What an impeachment would look like

The drafters of the Constitution of the United States had lived under a monarchy with a king who could not be removed legally.   The government that they created was going to have a president who was both elected and whose term of office was fixed.  The president had to stand for election again after each term. 

They also could see the possibility of the need to remove a president from office before the end of the term, if he had committed high crimes or misdeamenors. 

The impeachment process they defined must begin in the House of Representatives, the lower house, all of whose members stand for election every two years and who are therefore closer to the people.  Once the articles of impeachment are introduced in the House and approved, they are sent to the Senate, the upper house, for a trial.

A sitting president cannot be tried in any other court.  Only the House of Representatives can indict the president and only the Senate can be the judges.

George Bush has admitted to breaking several US laws, but claims that he is justified in doing so.  In previous matters, the Congress, supported in some cases by the Supreme Court, has told sitting presidents that they must comply with the law just as other Americans must.  Supreme Court Justice Kennedy has spoken out strongly on the need for the president to obey the laws.  Former president Jimmy Carter has spoken out against the practice of not observing the law.  Many Constitutional scholars and good law abiding and respecting American citizens have grave concerns about this matter.

The danger of a president who is above the law is of a complete breakdown of our democracy.  In fact, the question can be posed, Do we now have a democracy if the president does not follow the laws?  Very serious issues are at stake now in our country.

Some of the agencies of the US government are no longer willing to engage in illegal practices because the agents could be at risk of prosecution for breaking both US and international law.  The European Union, our former closest allies, has publicly noted that Bush’s (and thus the US) policies are illegal and censured Bush’s pracitce of torture, rendition, and indefinite incarceration without due process.  Countries like Canada and others of our closest allies are censuring the US as they discover that innocent citizens of theirs have been held in secret and tortured without due process.  These are the actions of a lawless nation.  Bush’s head of the Department of Justice, Alberto Gonzales, is frantically scrambling around trying to legitimize the administration and make Congress a party to the illegal activity.  Regrettably, there are members of his party in Congress who may well support him, passing “laws” that make it legal for the president to break the law. 

It is frightneing to me that the Congress has not taken action to impeach Geroge W. Bush and Dick Cheney as our rights and freedoms at home are ignored and as the US engages in wars of aggression.  I am horrified at the idea of what sorts of legislation may yet be passed. 

My government is torturing people right now.  My government is holding people for indefinite periods without due process of any kind.  My government is establishing all manner of religious institutions that are invariably those of a hateful brand of Christianity that Jesus Christ would never recognize.  My government is implementing economic policy that benefits a tiny percentage of the richest Americans (and Saudi Arabians) while destroying the middle class, which has always been the backbone of democracy.

I support Congressman John Conyers from Michigan who has drawn up a documented list of impeachable offenses.  I have written to my own Congressional Representative urging him to act in concert with his fellow members to impeach.  Since he is resigning after this term, I voted for a candidate who is willing to work on impeachment. 

So much damage has been done to our democracy in the six years of the Bush administration that I dread two more with a possible invasion of Iran, more deterioration at home.

If George Bush is not impeached, or indeed even if he is and leaves office before the end of his term, he is still liable for prosecution in US courts when he is no longer president, and in the World Court.   Forseeing the possiblity of a Congress that will not impeach George W. Bush, people are preparing documents that can be used in trials by other courts.  The post before this one shows the delivery of such documents to the white House and the Justice Department.  It is good to see that a representative of the Justice Department accepted the document.  Our government has not yet been entirely subverted.  There is still hope. 

But we muat act together, those of us who want to save our democracy.  Time is of the essence.  Joining with others to act now will determine what happens to us, to our children, and to our grandchildren. 

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