Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some More Afterthoughts about Impeachment

As I was writing the previous entry, I looked up a good definition about impeachment. This comes from Alex Thompson's A Glossary of US Politics & Government(2007):

impeachment: The act of charging a public official with misconduct, and determining whether or not they should be removed from office. In the case of federal government employees, it is the US Congress that prosecutes the impeachment process. Proceedings are initiated in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. This body holds hearings on the allegations and then reports to the floor of the House on whether an individual should answer to charges of 'treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours' (Article Three of the US constitution). The House, after debating this report, collectively determines whether impeachment is appropriate with a simple majority vote. If it is deemed that charges are warranted, Articles of Impeachment are drawn up, and passed over to the US Senate.

Senators collectively act as a court to judge the charges brought by the House. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides. A guilty verdict requires a two-thirds majority vote. Conviction will result in this official being removed from post, and the Senate may also bar them from future public office. Congress has no power to invoke criminal penalties on those found guilty, although additional legal charges may follow from law enforcement agencies.


Most famously, President Richard Nixon avoided being impeached by resigning from office in 1974, over the Watergate affair. In Nixon's case, the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary recommended to the floor of the House that Articles of Impeachment be drawn up, but Nixon vacated the White House before a floor vote could confirm impeachment. Congress may not impeach an individual after they have left office.

--Thompson, Alex. A Glossary of US Politics & Government. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2007: 89-90.

These are some things to think about when the notion of impeachment is brought up during this time. After all, these ideas must be seriously contemplated and continued to be debated as we go through these drastic changes in society.

No comments:


Powered by WebRing.