The Vermont Senate voted 16-9 Friday morning to urge the state's congressional delegation to introduce and support articles of impeachment against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Dozens of communities across the country -- including forty towns in Vermont -- have urged that Congress begin the process of impeaching and removing Bush and Cheney. But this is the first time that a state legislative chamber has done made the call.
The move, which is the latest win for Vermont's large and active impeachment movement, puts pressure on freshman Democratic Congressman Peter Welch.
Welch has met with impeachment backers, but has been cautious about challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's declaration that impeachment is "off the table."
The overwhelming vote in the Senate will make it harder for Welch to dodge the issue, especially since the measure was introduced by the Democratic leader of the Senate, Peter Shumlin, along with state Senator Jeanette White.
Shumlin and White both represent the Windham County region, where the impeachment-from-below movement was initiated more than a year ago by Newfane town selectman Dan DeWalt. DeWalt says activists will continue to push for an impeachment vote in the state House -- and, of course, the U.S. House.
For now, however, they can celebrate the fact that their state is officially on record as seeking impeachment, in the form of the Senate resolution that declares: "[Bush and Cheney] have exercised the duties of their respective offices with respect to both domestic and foreign affairs in ways that raise serious questions of constitutionality, statutory legality, and abuse of public trust."
John Nichols' new book is THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson hails it as a "nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe 'heroic medicine' that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"