09/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Impeachment Update

This appears to be the year of impeachment. So far, a State Governor (Rod Blagojavitch) and a Federal Judge (Samuel Kent) have been gotten rid of this way, and it appears there might actually be more. There are three people on the dock, two of which might actually be impeached. But then again, this sort of thing almost never happens, but hey , who knows?

The Defendents:

Mark Sanford
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's troubles with his sex life have begun to expand to other things, and this time it looks serious. A state Senate investigation has found that Sanford would use a state-owned Jet for personal purposes, including getting haircuts. State Sen. David Thomas, whose committee has been investigating Sanford's flights for the last month, sent evidence to Senate leaders Monday showing the Republican governor violated state laws requiring the cheapest travel possible.

Clearly, the rumblings in the state legislature that have been heard since the Governor's trip to Argentina are going to get louder, as is talk of impeachment, which as far as I can tell has never actually happened since reconstruction, if ever.

The situation is complicated by the fact that South Carolina's legislature is packed with Republicans, who are loath to go after another member of the party, but Sanford has made himself so obnoxious, this might change. However, there's the "Spiro Agnew factor."

Lt. Governor Andre Bauer is famous for his traffic violations, and Sanford is known to dislike him. Why else would he leave the country and not inform anyone if not to let Bauer act as governor? While Bauer was elected separately, he barely made it, and Sanford may be saved by distaste for a Governor Bauer by many in the legislature. But the airline stuff may be "the straw that broke the camel's back."

C. Thomas Porteous
There was a mention at the House Judiciary Committee's website that it was going to vote on whether or not to try to give the "Judicial Task Force on Judicial Impeachment" the power to grant immunity to a number of witnesses who had pled the fifth amendment in what seems to be the eternal investigation into the hijinks of District Judge Thomas Porteous.

The US Judicial Conference, as you may or may not remember, formally asked the House to impeach Porteous over a year and a half ago, and since then the HJC has actually impeached another judge, fired most of the Task Force's legal staff for ethics violations, and mostly sat around after some of the witnesses took the fifth.

The question is why the Task Force didn't ask for the power to grant immunity months and months ago. Hearings are still possible in the fall, but who knows?

Jay Bybee
Finally, there's the movement to impeach Appellate Judge Jay Bybee for his 2002 memo authorizing torture. This is not going to happen, as none of the congresspeople who have called for his removal last April have even introduced resolutions starting an investigation. It was all bluster.

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