The Stupidity of the Impeach Now Movement
Why I have maintained that attempting to impeach the man in the White House is down right stupid is really simple; however, the explanation takes a little time as it involves education. Try to remember that a failure to convict on the articles of impeachment will render it impossible to do so at a later date., for any reason.
Impeachment is not a finding, it is an indictment. After the indictment comes the trail. Impeaching BOH would be easy. The house presents a Articles of Impeachemnt, the votes are counted and he is impeached. Then comes the problem. The trial. That is conducted in the Senate only and the judge is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as mandated in our constitution. Even Dirty Harry cannot refuse to hold that trial and the president can't use an executive order to make it go away. He must be tried if the house impeaches, BUT, and it is a big but, as things stand now the senate would never vote to convict. So we wait. Thank goodness some of the politicians are being smart. Not too many I agree, but there are some.
If we can take control of the senate with just a few votes over a simple majority there MIGHT be a chance. Here is the full process and some comments on that process:
In the Senate
The Articles of Impeachment are received from the House.
The Senate formulates rules and procedures for holding a trial.
A trial will be held. The President will be represented by his lawyers. A select group of House members will serve as "prosecutors." The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (currently John G. Roberts) will preside with all 100 Senators acting as the jury.
The Senate will meet in private session to debate a verdict.
The Senate, in open session, will vote on a verdict. A 2/3 vote of the Senate will result in a conviction. (note: 67 senators have to vote for conviction)
The Senate will vote to remove the President from office.
The Senate may also vote (by a simple majority) to prohibit the President from holding any public office in the future.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." In his report, Independent Counsel, Starr accuses President Clinton of committing eleven acts for which he could be removed from office by impeachment. Are any of those acts "Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors?" Well, that's up to the members of the House of Representatives. According to constitutional lawyers, "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" are (1) real criminality -- breaking a law; (2) abuses of power; (3) "violation of public trust" as defined by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers. In 1970, then Representative Gerald R. Ford defined impeachable offenses as "whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history." An excellent definition, Mr. Former President. In the past, Congress has issued Articles of Impeachment for acts in three general categories:
Exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office.
Behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office.
Employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.
There are obvious land mines in this process. One of those is when the senate retires to consider it's verdict. The prosecuting attorneys are excluded because they are not senators. How about the defense attorneys? Any defense attorney, selected by the president remember, that is a member of the senate is going to be part of that closed session. Just one reason it has never resulted in conviction. Then there is the seeming fact that one of the things a person serving a full term in the senate seems to misplace is his, or her, conscience. It just seems to get lost, somehow.
So what do we need to impeach and convict this usurper? It appears that we need about 56 conservatives to be elected to the senate. I don't see that happening, do you? However let is be positive. The next session of congress is convened and Dirty Harry is relegated to senate minority leader. The conservatives and the swell of grass roots conservatism convinces a few more liberals that their interest in power is best served by getting BOH out of the White House. Just might happen. Sure can't happen as things stand now.