November 12, 2019 | Damages Actions Against Federal Agents for Constitutional Violations
|The final section of Article II covers impeachment – the removal of government officials up to and including the President. Impeachment is the ultimate check on presidential power, and is considered a move of last resort. The House of Representatives alone has the ability to vote to impeach, which if accomplished, results in a trial before the Senate. The Chief Justice presides as the judge. An official can only be impeached for treason, bribery, or other “high crimes and misdemeanors”. A conviction in the Senate requires 2/3 of the vote.|
The Judicial branch is usually hesitant to involve itself in legal issues regarding the impeachment process due to the separation of powers. In Nixon v. United States, a district court judge was convicted of making false statements to a grand jury and was impeached. The Senate convened a committee to advise the full Senate on the matter, and the Senate followed the committee’s recommendation to remove the judge. The judge challenged this as unconstitutional, arguing that the full Senate had to sit and hear the evidence. The Court disagreed, dismissing the claim as a political question. The majority concluded that since impeachment is a political remedy, having the judiciary review the Senate’s decision and vote would endanger the separation of powers.
|Nixon v. United States|