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Friday, May 17, 2019

Impeachment Is Treason

Now this is a resolution I'd love to see after some oversightin' and investigatin':

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. McPherson, its Clerk:

Mr. President: The House of Representatives has passed the following resolution, which I am directed to communicate to the Senate:

Resolved, That a committee of two be appointed to go to the Senate, and, at the bar thereof, in the name of the House of Representatives and of all the people of the United States, to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors in office, and acquaint the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time, exhibit particular articles of impeachment against him, and make good the same; and that the committee do demand that the Senate take order for the appearance of said Andrew Johnson to answer to said impeachment.

Ordered, That Mr. Thaddeus Stevens and Mr. John A. Bingham be appointed such committee.

Anyway, it was all truly bullshit so the Senate (barely) acquitted.  Probably because it was bullshit (it's not entirely clear to me if the general public supported conviction or not).

As Senator Lyman Trumbull, co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment, observed:

The question to be decided is not whether Andrew Johnson is a proper person to fill the presidential office, nor whether it is fit that he should remain in it, nor, indeed, whether he has violated the Constitution and laws in other respects than those alleged against him.

As well might any other fifty-four persons take upon themselves by violence to rid the country of Andrew Johnson because they believed him a bad man as to call upon fifty-four Senators, in violation of their sworn duty, to convict and depose him for any other causes than those alleged in the articles of impeachment. As might any citizen take the law into his own hands, and become its executioner, as to ask the Senate to convict outside of the case made.

To sanction such a principle would be destructive of all law and all liberty worth the name, since liberty unregulated by law is but another name for anarchy.
...
Once set the example of impeaching a President for what, when the excitement of the hour shall have subsided, will be regarded as insufficient causes, as several of those now alleged against the President were decided to be by the House of Representatives only a few months since, and no future President will be safe who happens to differ with a majority of the House and two thirds of the Senate on any measure deemed by them important, particularly if of a political character.

Blinded by partisan zeal, with such an example before them, they wilt not scruple to remove out of the way any obstacle to the accomplishment of their purposes, and what then becomes of the checks and balances of the Constitution, so carefully devised and so vital to its perpetuity? They are all gone.

In view or the consequences likely to flow from this day's proceedings, should they result in conviction on what my judgment tells me are insufficient charges and proofs, I tremble for the future of my country.

Frivolous impeachment is indeed dangerous, but there's not much in the Constitution to prevent it.  It is, once again, a political issue, and it's up to the Senate, the People and even the press to check the House rabble.

What's really astonishing to me is that we've only had two impeachments, both of which were clearly just a crapshoot by a Congress who disliked the President and resulted in acquittal.  The only other time we came close, there was enough real cause for removal that the dude resigned before he could even be indicted, as it were.

But let's all recall how the GOP spoke of impeachment during the Obama Epoch: over the debt ceiling, for educational purposes, because he wouldn't defend DOMA, about vague lawlessness, of course birtherism, maybe there will be a rebellion, don't forget the exercise of his veto power, oh yeah immigration policy, etc.

Anyway, it generally appears to me that the checks in place are sufficient, even if the Constitution is vague on the crimes and doesn't demand evidence or anything substantial to act.  Paging the Democratic House Majority...

ntodd

May 17, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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