Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Founders Had an Idea for Handling Alberto Gonzales

New York Times: By Adam Cohen
The founders did not want impeachment to be undertaken so casually that, in James Madison’s words, the president and other officers effectively served at the “pleasure of the Senate.” But they also did not want to limit it to a few specific offenses. The phrase “other high crimes and misdemeanors” was intended to give Congress leeway. Impeachment was one of the important checks and balances the founders built into the Constitution. At state ratification conventions, it was promoted as a tool for Congress to rein in any officeholder who “dares to abuse the power vested in him by the people.” Impeachment of Mr. Gonzales would fit comfortably into the founders’ framework. ...

If the House began an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Gonzales would most likely resign rather than risk the unpleasantness of the hearings, and the ignominy of being removed. Congress should think of it as a constitutional tap on the shoulder, to let the attorney general know that the time has truly come for him to go. If Mr. Gonzales did resign, this Congress would most likely be more gracious than the one in 1876, which ignored Mr. Belknap’s hurried resignation and impeached him anyway.

I'm not so sure about the prediction, but with Rove on the way out, maybe W is ready to clear the deck of his present set of personnel headaches. After all, he has a wedding to plan now.

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