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House Resolution 198: Defining Impeachable High Crimes and Misdemeanors

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posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 11:36 AM
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I don't know if this is good news or not. I'm not sure if this is a binding resolution... or just fluff.

Introduced into the House on April 13, by Rep Ted Yoho (R-Fl), the resolution first notes the power of the House of Representatives to bring impeachment charges, then notes:


Whereas the constitutional convention rejected `neglect of duty' or `maladministration' as impeachment standards in favor of `high crimes and misdemeanors' because the former terms were too broad;

Whereas Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65 explained that impeachable offenses `proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself';


So far so good. If we're going to impeach a president, it should be for valid reasons, not petty politics... but there is still much debate over what exactly constitutes "high crimes and misdemeanors." This bill attempts to enumerate some of the reasons:


(1) initiating war without express congressional authorization;
(2) killing American citizens in the United States or abroad who are not then engaged in active hostilities against the United States without due process (unless the killing was necessary to prevent imminent serious physical danger to third parties);
(3) failing to superintend subordinates guilty of chronic constitutional abuses;
(4) spending appropriated funds in violation of conditions imposed for expenditure;
(5) intentionally lying to Congress to obtain an authorization for war;
(6) failing to take care that the laws be faithfully executed through signing statements or systematic policies of nonenforcement;
(7) substituting executive agreements for treaties;
(8) intentionally lying under oath to a Federal judge or grand jury;
(9) misusing Federal agencies to advance a partisan political agenda;
(10) refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents or testimony issued for a legitimate legislative purpose; and
(11) issuing Executive orders or Presidential memoranda that infringe upon or circumvent the constitutional powers of Congress.


All the above definitions work for me, especially #2. I think it's fair enough to give presidents fair warning of what is not acceptable and can be considered impeachable offenses. The resolution does not specifically limit impeachable offenses to these enumerated charges (good); nor does it limit the resolution to the current president, but applies to the current and future presidents (good); nor does it require impeachment charges be brought if violated (not so good -- one president could be impeached while another is not for the same reason).

Past experience tells me this is just fluff to placate the voters, with no real meat to ensure enforcement by congress critters... Or is this a sincere effort to bring back Constitutional government? Am I just too jaded and cynical?

Thoughts???

ETA: I could not find any articles from any reputable (and I use that term loosely) news sources, hence my use of the Thomas.gov page as a source. I learned about it from an article at this blog:

The New American
edit on 17-4-2015 by Boadicea because: Additional source



+8 more 
posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 11:41 AM
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Under these common sense laws...

Every SOB in Washington would be in Federal prison.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: whyamIhere

Definitely! Another reason I suspect it's fluff.

The president does nothing alone. Congress critters are up to their ears in this nonsense too.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:03 PM
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8 or 9 years ago, this resolution could have been a good deal more interesting.
But, since it fails to state that impeachment is mandatory for commission of the defined offenses, I would have to agree. This is just a "look, we're doing something important" type of thing.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:06 PM
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Also, if 'high' crimes were such an egregious offense, Clinton would have been impeached before the end of his first year in office. *snicker snicker



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Just woke up, legalese translator at about 40% capacity

(10) refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents or testimony issued for a legitimate legislative purpose; and

That wouldn't be related to Hillary by any chance?



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:32 PM
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originally posted by: SpongeBeard
a reply to: Boadicea

Just woke up, legalese translator at about 40% capacity

(10) refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents or testimony issued for a legitimate legislative purpose; and

That wouldn't be related to Hillary by any chance?


Hillary, Holder, Lerner... who else has refused to comply under Obama?

But yes, with her announcing for the presidency and the crazy season (election) ramping up, she could very well be the main focus at this point.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 01:15 PM
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This has been around for a while, they are just finally starting to see the cracks in the floor and how people like Obama and his administration are using the ambiguity to side-step charges and impeachment... it's about damn time, and I have written about this subject before based on the Federalist Papers and how "high crimes" were originally defined.


Meaning of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors"

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society

The question of impeachment turns on the meaning of the phrase in the Constitution at Art. II Sec. 4, "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". I have carefully researched the origin of the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" and its meaning to the Framers, and found that the key to understanding it is the word "high". It does not mean "more serious". It refers to those punishable offenses that only apply to high persons, that is, to public officials, those who, because of their official status, are under special obligations that ordinary persons are not under, and which could not be meaningfully applied or justly punished if committed by ordinary persons.

Under the English common law tradition, crimes were defined through a legacy of court proceedings and decisions that punished offenses not because they were prohibited by statutes, but because they offended the sense of justice of the people and the court. Whether an offense could qualify as punishable depended largely on the obligations of the offender, and the obligations of a person holding a high position meant that some actions, or inactions, could be punishable if he did them, even though they would not be if done by an ordinary person.

Offenses of this kind survive today in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It recognizes as punishable offenses such things as perjury of oath, refusal to obey orders, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, failure to supervise, moral turpitude, and conduct unbecoming. These would not be offenses if committed by a civilian with no official position, but they are offenses which bear on the subject's fitness for the duties he holds, which he is bound by oath or affirmation to perform.

Perjury is usually defined as "lying under oath". That is not quite right. The original meaning was "violation of one's oath (or affirmation)".

The word "perjury" is usually defined today as "lying under oath about a material matter", but that is not its original or complete meaning, which is "violation of an oath". We can see this by consulting the original Latin from which the term comes. From An Elementary Latin Dictionary, by Charlton T. Lewis (1895), Note that the letter "j" is the letter "i" in Latin.

- periurium, i, n,, a false oath, perjury.
- periurus, adj., oath-breaking, false to vows, perjured. iuro, avi, atus, are, to swear, take an oath.
- iurator, oris, m., a swearer.
- iuratus, adj., sworn under oath, bound by an oath.
- ius, iuris, that which is binding, right, justice, duty.
- per, ... IV. Of means or manner, through, by, by means of, ... under pretense of, by the pretext of, ....

By Art. II Sec. 1 Cl. 8, the president must swear: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." He is bound by this oath in all matters until he leaves office. No additional oath is needed to bind him to tell the truth in anything he says, as telling the truth is pursuant to all matters except perhaps those relating to national security. Any public statement is perjury if it is a lie, and not necessary to deceive an enemy.

When a person takes an oath (or affirmation) before giving testimony, he is assuming the role of an official, that of "witness under oath", for the duration of his testimony. That official position entails a special obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and in that capacity, one is punishable in a way he would not be as an ordinary person not under oath. Therefore, perjury is a high crime.

An official such as the president does not need to take a special oath to become subject to the penalties of perjury. He took an oath, by Art. II Sec. 1 Cl. 8, to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" to the best of his ability. While he holds that office, he is always under oath, and lying at any time constitutes perjury if it is not justified for national security.

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr erred in presenting in his referral only those offenses which could be "laid at the feet" of the president. He functioned like a prosecutor of an offense against criminal statutes that apply to ordinary persons and are provable by the standards of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt". That is not to say that such offenses are not also high crimes or misdemeanors when committed by an official bound by oath. Most such offenses are. But "high crimes and misdemeanors" also includes other offenses, applicable only to a public official, for which the standard is "preponderance of evidence". Holding a particular office of trust is not a right, but a privilege, and removal from such office is not a punishment. Disablement of the right to hold any office in the future would be a punishment, and therefore the standards of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" would apply before that ruling could be imposed by the Senate.

It should be noted, however, that when an offense against a statute is also a "high crime or misdemeanor", it may be, and usually is, referred to by a different name, when considered as such. Thus, an offense like "obstruction of justice" or "subornation of perjury" may become "abuse of authority" when done by an official bound by oath. As such it would be grounds for impeachment and removal from office, but would be punishable by its statutory name once the official is out of office.

An executive official is ultimately responsible for any failures of his subordinates and for their violations of the oath he and they took, which means violations of the Constitution and the rights of persons. It is not necessary to be able to prove that such failures or violations occurred at his instigation or with his knowledge, to be able, in Starr's words, to "lay them at the feet" of the president. It is sufficient to show, on the preponderance of evidence, that the president was aware of misconduct on the part of his subordinates, or should have been, and failed to do all he could to remedy the misconduct, including termination and prosecution of the subordinates and compensation for the victims or their heirs. The president's subordinates include everyone in the executive branch, and their agents and contractors. It is not limited to those over whom he has direct supervision. He is not protected by "plausible deniability". He is legally responsible for everything that everyone in the executive branch is doing.

...

The impeachment and removal process should be a debate on the entire field of proven and suspected misconduct by federal officials and agents under this president, and if judged to have been excessive by reasonable standards, to be grounds for removal, even if direct complicity cannot be shown.


Source

~Namaste



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:06 PM
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a reply to: SonOfTheLawOfOne

Wow! Much information to absorb here. I'm going to have to ponder this a while... and then probably read it again... and ponder some more... but excellent! Thank you for sharing this.

I knew some of this, both from the threatened Nixon impeachment and the Clinton impeachment, but this was new info for me which I'm happy to know:


An executive official is ultimately responsible for any failures of his subordinates and for their violations of the oath he and they took, which means violations of the Constitution and the rights of persons. It is not necessary to be able to prove that such failures or violations occurred at his instigation or with his knowledge, to be able, in Starr's words, to "lay them at the feet" of the president.


Delegation of responsibility for execution of the laws shoudn't include delegation of culpability for violating the laws -- if that makes sense.

Is it fair to say that all of the above enumerated "high crimes and misdemeanors" are already established under the law and Constitution? (I did wonder about that)

Do you think it is pertinent that the Resolution does not require impeachment for any/all of these offenses? At the risk of showing my ignorance, would that make this a non-binding resolution, therefore easily ignored according to politics and expediency?



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:12 PM
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More candy for the right, while both sides hand in hand sell america.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:21 PM
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originally posted by: dukeofjive696969
More candy for the right, while both sides hand in hand sell america.


I totally agree that "both sides" are working hand-in-hand to sell us out... but I don't want to assume anything so let me ask, does that mean that you also think it may just be pandering to the voters who want Obama impeached yesterday? But that it's all symbolism over substance, and even if passed will not be enforced? Like a previous poster remarked, everyone in Congress and in the federal bureaucracy have violated one or more of these "high crimes."

It just seems to me -- and I could be wrong -- there is nothing new here, and nothing compelling any change in the final analysis. Congress already has the power to impeach this president (or any president) for any/all of these.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:25 PM
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No, no, no...leave the Constitution alone....it's PERFECT the way it is. Take one look at the 2nd Amendment and you know it's true.

Then again, if we are going to tinker with the constitution, then the 2nd is up for discussion too, right? Or do we just favor changing the parts we don't like?



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:27 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea

I feel like a bill like this should be an amendment and not just a bill.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:30 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Agreed.

Thus my post above about the 2nd amendment...what's to stop congress from redefining words like "well regulated", "militia" or "keep and bear".

Amend the Constitution, or respect what it currently says; regardless of any ambiguity.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:42 PM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Boadicea

I feel like a bill like this should be an amendment and not just a bill.


I hadn't thought about it until you said it, but yes, I agree. If we're going to do it, then do it right with defined enumerated transgressions applicable to all presidents with equal treatment under the law. Further, it would preclude much of the political rhetoric on each side that condemns with words, but take no practical action against real or perceived violations.

You point out one more reason to think this is nothing more than political pandering.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:48 PM
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originally posted by: LeatherNLace

...what's to stop congress from redefining words like "well regulated", "militia" or "keep and bear".

Amend the Constitution, or respect what it currently says; regardless of any ambiguity.



Yes, indeed... this is especially concerning considering the attempts to call an Article V Constitutional Convention, in which every word of the Constitution is in jeopardy -- by the very ones who refuse to respect it now!

I have great respect (and appreciation) for the efforts of the founding fathers, and I believe most of our national problems are the result of not following the Constitution, not because of the inherent flaws in the Constitution, but there is always room for improvement -- hence the amendment process.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:52 PM
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I see this as pandering for votes, if the gop really opens this can of worms, it wouldent benefit neither side of the political spectrum, that why i see this as a stunt more than anything else.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:58 PM
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originally posted by: dukeofjive696969
I see this as pandering for votes, if the gop really opens this can of worms, it wouldent benefit neither side of the political spectrum, that why i see this as a stunt more than anything else.


Exactly. Neither side wants to be held accountable for their bad behavior, so it is not in either party's best interests... except to pander, because it is in OUR best interests.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 04:50 PM
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Republicans just can’t handle it. Boo hoo. They’re so upset that the Whitehouse is occupied by a Democrat, and a black one at that, that the only remedy they have left is impeachment. Valiant attempts at character assassination, kangaroo courts and lynch mobs simply haven't panned out. Their obssessive hatred and desire for vengeance is so overwhelming that they’ve completely lost the ability to legislate and work for the betterment of the nation. It’s really sad, and we all pay for it.

Haven’t these goons got something better to do (FOR US) than sit around coming up with ways to screw Obama? How about a jobs bill? Seems we have a few roads and bridges in need of repair. How about some reasonable tax reform legislation that doesn’t screw the middle class while at the same time profiting the rich? Does big oil really need the billions in subsidies we grant them every year? How about bringing a vote to the floor on the Attorney General nomination? Why is it these criminals we call leaders are so driven as to obstruct the President’s ability to conduct foreign affairs in the case of Iran, while at the same time refusing to take up a vote on the legality of the military actions currently underway in Iraq/Syria?

I hear and read all the time about the Republicans wanting to downsize the government and minimize it’s influence on the people, and many folks actually believe this BS, but their actions reflect anything but their rhetoric. What they really want to do is change the government in such a way as to give them absolute power over every aspect of our lives. They want complete control. PERIOD. From what I’ve seen, the current manifestation of the Republican Party is as close to an Orwellian nightmare as it comes. And our electorate is falling for it hook, line and sinker.

Wake up, People. The last Republican administration in the Whitehouse was a monumental disaster, costing us trillions in unwarranted military actions and lives lost abroad; it will take us generations to overcome the mess made by George Dubya. Do you really wanna go back there? Is anybody home?

If the Congress is really interested in protecting the authority of the Constitution, and enforcing the rule of law, then I’d suggest taking a long hard look in the mirror as a good starting point. And if you can’t handle that, Mr. Congressman, then please do us all a favor and find another line of work...



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: netbound

[quoteRepublicans just can’t handle it. Boo hoo. They’re so upset that the Whitehouse is occupied by a Democrat, and a black one at that, that the only remedy they have left is impeachment....

Wow! Quite a rant about Republicans, and I don't necessarily disagree, but I just can't play that left-right paradigm game any more... And it doesn't really address the Resolution itself in any way. I'd be more interest in hearing what you think of the Resolution itself, either the specific "high crimes" enumerated, or its legislative impact, or whatever.


Wake up, People. The last Republican administration in the Whitehouse was a monumental disaster, costing us trillions in unwarranted military actions and lives lost abroad; it will take us generations to overcome the mess made by George Dubya. Do you really wanna go back there? Is anybody home?


I agree... and would also say that this Democrat administration in the Whitehouse is a monumental disaster, costing us trillions in unwarranted military and financial and un-Constitutional actions that we can never put a price on; it will take us generations to overcome the mess made by Obama.

Let's not go there, and stick to the Resolution itself.



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