impeachment

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impeachment,

in Great Britain and United States, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow. In other countries, impeachment may refer to the removal of a public official from office instead of the accusation. Impeachment developed in England, beginning in the 14th cent., as a means of trying officials suspected of dereliction of duty. The English procedure was for the House of Commons to prosecute by presenting articles of impeachment to the House of Lords, which rendered judgment. Any penalty, including death, might be inflicted. The impeachment (1787) and trial (1788–95) of Warren HastingsHastings, Warren,
1732–1818, first governor-general of British India. Employed (1750) as a clerk by the East India Company, he soon became manager of a trading post in Bengal.
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 was among the last of the English cases.

In the United States impeachment of public officials is provided for in the federal government and in most states. In federal matters the U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach civil officers of the United States, including the President and Vice President, but not including members of Congress. Impeachments are tried by the Senate, with the concurrence of two thirds of the members present needed for conviction. The sole penalties on conviction are removal from office and disqualification from holding other federal office; however, the convicted party is liable to subsequent criminal trial and punishment for the same offense.

There have been 19 impeachments tried by the Senate and eight convictions. Three of the best-known cases, which did not result in conviction, were those of Supreme Court Justice Samuel ChaseChase, Samuel,
1741–1811, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1796–1811), b. Somerset co., Md.
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, President Andrew JohnsonJohnson, Andrew,
1808–75, 17th President of the United States (1865–69), b. Raleigh, N.C. Early Life

His father died when Johnson was 3, and at 14 he was apprenticed to a tailor.
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, and President Bill Clinton (see Lewinsky scandalLewinsky scandal
, sensation that enveloped the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1998–99, leading to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate.
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). In 1974 the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon (see Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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), but Nixon resigned before the House took action.

Bibliography

See studies by I. Brant (1972), R. Berger (1973), C. L. Black, Jr. (1974), J. R. Labovitz (1978), and R. A. Posner (1999).

References in periodicals archive ?
Alejano filed the two impeachment complaints against Duterte for his alleged role in state-sponsored killings and the Davao Death Squad, as well as his alleged inaction to uphold the country's sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal and Benham Rise amid the administration's cooling of ties with China.
Reynaldo Umali said his committee would dispose of the impeachment complaints in two hearings.
An Overview of the Impeachment Process in the House and Senate
On March 17, 2010, the Senate organized for the impeachment trial
The Court shall not have the power to review impeachments against other officers nor any action by the Senate concerning articles of impeachment.
In the twentieth century, prior to the impeachment of President Clinton, only judges have been impeached (although President Nixon would almost certainly have been impeached had he not resigned).
His section about impeachment is more interesting, but our current ambivalent attitude toward impeachment does not spring from the history of the Blount episode.
Impeachment reflects our political and human natures.
More is at stake in high-profile impeachments than a single individual's career.
Richard Posner has written a remarkably even-tempered and reasonable book about the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, a welcome contrast to the overheated rhetoric and raw emotions generated by the event itself.
said the Senate would send written questions about the impeachment charges to Clinton as early as Monday.
From time to time, there have been impeachments without disqualification and the impeached officeholder remains competent to occupy yet another position of public trust.