Possible method of impeaching dominionists?
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Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 08:02:04 PM EST
I actually saw the following in a response to a recent Raw Story article (on a leaked Justice Department memo in regards to the ongoing scandal about how the NSA may have illegally spied on US nationals with the President's consent and used warantless wiretaps--reportedly, the Justice Department will be defending the President) and, well...it's piqued my interest, to put it mildly.

Namely--at least according to this blogger--it may theoretically be consitutionally possible to have impeachment proceedings begin without the House Judiciary Committee voting for it, specifically, by a state government calling for impeachment.

This may possibly (depending on state constitutions) also be a strategy for dominionists in state governments.  I'm still taking some of this with a grain of salt, mind, but I'm not finding any fatal flaws so far.

Essentially, the blogger in question may have found a loophole in the House rules for impeachment that allow parties besides the House Judiciary Committee to initiate an impeachment proceeding:
The House rules permit state resolutions on Presidential and Vice Presidential impeachments. This approach would bypass the RNC-controlled House Judiciary Committee.

Whilst this approach has apparently never been legally tested (as only two impeachments of a President have ever occured in US history, and there have only been a very few other cases of impeachment of government officials on a Federal level--all of which have been initiated by Congressional committees) the blogger in question does seem to have done his research.  Apparently, per the rules of procedure in the House,
In the  House there are various methods of setting an impeachment inmotion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Memberor Delegate (II, 1303; III, 2342, 2400, 2469; VI, 525, 526, 528, 535,536); by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to acommittee for examination (III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515; VI,543); by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred toa committee (Apr. 15, 1970, p. 11941; Oct. 23, 1973, p. 34873); by amessage from the President (III, 2294, 2319; VI, 498); by chargestransmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469) or territory(III, 2487) or from a grand jury (III, 2488); or from facts developedand reported by an investigating committee of the House (III, 2399,2444).

These would match up with House rules as archived by Cornell University (one of the major repositories of online law archives) as well as via the government's own archive of rules of impeachment in use by the 106th Congress.

In other words (from the linked articles and analysis), technically an impeachment proceeding against the President can begin by a state legislature passing a resolution calling for the President of the United States--or any other federal official (with the possible exception of Congressmen, see below)--to be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Again, this has never to my knowledge been legally tested and I am not a lawyer, but it is a very interesting possibility to remove dominionists from office--especially as quite a few "pander-bears" to the dominionist movement have in fact been indicted in regards to the Abramoff scandal (an ever-increasing list of people connected has already lead to the loss of two positions in Congressional committees and a change to the Speaker of the House), and there is increasing evidence that a large number of Republican senators--several of whom are connected to the Abramoff scandal (which has already made links, among other things, to multiple head figures of the dominionist community and a dominionist 501(c)3 DeLay ran (the investigation surrounding which began the whole shebang in the first place))--are also connected to a possible day trading scam.  (Whilst technically Senators and Congressmen are technically safe from impeachment, if they are in the line of succession to the Presidency they can likely be impeached upon their succession.  Also, if they are convicted in a regular court of a crime they can technically be removed from office.)

Also, if needed, theoretically Supreme Court justices and other federal officials tied to dominionism could theoretically be impeached.  (Again, the one exception is probably Congressmen, but House and Senate rules provide for the expulsion of Congresscritters from their office upon conviction of a serious crime.)

Very interestingly, one potential ground that the President may be impeachable on is the crime of treason, according to some experts (in reference to Plamegate, specifically); more likely (due to the fact that treason is very hard to prove legally, requiring either two witnesses or a confession), a possible charge is violation of the oath of office (failure to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the US, and in many cases, deliberate attempts to subvert them or break them).

Also--of special note--according to the published rules of the House, an impeachment proceeding would trump all other business up to and including the voting on Alito to the Supreme Court.

One of the best parts of this is that--if one state passes a resolution calling for impeachment and gives it to the House--technically the House's business goes to a dead stop until they vote to support the charges, support the charges in part, or vote there are no grounds for impeachment--and likely, voting there are "no grounds for impeachment" would be political suicide.  

Even more interestingly, technically the government passing an impeachment resolution doesn't even have to be a state.  Technically, a territory--such as Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands, American Samoa, etc.--could pass the resolution even though their representatives are not voting members of Congress and technically the House still has to act on it.  The nonvoting rep for the District of Columbia could also pass a similar resolution if the city commission passes it, and DC could launch an impeachment proceeding.  (It's rather more up in the air for areas that are "quasi-territories" of the US--like the Federated States of Micronesia--that are in "free association" with the US for most of their affairs but are usually considered independent.)

Now, I'll be honest.  Most of me is inclined to take this with a bit of salt...but I'm having problems finding flaws in the strategy he's taking (at least as far as getting the dominionists out of office).  It also might be worth looking into state impeachment rules, too.

(Lest people discount the possibility of state impeachments--Governor Ernie Fletcher in Kentucky (who is now explicitly  playing to the dominionist crowd in supporting "equal time for intelligent design" in Kentucky schools) is presently being investigated for a massive hiring scandal (where supporters of Fletcher's campaign were preferentially given merit awards) which is involving much of the Republican Party in that state; Fletcher stepped in it even more when he preemptively pardoned everyone in the state besides himself potentially involved.  There is very serious talk of
impeaching Fletcher specifically because of the latter, and presently Fletcher has the third lowest approval rating of any governor in the United States (only Alaska's Murkowski and Ohio's Taft have lower approval ratings).)

Comments are actually appreciated on this--among other things, one thing I'd like is expert opinion from the rest of you on just how feasible an approach this may be (of getting impeachment proceedings started in states less friendly to dominionism on a federal level, and of research on a state level to see if state General Assembly rules have similar guidelines).

Except at the meta-level :

Your approach might gain some traction with the media although I doubt it would go far. Laws - especially of late - can be rather stretchy when issues of national power are involved.

The US, by the way, is not at war with Iraq nor is the US at war at all. Congress never declared war - the rest is rhetoric. That is a legal fact, but it is only dimly acknowledged. My point is that I doubt there will be any magic formula to put an end to executive overreach although such points, skilfully advanced, can have great tactical force.

But who knows ? - this could also tip the balance.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:14:00 AM EST

From what I understand, the main thing the blogger who's proposing this is going for is to essentially show the dominionist-controlled factions of the Republican party for what they are:

a) If the House and Senate vote to impeach, a slew of dominionist governmental executives could lose office.

b) If the House or Senate refuse to impeach, many people think this could be potentially political suicide (as this would be a major "tipping point"--many people, even in Republican circles, are starting to make noises re impeachment of the President).

The whole purpose of it, methinks, is to force a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for the GOP.

The trick may be to find a friendly legislature.  Maine has been mentioned on Dark Christianity as a possibility.

by dogemperor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:15:08 PM EST

I had remembered learning that Spiro Agnew was impeached (and removed from office), but I was under the impression that Nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings could begin with him.  If I'm mistaken, though, thanks for the correction :3

by dogemperor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:16:31 PM EST
It can be confusing.

"Impeachment" is actually like an "indictment" -- that is, bringing charges against a person in office.

The person is removed upon conviction.

The American Bar Assocation has a FAQ with a clear explanations:

What is impeachment?
A. It is a process, authorized by the Constitution, to bring charges against certain officials of the federal government for misconduct while in office.

and this (I added the bold):

Article 2, Section 4, specifies 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."

by cyncooper on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:34:54 PM EST

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