Talk:Impeachment in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LINKS for Impeachment of George W. Bush[edit]

This section looks like an attempt to campaign pro-impeachment. Also, the subject looks misplaced here. I would move it to George W. Bush but I am not familiar enough with the subject(s). -Nabla 2005-07-07 16:31:21 (UTC)

I've integrated the Bush section with the "Impeachment in the States section". With no real threat of impeachment at the current time, it doesn't make sense to have an entire section devoted to Bush. I kept the link to the Zogby poll since it accurately describes the poll's findings. Carbonite | Talk 7 July 2005 17:48 (UTC)
Looks OK to me, thanks. Removing the POV check tag... Nabla 2005-07-07 19:38:01 (UTC)
The "Impeachment in the States" section is about impeachment of state officials. It makes no sense at all to put impeachment of Bush here. RichardMathews 2005-07-09 10:05:01 (UTC)
You're right. I originally read that as "Impeachments in the States" (meaning United States). Of course, that would have been redundant given the title of the article. I moved it to the end of the history section, the only place where it really fit. If it ever becomes more than poll data, it could have its own section. Carbonite | Talk 9 July 2005 12:40 (UTC)

Should delete reference to impeaching Bush, has no business in Wikipedia. Want to see elevant facts encyclopedia. This may me a fact that X percent want to impeach Bush, but it has not context here.

I'm in the impeach camp myself, but I agree with you. What may be more appropriate is an article written to describe what constitutes "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Let people draw their own conclusions by laying out the facts and the related law. And now that I've added a link to High Crimes and Misdemeanors, I don't even think it needs that. Chadlupkes 22:12, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Independent Counsel[edit]

This article previously mentioned that an independent cousel could recomend impeachment. This office no longer exists. red in 1999, largely because people Ken Star's investigation to have been overly broad and generally a waste of money (remeber he was investigating Whitewater).

Could someone persuade a professor of Constitutional law out there to contribute an explanation of exactly where in the process of impeachment of a member of the federal executive branch the Special Counsel comes in? Is it before or after the House Judiciary Committee formulates Articles of Impeachment? And what is the involvement of the U.S. Attorney General? From what I've been able to gather, what happens is the Judiciary Committee sends informal issues of concern to the DOJ's Attorney General who needs to agree that the issues need further investigation in order to refer them to the Special Counsel who investigates them and if he/she decides the conduct is, in fact, possibly a serious breach of the official's Constitutional duties, sends the results in the form of a recommendation back to the Committee who then formalizes one or more Articles of Impeachment which are then voted on by the full House. But I haven't been able to find a reliable online resource to verify the accuracy of my understanding.MaskedWoman (talk) 08:17, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Supreme Court Judges?[edit]

a california talk show host insists that all federal judges can be impeached except for Supreme Court judges. he says they are exempt, and in order to impeach them we need to amend the constitution to say we can. is that true? Kingturtle 04:52, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Impeachment only applies to "civil officers" of the United States and the President. Supreme Court justices can hold their officers "during good behavior". It hasn't really ever been tested, so most claims about how to get rid of a Supreme Court justice are speculation. Peyna 22:23, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

The CA talk show host is wrong. Supreme Court Justices, and all federal judges, hold their office during "good behavior" and the only way to prove "bad behavior" is by impeachment and removal. One Supreme Court Justice was already impeached (Justice Samuel Chase) in the 1800s. The Constitution does not need to be amended to impeach Supreme Court justices and someone should remark to that talk show host that he/she doesn't know of what he speaks.JasonCNJ 04:09, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, one must remember what happened to Abe Fortas and William O. Douglas.

Impeachment initiates the Constitutionaly specified power of removal for government officials including judges and US attorneys. Article 1, section 2 The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment. Impeachment in the House can be initiated by petition of citizens, state assemblies, grand juries, and members of the House according to [1] Jeffersons Rules § 603. 16:26, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
A direct proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business. ... Where a resolution of investigation positively proposes impeachment or suggests that end, it has been admitted as of privilege. 16:26, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate; by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination; by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee; by a message from the President; by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory or from a grand jury…” 16:26, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Impeachment is raised in the House of Representatives and perfected by trial in the Senate. Article 1 section 8 Congress shall have the power to (list of eneumerated powers)... To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. 16:26, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
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. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal Interestingly the constitution provides this as the sole means of removal including in the case of the US attorneys though it has been argued back and forth for two hundred years. 16:26, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

This last, unsigned comment, is confusing. Fortas was denied confirmation, not impeached, and Douglas suffered sever health problems due to advanced old age, but was not removed.HarvardOxon 22:21, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Fortas was an associate justice from 1965, and due to a scandal, and the beginning of impeachment proceedings in 1969, he was forced to resign. Douglas had to endure impeachment hearings, which failed in 1970Ericl 19:22, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Impeachment in the States Question[edit]

National Governors Association website ( says: POWELL CLAYTON, Arkansas's ninth governor, ....During the Civil War, he joined the Union army, served as captain of the First Kansas Infantry, and rose to the rank of brigadier general. Relocating to Arkansas after the war, Clayton crusaded for the adoption of the 1868 state constitution, which readmitted Arkansas to the Union. That same year he ran unopposed for the governor's office, and on July 2, 1868 he was sworn into office. During his tenure in office, violence was escalating due to the organization of the Ku Klux Klan in April 1868. He proclaimed martial law in 11 counties and organized a black militia to restore order and hunt down members of the Ku Klux Klan. Clayton had many political enemies who tried numerous times to impugn his character and reputation. He was investigated by the U.S. Congress, and impeached by the Arkansas Legislature, but both times the charges were dropped. On January 11, 1871, Clayton was elected to the U.S. Senate, and on March 17, 1871, he resigned from the governor's office....

But I can't find much info on his being impeached. he is not listed in this article and in his wikipedia entry (Powell Clayton), impeachment is not mentioned. Does anybody have more info on whether or not he should be in the list of impeached governors?

Yes he should. I added Huey Long to the list, since he was famously impeached and aquitted.

dates of impeachment[edit]

The table of impeached officers contains errors and ambiguities. It's not clear whether the "date" column refers to the date of impeachment by the House, or ultimate action by the Senate. For instance, Alcee Hastings is listed as Oct. 20, 1988. That's wrong for two reasons---he was impeached in August 1988, and removed on Oct. 20, 1989, not 1988. (See sources, esp. Washington Post, in Hastings article.) I would correct it, but I don't have a precise date for the Aug. 1988 impeachment, and don't want to mess up the table if the rest of the dates are impeachment, not ultimate action. Please help if you can. Theleek 01:03, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Additionally, when using the sorting mechanism of the table on the dates, the table sorts alphabetically, which is not intuitive. It should sort chronologically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

Fixed The Date column contained non-date data (specifically cited references), so the processor could not determine the correct sorting order. A new References column was created so that only dates now appear in the Date column and it sorts correctly. No attempt to address the 2006 complaint (which may have already been addressed in the interim). General Ization Talk 15:18, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

Impeaching Members of Congress[edit]

I'll mirror my statement on the main Impeachment page that the Analysis of the Constitution, published by the GPO and done by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, concludes that the precedent in the Blount case establishes that members of Congress are not subject to impeachment. Doug 04:01, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with your statement on the opinion of the Congressional Research Service and disagree that Members of Congress are not "civil officers" within the meaning of the Constitution and thus are not subject to impeachment. Most importantly, the source you cited does NOT conclude that Members of Congress are not subject to impeachment - it cites simply that the Senate dismissed the Blount impeachment. That the Senate took that action is undisputed. The only question is why. And the Senate is not official on record settling that question...the opinions of the Congressional Research Service to the contrary notwithstanding. JasonCNJ 18:38, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Pardon vs. impeachment[edit]

The article currently states:

The President may not in any case use his power of pardon in a case of impeachment, but may, as usual, pardon a defendant in the case of a criminal prosecution.

Does this mean that the President cannot prevent an impeachment or convinction by Senate, but he can still use the pardon on the invididual removed from office following the Senate conviction? The Consitution language is a bit unclear, to me at least, with the other viable intepretation being that once someone is removed from office on a Senate conviction, that person may no longer be pardoned by the President in any criminal or civil case brought in an ordinary court for the same offense. IgorSF 02:07, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Impeachment while at war[edit]

I was told recently that a sitting President could not be impeached if the country is at war. I'll admit that I don't know as much as most of you about the U.S. Constitution, but could this be true? If so, it would certainly answer a few big questions!!

Constitutionally, that is entirely false. A sitting President (or any Civil Officer of the United States) can be impeached for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, by a majority of those voting on an impeachment resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives (a quorum being present). Those officials are subject to impeachment at any time; the House of Representatives has the "sole Power" to determine who is impeached and when, if ever, an impeachment happens.
Perhaps you were told that a sitting President couldn't be impeached while the country is at war for political reasons, i.e...the House would politically find it difficult to vote for impeachment during that time? But, rest assured, from a legal or Constitutional framework, a sitting President can absolutely be impeached at any time by the House -- war or no war. Hope this helps clears up any confusion. JasonCNJ 06:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Wholesale Plagarism Alert[edit]

It appears that a major portion of the text of this article has been duplicated.

One version is found at [2]. According to [3] this article first appeared at bluedogs about 5/13/2007.

The Edit History of this page however shows that a key section in the article, "Impeachment Attempts", along with key phrases within the section, was first used in the Revision as of 21:55, 6 November 2006 [4].

Noted here that based on this log data it would appear the bluedogs site plagarized from the WP site and not the other way around.

  • That's of the nice things about Wikipedia is that the license allows for the information to be freely copied (see WP:License). So it's actually a good thing that they're posting it, as it helps make Wikipedia even more useful to the general public. --CapitalR 04:31, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Impeachment resolution against VP Cheney[edit]

We need an update on this situation. What happend in January 2008? GoodDay (talk) 21:54, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

"On November 6, 2007, the House referred an impeachment motion, Resolution 333, pressed again by Kucinich, against Vice President Cheney to the House Judiciary Committee for further study. The Republicans wanted this motion killed, but Democrats forced them to push the measure into the House Judiciary Committee for further discussion."

This is not what actually happened that day, or at least it is very misleading. The Democrats wanted the motion killed. The Republicans voted to advance it. Can someone look into this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:40, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Democratic leadership wanted to table (which would kill) the resolution on impeaching Cheney. They expected the Republicans to join in support of the motion to table, which would offset the liberal Democrats who wanted to vote no on the motion to table. However, during the vote, the Republicans then decided to oppose the motion to table, thinking that forcing the Democrats to have the debate would be a political winner for the Republicans. The Republicans voted en masse against the motion to table and combined with the votes of liberal Democrats who wanted to consider the motion, the motion to table failed. In response, Democratic leadership proposed a Motion to Refer the resolution to the Judiciary Committee. This motion would not kill the resolution outright but would not impose any requirement on the Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing, to take a vote, or to otherwise take any action to consider the resolution. (Previous versions of the same resolutions were unceremoniously referred to Judiciary where they received no attention.) Democratic Leadership pressed upon its membership to support the Motion to Refer, which served the interests of both the liberals who wanted to consider it and the remaining membership who wanted to kill it.
I don't know what this means for the article; I haven't really read the article or the area in question. I just wanted to clear up what happened. JasonCNJ (talk) 00:16, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


If a Vice President of the United States were to be impeached, who would preside over the Senate trial? Bwrs (talk) 22:51, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Impeachment after leaving office[edit]

According to Talk:Movement to impeach George W. Bush#Moving on this is possible. If so, it should be mentioned in this article. ~ PaulT+/C 19:06, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Impeaching two federal judges[edit]

It may happen, Thomas Porteous and Samuel Kent may very well be impeached this year. Kent will be sometime in the next couple of weeks and Porteous in the fall, that is if he doesn't resign first.Ericl (talk) 01:21, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Impeachment table[edit]


I made three edits to the table. The first is about former Judge Alcee Hastings. The table had the date of removal in 1988; he was actully removed in 1989. See this NY Times article and his FJC bio: [5], [6]. The second edit was about Judge West Humphreys. The table stated his was appointed to serve in the the District of Tennessee. Actually, Judge Humphreys served in all three Tennessee Districts. See his FJC bio: [7]. The third edit has to do with dates. In reviewing the dates for Judges Nixon, Hastings, Claiborne, Ritter, Louderback, English, Archbald, and Swayne in the table, they appear to be the dates that each Judge resigned or faced their final action in the Senate. Because of this, I have changed Pres. Clinton's date from the day he was impeached (1998-12-19; see [8]) to the date of his final action before the Senate (1999-02-12; [9]). Hope all of this helps. - Thanks, Hoshie 23:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

You misread the table. it was the date they were IMPEACHED not REMOVED. Ericl (talk) 14:23, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Eric, since we are going on the dates each got impeached instead of the final action in the Senate, I've fixed the dates for Hastings and Nixon (see the NYT for both of these: [10] and [11]). I will have to do research on the other guys. As for Judge Humphreys, he did serve in all three Tennessee District courts, see his FJC bio. Not sure how this worked, but I guess it made sense back then. - Thanks, Hoshie 23:12, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I have finished the other guys. I have changed all the dates to the days they were impeached. I've added the dates of resignation or final action to the Result collumn. Also added have been a few more references. - Thanks, Hoshie 07:11, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Update #3. Judge Kent has decided to resign effective June 30. [12]. I've updated the table to reflect this. Also I added the date the proceedings against Judge English were dismissed (see the NYT here: [13]). Hope this helps. - Thanks, Hoshie 05:03, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Here we go again[edit]

Formal Impeachment proceedings against Mark Sanford of South Carolina begin on tuesday, and it's said that they're going to send articles to the full House in December. Also, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Sharon Keller, was impeached and there was a trial, but there wasn't a vote so where do we put it.Ericl (talk) 22:39, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Upcoming House vote on Impeachment[edit]

The U.S. House is scheduled to consider this week H.Res. 1031, a resolution impeaching G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, for high crimes and misdemeanors. The resolution exhibits four articles of impeachment, to wit:

Article I - engaging in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him as a Federal judge (taking money from attorneys who were actively trying a case before him, refusing to disclose such information during a recusal motion, and refusing to recuse himself from the case.)
Article II - engaged in a longstanding pattern of corrupt conduct that demonstrates his unfitness to serve as a United States District Court Judge (corrupt relationship with bail bonds company while a State court judge, prior to his federal service.)
Article III - knowingly and intentionally making false statements, under penalty of perjury, related to his personal bankruptcy filing and violating a bankruptcy court order.
Article IV - knowingly made material false statements about his past to both the United States Senate and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to obtain the office of United States District Court Judge.

The full 167-page Committee report is located here (pdf) and I will update this page with the appropriate citations and news as soon as the House votes any articles of impeachment. JasonCNJ (talk) 01:14, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

"removal is automatic"[edit]

This article, and the US section of the main impeachment article, both claim that upon impeachment and conviction, removal from office is automatic. I do not believe that question has ever been tried, and it does not appear to me to be the meaning of the plain language in the Constitution, which says the Senate shall have the power to fix the penalty, but that it shall not extend beyond removal from office and future disqualification.

It is possible that the stated language corresponds to the majority opinion of scholars, but there is certainly dissent on the question and it ought to be mentioned. --Trovatore (talk) 09:05, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Where is there dissent on the question? Can you cite any scholarly articles or information that support the view that removal is not automatic is the proper one? Without such information, all credible sources indicate that removal is automatic and to change the article to reflect differently would be undue weight to a fringe opinion. JasonCNJ (talk) 01:12, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll look around see what I can find. --Trovatore (talk) 06:37, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Is the direct effect of conviction removal? Or something else? Which is to say, are the stages "impeached", "convicted", "removed", or "impeached" & "convicted & removed"? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 08:07, 2 January 2011 (UTC)


I'm not sure about the Butler redirect. It's not explained at all and you can't even ascertain why this redirect was chosen by looking at the disambiguation page.

After doing some research, it seems like it might be a reference to Benjamin Butler's role in Andrew Johnson's impeachment, but that seems like an awfully obscure reference. Wouldn't "butler (or majordomo)" be much more likely to be what people are actually looking for when they type Butler? Or, wouldn't a redirect to Benjamin Butler be better? AgnosticAphid talk 00:11, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


It would be nice if the article would also say how many people would need to sign such a petition.

Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

That Old Rag, The Constitution[edit]

I was looking for a convenient place to see what the Constitution said about impeachment, and I'm shocked not to find it here. Specifically, I wondered if the House has a responsibility to impeach high crimes or merely the option and opportunity as Rand Paul seems to think. The article itself doesn't address this. Consequently I recommend inserting into this article the actual four sections of the Constitution dealing with impeachment so that issues not explicitly covered in the article are still addressable by the reader. The opposing point of view, which I emphatically don't share, would of course be that nobody considers the Constitution worth reading any more. smh Page Notes (talk) 18:23, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

You’re “shocked not to find it here”? Umm, did you miss the third paragraph of the lede? The one where it describes what the Constitution says?
But per your suggestion, I think it could be a good idea to quote in this article, in the form of footnotes to references in the lede section, everything the constitution says about impeachment. It is actually very brief. I will add it, all of it, in footnotes to the lede. I found only three places in the Constitution where impeachment is mentioned: Article 1 section 2, Article 2 section 3, and Article 2 section 4. What is the fourth you refer to?
And as for your question about “responsibility” vs. “option” to impeach, you could easily read the Constitution itself and determine that it is silent on that question. --MelanieN (talk) 19:01, 7 January 2018 (UTC)