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The Impeachment Process - Essay Example

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Name of of Instructor THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS INTRODUCTION In the American Constitution, impeachment is more of a political process rather than a legal one. The question about impeachment has been under discussion in the United States even prior to the framing of the Constitution…
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Download file to see previous pages Impeachment is a process intended to expose and correct political crimes (Gerhardt). Formally, impeachment can be defined as the “Constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may accuse of misconduct high officers of the Federal Government for trial in the Senate” (Lectic Law Library). It is an exclusive congressional power, which is neither subordinate to judicial review nor it can be subjected to presidential veto. Whether the officer is forced to leave office or not depends upon the conviction of the Senate. SUMMARIZED AMERICAN IMPEACHMENT HISTORY: Article I, Sections 2 and 3 ensure the right of the House to impeach public officials, the President and the Vice President. The House of Representatives have instigated above 50 impeachment resolutions since 1789. Of these, the Senate received only 15 cases and from these 15 cases, only one involved a President. Two of the cases were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, six ended in acquittal and seven in conviction (Kingsley). The most famous impeachments of the US history have been of: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and William J. Clinton. Johnson was impeached in 1868 for defying the Tenure of Office Act but he was acquitted May 1868 by being one vote short of the two-thirds required Senate majority. This acquittal taught a lesson to the Congressmen that impeachment could not be used as a tool for settling policy differences with executives. Richard Nixon was impeached in 1974 on the basis of three articles of impeachment, involving bribery, treason, perjury and other executive power abuses. As conviction became inevitable for his high crime charges, to avoid the dishonor of trial, Nixon resigned from his post in August 1974. Clinton was impeached in 1998 for having improper relationship and issues of character. He was, however, acquitted by the Senate in 1999, because it could not gather sufficient votes for conviction. His impeachment was more recognized as political warfare rather than actual basis for impeachment. This precedent could be used by future House members to analyze critically the consequences of impeaching a President with substantial public support. THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS: The impeachment process is a two step process: 1. The Impeachment Power: The House of Representatives: The impeachment process is initiated when a member of the House under oath declares a charge of impeachment against the president or any other civil officer. It is on the disposition of the House of Judiciary Committee whether or not to go forward with the impeachment based on the investigation and the charges filed. The resolution passed by the Judiciary Committee authorizes whether grounds exist for the investigation to proceed or not. A thorough investigation takes place before entertaining any votes whether the accusations hold any reality or not. If evidence of some kind of treason exists, by majority vote “a resolution impeaching the individual in question and setting forth specific allegations of misconduct, in one or more articles of impeachment, will be reported to the full House” (Halstead). The House thereafter votes for each article of the resolution, and on the basis of ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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