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46 Impeachment

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46. IMPEACHMENT. Impeachment in the national government is the formal act by which the House of Representatives makes ac cusations, before the Senate, against the Presi dent, the Vice-President or any "civil officers' (executive and judicial officers, except those of the army and navy) of the United States gov ernment. It is analogous to an indictment by a grand jury, though it is not confined to indict able offenses. Impeachment developed in Eng lish history before the establishment of the mod ern cabinet system, as a power by which the representatives of the people could control the agents of the irresponsible king, who, accord ing to theory, could do no wrong. After the establishment of the Parliaments supremacy, and the present method of conducting the gov ernment, the custom gradually fell into disuse. One of the most noted cases was that of War ren Hastings whose trial for misgovernment in India lasted from February 1788 to April 1795, when he was acquitted. The latest case was that of Lord Melbourne in 1806.

The American colonial assemblies adopted the custom in a modified form as a means by which to check the executive and the judiciary. Though the right to remove officials was given to the general assembly by the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1638, by the charter of Connecticut in 1662, and by the charter of Rhode Island in 1663, the word impeachment first appears in 1683 in the Pennsylvania frame of government, which provided that the general assembly should bring the impeachment, and that the council should try the case and pro nounce judgment.

The new State constitutions after 1775 con tain provisions on the subject: Virginia (1776); New Jersey (1776) ; Delaware (1776) ; Penn sylvania (1776); North Carolina (1776); Georgia (1777) ; New York (1777) ; Vermont (1777) ; Massachusetts (1778) ; South Carolina (1778); Massachusetts (1780); New Hamp shire (1784) and Vermont (1786). The New Jersey constitution of 1776 provided that the lower house should bring the impeachment and that the upper house should try it. The New York constitution of 1777 provided that the as sembly should bring the impeachment and that it should be tried before a court consisting of the president, the senators, the chancellor and the judges of the Supreme Court. Judgment was to extend no farther than removal from office and disqualification from holding office under the State. The methods of trying the impeachment varied, hut the tendency was to have judgment pronounced by the council or senate. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 incorporated the same principle into the Con stitution for application in cases of treason, bribery "or other high crimes and misdemean ors,* all of which can be punished in the ordi nary courts. The House first passes a resolu

tion to impeach and then appoints a com mittee to present the charges at the bar of the Senate which sits as a high court to try the case. The House also appoints a committee of managers to act for it in the trial before the Senate. At the close of the trial, after the evidence has been introduced and the arguments of the managers and of the de fendant's counsel have been heard, each sena tor is required to vote "guilt? or "not guilty' on each of the articles of impeachment. A two thirds majority of those present is necessary to convict. The object is not to punish wrong. The penalty can be only removal from office and disqualification from further public service, but the person convicted is still liable to punish ment by the ordinary courts, and he cannot re ceive a reprieve or pardon from the President.

In our national history this constitutional process has been invoked in nine cases; six times against Federal judges, once against a senator, once against a Cabinet officer and once against a President. Only in three cases has it resulted in removal from office: Judge John Pickering in 1803 for drunkenness, profanity and violence on the bench, Judge W. H. Humphreys in 1862 for adhering•to the Confed eracy and Judge Robert W. Archbold in 1913 for corruption in office. Both Pickering and Humphreys were district judges of the United States: Pickering for the District of New Hampshire, and Humphreys for Tennessee. In the articles against Pickering it was charged that he made decisions contrary to law in a suit involving the seizure of a ship and that he ap peared upon the bench "in a state of intoxica tion, produced by the free and intemperate use of inebriating liquors, and did then and there frequently in a most profane and indecent man ner invoke the name of the Supreme Being." Judge Pickering did not attend the trial, but his son entered a plea of insanity and conse quent irresponsibility, stating that his father for over two years had been altogether incapable of transacting any kind of business which required the exercise of the judgment or the faculties of the reason; and therefore incapable of cor ruption of judgment, and therefore that he was not amenable to any tribunal for his actions.' The House managers held that the insanity was the result of habitual drunkenness. On 12 March 1803 he was convicted and removed by a party vote, the Federalists voting in the nega tive, but the further disqualification to hold office was not inflicted.

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