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Constitution Monitor:...............Trump...............Biden............... 2021 Congress

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Email: Questions for Mr. Constitution regarding Impeachment and Amendment 25

     I copied and pasted your questions below, with my answers.  Hope this helps...

1) in regards to the latest posted episode, you talked about impeachment. Currently I’m listening to a biography of U.S. Grant. Somewhere around 1867-1868 president Andrew Johnson had articles of impeachment drawn up against him, and ultimately wasn’t convicted. What happens, or what should happen to a president if convicted?

In the case of Johnson, his presidency survived by one vote.  As for the punishment, should a president be convicted, In Article I, Section 3 it says "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States."  That tells us that the punishment can pretty much be anything the Senate wants to dish out, with the ultimate punishment being removal from office and a disqualification to hold any other office, ever.  Typically, the purpose of an impeachment is removal from office.  However, when we read the next part, something else becomes apparent.  The next part of that clause in Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: "but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."  What that is saying is that the impeachment is not a criminal trial.  It is political only.  So, if the reason for the impeachment is criminal activity, once removed from office the person may be indicted and tried in a criminal court of law for those crimes, with the possibility of sentencing for those crimes if convicted.  In short, while impeachment will never result in throwing a person in jail, that does not mean they can't be tried for their crimes once removed from office.

2) are you familiar with the tenure of office bill? (I believe that bill was repealed through the courts) Does the President have to go through the senate to remove a cabinet officer?

The Tenure of Office Act was repealed in the 1920s during the Calvin Coolidge administration, if I remember correctly.  Calvin Coolidge is one of my favorite Presidents, to be honest.  Anyway, the idea behind the Tenure of Office Act is what they went after Andrew Johnson with for their impeachment, even though the real reason was they disagreed with him and didn't like the fact that Johnson kept vetoing their bills.  Once repealed, it returned the power to the President to fire anyone inside the Executive Branch, despite the fact that it may have required the Senate to confirm them in the first place.  Therefore, currently, the President of the United States does not need senatorial approval to remove a cabinet member (or other members of the executive branch except those who require impeachment like judges).  You may have heard how new Presidents often fire a number of federal attorneys upon taking office.  That said, to replace an officer he will need their confirmation of his nominee.  Employees can be fired and hired at the pleasure of the President, or the persons he places above them.  None of this includes "representatives" which are neither commissioned, nor "hired".

3) you touched on tbe 25th amendment a bit again. And it’s really got me curious what all needs to happen to remove a sitting pResident via the 25th?

25th Amendment is brilliant, because in the process of removing the President it requires the Vice President to also be involved.  If the Vice President won't play ball, the President's enemies can't simply remove him because they claim he's incompetent or too incapacitated to do his duties.  Also, thanks to the 25th Amendment, the President has recourse to save his position if he is able to respond.  In short, it makes it very hard to remove the President from office.  

Blessings,

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