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December 09, 2008

Impeachment hearings likely against Blagojevich

Several Democratic operatives from Illinois say the Illinois state legislature will likely move as quickly as possible to hold impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), in attempts to prevent the jailed governor from appointing President-elect Barack Obama’s successor in the Senate.

The Illinois General Assembly would be tasked with holding impeachment hearings, and the state Senate would vote on a conviction.

Illinois law allows Blagojevich to make an appointment while in jail. While the decision would be a disaster for Democrats politically, no one is ruling out that prospect. Any candidate appointed by the jailed governor would be immediately tainted, and would face immense hurdles winning on their own in 2010.

Blagojevich could also appoint a caretaker to the seat, but that also would not bode well for Democrats politically. Having a sitting Democratic senator from Illinois appointed by a jailed governor would hurt the party’s chances of holding the seat in 2010.

Lieutenant governor Pat Quinn would take over if Blagojevich was forced to step down. He’s from the progressive wing of the state Democratic party, and is very close with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

Schakowsky was not considered a frontrunner in the appointment process, but could get newfound consideration if Quinn becomes governor.

UPDATE: Now one leading member of the local media is calling on the Illinois legislature to impeach Blagojevich.

From CBS-2 political reporter Mike Flannery on the 11 am newscast:

"This is disgraceful, and I'm going to tell you, there is every reason for the Illinois House of Representatives to convene. And if he doesn't have the decency to resign, then the House ought to impeach him, the State Senate ought to hold a trial quickly. And I hope that the Governor does not move to make an appointment at this point."