My question went unanswered in
My multiple presiedncy’s because it was locked , so I am reposting it.
My question is the third to last post.
My question went unanswered in
A suggestion: if you’d like a question answered, it would be a courtesy to post the exact question, rather than a link that requires your respondents to wade through multiple posts to decipher it.
If I understand, correctly, your actual question is: Why do we not simply use impeachment to remove presidents who have overstayed their welcome, rather than imposing a term limit by Constitutional Amendment?
There are a couple of reasons: Impeachment is not the same as a recall. To be impeached, one must actually commit a “high crime or misdemeanor” (or irritate the majority party in the House of Representatives so that they will write up a bill claiming that you have done so). Following that, to actually be removed from office, those high crimes and misdemeanors must be “proven” in a trial in the Senate.
Simply being in office too long (in the opinion of some majority of people who had to have voted for you in the most recent election) does not constitute a crime.
The Constitution does not provide for either a recall petition for the President (or any other Federal elected official) or a “vote of No Confidence” as may be called in a parliamentary system. Therefore, to remove a sitting President, the only Constitutionally sanctioned effort is to accuse and convict the President of a crime. Any other effort to remove a president requires a Constitutional Amendment (such as the term limit amendment or the later Amendment determining succession in the case of debilitating injury/accident/illness).
If you wish to propose a different method of removing presidents from office for causes other than crimes or debilitation, you should probably initiate a discussion in Great Debates.
What tomndebb said. And even if impeachment was used as a vote of no confidence–that is, if a “high crime and misdemeanor” was treated as a flexible and politicized concept–removal from office would require impeachment by a majority in the House followed by conviction by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. One argument used in getting the 22nd amendment ratified was that an incumbent President, with all the machinery of the Federal government and all its patronage and largesse at his (or her) disposal, enjoyed a bias in favor of reelection that tilted the playing field against some challengers who might have won otherwise. Impeachment would be a poor remedy against that tilt if it was available only when the opposition party controlled both houses of Congress and controlled the Senate by a two-to-one margin.
Why can’t Congress hold a vote of No Confidence? Even if it’s totally non-binding, having Congress officially declare that they think the pres is an idiot would be a damned powerful statement.
In a democracy, removing someone within an elected term is a grave matter. Removing a President even more so.
Such a process therefore should be possible, but difficult.
Diceman, that’s essentially what they had to settle for in Clinton’s case. But the problem is that to the American electorate, “Congress officially declaring they think the pres is an idiot” would look like the Pot calling the Kettle black.
We don’t use votes of No Confidence–even non-binding ones–because we don’t have a parliamentary system of government. The U.S. Constitution provides for a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government which is stronger than in most other democratic systems, and the use of such votes would tend to erode this system of balance.
Personal records of the debates at the Constitutional Convention show that one reason the Electoral College was developed was because the Founding Fathers were afraid that the voting public at large might act like a stupid rabble. Acting on the class prejudices of their time, these mostly wealthy and educated men thought they could ensure against the installation of a tyrant who got the support of the poor and working classes by having an elite group cast the actual votes which count.
In actual practice, of course, it is practically unheard of for an Elector to act independently. In 1968 there was an elector who cast his ballot for George Wallace even though Richard Nixon won his state. At the time he cited his authority to vote independently, and explained that he had determined it was necessary to disregard the popular vote because he was so much smarter and better informed that the great majority of voters.
Although the amendment limiting the period of years a president can serve was passed ca long time after the time the Electoral College was established, some of the same fears influenced its enactment. Political leaders worried that the rabble might be duped into continually re-electing a tyrant, (or maybe they just feared the continual election of someone the poor and working class–and only the poor and working class–liked), and they wanted besides to have a safeguard against the possibility that an elected president might rig elections to keep himself in power.
I’ll inject a couple facts, if I may…
There is nothing to prevent either house of Congress from adopting a resolution (non-binding, of course) condemning a president or any other official, elected or appointed.
Diceman and JRDelirious, William Jefferson Clinton was most definitely impeached, in every Constitutional sense of the word, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The required 2/3 majority in the Senate to remove him from office didn’t happen, but Slick Willy is nevertheless, for all time, the second U.S. president to be impeached.
And the Senate passed a motion of censure on President Jackson - it was in relation to the Bank of the United States controversy, wasn’t it?
True. But the Senate later expunged the motion from its journal.
The censure of Jackson was pretty much just one big pout by Henry Clay, who loved the Bank of the United States and hated Jackson.
A few years later, once Jackson’s supporters controlled the Senate, they had a big ceremony to cross out the censure from the Senate journal.
Some Democrats offered a compromise of a censure of Clinton, but the Republicans felt that a censure was both ineffective and likely unconstitutional.
Never denied that. But since the Senate did not get the votes to convict him, the effect of his impeachment was limited to basically a declaration that “we think Bubba’s a sleaze”.
When did I say that he wasn’t?