Saturday, July 26, 2014

Impeach? What charges?

It appears Republicans in the House of Representatives want to impeach President Obama, despite the fact that their fearless leader, John Boehner, has expressed no interest in doing so.  But those Republicans don't need Boehner; they can do it on their own.

Most people truly don't understand the concept of impeachment.  So let's take a look, shall we?  Impeachment is a political process; it is not a criminal process.  Impeachment is set up in the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The House of Representatives must file official impeachment charges (Articles of Impeachment). The U.S. Senate then hears evidence in the impeachment trial and acts as the jury, deciding whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.  A 2/3 vote of the Senate is needed for conviction.

All those Republicans calling for impeaching President Obama have yet to identify specific charges.  Just what are the "high crimes" and "misdemeanors?"  The charges in the Articles of Impeachment must be specific.

Oh, those House Republicans get their knickers in a bunch every time the president opens his mouth.  And they point to controversies, rather than high crimes or misdemeanors, as a reason to impeach.   Example:  the mishandling of the way the ACA was rolled out ... all the computer problems and delays.  Oh, pleeeeaaasseee ... that's a high crime or misdemeanor?  Treason?  Bribery?  No ... that was a government snafu and we see those every single day at some level.

Okay, how about the current crisis involving children from Central America entering the United States illegally?  Those patriotic Republicans say President Obama's handling of the situation (not immediately dumping those children back across the border) is treason!  Well, no, it's not.  The president is simply following the law!

Just before leaving office, on Dec. 23, 2008, George W. Bush signed into law the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The law describes exactly how unaccompanied children crossing the border must be treated. 
  • For children coming from Mexico and Canada, countries with a border with the United States, a Border Patrol officer has the authority to determine whether the child is eligible to stay in the country. And because the child can be easily handed over to officials from his or her home country, the process can move very quickly.
  • But for children from Central America, where handing them back to authorities is more complicated, the law dictates that Customs and Border Patrol must turn undocumented children over to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours.
  • HHS will then hold them humanely until they can be released to a “suitable family member” in the United States.
So ... let's impeach the president for following the law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by a Republican president?  You just have to laugh.

Be prepared.  House Republicans will come up with something.  And they will fail.  And the rest of us will shake our heads at the time wasted - and the taxpayer money spent - on just the latest "nail this president" effort.

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