How To Impeach A President

MANY inquiring minds want to know the answer to that question, and I know because of watching the search traffic to this site.  After reading the following, you will probably agree that Bambi’s impeachment is not going to happen as it has to start in the House with Nazi Nancy, and we all remember that impeachment danced around the table quite a bit with Bush II.  Looks like we are on our own again; just one more reason to vote them out in 2010.

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.

–U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 4

From Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law:

What is Impeachment?

Technically, impeachment is the Senate’s quasi-criminal proceeding instituted to remove a public officer, not the actual act of removal. Most references to impeachment, however, encompass the entire process, beginning with the House’s impeachment inquiry. The term will be used in that broader sense here. By design, impeachment is a complex series of steps and procedures undertaken by the legislature. The process roughly resembles a grand jury inquest, conducted by the House, followed by a full-blown trial, conducted by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding. Impeachment is not directed exclusively at Presidents. The Constitutional language, “all civil officers,” includes such positions as Federal judgeships. The legislature, however, provides a slightly more streamlined process for lower offices by delegating much of it to committees. See Nixon v. US, 506 U.S. 224 (1993)(involving removal of a Federal judge). Presidential impeachments involve the full, public participation of both branches of Congress.

The Impeachment Process in a Nutshell

  1. The House Judiciary Committee deliberates over whether to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

  2. The Judiciary Committee adopts a resolution seeking authority from the entire House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry. Before voting, the House debates and considers the resolution. Approval requires a majority vote.

  3. The Judiciary Committee conducts an impeachment inquiry, possibly through public hearings. At the conclusion of the inquiry, articles of impeachment are prepared. They must be approved by a majority of the Committee.

  4. The House of Representatives considers and debates the articles of impeachment. A majority vote of the entire House is required to pass each article. Once an article is approved, the President is, technically speaking, “impeached” — that is subject to trial in the Senate.

  5. The Senate holds trial on the articles of impeachment approved by the House. The Senate sits as a jury while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial.

  6. At the conclusion of the trial, the Senate votes on whether to remove the President from office. A two-thirds vote by the Members present in the Senate is required for removal.

  7. If the President is removed, the Vice-President assumes the Presidency under the chain of succession established by Amendment XXV.

Constitutional Authority

At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, impeachment was an established process in English law and government. The Founding Fathers incorporated the process, with modifications, into the fabric of United States government. The Constitution, however, only provides the framework-the basic who’s, why’s, and how’s. The remaining procedural intricacies reside in the internal rules of the House and Senate. (emphasis mine)

Who?

Article 2, Section 4–“The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States. . .”

As noted above, this includes Federal judges. It does not, however, include House Representatives or Senators.

Why?

Article 2, Section 4–“. . .on impeachment for, and on conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors.”

This implies that the impeachment process is not tightly linked to the criminal law. The test is not satisfied by all crimes. With only two named offenses to provide context for the inclusive phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the standard remains undefined. The language suggests, however, that criminal action may be required. It is worth noting that the term “misdemeanor” does not correspond to the modern definition of a less serious (sub-felony) statutory or common law criminal offense.

In the case of Andrew Johnson, the House accused the President, among other things, of speaking disrespectfully of Congress “in a loud voice.”

How?

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5–“The House of Representatives . . . shall have the sole power of impeachment.”

The power of impeachment translates into the power to indict. The House, through the Judiciary Committee, conducts investigation and gathers evidence. At the proper time, the House assembles the evidence into individual indictments or charges known as Articles of Impeachment. Each article requires a majority vote of the House to pass to the Senate. Once impeached, the officer is on trial.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6–“The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”

The trial of the impeached officer is held in the Senate. In Nixon v. US, regarding the impeachment trial of a Federal judge, the Supreme Court ruled that the application of the phrase phrase “sole power to try all impeachments” to a particular case was not justiciable. In other words it held that the proper application of this constitutional language to a specific impeachment proceeding was not a question for the courts. Therefore, the process and procedure for impeachment lie solely within the purview of the legislature. The officer subject to an impeachment proceeding has no appeal to a federal court.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7“Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”

An impeachment and removal does not activate the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. The ex-officer may face criminal indictments and trials for the same conduct that led to their impeachment and removal from office.

10 Responses to How To Impeach A President

  1. We can’t impeach a usurper. Only a president can be impeached. Impeaching him means admitting he is the president. A usurper has to be removed, expelled. Congress has the power to remove or expell. They have done it before.

  2. Technically, all 3 branches of the current administration have failed to uphold their oaths to uphold the US Constitution. That means they all can/should be removed from office. Problem is, the villians are the ones entrusted with the power to throw themselves out. My understanding is that the only other person with the authority to bring charges against Obama & Co. is the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Maybe we should hold a Tea Party in front of his house…

  3. Maybe now that Obama’s releasing of the torture memos is casting doubts on the veracity of Nazi Nancy, she will retailate by kicking his butt. LOL. No chance.

  4. It is true that a usurper can’t be impeached. Since the courts have basically failed all who have filed lawsuits and are draggng this out, WE THE People need to take it into our hands. A big tea party, I think would be effective. If the administration is freaked out over our tea party with regards to over spending,think how they would react to us demanding him show his credentials and threaten to through him out of office. A showing in front of Jeffery Taylor’s home would be good but many people coldn’t go because of the distance, so we should have some in other parts of the country as well. We need to do it SOON! Like yesturday.

  5. no-nonsence-nancy, I totally agree – we need to have a 10 million patriots march to conduct a citizens’ arrest to kick the swine out of White House and throw him in the empty Gitmo camp.

  6. Big tea party? Hell, let the revolution begin starting in D.C. where we can weed out ALL of the criminals! And don’t stop there. Take away EVERYTHING those asshole criminals have

  7. GEEEESH

    I thought we were waiting for the birds to take care of this for us.

    HOPE

  8. OK
    this July 4th revolution

    HOW about those with connections to the group leaders around the nation and those with the awesome web sites like this

    PUBLISH, Ready to print flyers, SHORT ! 1 page
    about the hell to pay on each issue.
    that we can distribute to the fence sitters who what to do something but are NOT connected to the internet
    and just do not have time to listen to talk radio all day and all night.

    SOOOOOOOOO the idea is get the sponsors of the resistance groups, and the promo sites to put together approved flyers that we can PRINT thousands to spread around the neighborhood and go recruit some more “terrorists” like ourselves.

    On thing that is getting OLD is that many of the group leaders are just typing at us and NOT LISTENING to use either !

    Salem Oregon held an “infornation” meeting which was a great idea, the purpose was to bring new folks to the town hall meetings HELD BY CITIZENS. To get some ideas on the table, and review the NO VIOLENCE RULES.
    everyone pitched in 2 bucks to cover the room rental.

    SOME folks need to get out to raise funds to buy some billboards along the freeways, or to buy an ad on a friendly trucker who does a lot of freeway time!

    SO:::::::: if you have connections, can you POKE THEM:

    thanks:
    I am just a mad as hell granny with limited mobility and limited skills.

  9. Even if the Hon. Nancy Pelosi was foolish enough to allow consideration of impeachment for the most popular President in modern American history, there aren’t enough Repubs in Congress to do the dirty deed. By 2010, GOP numbers in Congress may reflect the percentage among the American electorate: 21 percent.

    Life is good in the good ol’ USA.

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