reply to post by whatukno
US Constitution section 3 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.
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.
Because only the Senate has the ability to impeach is the reason it will never be done for any offence.
I: Introduction [Return to Top]
The Constitution deals with the subject of impeachment and conviction at six places. The scope of the power is set out in Article II, Section 4:
"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."
II. Historical Origins of the Impeachment Process [Return to Top]
The Constitution provides that the President"... shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high
Crimes and Misdemeanors." The framers could have written simply "or other crimes" - as indeed they did in the provision for extradition of criminal
offenders from one state to another. They did not do that. If they had meant simply to denote seriousness, they could have done so directly. They did
not do that either. They adopted instead a unique phrase used for centuries in English parliamentary impeachments, for the meaning of which one must
look to history.
The origins and use of impeachment in England, the circumstances under which impeachment became a part of the American constitutional system, and the
American experience with impeachment are the best available sources for developing an understanding of the function of impeachment and the
circumstances in which it may become appropriate in relation to the presidency.
So do I now need to give you a incomplete list of things the sitting President has done under the laws of impeachment. And I say incomplete because
we will never know the full extent of the crimes bribes and out right treason he has committed. But I will provide the definitions of all then you
C. American Impeachment Cases [Return to Top]
Thirteen officers have been impeached by the House since 1787: one President, one cabinet officer, one United States Senator, and ten Federal judges.
In addition there have been numerous resolutions and investigations in the House not resulting in impeachment. However, the action of the House in
declining to impeach an officer is not particularly illuminating. The reasons for failing to impeach are generally not stated, and may have rested
upon a failure of proof, legal insufficiency of the grounds, political judgment, the press of legislative business, or the closeness of the expiration
of the session of Congress. On the other hand, when the House has voted to impeach an officer, a majority of the Members necessarily have concluded
that the conduct alleged constituted grounds for impeachment.
Does Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour," limit the relevance of
the ten impeachments of judges with respect to presidential impeachment standards as has been argued by same? It does not. The argument is that "good
behavior" implies an additional ground for impeachment of judges not applicable to other civil officers. However, the only impeachment provision
discussed in the Convention and included in the Constitution is Article II, Section 4, which, by its express terms, applies to All civil officers,
including judges, and defines impeachment offenses as "Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
In any event, the interpretation of the "good behavior" clause adopted by the House in deciding to impeach a judge has not been made clear in any of
them. Whichever view is taken, the judicial impeachments have involved an assessment of the conduct of the officer in terms of the constitutional
duties of his office. In this respect, the impeachments of judges are consistent with the three impeachments of non-judicial officers.
Each of the thirteen American impeachments involved charges of misconduct incompatible with the official position of the officeholder. This conduct
falls into three broad categories: (1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office in derogation of the powers of another branch
of government; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the
office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.
The Criminality Issue [Return to Top]
The phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" may connote "criminality" to some. This likely is the predicate for some of the contentions that only an
indictable crime can constitute impeachable conduct. Other advocates of an indictable-offense requirement would establish a criminal standard of
impeachable conduct because that standard is definite, can be known in advance and reflects a contemporary legal view of what conduct should he
punished. A requirement of criminality would require resort to familiar criminal laws and concepts to serve as standards in the impeachment process.
Furthermore, this would pose problems concerning the applicability of standards of proof and the like pertaining to the trial of crimes.
The central issue raised by these concerns is whether requiring an indictable offense as an essential element of impeachable conduct is consistent
with the purposes and intent of the framers in establishing the impeachment power and in setting a constitutional standard for the exercise of that
power. This issue must he considered in light of the historical evidence of the framers' intent. It is also useful to consider whether the purposes
of impeachment and criminal law are such that indictable offenses can, consistent with the Constitution, be an essential element of grounds for
impeachment. The impeachment of a President must occur only for reasons at least as pressing as those needs of government that give rise to the
creation of criminal offenses. But this does not mean that the various elements of proof, defenses, and other substantive concepts surrounding an
indictable offense control the impeachment process. Nor does it mean that state or federal criminal codes are necessarily the place to turn to provide
a standard under the United States Constitution. Impeachment is a constitutional remedy. The framers intended that the impeachment language they
employed should reflect the grave misconduct that so injures or abuses our constitutional institutions and form of government as to justify
This view is supported by the historical evidence of the constitutional meaning of the words "high Crimes and Misdemeanors." That evidence is set
out above. It establishes that the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" -- which over a period of centuries evolved into the English standard of
impeachable conduct -- has a special historical meaning different from the ordinary meaning of the terms "crimes" and "misdemeanors." "High
misdemeanors," referred to a category of offenses that subverted the system of government. Since the fourteenth century the phrase "high Crimes and
Misdemeanors" had been used in English impeachment cases to charge officials with a wide range of criminal and non-criminal offenses against the
institutions and fundamental principles of English government.
There is evidence that the framers were aware of this special, non-criminal meaning of the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" in the English law
of impeachment. Not only did Hamilton acknowledge Great Britain as "the model from which [impeachment] has been borrowed," but George Mason referred
in the debates to the impeachment of Hastings, then pending before Parliament. Indeed, Mason, who proposed the phrase "high Crimes and
Misdemeanors," expressly stated his intent to encompass "[a]ttempts to subvert the Constitution."
It is useful to note three major presidential duties of broad scope that are explicitly recited in the Constitution: "to take Care that the Laws be
faithfully executed," 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. The first is directly imposed by the Constitution; the second and third are included in the
constitutionally prescribed oath that the President is required to take before he enters upon the execution of his office and are, therefore, also
expressly imposed by the Constitution.
The duty to take care is affirmative. So is the duty faithfully to execute the office. A President must carry out the obligations of his office
diligently and in good faith. The elective character and political role of a President make it difficult to define faithful exercise of his powers in
the abstract. A President must make policy and exercise discretion. This discretion necessarily is broad, especially in emergency situations, but the
constitutional duties of a President impose limitations on its exercise.
The "take care" duty emphasizes the responsibility of a President for the overall conduct of the executive branch, which the Constitution vests in
him alone. He must take care that the executive is so organized and operated that this duty is performed.
The duty of a President to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" to the best of his ability includes the duty not to abuse his powers or
transgress their limits -- not to violate the rights of citizens, such as those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and not to act in derogation of
powers vested elsewhere by the Constitution.
Not all presidential misconduct is sufficient to constitute grounds for impeachment. There is a further requirement -- substantiality. In deciding
whether this further requirement has been met, the facts must be considered as a whole in the context of the office, not in terms of separate or
isolated events. Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible
with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.
And so it goes round and round, I encourage anyone interested to read the entire report it’s a great history lesson and way to long to post here.