Commentary: Constitution grants the right for impeachment

“Impeachment a ‘Misuse of Power’” by George Roof betrayed such shrill partisan histrionics that its placement in this paper as a reasonable commentary would have been laughable were it not so blatantly ignorant of the U.S. Constitution.

Mr. Roof opined in his rant against the impeachment hearings, “A literate person needs no outside interpretation as the Founders left no doubt in the first three words: WE THE PEOPLE. It didn’t say congressmen, senators, lawyers or talking heads.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Roof, he obviously didn’t read beyond the Constitution’s Preamble to the First Article of the Constitution that does in fact name the very Congress that he claims is not empowered by the Constitution: “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” In other words, WE THE PEOPLE have delegated to the Congress authority for certain specified responsibilities in our national interests.

Among the responsibilities granted to the House of Representatives is impeachment, articulated in Article I, section 2, clause 5: “The House of Representatives shall chuse [sic] their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

Article I, Section 3, clause 6 reads: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments…” Finally, Article II, section 4 reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Impeachment by the House of Representatives does not remove a president from office but sends the impeachable offenses to the Senate for trial on whether those offenses rise to the level of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Clearly Mr. Roof is incensed that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is considering sending to the Senate articles of impeachment over the actions of the president. He obviously is as adamantly close-minded about the innocence of the president as he chastises most Democrats for being with regard to the president’s guilt. It is no secret that many, if not most, Americans hold deeply strong feelings about impeachment, one way or the other. It is probably safe to surmise that many of these strong feelings have been prematurely drawn without much objective, rational deliberation. They’re either for or against the president, PERIOD.

The case can be argued in Mr. Roof’s favor that the Democrats leading the investigation have, since the inauguration, appeared to be hell-bent on undermining the president, which is casting shadows of opportunism over the process (but that same argument would hold with regard to the Republican-controlled House in the impeachment and trial of former President Clinton, with then-Rep. Lindsey Graham leading the charge).

Even if the argument is correct, Mr. Roof’s conclusion that the impeachment hearings are an abuse of power is simply ludicrous. Impeachment is the sole prerogative of the House of Representatives. It is not WE THE PEOPLE who decide if the likely impeachment holds constitutional merit. It is the Senate who must adjudicate that question.

We may or may not like the impeachment hearings making their way through the House of Representatives. We may or may not feel like the process is legitimate. We may or may not believe that it is a witch hunt. But, let us make no mistake, the House of Representatives is exercising its duly constituted power that WE THE PEOPLE have given it.

Douglas Griffin is a resident of Smyrna.

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