Impeachment: an excerpt from The Constitution of the United States


Impeachment is in the air. The impeachment process is laid out in the U.S. Constitution, and the legal rules have been interpreted at several moments of intense national controversy. Not unlike now. If you want to think more about impeachment in constitutional perspective—including the constitutional text, structure, and history—you might be interested in the assignment on impeachment from our constitutional law casebook, The Constitution of the United States (3d ed. 2016).
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Michael Stokes Paulsen
Steven Gow Calabresi
Michael W. McConnell
Samuel L. Bray
Will Baude

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  1. The impeachment process has been in the air since early November 2016.

    For the president to suggest an investigation into corruption doesnt rise to near the same level as

    1) The corruption which justified the request for restarting an investigation
    2) bribing a foreign continue their nuclear program (obama /iran deal
    3) curtailing/creating a pseudo investigation – Hillary emails and Hillary bribery with the clinton foundation inorder to whitewash the crimes and corruption.
    4) Siccing the DoJ & FBI on political opponents and submitting false documents to the FISA courts to perpetuate a false investigation
    Just to name a few.

    1. Technically it started before he’d actually secured the nomination.

      Could Trump Be Impeached Shortly After He Takes Office? Politico, April 17, 2016

    2. Stuff that no one to the left of Rush Limbaugh believes somehow didn’t get the traction that stuff that Trump and his attorney have admitted to, was caught on tape, and resulted in an actual criminal referral and and whistleblower complaint about the President. It’s a Deep State conspiracy!

      Of all your poppycock, the Iran thing is the most amazing, IMO. Iran was gonna shut down their nuclear program but for Obama paying them?!

  2. Along with military coups. The Conspiracy has alternated between the role of useful idiots and fellow travelers.

  3. The bureaucracy will maintain control without the President.

  4. The ‘How Dare You Uncover My Corruption’ Impeachment Strategy

  5. 250+ year history for impeachment of sitting US Presidents.

    House: 2 bills issued

    Senate: 0 convictions.

    Let the House Democrats waste all their time on this. My bet is that Trump will have hit the 8 year limit and be out of office before the Democrats can muster enough votes in the Senate to get a conviction on either the Russia thing or the new Ukraine thing.

    1. The Democrats know they won’t get a conviction. They’re going for, “If he’s impeached, no one will vote for him in 2020.”

      They’re wrong.

      1. The republicans were darn near bat shoot crazy to impeach clinton in 1998 –
        the Progressives are bat stuff crazy trying to impeach – especially since they have been floating the impeachment idea as early as the republican primaries as noted by brett above.

        Could Trump Be Impeached Shortly After He Takes Office? Politico, April 17, 2016

      2. “They’re going for, ‘If he’s impeached, no one will vote for him in 2020.’ They’re wrong.”

        Democrats know that roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of Americans, concentrated in the desolate backwaters, are bigoted and backward enough to vote for Trump. Those clingers are being replaced by their betters, but most of them will hang on until 2020.

        Whether enough of the clingers are left to give Trump another shot at a three-cushion trick shot at the Electoral College is the practical point.

        None of this will affect the overall trajectory of the culture war, except perhaps by accelerating the collapse of the current right-wing electoral coalition, at least with respect to national elections.

        1. What kind of kool-aide are you drinking? When do you have time to be a Reverend, you are on Reason all the time?

      3. Not only wrong, the backlash may flip the house to Republican. Republican and Democratic voters won’t change their votes, but independents in the middle might.

  6. Can someone explain this statement on page 354:

    “The Senate acquitted President Johnson of this charge by a vote of 35–19. The shift of a single vote would have meant conviction.”

    How would a shift of a single vote make a difference?

    1. Conviction on impeachment requires 2/3rds majority (specified in constitution, not just a changeable Senate rule).

      35 + 19 = 54

      54 *2/3 = 36.

      1. Understood. I read it to mean that 35 voted to acquit when, in fact, only 19 voted to acquit.

    2. 2(35+19)/3 = 36.

      1. Gotta type faster, 12″

  7. Yes! Please impeach Trump, Pence, Kavanaugh, and all the other Trump appointees NOW! And install any progressive democrat as POTUS for life, so The Reverend, Tony, and OBL will have to STFU while getting it good and hard for not being intersectional enough

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