Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reasons to Impeach

Trey Smith

If the Constitution is to have any relevance, and if America is to remain a free society, then there is really no alternative: there must be a bill of impeachment drawn up and submitted in the House, and there must at least be a hearing on that bill in the House Judiciary Committee.

The disclosure, by NBC, of a so-called “white paper” by the White House offering the legal justification for the executing of American citizens solely on the authority of the executive branch and the president exposes a White House so blatantly in violation of the Constitution that it simply demands such a hearing.

As Juan Cole explains clearly in an essay in Informed Comment, there are five ways that the white paper authorizing executive execution of Americans violates the Constitution. These, he explains, are:

There has to be an actual crime for there to be a punishment, and this paper authorizes execution without any crime.

If, as the letter suggests, the president’s authority to order executions without trial derives from the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by the Congress, that would constitute a so-called bill of attainder, which he explains is a declaration that a certain person or class of people (i.e. terrorists in this case) are prima facie guilty of a crime. But as he notes, the Constitution specifically outlaws bills of attainder, saying in Article 1, Section 9, “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed...”

The letter violates the separation of powers, according the president the powers of executive, legislature and judiciary.

The letter violates the Sixth Amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which guarantees everyone the right to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” Needless to say, an execution ordered by the president skips all of this.

Reliance on the AUMF for presidential executions such as that of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son means that President Obama, like President Bush before him, is claiming that the whole world (including the US) is a battlefield, and that he therefore has the absolute authority as Commander in Chief, to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, that he deems to be an enemy or a threat. But such a concept is a complete violation of international law and sovereignty as defined by the UN Charter, a solemn treaty to which the US is a signatory, making it a fundamental part of US law.

There is no way around it. This president is a grave violator of the law and of the US Constitution. Like George W. Bush before him, it is incumbent upon the Congress to establish whether his transgressions rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
~ from Who’s Going to Step Up? President Obama Must be Impeached by Dave Lindorff ~
If Bill Clinton could have Articles of Impeachment presented against him for a dalliance with an intern, don't you think that a President who wantonly violates his oath of office should be held accountable too? Clinton's actions did not jeopardize "national security" and, to my knowledge, no one died as the result of his extramarital affair. The same cannot be said for Obama's transgressions. Scores of people have died and their deaths threaten our "national security" because these extrajudicial deaths are creating scores of people who would like to do us in.

What is the point of having a constitution in the first place, if the President can unilaterally ignore it whenever he feels like it? How can a nation have the "law of the land" when the highest elected official refuses to abide by it?

George W. Bush should have been impeached, but the wimpy Congress gave him a free pass. But that's no excuse to give the current president a free pass too! If Congress doesn't act, the next president will be even more brazen...which is damn scary!

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