Blagojevich impeachment schedule moved up

BLAGOJEVICH IMPEACHMENT SCHEDULE MOVED UP…. For reasons that have never been clear to me, state lawmakers in Illinois haven’t been in too big a rush to impeach Rod Blagojevich. They began the process two weeks ago, naming a 21-member special impeachment committee to prepare a report.

Soon after, lawmakers broke for the holidays, and planned to reconvene on Jan. 12. Now that Blagojevich is trying to fill the Senate vacancy, it seems to have lit a fire under the legislature, and an impeachment vote could come as early as next week.

The Illinois House has bumped up its schedule and will meet several days next week. They had been set to reconvene on Jan. 12.

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.

It would take a simple majority vote for the House to impeach — which basically means accusing him of misconduct.

State House Speaker Madigan has reportedly sent a letter to lawmakers, asking them to be at the statehouse by Wednesday, in anticipation of a vote before the end of the week. (Presumably, the special impeachment committee will have something for lawmakers to actually consider in writing before the vote.)

While a majority vote would impeach Blagojevich, the state Senate would then hold a trial to consider removal from office. That would require a two-thirds majority.

As for Roland Burris, Blagojevich’s choice to fill the vacancy, we talked yesterday about the possibility of “armed police officers” preventing from going onto the Senate floor to the oath of office, should he show up next week. CNN reports that the Democratic leadership has decided that Burris “will not be allowed on the Senate floor.” If he tries to enter the chamber, “the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris.” Should Burris persist, “U.S. Capitol Police would stop him.”

Stay tuned.

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