Skip to comments.Alexander Hamilton on impeachment
Posted on 03/07/2014 6:27:14 PM PST by gitmo
On this day in 1788, Federalist Paper No. 65 is published. Publius discusses the Senates role in impeachment/conviction of executive officers. Why do I suspect just a few of you are interested in this paper?!
Publius notes the inherent difficulties in prosecuting the misconduct of public men or the abuse or violation of some public trust. Finding a well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is difficult, to say the least! The passions of the whole community are stirred. People take sides, and these sides may align with pre-existing political parties. [I]n such cases, Publius concludes, there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
Given these difficulties, the Senate was thought the most fit depositary of this important trust. The Constitution, of course, provides that the House can accuse a public official; however, the Senate is the body that must convict.
One recurring drumbeat in the past few papers has been the importance placed upon the election process for Senators. Publius turns to that feature of the Senate again here. The Senators, he says, are the representatives of the nation themselves. They are sufficiently independent and could feel CONFIDENCE ENOUGH IN ITS OWN SITUATION, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an INDIVIDUAL accused, and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?
Unfortunately, passage of the 17th Amendment has undermined this aspect of Publiuss argument. The Senators no longer represent the States; they are direct representatives of the people (just as the House is). The Founders thought that it was important to have a balance within our Congress. We seem to have forgotten the very real benefits to be had when Senators and Congressmen are elected in different, but complimentary ways.
Could the Supreme Court have performed this task? Publius thinks not. For one thing, it is not numerous enough. The awful discretion which a court of impeachments must necessarily have, he explains, to doom to honor or to infamy the most confidential and the most distinguished characters of the community, forbids the commitment of the trust to a small number of persons.
Next, it is worth considering that some impeachments will be followed by a criminal trial. Should the court that impeached him then also decide if he is guilty of a crime? Any biases and errors in the first trial could carry over into the second trial.
On a logistical note, the author of this paper is Alexander Hamilton. He will continue for the next several papers.
Interesting reflections on impeachment and the 17th Amendment.
That's who they should be elected by.
So were his comments about having an enemy opposing you instead of in your camp for which we were responsible...but people were not too interested in hearing that and demanded we elect ‘lesser evils’.
Good luck getting the people to accept that again. From what I can see, most state legislatures would happily inflict 100 McCains on us if they could.
” It isnt good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle, and conviction and action that will lead us back to greatness.”
Oh absolutely. I totally agree. Now Rand, lets talk about your ‘principles’ concerning illegals and amnesty.
The 17th Amendment resulted in the US senators becoming whores. Most receive the majority of their campaign donations from outside their home state. The last time I looked into this was in the 1990s senator Voinovich was number one in in out-of-state campaign donations and John McCain was number 2. I would like to see the stats now. No doubt McCain is still near the top of the list. The last 40 years have proven that your average dumb ass voter is easily swayed by massive campaign bombardment of lies and bullshit. Partly explains why Arizona keeps re-electing the rabid SOB.
Long time Zonie here. McCain keeps getting elected because of Illegals and being Californicated. Those are the top two reasons.
I wasn’t directing any assumptions at you personally and should have made that clear.
As for Rand, he says exactly what a lot of us have been for some time now and getting royally reamed for. But he cannot be trusted. He supports amnesty and Mitch. nothing more need to be said regarding his ‘principles’. They are self evident.
The process as designed is certainly flawed, but there is no better.
Actually, the process isn’t flawed; it’s the management who refuses to follow the process that damages the entire system.
Thanks for the ping.
I've stated numerous times on FR that the two worst amendments to the Constitution were the 16th and 17th amendments.
the republican majority in the house is too cowardly to impeach a _resident of color.
a BJ (or lying about one) seems was a bigger crime than the plethora of high crimes this Kenyan/Indonesian POSOTUS has committed.
We need to take this country back or take back the parts that value the constitution and leave the rest to their performance of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I believe that you have correctly and succinctly stated the facts of the matter.
Modern members of Congress do even begin to understand the powers granted them under the Constitution much less possess the courage to actually exercise them!
Totally agreed — the acceptance of the [legitimacy of the] War on Drugs as
Kosher is proof of that.
(The War on Drugs being justified via the Wickard assertion that the regulation of interstate commerce relies upon the regulation of intrastate commerce, and Raich where the court declared that the congress could also regulate non-commerce.)
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