- - Tuesday, November 5, 2019

What is constitutional impeachment? Where and when did it originate? When is impeachment to be used and under what circumstances? If you’ve wondered any of this, I recommend “Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems” by Raoul Berger. The U.S. Constitution states a president may be impeached for bribery, treason, and high crimes and misdemeanors. Bribery and treason need little explanation. The debate comes when one attempts to define high crimes and misdemeanors.

Often you hear that these are whatever Congress says they are. Well, if you read Berger, the meaning becomes clearer. Simplified, “high crimes” has historically referred to times when a president has not performed the enumerated and fiduciary duties of the office. “Misdemeanors” occur when a president, while not performing the duties of the office, becomes so egregiously bad at the job that he overwhelmingly loses the public trust. Unless a president is doing any of this, removal from office should be by the vote of the people only.

STEPHEN BALL

Lancaster, Ohio

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