BURLINGTON - Chalk up another political victory, albeit a symbolic one, for Jimmy Leas. On November 5, the Burlington patent lawyer and peace activist introduced a resolution at the National Lawyers Guild's annual convention in Washington, D.C., that calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The resolution, which was unanimously accepted by the left-leaning lawyers' group, alleges more than a dozen "high crimes and misdemeanors" committed by the Bush administration, including condoning torture and violating the UN charter and Geneva Conventions.
The National Lawyers Guild is the first bar association in the country to formally call for the president and vice president's ouster. The resolution also encourages other state and national bar associations, as well as state and local governments, labor unions and other citizens' groups, to adopt similar resolutions.
Leas is no newcomer to trying to force political change via nonbinding resolutions. In the 1980s, the former IBM engineer introduced resolutions at the company's annual shareholders' meetings to end the sale of goods to apartheid South Africa. For the last seven years, Leas has introduced similar resolutions urging that company to end its alleged age-discrimination practices. And in March, Leas was instrumental in getting 37 cities and towns throughout Vermont, as well as the Vermont Senate, to adopt resolutions calling for Bush's impeachment.
"I think that what's become clear is that these are not just individual crimes," Leas says. "What we're looking at are the first steps that are commonly taken by someone who wants to replace democracy with a police state. And we're seeing that played out right now."