Governor's Impeachment Process Headed To Senate
Friday, January 09, 2009
By Dawn Alderman
Posted January 9, 2009 @ 5:10 p.m.
Rockford, IL- Now that Governor Blagojevich has been impeached in the House, he now faces a trial in the Senate where they will decide whether or not he should remain in office.
In an unprecedented decision, House members voted for the first time ever to impeach an Illinois Governor. But the history-making event isn't over yet.
"Now that it's done, it'll come to the Senate," says State Senator Dave Syverson, (R) 34th.
Syverson will be among the 59 member Senate that must decide whether to convict and remove Blagojevich. The impeachment case will be presented to Senators by a prosecutor chosen by House members.
"We'll go through a lot of the same information that the House had plus any additional information and then the full Senate will vote just like any other jury would vote," says Syverson.
Under the Illinois Constitution, there is no standard of proof to meet to remove a governor. A Senate committee is working to finalize rules over how the trial will proceed.
"They're not writing entirely on a blank slate but the state constitution gives them as much leeway as possible in determining their own proceedings," says Rockford College Political Professor Jules Gleicher Ph.D.
"It's important that we don't look at the politics of it but that we follow some rules because this is going to be precedent setting here in Illinois," says Syverson.
Despite overwhelming support of impeachment by House members, Syverson says the votes to oust the Governor in the Senate may not come as easy.
"The votes may be overwhelming but there's going to be some that are going to be a little gun shy going into it because they're afraid of what might come up during the trial," says Syverson.
40 out of 59 Senate votes are needed to remove the Governor from office. The Senate trial is set to begin January 26th and is expected to last up to two weeks.
In the meantime, because a new session of the House begins next week, members will have to vote again on the impeachment. But approval is expected because many House members were re-elected.