Thursday, September 25, 2008


I always got confused when people would say Clinton was impeached because, well, nothing happened to him as a result so to me it meant he didn't get impeached. Is that perfectly unclear? But he did get impeached and here's an easy explanation about which I learned this week as a sixth grade teacher.

Synonym for impeached --->charged

You see, Clinton and Andrew Johnson were each charged with committing offenses but neither was convicted. They were both acquitted. Johnson was acquitted by one vote!

Impeachment allows us to bring to trial federal officials accused of Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. (Paraphrased from our textbook A History of US, Vol. 7) Johnson was drunk at the 1865 presidential inauguration and wanted to fire a cabinet member. Clinton was a perjurer and philanderer. But none of these reasons equal treason, bribery, or high crime and misdemeanor.

The process goes like this: The House of Representatives debates whether or not to charge a government official. If they vote to charge him or her then the case proceeds to the Senate where both sides of the case are presented before the Senate. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote for conviction in order to remove a president from office. A president doesn't get sent to prison or have to pay a fine. Losing the position of president is itself the punishment.

That's the abbreviated history lesson for today! To be impeached only means to be charged.

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