Skip to main content

By Elizabeth Holtzman

Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.

I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach during those proceedings, when it became clear that the President had so systematically abused the powers of the presidency and so threatened the rule of law that he had to be removed from office. As a Democrat who opposed many of President Nixon's policies, I still found voting for his impeachment to be one of the most sobering and unpleasant tasks I ever had to undertake. None of the members of the committee took pleasure in voting for impeachment; after all, Democrat or Republican, Nixon was still our President.

At the time, I hoped that our committee's work would send a strong signal to future Presidents that they had to obey the rule of law. I was wrong.

Like many others, I have been deeply troubled by Bush's breathtaking scorn for our international treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions. I have also been disturbed by the torture scandals and the violations of US criminal laws at the highest levels of our government they may entail, something I have written about in these pages [see Holtzman, "Torture and Accountability," July 18/25, 2005]. These concerns have been compounded by growing evidence that the President deliberately misled the country into the war in Iraq. But it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)--and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws--that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate.

As a matter of constitutional law, these and other misdeeds constitute grounds for the impeachment of President Bush. A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law--and repeatedly violates the law--thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment and removal from office. A high crime or misdemeanor is an archaic term that means a serious abuse of power, whether or not it is also a crime, that endangers our constitutional system of government.

The framers of our Constitution feared executive power run amok and provided the remedy of impeachment to protect against it. While impeachment is a last resort, and must never be lightly undertaken (a principle ignored during the proceedings against President Bill Clinton), neither can Congress shirk its responsibility to use that tool to safeguard our democracy. No President can be permitted to commit high crimes and misdemeanors with impunity.

But impeachment and removal from office will not happen unless the American people are convinced of its necessity after a full and fair inquiry into the facts and law is conducted. That inquiry must commence now.

On December 17 President Bush acknowledged that he repeatedly authorized wiretaps, without obtaining a warrant, of American citizens engaged in international calls. On the face of it, these warrantless wiretaps violate FISA, which requires court approval for national security wiretaps and sets up a special procedure for obtaining it. Violation of the law is a felony.

While many facts about these wiretaps are unknown, it now appears that thousands of calls were monitored and that the information obtained may have been widely circulated among federal agencies. It also appears that a number of government officials considered the warrantless wiretaps of dubious legality. Reportedly, several people in the National Security Agency refused to participate in them, and a deputy attorney general......

To read the full text of this article see
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060130/holtzman
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I have not always been right, but I have always been sincere." ~ W.E.B. Du Bois ~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited {1}
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

...More likely the Democratic Party is losing steam, in trouble, losing its following, etc., etc.

"Democrats target Alito, but miss the mark

January 12, 2006

BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Edward M. Kennedy, the 73-year-old liberal lion of the Senate, did not so much roar as huff and puff Tuesday, as he faced Judge Samuel Alito. He and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who had spent weeks preparing for Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearing seemed to be shooting blanks at President Bush's nominee.

Kennedy appeared to have lost his fastball in the 19 years since he eviscerated nominee Robert Bork. But Alito is a deceptively more difficult target. While Bork appeared a flamboyant scholar eager to expound his worldview, Alito came over as a cautious lawyer dealing in fine print and footnotes. Republican senators had feared the nominee's uninspiring style would undo him, but they now feel it actually carried the day.

Failure to make a direct hit on Alito suggests a transcendent defeat for the Democratic judicial confirmation strategy crafted by Kennedy. It did not block all conservatives for appellate courts and failed to dissuade Bush from naming conservatives to the Supreme Court. To stop Alito required an auto wreck at this week's hearings, which always was unlikely considering his style.

It was not that Kennedy did not try his best on Tuesday. His legal aide, James Flug (an expert on judicial assassination), had stocked the senator with multiple scripts. But Kennedy seemed bogged down with his material, flitting from one subject to another, without focus. That seemed a generic problem for most Democratic senators. Sen. Joseph Biden spent 11 minutes in the preamble before he got around to his opening question.

Republicans were amused at Democrats stressing Alito's membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton because of the organization's alleged fight against admission to the university of women and African Americans. Alito testified he could barely remember his connection with CAP, but said he joined to protest Princeton's expulsion of the ROTC from campus.

What had worried Alito's strategists in advance was a concerted attack on his civil rights decisions that might erode support among moderate Republicans. But Alito's bland, lawyerly style prevailed when Biden raised the 1995 decision on a lawsuit by Barbara Sheridan against the DuPont Co. charging sex discrimination. Alito was outvoted 11-1 when the court ruled in Sheridan's favor. ''After listening to Alito,'' said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, ''you think the other 11 judges missed the boat.''

Alito's dry style encouraged the pretense that the Judiciary Committee Democrats were engaged in a serious inquiry into the nominee's judicial philosophy. Actually, liberal special interest groups demanded a response to this nominee that was more vigorous than the passive opposition to John Roberts as chief justice. As a result, the only Democratic senator who now can be counted on to vote for Alito is Sen. Ben Nelson, running for re-election this year in the very red state of Nebraska.

In this week's hearing, Biden typically did not disguise the political stakes involved in this confirmation process: the conservative Alito replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a swing voter who usually has swung left. Biden asserted that O'Connor was ''the fulcrum on an evenly divided court,'' so that filling this seat is more important than Roberts replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Senators Charles Schumer and Dick Durbin, two of the Senate's most partisan Democrats, have tried this week to escalate the intensity level of the hearings by asserting that the burden of proof was on Alito to show that he deserves to be on the Supreme Court. Just how he was supposed to do that was not spelled out. But that extraordinary heightening of the standards of confirmation would relieve the senatorial inquisitors from responsibility for measuring a nominee's fitness.

Schumer, at the end of the committee table in seniority, had to spend the entire day Tuesday watching his colleagues shooting blanks before he got his chance to fire the real thing. Schumer was well prepared, with a senatorial third degree of Alito demanding repeatedly to know whether he believed in a constitutional protection of abortion. That question led off a harsh, carefully scripted interrogation of the nominee. It made Chuck Schumer look mean and nasty, but that hardly derailed Sam Alito."

*******************************

Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 9:56 a.m. EST
Jesse Jackson: Bush Spied on Me


The Rev. Jesse Jackson is claiming that President Bush illegally spied on him and should be held accountable with impeachment hearings.

Asked to respond to reports that U.S. citizens were being "spied" on by the White House the same way Dr. Martin Luther King was in the 1960s, Jackson said Monday: "Well, and so am I. We have gone from being lied to about the war to being spied on for protesting the war."

Speaking to Democracy Now Radio's Amy Goodman, he recalled that as a member of Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "our staffers - our wires were tapped. We were followed."

Jackson said that 40 years later, "There is no doubt that they're having an enemies list of those who protest."

"Last year, those who disagreed with the Bush campaign were on the enemies list for I.R.S. investigations," the civil rights leader insisted.

"This is an impeachable offense," Jackson declared. "And the Congress must not spare the integrity of our country in having hearings on just how much violence he did to the law in this act, this unauthorized unconstitutional act."

******************************

....The Democratic Party needs to find a new mascot, because no good Jackleg Jesse Jackson's integrity is meaningless, worthless, dishonorable, etc., etc.

************************

...and contrary to the misconceptions, lies, etc., of the liberals, as it concerns President Bush, the Bush Administration.....

...the troops, the majority of U.S. citizens have an entirely different outlook, an outlook of praise, and admiration for President Bush, and the Bush Administration.
Last edited {1}
...More likely the Democratic Party is losing steam, in trouble, losing its following, etc., etc.

"Democrats target Alito, but miss the mark

January 12, 2006

BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Edward M. Kennedy, the 73-year-old liberal lion of the Senate, did not so much roar as huff and puff Tuesday, as he faced Judge Samuel Alito. He and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who had spent weeks preparing for Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearing seemed to be shooting blanks at President Bush's nominee.

Kennedy appeared to have lost his fastball in the 19 years since he eviscerated nominee Robert Bork. But Alito is a deceptively more difficult target. While Bork appeared a flamboyant scholar eager to expound his worldview, Alito came over as a cautious lawyer dealing in fine print and footnotes. Republican senators had feared the nominee's uninspiring style would undo him, but they now feel it actually carried the day.

Failure to make a direct hit on Alito suggests a transcendent defeat for the Democratic judicial confirmation strategy crafted by Kennedy. It did not block all conservatives for appellate courts and failed to dissuade Bush from naming conservatives to the Supreme Court. To stop Alito required an auto wreck at this week's hearings, which always was unlikely considering his style.

It was not that Kennedy did not try his best on Tuesday. His legal aide, James Flug (an expert on judicial assassination), had stocked the senator with multiple scripts. But Kennedy seemed bogged down with his material, flitting from one subject to another, without focus. That seemed a generic problem for most Democratic senators. Sen. Joseph Biden spent 11 minutes in the preamble before he got around to his opening question.

Republicans were amused at Democrats stressing Alito's membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton because of the organization's alleged fight against admission to the university of women and African Americans. Alito testified he could barely remember his connection with CAP, but said he joined to protest Princeton's expulsion of the ROTC from campus.

What had worried Alito's strategists in advance was a concerted attack on his civil rights decisions that might erode support among moderate Republicans. But Alito's bland, lawyerly style prevailed when Biden raised the 1995 decision on a lawsuit by Barbara Sheridan against the DuPont Co. charging sex discrimination. Alito was outvoted 11-1 when the court ruled in Sheridan's favor. ''After listening to Alito,'' said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, ''you think the other 11 judges missed the boat.''

Alito's dry style encouraged the pretense that the Judiciary Committee Democrats were engaged in a serious inquiry into the nominee's judicial philosophy. Actually, liberal special interest groups demanded a response to this nominee that was more vigorous than the passive opposition to John Roberts as chief justice. As a result, the only Democratic senator who now can be counted on to vote for Alito is Sen. Ben Nelson, running for re-election this year in the very red state of Nebraska.

In this week's hearing, Biden typically did not disguise the political stakes involved in this confirmation process: the conservative Alito replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a swing voter who usually has swung left. Biden asserted that O'Connor was ''the fulcrum on an evenly divided court,'' so that filling this seat is more important than Roberts replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Senators Charles Schumer and Dick Durbin, two of the Senate's most partisan Democrats, have tried this week to escalate the intensity level of the hearings by asserting that the burden of proof was on Alito to show that he deserves to be on the Supreme Court. Just how he was supposed to do that was not spelled out. But that extraordinary heightening of the standards of confirmation would relieve the senatorial inquisitors from responsibility for measuring a nominee's fitness.

Schumer, at the end of the committee table in seniority, had to spend the entire day Tuesday watching his colleagues shooting blanks before he got his chance to fire the real thing. Schumer was well prepared, with a senatorial third degree of Alito demanding repeatedly to know whether he believed in a constitutional protection of abortion. That question led off a harsh, carefully scripted interrogation of the nominee. It made Chuck Schumer look mean and nasty, but that hardly derailed Sam Alito."

*******************************

Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 9:56 a.m. EST
Jesse Jackson: Bush Spied on Me


The Rev. Jesse Jackson is claiming that President Bush illegally spied on him and should be held accountable with impeachment hearings.

Asked to respond to reports that U.S. citizens were being "spied" on by the White House the same way Dr. Martin Luther King was in the 1960s, Jackson said Monday: "Well, and so am I. We have gone from being lied to about the war to being spied on for protesting the war."

Speaking to Democracy Now Radio's Amy Goodman, he recalled that as a member of Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "our staffers - our wires were tapped. We were followed."

Jackson said that 40 years later, "There is no doubt that they're having an enemies list of those who protest."

"Last year, those who disagreed with the Bush campaign were on the enemies list for I.R.S. investigations," the civil rights leader insisted.

"This is an impeachable offense," Jackson declared. "And the Congress must not spare the integrity of our country in having hearings on just how much violence he did to the law in this act, this unauthorized unconstitutional act."

******************************

....The Democratic Party needs to find a new mascot, because no good Jackleg Jesse Jackson's integrity is meaningless, worthless, dishonorable, etc., etc.

************************

...and contrary to the misconceptions, lies, etc., of the liberals, as it concerns President Bush, the Bush Administration.....

...the troops, the majority of U.S. citizens have an entirely different outlook, an outlook of praise, and admiration for President Bush, and the Bush Administration.
After he has admitted spying on American citizens and admitted that the war in Iraq was based on faulty intelligence, you would think that someone other than the press would be talking about impeaching him.
The majority party of the senate and congress for the last 3 administrations has been the Republican party. Now they have seized majority power in all branches of the government. Including the "talking point" lackeys and those of self-righteous indignation that often show up on this and various other places on the internet. I think this one party rule government is getting very old. And I'm sure they are data mining my post for key words right now as I type.

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×