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What Are "High Crimes and Misdemeanors"?

Impeachment High Crimes Misdemeanors 2007 Constitution

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#21 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:46 PM

Sounds good on paper, but I think a bit more is at stake when we talk about removing a President.  

Public trust in government erodes every time an impeachment occurs - and we don't think to ourselves "Oh, boy - that great congress really protected the public interest."  We think - "our government just took a black eye." Like it or not - the president, besides being our chief executive - is also our Head of State.  Removing him (or one day her) from office is more serious than it may appear.

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#22 Cait

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:51 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on Mar 26 2007, 01:46 PM, said:

Sounds good on paper, but I think a bit more is at stake when we talk about removing a President.  

Public trust in government erodes every time an impeachment occurs - and we don't think to ourselves "Oh, boy - that great congress really protected the public interest."  We think - "our government just took a black eye." Like it or not - the president, besides being our chief executive - is also our Head of State.  Removing him (or one day her) from office is more serious than it may appear.

QT

Oh I agree.  I don't think every President ought to worry about the distraction of an easy removal from office.  I want the Executive to concentrate on his job.  We all rely on that.  I was just commenting on the 'bare essence' of Impeachment.  It's firing someone.  Should it be contemplated only on rare occasions?  Yes.  And history bears that out.  Still, it is just firing someone, not locking them up for 20 years.

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Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

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#23 Rov Judicata

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:09 PM

Quote

I've been reading a lot on this lately, and what's the worst thing that happens when a person is removed from office--he loses his job. It's not like he goes to jail or something. We make a big deal out of it because well, it's never happened [actual removal from office, impeachments have occurred].
We tend to make more of it than it is. Impeachment is the process to fire someone. That's all.

An interesting point.

In theory, however, people who lose their drivers licenses to drunk driving charges can appeal*. So can people who have to hand over a few thousand dollars after losing a lawsuit. Same for people who have to pay a few hundreds bucks after being convicted of a misdemeanor (disturbing the peace, or what have you). In other words, those people have more due process rights than the commander in chief. In practice, of course, the real check is what the public will put up with.

*Granted, they usually don't, because the evidence is a Breathalyzer test which is essentially fool-proof. My understanding is that some jurisdictions outright forbid the defense from introducing evidence to call the machine into doubt, although I'm by no means an expert in the field.

Edited by Juris Rovvius, 26 March 2007 - 08:10 PM.

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#24 Cait

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:33 PM

Rov, I don't think we have to worry about run-away impeachments.  I mean how many have we seen in our history?

That said, due process is technically a designation for criminal proceedings, isn't it?  I mean it's what defendants can enjoy when they are accused of a crime.  My understanding [and correct me if I am wrong], is this is because criminal proceedings can result in loss of liberty.

Impeachment carries no punishment other than removal from office.  There is no loss of liberty.  If there were indictable crimes, the Executive would be indicted after he was impeached [as a separate cause of action] and then s/he *would* enjoy due process.  

I'm not suggesting we should march into the Oval Office and fire Bush, but I am trying to put this in a larger context, instead of the emotional one we'll doubtless argue over the next two years and beyond.  

Like I said at the beginning of this thread, I thought an underlying indictable crime was necessary to impeach, just like O'Reilly did.  According to the research, that's not so.  With that new information, it appears, that if you could get a conviction, [very iffy] it doesn't have to be for an indictable crime, it can be for a political crime like Rocky Anderson claimed.

I just found it interesting.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#25 Batrochides

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:18 PM

Constitutionally, "high crimes and misdemeanors" is whatever a vote of a majority of the House of Representatives says it is, if it can be accepted by two-thirds of the members of the Senate.

An impeachment is a political process, not a judicial one, albeit wrapped in a quasi-judicial mantle. A President could be impeached for the "high crime and misdeamenor" of showing insufficient respect for Congress, or merely for acting in a way that is inconsistent with the preferences of Congress. Conversely, a President could go over to the Washington headquarters of the opposition party and gun down everyone he could find there, and he would still remain in office if those proportions in the two Houses failed to find him guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors". Tried and subject to conviction by the ordinary courts, yes, but not impeached and removed from office.

Batrochides

Edited by Batrochides, 27 March 2007 - 07:19 PM.


#26 Julianus

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:41 PM

View PostJuris Rovvius, on Mar 25 2007, 08:29 PM, said:

The power to impeach and convict is vested in the congress, and there's no check on it. If the president was impeached for chewing bubble gum or being a dog person, he would have no recourse to have the impeachment undone.

In essence, high crimes and misdemeanors are whatever congress say they are. That, in turn, is shaped in large part by public opinion. In essence, a high crime or misdemeanor is whatever enough people think it is.

It doesn't get much more post-modern than that.
Well, the President is Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and if there is no precedent in US history, going back to our legal "roots" there was Cromwell, and something to the effect that "this House will sit no more."
They were the boys that established "red" as the color of revolution, too.   :devil: :giljotiini:  

But, then I knew Cromwell, and GW is no Oliver Cromwell.
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