60

High crimes and misdemeanors is interpreted by Congress While the concept is an import from English law as grounds for removing an officeholder from office, the conduct referred to is better thought of as a breach of trust rather than a specific (criminal) offense. One may commit a 'high crime or misdemeanor' without actually breaking the law. Because ...


46

Impeachment of a president does not on conviction automatically disqualify the convicted party from becoming president again. However, after conviction, the Senate can vote to add to the punishment of removal from office "disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States." This requires only a simple majority ...


35

Reading the wikipedia entry on High Crimes and Misdemeanors probably suffices to answer the question. Ultimately this phrase doesn't mean what you think it means. Your modern notion of "crimes" and "misdemeanors" is not what is meant. It comes from England, with hundreds of years of history behind it. In short it (probably) means "anything outside of or ...


33

Yes The rule against prosecuting a sitting President is not a law, it is a Justice Department opinion and policy. The justification for it is that dealing with a criminal case would be severely distracting to the President, and thus harmful to the nation. Besides, the opinion goes on, any serious issue can be dealt with by impeachment. That reasoning ...


28

No, abuse of power is not necessarily criminal Imagine a judge that is “heightist” - they always rule in favor of defendants who are taller than 175cm and always rule against those who are shorter irrespective of the merits of the case. This is clearly an abuse of power. It’s not illegal because “height” is not a category protected from discrimination (...


27

Yes the Senate could adopt a secret ballot rule, but other constitutional provisions combined with high partisanship make it practically impossible that the final results will be done through secret ballot. As other answers have mentioned, Article 1, Section 3, provides for the Senate to have sole power of trying impeachments. Similarly by Article 1, ...


25

No. Several elements of the crimes defined at 18 USC 1503 and 1504 would be absent, not least of which is that the Senate isn't actually a jury but a legislative body that is only partly analogous to a jury.


23

In the cases where a federal official has been impeached in the US, the reasons have been: Drunkenness and unlawful rulings Political bias and arbitrary rulings, promoting a partisan political agenda on the bench Abuse of power Supporting the Confederacy Violating the Tenure of Office Act Graft, corruption Failure to live in his district, abuse of power ...


19

Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 says The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. 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. Therefore, the House cannot try an impeachment. The wording of the ...


18

The point is that an act need not be a crime for which the actor could be convicted in criminal court for it to qualify as an impeachable "high crime or misdemeanor." So, abuse of power isn't necessarily criminal of itself, but even a specific abuse of power that is not criminal may be impeachable, Alan Dershowitz's arguments to the contrary notwithstanding....


16

Double jeopardy in its usual sense wouldn't attach because impeachment is not a criminal proceeding, which is the only thing double jeopardy applies to (esoteric estoppel matters not withstanding). You might recall that OJ Simpson was tried and acquitted of murder in a criminal court, and then subsequently tried and found liable in a civil court for those ...


13

The only relevant case heard by SCOTUS is Nixon v. US, 506 U.S. 224, where a federal judge was tried and convicted for actual crimes, but would not resign his position so continued to draw his salary. The key legal question was whether the matter is "justiciable" (meaning, not a political matter but a legal matter). Nixon's argument was that Senate Rule XI ...


13

No, abuse of power is not necessarily criminal because abuse of power is a moral construct and something being criminal is a legalistic one. And that the law and morals are only loosely related to each other has been shown time and time again. However, a lot of specific types of "abuse of power" have been made illegal due to the fact that ideally law is ...


11

First of all, there is a distinction between being impeached and being convicted. Trump was impeached when the House voted to adopt an Article of Impeachment. That happened while he was still in office. He will not be convicted until the Senate votes to convict him by a 2/3rds vote, if it ever does. In the case of Nixon, the House had not yet voted to adopt ...


10

Part of the problem you'll find is that there are so few impeachments in U.S. History (Only 21 articles of Impeachment have ever been drafted, of which only 8 resulted in convictions) and SCOTUS is so selective on cases it chooses to hear, that only one case has ever been heard and that was upheld (Nixon v. United States). In that case, SCOTUS ruled that ...


9

Actually this is the only SCOTUS ruling on Impeachment because of what it legally means with respect to SCOTUS and impeachment. Namely, Impeachment is a congressional power and not a judicial one that has no punishment beyond the removal from office upon conviction and that therefor it is not a matter that is Judicial. That is a fancy way to say that ...


8

No Section 2, Clause 1 says: ... and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. Impeachment is explicitly carved our from the President's power to pardon.


8

Yes Impeachment proceedings (as are all activities of Congress) are legal proceedings in that they are enabled by the Constitution. While it is true that they are not judicial proceedings, the activities of the legislature as with the executive (like a police interview) and judiciary (like a trial) are legal processes and the Fifth Amendment rights apply. ...


7

Proof is for a courtroom Or in this case, the Senate. Proof is what you get when the trial is complete, the evidence has been considered and the verdict is in. Is there evidence? The Federal crime of bribery : that the defendants acted with corrupt intent to engage in a quid pro quo, that is, “a specific intent to give or receive something of value in ...


7

He will be thrown out of office (the "except in case of impeachment" clause means the president cannot immunize a person against impeachment); because he was pardoned by POTUS, he will not be charged of the crime that he was pardoned for – the prosecution does not get a chance to argue anything. They might however prosecute him for some other offense not ...


6

The answer by @hszmv is correct and I fully agree with it. I would add a few additional points: Not All People Impeached Are Removed From Office A ban on holding future public office is imposed in only a minority of impeachments, and can only be litigated if the person seeks to hold such an office and has a non-speculative chance of obtaining one. In some ...


5

Additionally, The senate is the only "Court" that can hear impeachment trials, so there is no appeals system to overturn the decision in such a matter (The Supreme court effectively washed their hands of any involvement in Impeachment in Nixon v. United States (no not that Nixon.). Additionally, in U.S. Politics, the political parties have little in the way ...


5

High Crimes and Misdemeanors (the bigger category from which Abuse of Power was derived) was historically meant as a catch-all for any actions that could cause a peasant to believe that the monarchy was not morally/intellectually superior to the peasantry, and thus question the concept of Divine Right in early times, and the justification of the State and ...


5

He's not a judge in a courtroom with all the power of a federal judge. He's temporary presiding officer of the Senate, in charge of enforcing Senate rules. The Senate calendar is under control of the majority leader who passed the rules of how the trial would be run. If the rules don't say "must adjourn for the day by X o'clock" then Roberts would not be ...


4

It's never happened so there is really no definitive answer. There are plausible arguments both ways. Many impeachment cases have been dismissed in the Senate before a trial is complete, or before a Senate trial is commenced, because a resignation has made the process moot.


4

Article II, Section 4 of The Constitution says 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. Removal therefore follows automatically from conviction.


4

I would argue the Constitutional basis of these actions would be the Constitution itself, namely Article II, Section 4: 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. and Article I, Section 3, Clause 7: ...


3

Impeachment is unique in that it is a question of politics, not a question of law, that is being discussed at trial. The other exception is that the Senate, not the Supreme Court, is the High Court of Impeachment (that is, legal precedence is based on what the Senate says, not what the Supreme Court or any other appellant court says). There are a few minor ...


3

There is at least one currently seated House Rep who was previously a Federal Judge who was impeached by Congress but not disqualified from future office in US government. In the case of Moore, a state legislature's impeachment of an office holder may bar him from future state office but no longer has the power to block the person from federal office (...


3

Impeachment by the House does not legally disqualify someone from office, only the Senate can vote to "disqualify" an officeholder from holding any public office again, and only after a successful conviction/removal. Here's the relevant passage from Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 of the Constitution (emphasis mine): Judgment in Cases of Impeachment ...


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