REPORTThe Impeachment Process: The Constitution and Historical Practice
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The Impeachment Process
Impeachment refers to the process of removing public officials from office for serious misconduct. With roots in 14th-century England, the U.S. Constitution provides: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office upon Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The U.S. is currently experiencing an “impeachment frenzy,” with political activists, commentators, and Members of Congress debating whether, when, and why to pursue impeachment. The discussion and debate about impeachment are plagued with confusion over this rarely exercised procedure. This serious and important part of our system of government should be informed by its constitutional requirements and historic practices of Congress.