But the Constitution doesn’t make any reference to impeachment being reserved to elected officials, judges, or those confirmed by the Senate. The Constitution says that impeachment is for the “President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States.” We know that “all” means “all,” but saying that “civil” actually means “only someone confirmed by the Senate” doesn’t seem to jibe. It seems to me that “civil” means “civil,” as opposed to, say, military.
But here’s the million dollar question: who gets to decide what “civil officers” means? Since the Constitution gives the House the “sole power” of impeachment and the Senate the “sole power” of conviction, my first guess is that Congress, alone, gets to decide what a civil officer is.
(This is not an argument about “the Congress can impeach for any reason it wants.” I disagree with that, I think the Constitution is pretty clear when it says that treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors is the standard for impeachment. But in determining who is eligible for impeachment, since it is a power reserved exclusively to Congress, it seems to me that Congress can interpret civil officer as it wishes, so long as it is within reason. In other words, no impeachment of the President’s dog or the Attorney General’s stapler.)
And I find now that the House has launched investigations into impeaching those who are not judges, cabinet members, or Presidents. There was an investigation into the Collector of the Port of New York, the case I mentioned earlier, and a related case to another consular official in Shanghai. That none of these impeachments were completed isn’t really evidence that they could not have been. In my view, it just seems to mean it hasn’t happened, as opposed to it could not happen. Hopefully this PDF link works.