The Impeachment Clause, Fairness and Hamilton’s Warning

I spent a portion of 22 years of my professional life as an athletics coach. As a coach I had to become proficient in not only the skills, tactics and strategies of  a particular game but the rules that govern each as well. For within the rules are the protections of the athletes and preserving the integrity of the game. There is an oft unused rule in sport. It is called the travesty rule. Travesty, meaning to make a false, absurd, or distorted representation of something. If this were not enforced, with some form of penalty, then the integrity of the game in which is found its value and purpose would be severely undermined. The function of the game, its outcomes, etc. could become meaningless. And so it is with most things.

Let us look at the present impeachment process that has been opened. Here now is taking place a travesty of fairness and justice through the neglect of due process of which this country has not been exposed to since its founding. What we are experiencing is a one-sided investigation denying the accused an opportunity to answer his accusers. And the minority party is being denied its right to scrutinize the veracity of witness testimony who are only summed forth by the party in power of the House of Representatives. All that should be made transparent and available to the public as a fair process is not. This is so because established historic  president is being ignored for a new president which will likely open the way for future discrediting of the will of the American people. Should the established DC swamp creatures not find the people’s choice for President acceptable to them then star chambers of the past will become the cornerstone practice of the future.

The press has been given the responsibility by the Constitution to fairly disseminate with care the news to the public in fact. It is meant to provide clarity and certainty of events and decisions that effect their lives and the lives of their families. However,  for the most part, they have failed in that responsibility due to a bias toward one party over the other. News papers which once had an opinion section have greatly been transformed by editors into near complete opinion periodicals. Politics has long since poisoned the main stream media as it has, as well, negatively seduced various agencies and bureaucrats not voted in by the people.

In that, the normal means of information can no longer be trusted with certainty. The people must look to their Constitution for clarity to see if this present impeachment procedure, which choses not to follow previous president, passes the smell test. Below is the Impeachment Clause as is found in the U.S. Constitution, followed by a dire warning from Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father.

 

The Impeachment Clause

Impeachment clause in the U.S. Constitution empowers the House of Representatives to remove the President, Vice-President or other civil officers of the  U.S. from their office for committing offences like treason, bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors. However, the power to try all impeach is granted to the U.S. Senate. [Note that it doesn’t say: one or two House members or a House Committee is explicitly granted the power to initiate impeachment proceedings. But it does say that the House of Representatives is empowered to do so. This means a weighing in by all House members, indicating a vote as the prudent would understand. In this way the people are too represented. And in so doing as Representatives of the people all proceedings must be in full view so as not to construe any less then honorable intent and fairness. The citizens can understand this and would expect nothing less. For anything less could one day be levied upon them.

In essay 65, Hamilton correctly predicts that impeachments are political, partisan, and could be abused by the party in power.
“…The subjects of its jurisdiction [impeachments] are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They…may…be…political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them…will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties…and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

In the same essay, Hamilton states that cunning partisan politicians will be tempted to abuse the impeachment power.
“The difficulty of placing it [impeachment] rightly in a government…of periodical elections will as readily be perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.”
“The convention…thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. …will be the least hasty…and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments…”

Any process of impeachment that does not adhere to the warning of Hamilton will fail in the end. Because it will not be beyond contestation. And the House, in power, which so chooses to in this way veer  from modern president (Nixon and Clinton impeachments) and due process as granted to all citizens by the Constitution of the United States ,thereby, ignoring the people’s sense of fair play will find itself in rubbles.

At this moment in history Democrats cannot validate, by their heresy to procedure, that the President is violating the norms, when they themselves are violating the norms. 

 

 

About Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author

Retired mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. Honors: 1988 Ct. Coach of the Year for H.S. Girls Voleyball and 2007 Inducted into the Ct. Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame. Since retiring have written two books; "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about my life experience as a polio survivor and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of poems and reflections. Presently I am a contributing author for the "Life Carrots" series primarily authored by Dave Mezzapelle of Goliathjobs.com.
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