August 19, 2008
Last month I wrote about the First Amendment of the United States Constitution with special reference to prayer in public schools. I urged all of us to read and study our founding documents as a way to celebrate our country’s birthday. In that light I am writing again about the Constitution with particular reference this time to impeachment. For the Constitution on line, visit http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
Article II, Sec. 4 states:
Vice President and all civil Officers of the
Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached. President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office in August 1974 rather than face the impending impeachment proceedings against himn.
Article I, Section 2 states:
“The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney on November 6, 2007 and against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008 Among the 35 articles of impeachment against the President are these:
- misleading Congress about Threat from
- invasion of
- authorization of illegal electronic surveillance.
- authorization of torture of prisoners.
- the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.
On July 25 the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the abuses of power by President Bush. Even though Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said it was not an impeachment hearing, the witnesses testified to the high crimes and misdemeanors of President Bush for six hours, according to Dave Lindhorst.
Article I, Section 3 states:
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. … And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”
The Senate convicted neither Johnson nor Clinton. The Johnson vote was one less than needed, thus providing a classic example of one vote does make a difference. Today a number of Republicans would have to join the call for impeachment for the Senate to convict George Bush since the Democrats and Independents do not have a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
Article III, Section 3 states
“Treason against the
The writers of
the Constitution thought treason to be such a serious crime that they defined
it in the Constitution. The charge of treason Is not
be made lightly. The words “aid and comfort” were used a lot during the
Witnesses at the
hearings on July 25 referred to the war in
Article I, Section 3 also states:
“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. “
Impeachment is the process to remove a person from office. It consists of both the charges and the trial. It is an essential tool in the balance of power the framers intended for our government. The abuse of power by the Bush administration must be dealt with.
John Nichols, author and political journalist, summed it up best in an interview with Bill Moyers, "On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account, this Administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any President has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. …. one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools."
best way to hold President Bush and Vice President Cheny
accountable is through impeachment. The abuse of constitutional authority by this
administration is one major reason the founders put impeachment in the
Constitution but it is useless if not used when necessary. It is more necessary
this year than at any time in our history. You can lend your support for this
process by contacting your Representative in Congress to support the Articles
of Impeachment. Our Representative in
To contact your