How To Impeach A President

Crossposted at Logistics Monster

MANY inquiring minds want to know the answer to that question, and I know because of watching the search traffic to this site.  After reading the following, you will probably agree that Bambi’s impeachment is not going to happen as it has to start in the House with Nazi Nancy, and we all remember that impeachment danced around the table quite a bit with Bush II.  Looks like we are on our own again; just one more reason to vote them out in 2010.

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.

–U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 4

From Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law:

What is Impeachment?

Technically, impeachment is the Senate’s quasi-criminal proceeding instituted to remove a public officer, not the actual act of removal. Most references to impeachment, however, encompass the entire process, beginning with the House’s impeachment inquiry. The term will be used in that broader sense here. By design, impeachment is a complex series of steps and procedures undertaken by the legislature. The process roughly resembles a grand jury inquest, conducted by the House, followed by a full-blown trial, conducted by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding. Impeachment is not directed exclusively at Presidents. The Constitutional language, “all civil officers,” includes such positions as Federal judgeships. The legislature, however, provides a slightly more streamlined process for lower offices by delegating much of it to committees. See Nixon v. US, 506 U.S. 224 (1993)(involving removal of a Federal judge). Presidential impeachments involve the full, public participation of both branches of Congress.

The Impeachment Process in a Nutshell

  1. The House Judiciary Committee deliberates over whether to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

  2. The Judiciary Committee adopts a resolution seeking authority from the entire House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry. Before voting, the House debates and considers the resolution. Approval requires a majority vote.

  3. The Judiciary Committee conducts an impeachment inquiry, possibly through public hearings. At the conclusion of the inquiry, articles of impeachment are prepared. They must be approved by a majority of the Committee.

  4. The House of Representatives considers and debates the articles of impeachment. A majority vote of the entire House is required to pass each article. Once an article is approved, the President is, technically speaking, “impeached” — that is subject to trial in the Senate.

  5. The Senate holds trial on the articles of impeachment approved by the House. The Senate sits as a jury while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial.

  6. At the conclusion of the trial, the Senate votes on whether to remove the President from office. A two-thirds vote by the Members present in the Senate is required for removal.

  7. If the President is removed, the Vice-President assumes the Presidency under the chain of succession established by Amendment XXV.

Constitutional Authority

At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, impeachment was an established process in English law and government. The Founding Fathers incorporated the process, with modifications, into the fabric of United States government. The Constitution, however, only provides the framework-the basic who’s, why’s, and how’s. The remaining procedural intricacies reside in the internal rules of the House and Senate. (emphasis mine)


Article 2, Section 4–“The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States. . .”

As noted above, this includes Federal judges. It does not, however, include House Representatives or Senators.


Article 2, Section 4–“. . .on impeachment for, and on conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors.”

This implies that the impeachment process is not tightly linked to the criminal law. The test is not satisfied by all crimes. With only two named offenses to provide context for the inclusive phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the standard remains undefined. The language suggests, however, that criminal action may be required. It is worth noting that the term “misdemeanor” does not correspond to the modern definition of a less serious (sub-felony) statutory or common law criminal offense.

In the case of Andrew Johnson, the House accused the President, among other things, of speaking disrespectfully of Congress “in a loud voice.”


Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5–“The House of Representatives . . . shall have the sole power of impeachment.”

The power of impeachment translates into the power to indict. The House, through the Judiciary Committee, conducts investigation and gathers evidence. At the proper time, the House assembles the evidence into individual indictments or charges known as Articles of Impeachment. Each article requires a majority vote of the House to pass to the Senate. Once impeached, the officer is on trial.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6–“The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”

The trial of the impeached officer is held in the Senate. In Nixon v. US, regarding the impeachment trial of a Federal judge, the Supreme Court ruled that the application of the phrase phrase “sole power to try all impeachments” to a particular case was not justiciable. In other words it held that the proper application of this constitutional language to a specific impeachment proceeding was not a question for the courts. Therefore, the process and procedure for impeachment lie solely within the purview of the legislature. The officer subject to an impeachment proceeding has no appeal to a federal court.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7“Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”

An impeachment and removal does not activate the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. The ex-officer may face criminal indictments and trials for the same conduct that led to their impeachment and removal from office.



Filed under By Logistics Monster

21 responses to “How To Impeach A President

  1. DT-
    If Hussein was caught with 10 interns, 20 bongs, 5 blue stained dresses and 5 extra long cigars, Janeane Garofalo on her knees, and proof that he was born in a Kenyan hut…he would still receive the nobel prize for, um, something.
    Good research, as always. For a moment I had a dream, alas, he’s still the Resident Select.

  2. Petunia! I am so glad to see you commenting…I thought you fell off the grid completely.

    Ah well, one can dream that he is thrown out of office right on his ear and then goes straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Yes?

  3. No chance he will be impeached … I think the best we can hope for is that he is not re -elected in 2012 … and in 2010 working toward replacing as many as possible in congress and the senate .

  4. …and the prize goes to Swanny!!

  5. ah but if we allow him near a monopoly board, he’ll take ownership of all the properties.

    i am basically on hiatus, dt…popping in when i reach my threshold, then drifting out for sanity’s sake.:)

  6. You’re such a killjoy Swan. 🙂

  7. This is a good video you will like it. This incorporates Lincoln Obama’s inspiration on so many levels.

  8. Saturday Afternoon Reflections The Last Time Sean Penn Said something that made any damn sense and is actually pertinent to our present times.

  9. You will love this -this is the fruit of the love of your countrymen bears. It is sad warning, Marines sacrificed but left an imprint forever.

  10. Hey,

    What happened to Cinie’s World? I tried to click Cinie on this morning, and it said it had been archived or removed because of a violation of terms of service? So somebody has been monitoring Cinie’s World?

  11. Radec

    Look again. She’s back.

  12. Thanks Radec

    Got the message already. Appreciate the update.

  13. Obama’s gurus

    Paul Begala this morning on Imus in the Morning. Paul thinks Nancy Pelosi is telling the truth about the C.I.A. briefings.

  14. Everyone should watch this video Daniel Hannan is warning everyone about what we can look forward to because The United Kingdom is already experiencing the results of Socialism.

    The British Are Coming- the British Are Coming 🙂

  15. boggartblog

    It’s going to take a whistle blower to get Barry.

  16. that’s true and the new york times ignored and blocked ACORN whistle blowers before the election.

  17. rise_Hillary

    To use Obama’s favorite phrases in this one: Can it get any worse?


    Hope and change!


    Usurper Omememe’s approval rating poll is down to below 50%. He will be a first term President and will be out in 2012. He has already broken promises to the America people and I am glad he didn’t get my vote last Nov.

  18. kris

    leaving it to the senate is not a bad thing but, the people need to put the pressure on those senators to make it happen…… if ht e people make a big enough noise then they have to bow to the voice of the people or not get another term…….. am i right?

  19. Goddamn it! Can’t you people get serious. Do you have any idea what all of this means to our country and our freedom? The US is the last place on this planet where people have the freedoms that we have, unless you want to go and live in Antarctica with the fucking penguins. Are you willing to go to the lengths that our forefathers did to have your freedom? Have you considered what they really did and what the sacrifices were? Are you willing to take up arms if you have to? Are you willing to go to jail? Are you willing to die to stay out of a socialist government and keep your freedom? How are we going to get back the liberties that have already been lost? It is going to take radical steps on the part of the masses. How important is freedom to you?

  20. Tim Schmuki

    To all you guys on my side, we must take action to impeach obama. We must bring him to justice for violating the constitutuion. This can be done by criticising him harshley, mocking him for being an arrogant pompass ass. We must tear him down publicly the same way he has come after us. We must make an example of him to everyone in the world that we do not tolerate leaders who would try to harm our country and way of life. This is serious. He must be destroyed and brought down with extreme prejudice.
    Listen to me people he is as bad as hitler, a real scumbag.

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