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Impeachment: The Case Against GWB

A few recent articles on impeachment (hopefully they might lead to articles of impeachment). With the ongoing mess in Iraq, the belligerent stance towards Iran, various scandals involving Plame/ Libby/ Gonzales/ wire-tapping and GWB threatening to veto Congress on its troop pull-out timetable, not to mention unconstitutional roll-backs on civil liberties and the threat of endless war, the issue is not going to go away, whether it gets off the ground or not before 2009.

The article I excerpt from below is by former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who currently practises law in NYC. Notably, she was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment hearings. Holtzman is coauthor with Cynthia L. Cooper of The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens.

Two other recent articles you may be interested in are; John Nichols (editor of The Nation and author of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders Cure for Royalism), Getting Serious About the I Word, The Nation, 27 March 2007 and Richard W. Behan, Impeachment and Patriotism, ICH, 20 March 2007.

Elizabeth Holtzman, The Case Against George W. Bush, Foreign Policy, March 2007

With prominent Republican Senators speaking out against a scandal-plagued White House, talk of impeachment has moved from the margins to the mainstream. That may seem politically far-fetched, but in fact, there is a strong case to be made.


Should he be impeached? The legal case is strong, and the political case is getting stronger. The latest Bush administration scandal—the firing of eight U.S. attorneys under highly questionable circumstances—has Washington abuzz with talk of a new Watergate. The question on everyone’s mind is: Could this be the president’s Saturday night massacre—the obstruction of justice that triggers impeachment?

Unless there is a sea change in Congress, talk of impeachment is largely a hypothetical exercise. That does not mean there’s no legal case against the president. If a California prosecutor were fired to end an investigation of a Republican congressman, that might be a crime. If the others were fired for failing to prosecute Democrats without evidence, that would be a gross abuse of power. If President George W. Bush played any role, impeachment is a legal possibility.

We need not wait for the outcome of investigations of this scandal, however, to conclude that President Bush has so abused the powers of his office that he could be impeached and removed from office. There are already other substantial grounds.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution knew that despite powerful checks, presidents might still abuse their powers and damage the country’s democracy, so they created impeachment as the ultimate safeguard. Constitutional grounds for impeachment are “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” During Nixon’s impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee determined that abuses did not have to violate the criminal code to meet this test. They simply needed to be, as the framers said in constitutional debates, “great and dangerous offenses that subvert the Constitution.” Several of the president’s actions already qualify.


3 comments on “Impeachment: The Case Against GWB

  1. Jack
    29 March, 2007

    Hi Ann!

    I appreciate you finding this article. To date I have never heard anyone properly articulate the grounds for impeachment, and maybe this may be what I’m looking for. I will read and get back to you with my thoughts.


  2. peoplesgeography
    29 March, 2007

    Please do, and you may also be interested in these recent books on impeachment:

    Impeachment Book List (as featured on this site)

    * Elizabeth de la Vega, United States v. George W. Bush et al.

    * John Nichols, The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism

    * Center for Constitutional Rights, Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush

    * Elizabeth Holtzman (already mentioned) & Cynthia L. Cooper, The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens, lays out five major grounds for impeachment of Bush, plus an extra section on Dick Cheney.

    * Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, The Case for Impeachment, explains the context while also setting forth six articles of impeachment against Bush, plus an extra section on Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales.

    * Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips (eds.), Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney, introduction by Howard Zinn, collection of essays organized around a list of 12 grounds for impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    * U.S. House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, George W. Bush versus the U.S. Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying

    * International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States,Verdict and Findings of Fact, a report that looks at five major international crimes and overlaps significantly with most lists of impeachable offenses

    * Lewis Lapham, Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration, collection of essays from Harper’s magazine, concluding with one called “The Case for Impeachment,” which focuses on Rep. Conyers’ report.

    * Jennifer Van Bergen, The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America, what the Bush Plan is and how it diverges from the law and Constitution.

  3. JollyRoger
    31 March, 2007

    The recent charge that Chimpy pulled the security clearances of investigators to keep them from investigating “Electrode Al” Gonzales’s role in the wiretapping program is an identifiable obstruction of justice. If true, this would be the same thing that brought Nixon down, and there’s little reason to believe it isn’t true.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

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yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"