Is there any legal justification for impeachment of Obama

So I’m assuming there is a decent chance the GOP in the house will want to find a reason to impeach Obama to get revenge on him for being the president. Do they have any legal justification for doing so?

I haven’t been following the outrage de jour but I’m under the impression the fast and furious situation, or the Bengazi situation could provide some justification if they wanted it.

PWB. President While Black

Okay. I’ll give a serious answer. Maybe you could make a legal argument about drone attacks in countries we’re not at war with, but I don’t think that would be very popular and I sure as hell can’t imagine Republicans doing it.

The Constitution defines an impeachable offense as "“treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. However, these are not defined. In practice, an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives decides it to be. They can impeach Obama because they think he’s Kenyan, because he pushed through a health care act, because he murdered bin Laden, or because the sun comes up in the east (or, for that matter, because the sun comes up in the west.) Facts are irrelevant, and (IIRC) the Supreme Court cannot decide that an impeachment was improper. All they need is a simple majority.

Note that it’s a two-step process; the House passes the impeachment (think of it as an “accusation”) and then the Senate rules whether the accused is guilty (by a 2/3rds vote.)

IMHO, the only things that stop them from a frivilous impeachment are (a) looking stupid – the process takes a long time, and there would be lots of negative publicity about going through that for no real grounds; and (b) the fear that when the wheel turns, and there’s a Republican President with a Democratic Congress, they’ll pull the same stunt. Of course, I thought the impeachment of Clinton was frivilous (he lied under oath about his sex practices) and made the Republicans look stupid, but for some reason they didn’t ask my opinion.

One of the reasons for them considering a frivilous impeachment is that it would tie up Congress and the President, so that (in practical terms) he’d be unable to accomplish much in other areas.

Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past the current Republicans to attempt it if they had the necessary 2/3 of the Senate.

Looking stupid doesn’t stop them. In fact, they seem to thrive on it.

Please. This is just stupid, partisan conservative bashing. No, there are no known legitimate grounds to impeach Obama at this time. No, there is no known serious effort to do so. No, it is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. No, the GOP is not composed of demons bent on wreaking evil at all costs.


Well, be that as it may, it’s true that nothing stops any Congress from trying to impeach any President, even on objectively ridiculous grounds. I figure there will always be a discontented rumbling of “impeach him!” for any future president; Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton (well, “impeach her!”)…

It’s become part of the partisan landscape, supported by the casual loudmouthery of the internet.

There are demons in both parties bent on wreaking evil at any cost, Oakminster.
Fortunately, there are more clear headed folks, like you and me, to moderate these crazy elements.

The Republic continues onward.
Because sanity has prevailed.

Yes my mistake

You act like the fact that there are no legitimate grounds for impeachment is what motivates this kind of behavior.

What planet are you smoking? You mean the party that started a war with no justification and did not plan on a way to pay for it, cut taxes which led to a surplus turning into a huge deficit that then made it difficult to increase govt spending when a recession hit, nominated an utterly unprepared person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, used the Filibuster at an unprecedented level, even on trivial matters, fought against the very UHC proposal that they had proposed a few years before and lied repeatedly about things like death panels to remove any possibility of serious debate on the merits, seriously considered that people like Cain, Bachman, Santorum, or Perry might be their nominee in 2012, and ginned up out of whole cloth the controversy about Bengazhi and Fast and Furious. That pretty much is “demons bent on wreaking evil at all costs”.

Did you read your own cite? From the last one:

But if you can make a case that any of the others are “serious”, per Oak’s post, please do.

As for the OP, impeachment is not a legal issue. It is not a matter of the law, but a constitutional prerogative of the Legislative branch. If you meant were there any realistic reasons the GOP could try and impeach Obama, I’d say no.

If you want to be fair you could say that many if not most of the politicians opposed to it weren’t in the House at the time, if you’re talking about the counterproposal to Hillarycare, so maybe they would have opposed it then. But most of them use the same brush as you did, and try to link current Democratic politicians to the more liberal policies of the early 80s and before, or even talk about Teh Socialism or Death Panels like you say, so perhaps we don’t need to be fair here.

It would have to be grave enough an offense to get a substantial minority of Democrats to agree, so it would have to be considerably more than alegal technicality.

Why do you think the FF’s chose to preside over the Senate trial no other than the Chief Justice of the United States if it is not a legal issue?

The Senate Majority Leader or the VP could have been named to preside!

Did you read your own quotation from his cite? From what you quoted:

Quick clue: Saying “I don’t think anyone is talking about impeachment, though it is a possibility” is an instance of someone talking about impeachment.

Don’t think of an elephant!

You know, right, that you have to look not just at the truth-functional content of what the guy says, but also at the pragmatic implicatures of what he said as well? To utter a sentence almost always does more than communicate the sentence’s semantic content.

I did read my own cite. What you are quoting is ex-senator John Kyl saying impeachment is a possibility. As far as I can tell, it is only the fringe of the tea party that is actually pushing for impeachment at this point. It is a real possibility if the GOP gets frustrated enough though.

I provided quotes of almost a dozen senators, representatives and leaders of movement conservatism talking about impeachment.

  1. To stop Obama from passing new laws. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) told a Tea Party group that he would push for impeachment just to block Obama’s legislative agenda. “It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,” Burgess said. “No question about that.”

  2. Not defending DOMA in court. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said he “absolutely” supports impeaching Obama after the administration announced it would not defend a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

  3. To get Obama’s birth certificate. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) suggested that Congress use the threat of impeachment to force Obama to show his birth certificate. [10/13/10]

  4. “Giving away” seven Arctic islands. Wes Riddle, a Texas congressional candidate, is peddling a bizarre conspiracy theory that Obama gave away seven Arctic islands to Russia. Despite the fact that the treaty ceding these islands was ratified by the Senate in 1991, Riddle said he will push to impeach Obama over the matter. [6/22/12]

  5. Obama’s new immigration policy for undocumented students. Allen Quist, a former state representative running in Minnesota’s 1st congressional district, said that he would lead the impeachment charge against Obama for the president’s new immigration policy that would prevent one million undocumented students from being deported. [6/26/12]

Any attempt by the Republicans at impeachment would be political suicide during the 2014 and 2016 elections. Unless, the Republicans desire to be relegated to the political wilderness for a generation.

This argument doesn’t really make sense to me, because the ones pushing impeachment have been committing political suicide for the last 2 election cycles and it doesn’t phase them.

The GOP probably would’ve picked up an extra 2-4 senate seats in 2010 and another 2-4 in 2012 had it not been for the Tea Party putting up candidates so radical that they lost the general election. Romney might have won in 2012 (or a different GOP candidate) had the GOP not alienated young people, women and latinos so much in an effort to appeal to the tea party faction. George W Bush won about 40% of the latino vote, Romney won about 27%. I think Bush won about 40-50% of the youth vote, Romney won about 35%.

So the warning of ‘this feels good today but will bite us in the ass tomorrow’ is something they have already shown themselves indifferent to. These are not cerebral people who think of long term consequences.

however the tea party caucus is less than half of the GOP in the house. And there will be no cooperation from the democratic party if they push impeachment. So they will likely not get the numbers to do it, esp if Boehner is opposed to it.

This reading of Gerald Ford’s speech drives me crazy. His statement that impeachment is whatever a majority of the House agrees on is a remark that simply states that there is no definitive principle by which one can define which acts are impeachable and which ones are not, which is of course true.

However, Ford strenuously objected to the idea that the House is free to discard the text of the Constitution and make up its own definitions of “high crimes and misdemeanors” totally willy-nilly. 80% of the speech in which Ford used that maxim is a dissection of the Constitution and the historical record searching for what the phrase means in order to adhere to the intent of the Founding Fathers.

It drive me nuts when that one sentence from Ford’s speech is taken out of context to show a conclusion that is pretty much the exact opposite of the rigorous process Ford was urging the House to adopt.


But it’s true. Do you think the SCOTUS is going to overturn an impeachment on Constitutional grounds? What recourse does a sitting president have against an act of impeachment, for whatever reason, by the House?

Now, the Senate might not convict, but that’s a separate matter.

You answered your own concern. Republican wingnuts alienate the electorate that the overall strength of the party is reduced with each election. The Republicans are rudderless with this last election. Unless they shut up their fringe elements, compromise and regroup, 2014 doesn’t look good for them.