What constitutional experts say about high crimes, misdemeanors
– Chelsea Schilling
Should Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors?
It’s not a question yet being asked or debated in the Big Media. But it is a question being addressed by some members of Congress, by an increasing number of pundits by activists on the left and the right – and for more than one or two alleged constitutional offenses.
Some of those who have broached the subject include Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Trey Radel, R-Fla.; Steve Stockman; former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Fox News’ Mike Huckabee; former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy; left-leaning investigative reporter Dave Lindorff; talk-radio host Mark Levin; former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; author and columnist Pat Buchanan and others.
Article II, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution states, “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.”
The U.S. House of Representatives has the power to commence impeachment proceedings. If the House adopts an impeachment resolution, the U.S. Senate conducts a trial and determines whether to convict or acquit. If an official is convicted, he or she is removed from the position and may be barred from holding office again. The official may also face criminal prosecution.
Only two U.S. president have been impeached by the House: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. However, both presidents were acquitted in the Senate. President Richard Nixon resigned before the full House had voted on his impeachment.
This powerful legislative check on executive and judicial wrongdoing is reserved for the most egregious offenses against the U.S. Constitution and the republic.
During the debates of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, James Madison explained the requirement for impeachment: “[S]ome provision should be made for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the chief magistrate. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers.”
In the Federalist Papers (No. 65), Alexander Hamilton wrote that a president should be impeached for “offenses which 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 society itself.”
WND assembled a bipartisan panel of top constitutional experts to evaluate 12 popular arguments for impeaching Obama: