Friday, May 12, 2006

Impeachment now (updated)

I was reading Brad DeLong's blog today, and his urgent refrain "Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Him Now" made me rethink. The specific reasons are so poignant--and could be multiplied so far beyond the destruction of the CIA and the Executive's arrogant disregard for the law--that I decided to return to my fantasy realism and imagine what it would take to impeach Bush/Cheney as soon as possible. (If I had to pick just one reason for impeachment, I think it would be for the signing statements. They're just such obvious and fundamental violations of the Constitution's separation of powers.)

My rough recollection is that any Representative can file articles of impeachment, whereupon they would go to a committee. If an absolute majority of the House agrees to a petition to discharge the articles from that committee, I believe the petition succeeds.

1) If Nancy Pelosi is pressured into changing her newly articulated stance that impeachment is off the table, and

2) a majority of Democrats unify with sufficient Republicans who somehow or other put nation above party,

George Bush and Richard Cheney can be impeached with relative speed.

I'm open to suggestions for designing a successful campaign!

UPDATE: Looking at Rule 15 of the House, the situation seems substantially as I remembered it. A motion becomes vulnerable to discharge from a committee after the committee has held it for thirty legislative days. So for example, if I've interpreted the House calendar accurately, a motion for impeachment filed today and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary would be liable for discharge Monday, June 26. If a simple majority of House members voted for it to be discharged, it would be, and then a simple majority could vote again to pass it. Some parliamentary trickery could intervene; multiple motions to discharge could be filed before this one, and there would also be at least a couple of chances to adjourn which could allow it to be put off and strangled behind the scenes. But I'm sure it's nothing Senator Byrd couldn't advise Nancy and Steny how to take care of, after he'd browbeaten them into action in the first place. ;-)


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