Monday, August 20, 2007

Impeaching Gonzales

It is easy enough to forget that impeachment was built into the Constitution for more than just action against a President and this NYT Editorial is happy to point that out in regard to AG Gonzales. Now that Jay Inslee (D-WA) and 5 other Reps have introduced a resolution to conduct an impeachment inquiry it is important to know just what it means within the Constitutional framework.

Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors are the Constitutional basis for impeachment and while this may be a rather loose sounding list it is so for a reason. While the Founders did not want Congress to undertake an impeachment lightly they also did not want them hamstrung. The impeachment process was promoted at conventions as a means to rein in any office holder who “dares to abuse the power vested in him by the people.”

If you're thinking such a thing would be without precedence the case of US Grant's Sec of War William Belknap was impeached for taking bribes, Alberto might find Congress a bit more polite in that they impeached William even though he'd resigned.

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