Only two Presidents have faced impeachment. One was Andrew Johnson in 1868 and the impeachment was defeated by one vote. Cited for violating the Tenure of Office Act, it was later found unconstitutional. The other was Bill Clinton in 1998, charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, the Senate voted against impeachment on either charge.
There has always been talk of impeachment of presidents and other federal officers by those who believe they have grounds to bring such action in the House. It is rare, however. The House has initiated proceedings only 64 times since 1789 and only 19 resulted in Articles of Impeachment that were then submitted to the Senate for a vote.
President Obama has generated a lot of talk of impeachment, but it is my view that impeachment is such an inherently political act, that few in Congress have wanted to grapple with the indictments. Impeachment is a politically radioactive option spelled out in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, citing “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as cause.
In January Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) said he would initiate impeachment proceedings against President Obama if he should implement new gun regulations via executive orders or actions. Speaking to Fox News in January, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, said “If he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense.”
The political reality of our present times is that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and they are unlikely to vote to convict President Obama. Should power in the Senate shift to Republicans in 2014 and should they retain power in the House, Obama would face the possibility of impeachment, but one suspects both houses of Congress at that point would want to concentrate on repealing Obamacare and reducing the nation’s growing debt.
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