Sunday, November 06, 2016

Teaching Materials on Presidential Impeachment-- Pre-Election Edition!


On twitter the other day I joked that if Trump wins, we'll have to teach our students how the Constitution failed to stop a demagogue, while if Clinton wins, we'll have to teach them how impeachment works.

Sadly, some House Republicans have not been taking this as a joke. They are actively considering impeaching Clinton once she takes office.

I expect, however, that cooler heads will prevail. After all, if Clinton wins on November 8th,
(1) she will have just received an electoral mandate in the face of repeated charges by her political opponents that she has behaved illegally and exhaustive coverage of the relevant issues in the mass media;
(2) there will be considerable blow back by the public if Republicans waste the first 6 months of the new president's term on impeachment politics;
(3) Republicans will likely have a reduced majority in the House and therefore may be unable to whip enough votes for an impeachment resolution; and
(4) the Senate will either be controlled by Democrats or will have close to a majority of Democratic votes, thus making the result of a Senate trial a foregone conclusion. (Remember, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict).

Nevertheless, in the interests of civic education, here are the teaching materials on presidential impeachment that Akhil Amar and I prepared in September 1999 for our con law casebook. We removed them from the Fourth Edition for reasons of space. However, they contain discussions of most of the key issues.

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