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1.: Taxation in Constitutional Perspective

The loss of revenue was significant, and the cost of housing convicts high. Eventually, many southern states stopped leasing out their convict laborers, instead keeping them to work on public projects in chain gangs. Now Playing What it Meant to be a Convict. McCurdy Reflections on Birmingham.

Providing Support for PBS. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

In , however, growing numbers of public intellectuals and elected officials began to see Section 4 as the best available method to repeal and replace the Trump presidency.

Tens of thousands march in Warsaw against 'democratorship' government

The Twenty-fifth Amendment solution has gathered some momentum on Capitol Hill as well. As Sen. Gore seem low-stakes by comparison? It aimed at situations of total, or near-total, disability, whether temporary or permanent. It was the Kennedy assassination, after all, that motivated Congress to fill the gaps in presidential and vice-presidential succession. That was the kind of scenario Section 4 was designed for: the week before Congress passed the amendment, an important exchange between Sen.

Robert Kennedy D-NY made that clear:. It is conceivable that a President might be able to walk, for example. We are talking about inability to perform the constitutional duties of the office of President. Kennedy: And that has to be total disability to perform the powers and duties of the office. Bayh: The Senator is correct. We are not getting into a position, through the pending measure, in which when a President makes an unpopular decision, he would immediately be rendered unable to perform the duties of the office.

The wording of Section 4 leaves too much ambiguity for comfort when it comes to disputes during the four-day waiting period, but the key phrase on incapacity is clear enough. Impeachment is the proper constitutional remedy for that sort of presidential incapacity. Still, is it constitutionally permissible to impeach a president for chronic negligence and gross mismanagement? Here again, the conventional wisdom says no, and some of the drafting history of Article II, Section 4, supports that view.

[The Framers' Coup] |

What the delegates to the ratifying conventions had before them was the text itself, and that text was understood from British practice to incorporate maladministration. At the time of its adoption and ratification, then, the constitutional text was understood to cover some cases of gross mismanagement and dereliction of duty. Suppose a president were to move to Saudi Arabia, so he could have four wives, and were to propose to conduct the office of the presidency by mail and wireless from there.

This would not be a crime, provided his passport were in order. Is it possible that such gross and wanton neglect of duty could not be grounds for impeachment and removal?

Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power

At some level, neglect of duty becomes as serious and threatening a breach of public trust as deliberate abuse. Can a president lawfully be impeached for misusing the discretion entrusted to him in the management of the executive branch? A key debate during the first Congress suggests that he can. Should he be able to fire department heads at will, or only by the same means through which they were appointed? Madison, now serving Virginia in the House of Representatives, moved that the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs should be removable by the president without Senate approval.

The discretion to remove officers was, he said, inherent in the executive power vested by Article II, Section 1. But they muddied the waters unnecessarily by hanging so much of their case on violations of the constitutionally dubious Tenure of Office Act. If the abuse of discretion is serious enough, it can be grounds for impeachment regardless of whether any statute has been violated.

What if, instead of removing good officers and appointing bad ones, the president simply neglects to appoint enough people — good or bad — to run an effective administration? By one count, six months into his tenure, Trump had nominated only people for the more than 1, Senate-confirmed positions the president has to fill.


The numbers for his two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were and , respectively — and each had more appointees confirmed at the six-month mark than Trump had even nominated. It amounts to the fond hope that the administrative state will spontaneously self-deconstruct and the swamp will drain itself. A president cannot hope to exert control over the federal bureaucracy — let alone dismantle large parts of it — without putting political appointees in place who will drive his agenda.

Leaving the levers of control in the hands of career civil servants would all but guarantee business as usual for the permanent bureaucracy. As for the overall staffing gap, neither story Trump tells adequately explains it. Indeed, if presidents could be impeached for mere mismanagement, practically all of them would be vulnerable.

Some degree of mismanagement is all but inevitable given the massive growth of the executive branch since the early 20th century. George W. In each case, critics charged, with some justice, that the disasters could have been mitigated or even avoided entirely with better management. Obama faced no serious calls for his impeachment over the BP affair. What we have in the way of presidential precedent suggests something closer to criminal negligence or recklessness: impeachment may be warranted where the president should have been aware of, or consciously disregards, a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

In October , after President Trump blasted him in a series of tweets, Sen. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning. Several scholars have pointed to one such act as potential grounds.

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In so doing, the president may have let slip enough detail to reveal the sources and methods behind the intel, betraying the trust of the country that shared it with us and complicating intelligence-sharing for counterterrorism going forward. If the president, through wanton carelessness or severe misjudgment, undermined national security.

Congress cannot undo the damage the president has already done, but the impeachment power is designed to address a situation in which an officeholder has demonstrated through his past actions that he can no longer act in the public trust. Must an impeachable offense involve an abuse of presidential powers, or can it involve private transgressions? Can offenses committed before the president assumed office ever serve as grounds for removal? Is it constitutionally permissible to impeach a president for conduct unbecoming the presidency? And in cases where Congress, through a long pattern of ceding power to the executive branch, has been complicit in presidential abuses, has it also ceded the authority to impeach and remove the president for those abuses? Even presidents have private lives.

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Republicans objected to that framing: perjury and obstruction of justice were public acts, they maintained. Certain crimes such as murder [could] warrant removal of a President.

How retired Justice Stevens would change the constitution

Yet that was no barrier to his impeachment. A number of the judicial impeachment cases, including those of judges Robert W. Archbald — and Halsted Ritter , underscore that point. It would be both absurd and monstrous to hold that an impeachable offense must needs be committed in an official capacity. Americans will not be ruled by a Nero or a Caligula, however executively competent. Neither do Americans demand to be governed by moral exemplars, however. Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy, not a means for ejecting chief executives with regular, all-too-human failings. If a president can lawfully be impeached for nonofficial conduct, does it matter when that conduct occurred?

Can transgressions he committed years before assuming the presidency qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors?