said, ‘Give us a list of what you want, and we will talk about it,’” Hannig said.
* And I’m not too worried about this, either…
House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, supported the impeachment effort, but he echoed concerns about gridlock in government during the impeachment process.
“Will the state function? No. The state’s going to be on hold,” Cross said at a news conference after Madigan’s announcement.
The impeachment and trial of Blagojevich would slow state government to an even greater crawl. Springfield would morph from turtle to snail. As little as state lawmakers have accomplished in the last year, imagine how little they would do while also juggling an impeachment.
Blagojevich’s arrest has halted everything anyway. Nobody can do a deal with him now, so impeachment is neither here nor there. We are paralyzed with or without it.
* And I checked with Madigan on this last night and was told there was no such plan…
Hours after Madigan announced the committee’s formation at a Monday news conference, a member of his staff contacted The State Journal-Register and said the committee Thursday will take testimony from journalists who have had trouble getting answers to requests made under the state Freedom of Information Act.
* This kind of stuff does worry me, however…
Republicans complained that Madigan stacked the committee with 12 Democratic members, but just nine GOP members.
“It’s obvious Speaker Madigan is trying to manipulate the whole process,” said state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Spring.
That goofy debate went on forever. Republicans whined, Democrats attacked, etc. It was a truly disgusting display of partisanship at a time when the House should’ve come together as one. Disgusting.
* And this dismissive tone needs to stop…
“Impeachment talk’s nothing new for this governor,” Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero told reporters in Chicago, shrugging off the creation of an impeachment committee that meets for the first time today — one week after Blagojevich’s arrest stunned Illinois and the nation. “They’ve been talking about it for a long time.”
They’ve been talking about it for a long time for a very good reason. Downplaying impeachment is almost as goofy as allegedly auctioning a US Senate seat. This is serious business. Take it seriously.
* Pressure grows on Illinois governor
* Impeachment inquiry launched
* Committee to report on Blago’s offenses
* House takes first step toward impeachment
* Process to impeach governor starts
* Prospect of impeachment now looms over Blagojevich
* Illinois House votes unanimously to create impeachment panel
* Who’s on the House impeachment panel?
* Madigan: Governor Will Get Fair Impeachment Review
* House speaker spells it out for Blagojevich
* Quinn Says Impeachment can be Done by January
* Should the House explore impeachment?