South Carolina GOP Legislators Call On Sanford To Resign, Foreshadowing Potential Impeachment

September 9, 2009 10:21 a.m.

The momentum is building for a potential impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), the Palmetto Scoop reports, with 60 House Republicans signing a letter calling on him to resign.

“Your decision to abandon our state for five days, with no defined order of succession and with no known way to contact you, is inexcusable,” the letter says, later adding: “But perhaps even more disturbing than the abandonment of your post and the multiple ethics allegations against you is the extreme amount of stress, uncertainty, an negative scrutiny that the citizens of South Carolina, our government and our party have had to endure due to your behavior.”Sanford has resisted multiple calls to resign, but the message from this is unmistakable. The South Carolina state Constitution requires a two-third vote of all members (83 votes) to impeach a governor, with the same requirement for conviction in the state Senate. If all 60 of these Republicans were to vote to impeach Sanford, it would only require 23 more votes — either from among the 53 Democrats, or the handful of Republicans who didn’t sign the letter — then impeachment would pass.

Even worse for Sanford is this section of the Constitution: “Any officer impeached shall thereby be suspended from office until judgment in the case shall have been pronounced, and the office shall be filled during the trial in such manner as may be provided by law.”

So if Sanford were to be impeached, he would immediately cease to actually be Governor — Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, a Republican who has also called on Sanford to resign, would become Acting Governor, and then fully Governor once the state Senate presumably convicted Sanford.

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