Correcting Unconstitutional Impeachment

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Correcting Unconstitutional Impeachment

by KrisAnne Hall, JD

Current events always bring about the most powerful teaching moments.  Today’s question can be generally formed as:

“What is the remedy when articles of impeachment are established that do not comply with the terms of the Constitution?”

Those who ratified our Constitution knew that those in government would always be tempted, for reasons they would attempt to justify, to try to work outside the boundaries of the Constitution.  James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and our fourth President even called our Constitution a “parchment barrier,” knowing that the document itself would have no force to keep the politically ambitious within the Constitution’s limited and defined boundaries.  It was always considered, and will always be the duty of the citizens to control those they place in government.

The Constitution lays out very specific terms for impeachment in Article 2 section 4 of the Constitution.  According to the Constitution, impeachment can only be brought for four specific crimes: Bribery, Treason, High Crimes, or Misdemeanors.  Any article of impeachment that is outside those four crimes is completely unconstitutional.  So what can the people do, Constitutionally, when articles of impeachment are brought by the House outside those four authorized terms?

Understanding the constitutional solution to this political problem requires understanding that the structure of government created by the Constitution is not the structure of government we currently have operating outside the Constitution.  When those holding the trust of public office leave behind the standard of the Constitution, the people have a duty to correct their course.  When the power to impeach is exercised to satisfy political lusts rather than comply with Constitutional standards, what is the solution that exists within the established constitutional framework?

The first thing we must remind ourselves is, the people didn’t elect the president.  The office of the president was not created to be a representative of the people; the president was created to be an ambassador for the States in foreign affairs.  For that reason, the States elect the president through the electoral college.  This is not a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, the electoral college was established for specific reasons; first and foremost to protect the liberty and authority of the people.  (If this principle seems strange to you, please read what those who drafted the Constitution said about the Electoral College: Electoral College Truth)

With that first principle in mind, here is the solution to the question: what is the check and balance upon unconstitutional articles of impeachment:

  1. Because the president is a representative of the States, elected by the States, an improper impeachment is disenfranchisement of the States.
  2. Since it is the States’ vote that is being overturned, the remedy exists in the States.  It is the obligation of every State Governor and Legislator to bring a lawsuit against the enforcement of the articles of impeachment and the members of Congress violating the specific terms of impeachment.
  3. Because the purpose of the Senate is to represent the States in the federal government, it is also imperative that those Senators representing States who chose the President, absent proper ground for impeachment, must not only oppose the House articles of impeachment, they must vote against conviction.

As a final note if truth, the Senators are representatives of their State as a whole, not the people of their State and not themselves.  So if the State selected the president and if true grounds for impeachment are absent, a Senator MUST oppose the impeachment regardless of personal opinions and the opinions of a portion of the people of the State.

The designers of our Constitution crafted that document to be simply written so that the average person in 1788 could read and understand how their government was required to operate.  The designed the solutions to be simply but necessarily applied by the people.

“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” Federalist #33

However, because the American education system no longer teaches the essential principles driving the proper application of our Constitution, the remedies often evade our view and the people slip into overwhelming frustrations due to a perceived lack of options.  As Thomas Jefferson remarked in a letter to Charles Yancy in 1816:

“…if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was & never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty & property of their constituents. there is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information.”

Those who designed and ratified our Constitution gave us very powerful options, we simply need to apply those options to make the necessary course corrections.  Application must begin with proper education.  With this understanding, now we can demand our Governors and State Legislators exercise their duty in authority to be a necessary check and balance upon an unauthorized and unconstitutional behavior of those in the federal government.


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Smitty
Smitty
2 years ago

Considering the kind of people we now have in our congress and citizenry, we no longer need any external enemies … but none of them will go away. They just keep on trying to ruin the country.

s e (@oldgulph)
s e (@oldgulph)
2 years ago

Trump, October 12, 2017 in Sean Hannity interview
“I would rather have a popular vote. “

Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
“ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
“The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted 338–70 for a national popular vote.

Presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969), Jimmy Carter (D-GA-1977), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY-2001).

Past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN),

Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

Cynic728
Cynic728
2 years ago

Shall we respond by posting all the comments the Dems made about the impeachment process during Clinton/Nixon?

s e (@oldgulph)
s e (@oldgulph)
2 years ago
Reply to  Cynic728

Congressional votes are more than “comments.”

s e (@oldgulph)
s e (@oldgulph)
2 years ago
Reply to  Cynic728

“ Let’s quit pretending there is some great benefit to the national good that allows the person with [fewer] votes to win the White House. Republicans have long said that they believe in competition. Let both parties compete for votes across the nation and stop disenfranchising voters by geography. The winner should win.” – Stuart Stevens (Republican)

In Gallup polls since they started asking in 1944 until the 2016 election, only about 20% of the public supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

When asked the simple question “Do you think the person who wins the most votes nationwide should become the president?” 74% of all Americans surveyed say yes.

Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

There are several scenarios in which a candidate could win the presidency in 2020 with fewer popular votes than their opponents. It could reduce turnout more, as more voters realize their votes do not matter.

Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. It undermines the legitimacy of the electoral system. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

The National Popular Vote bill was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).

Since 2006, the bill has passed 40 state legislative chambers in 24 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 271 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Nevada (6).
The bill has been enacted by 16 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 196 electoral votes – 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes.

When enacted by states with 270 electoral votes, it would change state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting states, without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

s e (@oldgulph)
s e (@oldgulph)
2 years ago
Reply to  Cynic728

Eight former national chairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have endorsed the bill

The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote has included former Congressmen John Anderson (R–Illinois and later independent presidential candidate), John Buchanan (R–Alabama), Tom Campbell (R–California), and Tom Downey (D–New York), and former Senators Birch Bayh (D–Indiana), David Durenberger (R–Minnesota), and Jake Garn (R–Utah).

Supporters of the National Popular Vote bill have included former Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Governor Jim Edgar (R–IL), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA)

Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the National Popular Vote plan would not help either party over the other.

The Nebraska GOP State Chairman, Mark Fahleson.

Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State

Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:”A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”

Some other supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote” include:

Laura Brod who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She was the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

James Brulte the California Republican Party chairman, who served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

Ray Haynes who served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

Dean Murray was a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

Thomas L. Pearce who served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.

In 2018, the National Popular Vote bill in the Michigan Senate was sponsored by a bipartisan group of 25 of the 38 Michigan senators, including 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

The bill was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).

In 2016 the Arizona House of Representatives passed the bill 40-16-4.
Two-thirds of the Republicans and two-thirds of the Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives sponsored the bill.
In January 2016, two-thirds of the Arizona Senate sponsored the bill.

In 2014, the Oklahoma Senate passed the bill by a 28–18 margin.

In 2009, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed the bill

On March 25, 2014 in the New York Senate, Republicans supported the bill 27-2; Republicans endorsed by the Conservative Party by 26-2; The Conservative Party of New York endorsed the bill.
In the New York Assembly, Republicans supported the bill 21–18; Republicans endorsed by the Conservative party supported the bill 18–16.