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Losing Power

Page history last edited by mberry 14 years, 6 months ago

Losing Power





     The Constitution states that “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.” The power of the President has been defined by the Constitution, and this power is kept in check by the Supreme Court. If the President violated one of these rules, then there would be a possibility he would face impeachment. The House of Representatives would try to make a strong and fit argument for impeachment. These resolutions are then passed to the House Judiciary Committee and decide whether or not these allegations should be for open debate in the House. The House would then vote on impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee then investigates the accusations further. The President will be impeached on a 2/3rds vote in the House. After s/he is impeached, her/his trial is held by the Senate with the Chief of Justice residing.  A 2/3 vote in Senate would convict the President and remove him/her from office.  The only Presidents to be impeached were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.  Neither were convicted.


After the Civil War, America went through a “Reconstruction Period.” There was a large political battle for control between Radical Republicans and the Democratic Party. Andrew Johnson was one of the Democratic Presidents during this time. He and the majority leading Republicans were in a constant battle over power. He was impeached in 1868 by the House of Representatives because he violated the Tenure of Office Act. This act prohibited the President from removing an official appointed by the previous President without the consent of the Senate. The President was allowed to suspend these officials but not remove them. Andrew Johnson wanted to remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The Senate refused to allow Stanton’s removal. Ignoring this decision, Johnson appointed Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War. Because this violated the Tenure Office Act, the House moved to impeach Johnson in 1868.  Johnson escaped conviction in the Senate by 1 vote.  This decision can be widely known as political expedience. It was possible that the Republicans wanted to impeach Johnson because of his political views and when he violated the Tenure Office Act, this gave them the opportunity to impeach Johnson.


 Photo of Andrew Johnsonhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/andrewjohnson


       President Clinton was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives under the charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power. These charges arose from the relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Word escaped when Monica Lewinsky told a co-worker about her relationship with Clinton. Both Clinton and Lewinsky denied having sexual relationships, but when videos were released about their scandal, both Clinton and Lewinsky confessed to having an inappropriate work relationship. The real issue, though, was whether Clinton had lied under oath...which would have been a "high crime" since the President promises to uhold the Constitution and the rule of law.  Clinton was not convicted.  He still remains a strongly influential man. He was the second President to get impeached.




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