The Political Feature: Impeachment Process

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Anabelle Morris

A custom-made cover by the author made especially for the impeachment article.

Anabelle Morris, Writer

By now, it is common knowledge of the impeachment of Donald Trump. However, many students have little to no knowledge of the processing that goes into an impeachment. When an anonymous questionnaire was sent to the students of Holt which stated, “If you were asked right now, would you be able to describe the impeachment process?” 39 percent of students answered partially and 28.8 percent stated they would not be able to describe the process at all. Meaning that 67.8 percent of the students had little to no knowledge of the impeachment process. That’s over half of the student population.

 

The impeachment process is rarely used as it requires serious wrongful action to even begin the process. Thus, most American citizens tend to skip over this process and not give much attention when they are taught the process. However, it is very important that we remain educated for when an impeachment does occur.

Simple infographic to help educate the public on the impeachment process.

To understand the early ideas of impeachment you could read the documents, Federalist No. 65. In these documents, Alexander Hamilton describes the different impeachable offenses, “abuse or violation of some public trust” and “injuries done to society itself”. By reviewing these documents, you will effectively and accurately understand the meaning of “high crimes [abuse of power by a public offical] and misdemeanors”.

Let’s begin with the step-by-step process of impeachment. Starting with how an impeachment begins. For all of the presidents that have been impeached, the House Judiciary Committee started an investigation and then recommended articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives. However, the House could hold a floor vote without the need for any committee whatsoever. Then, the House votes on the process, if it gets the majority vote then the president is impeached.

If the House vote passes, the impeachment moves to the Senate, in which a trial is held and overseen by the chief justice of the United States. If two-thirds or more of the senate votes guilty then the president is removed from office with no chance of appeal. The vice president will then take over as president and serve out the term. A fun fact is this is actually one of the two ways a presidential candidate can lawfully have more than two, four-year terms. The only other way is if the president dies while in office.

After gaining an understanding of the process itself, and efficient way to gain more knowledge would be to research and read about presidents that have been impeached and the evidence used against them in their proceedings. There are only three presidents that have ever been impeached. Andrew Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump were successfully impeached but were acquitted [not removed from office, “innocent”]. Richard Nixon had three articles of impeachment against him that were approved by the house, but he resigned before the impeachment went through.

By learning using this method, it provides you with a well-rounded education. You will have knowledge of the early documents that describe the ideas behind impeachment, the most updated history of the presidents that have been impeached, and an accurate description of the impeachment process.