PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

September 20, 2007

Constitutional Impeachment Needed!

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 9:33 pm

Today, the Star-Bulletin published my op-ed—but without the links or references. So here it is, with links.
September 17 is Constitution Day, and begins a week of celebrations honoring the Constitution of the U.S. But missing from the headlines is this truth: our Constitution is in crisis!

  • President Bush authorized illegal warrantless wiretaps, in violation of the fourth amendment of the Constitution;
  • Vice President Cheney has committed multiple crimes against the Constitution, according to a conservative Republican, Bruce Fein;
  • Bush, Cheney, Rove and Gonzales have conspired to undermine the Constitutional balance of powers by ignoring Congressional subpoenas and circumventing judicial oversight mandated by law (e.g. FISA courts).

And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg (see George W. Bush versus the U.S. Constitution: the Conyers Report [2006]).

Our representatives in Congress took an oath of office, required by the sixth article of the Constitution of the United States, and their oath states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [5 U.S.C. 3331]

So it is a responsibility of our representatives to defend our Constitution. John Nichols, author of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism (2006) has pointed out, the Constitutional solution to this crisis is impeachment (Bill Moyers Journal).

The Democratic Party recognized this situation, and the Party Platform includes a paragraph that includes this:

Hawai’i Democrats believe that George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald H. Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzalez, as officers of the United States of America, have attempted to subvert the Constitution of the United States of America, . . . Hawaii Democrats support the impeachment and trial of said officers, their removal from office and their disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States. . . . We call on our senators and representatives to do all they can to impeach President George Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney and remove them from office as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, the Republican attempt to use impeachment to remove President Clinton from office gave impeachment a bad reputation. Not so many remember the role of immanent impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon in which the Constitution played a very public and celebrated role, and restored public confidence in our Constitution and its unique role in establishing our unique national experiment with Democracy.

But last November, without even considering the seriousness of the charges raised against Bush and Cheney, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took impeachment “off the table,” before official congressional investigations could even begin. In doing so, she took off the table a critically important Constitutional method of maintaining checks and balances among the branches of our government: The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.

Our representatives have both made statements about impeachment: Mazie Hirono on July 9, on the Maui County Democratic Party blog, and Neil Abercrombie on July 11 in the Honolulu Advertiser’s “Hot Seat” blog. At that time, both found excuses for not considering impeachment. What should they be doing to fulfill their oath of office to defend the Constitution? Our Constitution only works if all three branches do their jobs. Please let them know what you think.

Robert M. Schacht


1 Comment »

  1. He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.
    –Leonardo daVinci–

    “Of Course George Bush and Dick Cheney have commited acts that would merit impeachment. In a proper country, they would be tried as trators. You don’t lie to a country, to get it into war, waste a trillion dollors, kill a lot of people all because of your vanity and lust for oil and admiration for your corporate partners. If that isn’t treason, I don’t know what is.”
    –Gore Vidal, from forward of The Genius of Impeachment- “The Founders’ Cure for Royalism” ; John Nichols.

    The continuance of all three branches of government to defy their sworn allegiance to the Constitution, and the Constitution itself, From the Supreme Courts decision in Bush vs. Gore, in 2000, to the failure of the U.S. House to Impeach those who deserve impeachment, six years later, (for whatever their reasons) can only be described as a conspiracy of the entire government against the people. It is a sad day for America…to be sure.

    Comment by Richard — September 25, 2007 @ 2:25 am

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