What Is a Impeachment in Legal Terms

The Senate began the impeachment process on January 14, 1999. Thirteen members of the House of Representatives, who served as prosecutors, spent three days issuing opening statements outlining the case that the Senate should convict and impeach President Clinton. The team of lawyers representing President Clinton spent the next three days laying out their lines of defense. After questioning both sides for several days, the Senate adjourned the trial until House prosecutors could hear testimony from Lewinsky and others involved in the alleged perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate decided by a vote of 70 to 30 not to call Lewinsky as a witness, but allowed video clips of his testimony to be played during the trial. Both sides aired excerpts they believed were sympathetic to their position, which were shown to the American public during televised deliberations. Closing arguments were then presented and the Senate proceeded in camera on February 9, 1999. As such, Clinton`s acquittal creates a double standard for impeaching presidents and judges. In 1986, the House of Representatives indicted Judge Harry E. Claiborne for filing tax returns, and the Senate convicted him.

In 1989, the House of Representatives indicted Judge Walter L. Nixon Jr. and the Senate found him guilty of lying under oath about conduct unrelated to his official duties. In neither case has anyone suggested that lying about one`s personal conduct is not a criminal offence. In fact, the House executives` report on Justice Nixon states: “It is hard to imagine an act more subversive to the legal process than lying on the witness stand. A judge who violates his oath and misleads a grand jury is clearly unfit to stand on the bench. If the veracity of a judge cannot be guaranteed, if he or she does not set the highest standard of transparency, how can ordinary citizens who appear before the court be expected to take their oath as witnesses? The Clinton Senate acquittal suggests that lying about private matters is impeachment for judges, but not for presidents. The Constitution gives Congress the power to impeach and impeach the president.1FootnoteThe Constitution contains a number of provisions relating to the impeachment of federal officials. Article I, Section 2, Section 5 grants the House of Representatives sole impeachment power; Article I, Section 3, Section 6 assigns exclusive responsibility for impeachment to the Senate; Clause 7 of section 3 of article 1 provides that the sanctions for an accused and a convicted person are limited to dismissal and possibly exclusion from future office, but the procedure for dismissal does not exclude criminal responsibility; Article II, section 2, paragraph 1, provides that the President has the power of pardon, but does not extend to cases of impeachment; and Article II, Section 4 defines which officials are subject to impeachment proceedings and what types of misconduct constitute conduct subject to dismissal. Article III does not explicitly mention impeachment, but Section 1, which states that federal judges must retain their seats for good conduct, is widely understood to provide the unique nature of judicial tenure.

And Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 provides that trials, except in cases of impeachment, shall be conducted by juries. Vice President and all federal officials for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.2FootnoteUnited States II, § 4. This instrument is inherited from the English practice of Parliament to accuse and condemn ministers and favourites of the Crown in order to limit the power of the Crown. The impeachment power of Congress is an important oversight of the executive and judicial branches, recognized by drafters as an essential tool for holding government officials accountable for violations of the law and abuses of power.3FootnoteSee The Federalist No. 65, 81 (Alexander Hamilton) (ed. Clinton Rossiter, 1961). Congress has primarily used the impeachment tool against the president and the federal judge, but all federal officials are subject to impeachment.4Footnote United States Const. II, § 4; see discussion below ArtII.S4.2.3.3 Impeachable Offences: Post-Bellum Practices (1865-1900) Impeachable Offences: Post-Bellum Practices (1865-1900). However, the practice of impeachment makes it clear that members of Congress are not civil servants subject to impeachment and impeachment.5FootnoteSee discussion below ArtII.S4.2.3.1 Early Historical Practice (1789–1860) Impeachment Offenses: Early Historical Practice (1789–1860). Dismissal also refers to the prosecution of a public official for illegal acts committed in the exercise of public functions.

It is the constitutional process, not the conviction or impeachment, by which the House of Representatives can “impeach” (charge) senior federal officials for trial in the Senate. The same term is used in the United States in reference to senior U.S. officials, where impeachment is the first step in a process; Only after there has been a vote for impeachment is there a trial on the articles of impeachment. Unelected President Andrew Johnson was indicted but acquitted. President Richard Milhouse Nixon resigned before impeachment could begin. President William Jefferson Clinton was acquitted after a full impeachment trial. The prosecution has failed to prove that his reprehensible conduct constitutes a serious crime and misdemeanor. Impeachment could also mean impeachment, responsibility, or prosecution.

One could also use the word impeachment to deny, denigrate, deny or disagree; see Wolfgram v. Stadt Schoepke. In the law of evidence, impeachment would mean asking the question of the veracity of a witness. Impeachment would be used to challenge a witness` testimony or other evidence by accusing him. Removal could mean questioning the accuracy or authenticity of a legal document. Impeachment remains the ultimate check on abuse of power. In giving this power to Congress, the drafters drew on a long tradition of democratic skepticism toward leaders. These provisions ensure that leaders serve the people only as long as they respect the law and their functions.

In this sense, the impeachment power is ready to thwart tyranny. There are occasional calls for reforms that would simplify impeachment, but his rare vocation and tradition of service make such reform unlikely. Impeachment is a fundamental constitutional power of Congress. This corruption protection can be initiated against federal officials, from the lowest cabinet member to the president and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to providing impeachment power, the U.S. Constitution outlines the methods to be used. The two-stage process begins in the House of Representatives with a public inquiry into the allegations. It culminates, if necessary, with a trial in the Senate. State constitutions model impeachment procedures for state officials according to this approach. Impeachment proceedings are rare at both the federal and state levels: from the adoption of the Constitution until the mid-1990s, only 50 impeachment proceedings were initiated, and only a third of them went to trial in the Senate.

The reluctance of legislators to use this power is a measure of its gravity; It is generally invoked only on evidence of criminal offences or significant abuse of power. Congress passed the articles of impeachment proceedings against a senator, William Blount; a member of the cabinet, William W. Belknap; and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. He also voted to indict a small number of federal appellate and district judges. In 1989, U.S. District Judge Alcee Hastings of Miami became only the twelfth federal judge in U.S. history to be indicted. His case was unique: he was the first African-American to be appointed to the Florida Federal Bank, and also the only judge to be indicted after an acquittal in a criminal case. The House of Representatives voted in 1988 to approve 17 articles of impeachment against him.

After Hastings unsuccessfully challenged his impeachment in court in 1989, the Senate convicted him of eight of the articles and removed him from office. The impeachment and trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999 showed how difficult it is to impeach a public servant when the debate is politicized. The desire of the House of Representatives to impeach Clinton arose from actions that had taken place in legal disputes between Clinton and Paula Jones. Jones had filed a lawsuit against Clinton, alleging that he sexually harassed her when he was governor of Arkansas and that she was a state employee. Clinton tried to postpone the trial until he left office, but the U.S. Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 117 S. Ct. 1636, 137 L.

Ed. 2d 945 (1997), held that a sitting president does not have presidential immunity from charges of conduct unrelated to his official duties. Jones` lawyers then attempted to obtain evidence for the trial. Clinton agreed to be removed from office on January 17, 1998 in Washington, D.C., becoming the first sitting president to do so. During the testimony, Jones` lawyer asked Clinton if he was involved in a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He denied there was such a relationship and denied further questions about his conduct with Lewinsky. In her written responses to the interrogations, Clinton made similar denials. Within days, the media reported allegations of a sexual affair between the president and the intern.

On February 19, 1999, the Senate acquitted President Clinton of both articles of impeachment. Ten Republicans and the 45 Democrats rejected the perjury charge and voted not guilty.