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Old 03-01-2019, 01:07 PM
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In the US, does re-election negate impeachment?


If an official is in the process of being impeached but has yet to be convicted, does their re-election negate the impeachment?

So imagine it's 2020 and Pence is being impeached for 'high crimes & misdemeanors' - specifically mopery but that's irrelevant - and he gets re-elected as VP. Does his re-election stop or negate the impeachment process? To what extend does 'the people have had their say' come into it?
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:12 PM
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It has no effect whatsoever. The impeachment proceeds anyway.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:14 PM
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I don't think it's the reelection per se that would stop the impeachment, but the simultaneous end of the Congressional Session. The new Congress would have to start over. Pence being reelected would not be a bar to the new Congress acting. (I assume you're thinking along the lines that the "will of the people" has spoken)
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:21 PM
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I would expect "the people have spoken" doesn't come into it at all. IANAL, but I've never heard of some exemption from impeachment because of an election.

However, it would be the end of a Congressional session and unsigned bills die at that point. Not sure if the same would occur with impeachment procedures.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:55 PM
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For the most part, impeachment is a political process, not a legal one.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:25 PM
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So let's amplify this a bit. Suppose the House impeaches before Congress adjourns. Can the new Senate try that impeachment or must the House impeach again?
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:34 PM
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Impeachment is not a legislative matter, so I'm inclined to believe that the Senate would be able to just pick it up from there. My question is if they'd be able to "Garland" the process.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:37 PM
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So let's amplify this a bit. Suppose the House impeaches before Congress adjourns. Can the new Senate try that impeachment or must the House impeach again?
That seems to be the case (that the Senate can try the case). Bill Clinton was impeached by the 105th Congress during a lame-duck session on December 19, 1998. The Senate of the 106th Congress held a trial in January and February of 1999 and ultimately voted against conviction on February 12, 1999.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 03-01-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
I don't think it's the reelection per se that would stop the impeachment, but the simultaneous end of the Congressional Session. The new Congress would have to start over. Pence being reelected would not be a bar to the new Congress acting. (I assume you're thinking along the lines that the "will of the people" has spoken)
We have a precedent! In fact, it was the very first impeachment in U.S. History.

On March 2, 1803 the House impeached Judge John Pickering. They had debated whether they should proceed that late in the session, but went ahead any way. They sent notice to the Senate on March 3, and then adjourned. The senate received the notice, and then adjourned as well.

March 4 was officially the beginning of the new Congress, but they didn't get around to meet until Oct. 17. Eventually they tried Pickering and convicted him.

Unless they've since enacted a different rule, precedent says impeachments carry over to the new Congress.

ETA: Okay, so there are TWO precedents.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 03-01-2019 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Damn it, Ditka!
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
That seems to be the case (that the Senate can try the case). Bill Clinton was impeached by the 105th Congress during a lame-duck session on December 19, 1998. The Senate of the 106th Congress held a trial in January and February of 1999 and ultimately voted against conviction on February 12, 1999.
Ah, perfect.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:14 AM
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Oh. I thought you would be asking whether you can be reelected after an impeachment (and conviction). In that case, it depends on the actual sentencing--you may be barred from seeking federal office again.

What's interesting is what happens if the people ignore that and vote for them anyways. Being eligible for office doesn't preclude you from being elected. Assuming the Courts don't invalidate the results and the elector still vote for the ineligible party, the 25th Amendment kicks in, and the newly sworn in Vice President becomes (Acting) President.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Quoth E-DUB:

Impeachment is not a legislative matter, so I'm inclined to believe that the Senate would be able to just pick it up from there. My question is if they'd be able to "Garland" the process.
If by that you mean just refusing to take any action, neither finding the person innocent nor guilty, I don't think so. That's an action by the presiding officer, who is typically the President Pro Tem (or the Vice President, but in practice he almost never actually presides), but in the event of impeachment, the presiding officer is instead the Chief Justice.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:51 AM
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If by that you mean just refusing to take any action, neither finding the person innocent nor guilty, I don't think so. That's an action by the presiding officer, who is typically the President Pro Tem (or the Vice President, but in practice he almost never actually presides), but in the event of impeachment, the presiding officer is instead the Chief Justice.
Not quite. CJotUS is only the presiding officer when the President is impeached. Interestingly the VP would be presiding officer of his own trial by a strict reading of the Constitution.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If by that you mean just refusing to take any action, neither finding the person innocent nor guilty, I don't think so. That's an action by the presiding officer, who is typically the President Pro Tem (or the Vice President, but in practice he almost never actually presides), but in the event of impeachment, the presiding officer is instead the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice doesn't get to show up and preside until the Senate, in its absolute discretion, chooses to schedule a trial. If it decides not to, there is nobody who can make it.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-02-2019 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:43 AM
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Why is it the Senate's prerogative to schedule the trial, instead of the trial's presiding officer?
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:39 AM
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No one can enter the chamber without an official invitation, as we just saw with Trump's SOTU speech. The branches take their prerogatives very seriously. Every aspect of a Senate trial would conform meticulously to formal protocols.
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:47 AM
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Why is it the Senate's prerogative to schedule the trial, instead of the trial's presiding officer?
How did they handle it with Clinton? Did the CJ just show up one day in the Senate chambers and say "Trial starts today because I say so" or did the Senate pass motions and put it on the Senate's calendar?
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:55 AM
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OK, let's go to the actual Senate rules on the subject.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...ekoBOEp5mvAx1-

YMMV, but as I read this, no Garlanding is permitted.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:58 PM
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OK, let's go to the actual Senate rules on the subject.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...ekoBOEp5mvAx1-

YMMV, but as I read this, no Garlanding is permitted.
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IV. When the President of the United States or the Vice President of the United States, upon whom the powers and duties of the Office of President shall have devolved, shall be impeached, the Chief Justice of the United States shall preside; and in a case requiring the said Chief Justice to preside notice shall be given to him by the Presiding Officer of the Senate of the time and place fixed for the consideration of the articles of impeachment, as aforesaid, with a request to attend;
This answers one earlier question. The Chief Justice will be given a request to attend at a fixed time and place.

The wording at the beginning puzzles, however, because modern practice is that a VP who becomes President is the President, not the VP acting with the powers and duties of the President. I suppose this could reflect a temporary raising of the VP through the 25th Amendment, though.

The Presiding Officer of the Senate is mentioned multiple times but never defined here.

A quasi-question stems from article III.

Quote:
III. Upon such articles being presented to the Senate, the Senate shall, at 1 o’clock afternoon of the day (Sunday excepted) following such presentation, or sooner if ordered by the Senate, proceed to the consideration of such articles and shall continue in session from day to day (Sundays excepted) after the trial shall commence (unless otherwise ordered by the Senate) until final judgment shall be rendered, and so much longer as may, in its judgment, be needful.
I understand the wording is legalese to cover all bases, but I'm wondering what needs would keep the Senate in session after the final judgment. Does this mean it can go back to its normal business or have such aftersessions been necessary on the past?
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:37 PM
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Why is it the Senate's prerogative to schedule the trial, instead of the trial's presiding officer?
The presiding officer of the Senate is extremely weak. Even if, somehow, he showed up and scheduled the trial, the Senate could overrule that by a simple majority. The Senate is the jury in an impeachment trial, but it's also the judge. It determines the facts, the law, and the procedure.

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Originally Posted by E-DUB View Post
OK, let's go to the actual Senate rules on the subject.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...ekoBOEp5mvAx1-

YMMV, but as I read this, no Garlanding is permitted.
Even so, the Senate can vote by a simple majority to "interpret" a rule to mean something else. This is the "nuclear option" that has been used against the filibuster.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-02-2019 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:38 PM
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Oh. I thought you would be asking whether you can be reelected after an impeachment (and conviction). In that case, it depends on the actual sentencing--you may be barred from seeking federal office again.
I understand that the Constitution provides that the maximum sentence for conviction in an impeachment trial is forfeiture of the office and a lifetime ban on holding any position of trust in the federal government. Has there ever been any discussion on the question of whether that’s also a MINIMUM sentence?
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:01 PM
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I understand that the Constitution provides that the maximum sentence for conviction in an impeachment trial is forfeiture of the office and a lifetime ban on holding any position of trust in the federal government. Has there ever been any discussion on the question of whether that’s also a MINIMUM sentence?

I don't think it's a "minimum," but rather, that it simply does not address the things that lie outside the scope of elected office. If, for instance, Trump were found to have paid Putin's agents to help him hack the election, then Trump would probably be impeached and removed from office, but that's all as far as the Constitution is concerned. The rest of what would happen - a federal trial and prison sentence for Trump - would be the job of the courts, not addressed by the Constitution.

Think of it as what happens to pro athletes like Aaron Hernandez who commit crimes. The NFL can have the athlete banned from the league for life, but the subsequent trial and prison sentence isn't the NFL's business.

Last edited by Velocity; 03-02-2019 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:29 AM
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The presiding officer of the Senate is extremely weak. Even if, somehow, he showed up and scheduled the trial, the Senate could overrule that by a simple majority. The Senate is the jury in an impeachment trial, but it's also the judge. It determines the facts, the law, and the procedure.



Even so, the Senate can vote by a simple majority to "interpret" a rule to mean something else. This is the "nuclear option" that has been used against the filibuster.
This is true, but getting a majority to go on record as approving shenanigans is really different than McConnell just not letting a vote happen.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post

The wording at the beginning puzzles, however, because modern practice is that a VP who becomes President is the President, not the VP acting with the powers and duties of the President. I suppose this could reflect a temporary raising of the VP through the 25th Amendment, though.
That would be my thought. What if the President is in a coma, but hasn't been removed under the 25th, and the Vice-President is being impeached as acting President? Hard to imagine the scenario, but you have to cover off everything.
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:29 AM
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That would be my thought. What if the President is in a coma, but hasn't been removed under the 25th, and the Vice-President is being impeached as acting President? Hard to imagine the scenario, but you have to cover off everything.
The person being impeached still has that job until the moment of Senate conviction.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:51 AM
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I understand that the Constitution provides that the maximum sentence for conviction in an impeachment trial is forfeiture of the office and a lifetime ban on holding any position of trust in the federal government. Has there ever been any discussion on the question of whether that’s also a MINIMUM sentence?
IIRC, there was discussion after the impeachment trial of John Pickering of the Senate's discretion in punishment. The Senate quickly decided that a guilty verdict meant automatic removal according to their interpretation of the Constitution.
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Last edited by Saint Cad; 03-05-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:19 PM
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I don't know if there's precedent at the federal level, but state officials have certainly been impeached and removed from office without being barred from future office. IIRC, Roy Moore was removed from Alabama's Supreme Court not once, but twice.
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:24 PM
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At the federal level, that happened to Judge Alcee Hastings of Florida, in recognition of the inconvenient fact that he'd been acquitted at his criminal corruption trial when the key witness clammed up (the Senate decided he did take the money anyway). The by-then-former judge played the race card and got elected to the House, where he remains today.
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