Skip to comments.Debate Thread: Is Blago entitled to due process of law?
Posted on 01/23/2009 2:17:49 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan
Illinoise Governor Rod Blagojevich claims that the Illinois Senate Rules of Impeachment 8(b) and 15(f) essentially deny him the right to due process in the upcoming Illinois Senate impeachment trial. Is he correct? Does he have a constitutional right to challenge the accusations against him and call witnesses for his defense? Is he incorrect? Is he simply an employee of the State of Illinois and therefore subject to being fired for cause? The Illinois Senate contends that the impeachment trial is not a criminal proceeding. What say you?
Rule 15(f) It is never in order to request a subpoena for the testimony of any person or for the production of documents or other materials from that person if the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has indicated that the person's testimony, or inquiry into the subject matter of that person's testimony, could compromise the U.S. Attorney's criminal investigation of Rod R. Blagojevich, as exemplified by, but not limited to, exhibits 10, 24, and 30 of the House impeachment record, unless the U.S. Attorney subsequently indicates otherwise.
Rule 8(b) The House Prosecutor or the Governor or his counsel may object to the admission or exclusion of evidence. Any objection must be addressed to the Chief Justice. No objection, however, may be made against all or any part of the House impeachment record filed by the House Prosecutor with the Secretary.Illinois House Resolution on Impeachment
Illinois Senate Rules of Impeachment
Illinois Senate Tribunal Documents
United States Constitution, Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
United States Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
As this isn’t criminal or civil I would say no. He was elected to public office and knew the rules of the game before he signed on. As Impeachment holds no other value than being kicked out of office he has no right to a lawyer. Also it is up to his supports in the senate to defend him.
He should be able to bring his case to defend himself. The rule was obviously written by state senators so they can ovoid getting embarrassed or exposed.
it’s being fired from a job for violating the job’s rules, not punishment for a crime
it’s a big job, but still just a job
Impeachment and the following Senate trial are removal from office procedures outlined in the state Constitution. As long as the Illinois legislature follows their Constitution, there should be no objection to what occurs.
Yes, I think you're right. The language of the Illinois statutes is clear. I would say that the law here seems to violate the spirit of our Constitution, but I guess that's another argument for another time.
I'm not sure. You're probably right from a purely Constitutional view, but we do have all those nasty USSC decisions that we supposedly must consider also. And the analog that comes to mind is that of a student suspended (gasp) from school.
Why would he be entitled to “due process of the law” for an impeachment trial? An impeachment trial does not take place in a court of law, it takes place in the Illinois Senate.
He is entitled to the rules of the impeachment trial as set out in the Constitution. Nothing more.
He gave them easy sentences. Later, the lawyer for the drub dealers was charged with paying Judge Hastings a fat bribe for those lenient sentences. The lawyer was convicted; Hastings played the race card, and somehow beat the rap.
Then Congress decided that maybe Hastings shouldn't remain a judge. They started impeachment proceedings. Hastings objected in federal court, claiming double jeopardy. His case went to the Supreme Court, which decided against him, ruling that impeachment was a CIVIL process, not CRIMINAL.
A competent reporter, if there were one, would report that Blago's whole argument has already been presented and lost before the highest legal authority. Nut because we have no competent reporters, we get threads like this which take Blago's claims as possibly accurate.
You would be the Freeper authority on this, but I distinctly recall that Hillary, whilst working for the Watergate gang, made the argument that Richard Nixon was not entitled to the right of counsel at either hearing or an ultimate impeachment trial in the Senate.
He might want to save his subpoenas for his criminal trial, rather than impeaching his flimsy witnesses during what is basically an employment process.
Seeing as Obama wants to grant them the same rights afforded American citizens, then by all means, treat Blago like the terrorists.
Blago is entitled to have lawyers. His tactic is for his lawyers to take a hike. I understand that he's not calling witnesses because he missed the deadline to present his witness list. That may be just a stupid mistake, or maybe it's another tactic.
John / Billybob
Your response seems to imply that Hastings was not entitled to due process because the USSC ruled that impeachment is a civil proceeding. Is that correct?
As I understand the law, citizens have the right to due process in civil proceedings too, not just criminal proceedings. Is that incorrect?
It would seem that the USSC was ruling that Hastings couldn’t claim double jeopardy because the impeachment was a civil proceeding not that he wasn’t entitled to due process.
John / Billybob
I agree with what you said completely, but feel the explanation should be expanded a bit more, as there seems to be some confusion among the commentators.
An impeachment and trial are constitutional matters. As all courts and laws derive their authority (in this country, at least) from the constitution, such a proceeding cannot be subject to either civil or criminal laws and principles.
The term that best describes what is happening is that an impeachment is an “extralegal” process; that is, it exists outside of the laws, and as such the courts have no say in the matter, other to be ensure that the process is being followed as prescribed by the constitution.
Therefore, there can be no “due process of law”, as that term itself originates in the constitution. There can however be “due process of the constitution” which simply means that the constitutionally mandated procedure has to be followed.
This is the same reason that the “lawsuits” concerning Prop 8 in California are laughable, as they are asking the courts to apply laws to a constitutional amendment, which according to previous litigation, was properly conducted and must therefore be valid.
The libwack lawyers, as usual, get it backwards, stating that the Prop. 8 amendment is a violation of civil rights laws, when in fact any disagreement between the two can only be construed as meaning that the civil rights laws are now unconstitutional. Put another way, they want the legal tail to wag the constitutional dog.
So is an impeachment trial more akin to a grand jury hearing? The defendant isn’t yet legally a defendant, so-to-speak?
Good summary; except Hastings Senate conviction was overturned by a District Court but didn’t go the Supreme Court. The case was returned to the Senate to await the Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Walter Nixon (1993), another federal judge who was impeached. Nixon was challenging the fact his Senate trial was held before a panel of 12 Senators and not the full Senate. The question before the Court was whether the Senate rule allowing the panel could be reviewed by the courts.
The Court ruled 9-0 that the courts could not review the Senate procedures since the Constitution gave the Senate the sole power to conduct impeachment trials. Hastings was challenging his impeachment on the grounds he was acquitted of the charges.
So basically whatever the State Senate’s procedures are, that’s what will govern Blago’s impeachment, no matter how unfair they may seem. And the decsion cannot be appealed to the courts.
That is a perfect analogy, Buckeye Texan. The impeachment of a public official means that he has been indicted. Under the federal Constitution this function is performed by the house. Once impeached (indicted)by the house, a trial is held by the Senate to determine whether he should be removed from office.
Under the federal constitution, the ONLY issue that can be decided by impeachment by the House and a trial in the Senate is whether to remove an official from office. Any criminal or civil penalties are entirely separate issues, and would be conducted in a court of law.
As was so elegantly stated by DeepThought42, the actions of the legislative body in an impeachment and trial are not open to judicial review, as they occur solely within the framework of the constitution, and are not therefore subject to any of the laws and regulations passed by the government, such being subordinate to the constitution. The check and balance to the authority of Congress in such matters is the constitutionally mandated limitation that the only penalty Congress may impose upon someone convicted by the Senate is their removal from office: Congress has no authority to try an accused for any other crimes or questions, such authority being solely reserved to the Judiciary. Likewise, the Judiciary may not order a federal official removed from elective or judicial office following a conviction (recall the Ted Stevens case).
I assume that the IL constitution has established a system similar to the federal one, but I have not read the IL constitution, nor am I likely to get a burning desire anytime soon to do so.
That is why Hastings was wrong in the Supreme Court, and Blago is wrong (and wildly self-delusional) now.
John ; Billybob
You can see why blago isnt entitled to DP.
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