February 4, 2008

Good Old Strafford teaches us about impeachment and its valuable role in preserving our democracy against Cheney's push for executive privilege.

The Earl of Strafford’s case provides a perfect example. His conduct subverted the constitutional prerogatives of parliament in the name of the king. This was the paradigm case for impeachment. And it was recognized by the earliest American commentators, such as Justice Story, who said that impeachment “is not so much designed to punish as to secure the state against gross official misdemeanors.” It is prophylactic, designed to remove an unfit officer from office, rather than punitive. But most important, it is designed to protect the constitutional order from efforts to transform it...read on

Scott Horton does a wonderful job of dissecting BushCo's reign of power grabbing:

It can and should be used to draw a line in the sand about the arbitrary use of executive power, making clear that Bush’s abuses cannot be taken as precedent by future presidents. Indeed, failure to use impeachment has its consequences: it means acceptance of Bush’s transformation of the constitutional order. It means that the careful balance between legislature, executive and judiciary created by the Framers has been undone, and the executive has triumphed as the paramount power. Impeachment may be a painful process, of course, but Americans should consider whether their Constitution is worth saving.

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