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No More Economic Terrorism!

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Budget, Constitution, GOP Crimes, Terrorism, Video )

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TomCat S (132)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 10:19 am
Republicans seem willing to go to any lengths to get their way. They tried in the courts, and failed. They tried at the polls and were rejected, despite their best attempts at election theft. They went to the court of public opinion and have been opposed two to one. It appears that their only way forward is to commit economic terrorism against the American people. The last time, they succeeded, although it was a Pyrrhic victory, because exposing themselves cost them dearly politically. Nevertheless, they appear willing to try again.

JL A (282)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 10:27 am
Plans described do seem quite unpatriotic and potentially treasonous and/or grounds for impeachment (if senators and reps can be impeached). Thanks for ensuring readers understand the factual context and irresponsible positions involved TomCat.

Cheryl O (82)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 10:41 am
Thanks for this Tom. Very scary times for the American people as well as the economy of the world. Seems we are on unstable ground all the way around.

Robert B (60)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 11:26 am
The self-serving extremists in the GOP are hell bent on getting their political way with ABSOLUTELY NO REGARD for what's good for general population or the country. We do have some reasonable moderates in the GOP but they are too few. The GOP will wind up being a third party if they don't get their act together. Right now they are nothing but arrogant bullies and the the country as a whole is just sick and tired of them. Voters need to remember this on the next election day. They also need to constantly write or call their reps to LET THEM KNOW. We can avoid the fiscal cliff but TWO things MUST HAPPEN: Military spending MUST be cut and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy MUST BE allowed to EXPIRE!
The rest is just a matter of tweaking, a host of SMALL adjustments to other programs. If this does not happen, it will be on the heads of the GOP. Plain and simple, it will be THEIR FAULT.

Arielle S (313)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 11:30 am
If only we had Tom, J.L., Cheryl, and Robert in Congress... imagine what we might get done.

Carlene V (202)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 12:12 pm
What Arielle S said!

Their party is in a shambles and they continue to ignore the will of the people. Whores for the tea party pimps who should be impeached if possible, What do the voters who vote these thugs into office think now? I just don't get how they line up and re elect them. Do they understand what these politicans are really doing? Perhaps things will not change until Obama is out of office as they still seem hell bent on denying everything he asks for.

Beverly T (82)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 12:15 pm
I tried looking up some things a few things about treason, sedition, and terrorism.
Believe it or not....I think what the Republicans are doing could be defined as a literal act or terrorism at least for as much as I can understand what I found.

It is in USC 18 Section 2331...Definitions...Statute 5...B
"the term "domestic terrorism" means activities that -
(B) appear to be intended -
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion; or

Seems to me it FITS !!!!!!
How would the Rethugs like to ACTUALLY be brought up on CHARGES OF TERRORISM !!!!!!
I would LOVE to see it.
But NO ONE would have the BACKBONE to do it.

Put big angry frowny face here.

Chris C (152)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 1:00 pm
"They are threatening once again to default on the credit of the United States if President Obama doesn’t do their bidding"
Watched the Rachel Maddow show last nite explaining this whole concept in full. It's not going to fly again!
The GOP is already paying a terrible price for their abuse of the's only going to get worse if they keep it up!

Yvonne White (229)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 3:36 pm
LOL! Right on Tom!:) "Republican refusal to raise the debt limit is unconstitutional, because it clearly violates Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment. If Republicans do attempt to terrorize America again, Obama should claim emergency power to raise the debt limit over Congressional objection by executive order, because he is obligated by oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

David C (151)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 3:37 pm
I for one refuse to live my life afraid of all the things the GOP says, and I hope that the leaders in DC do the same...........

agree that we need more with intelligence, soul, and compassion for we see represented here on care2....leading our country and world....

Diane O (194)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 3:37 pm
It's not economic terrorism it's FISCAL responsibility. The country can't sustain unlimited borrowing against the future to pay for today's bills. Obama wants authority to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling to continue deficit spending infinitely into the future. It's unconstitutional and it is irresponsible stewardship of the nation's future.

JL A (282)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 3:47 pm
FactCheck: Typo perhaps (to be generous and make meaning conform with the economics, factual data and research on the subject from nonpartisan and unbiased sources)
-it is truly irresponsibility(remember that last time the GOP's games cost the country $1.6 billion in additional interest, growing with time, because the rating agencies dropped the rating becaa

Diane O (194)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 3:54 pm
Try that again, JLA so that I can respond.

Shelly Peterson (213)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:09 pm
"KLUNK, KLUNK, KLUNK!!"...the sound of the Koch Brothers' boots. out of the mouths of the bought and paid for GOP, and their "baggeys".....FEAR, FEAR!!CLIFF AHEAD!!DRINK THE insani-TEA!! BE SAVED!!!WE ARE YOUR ONLY HOPE!!..don't use your brain and gather real info, WE WILL DO IT FOR YOU! FOLLOW ME!!!..(..." stupid little zombie/bagger!..ha-ha!...")................
Fiscal Responsability = TRUTH!!....=THE MATH!!!!!...THE REAL MATH, not GOP fear monguring , so that the Koch Brothers' get to realize Hitler's dream of running and owning the Whole World,their grandaddy started the John Birtch Society and it is still their goal..and they bought the Gop and started and own the is 2012!..soon 2013! WE , as American Citizens, MUST SAY NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!TO GOP subterfuge, thank the ones that have cahoonas to be Americans for Democracy and represent the citizens again...and help them back into "actually Governing for US, the People", instead of the Koch Brothers..they have to take they ulitmate sacrifice, their personal pocket book,..the speeding bullet of their own lives..they have to come to a reckoning, in their souls.."I am for the people and the greater good and might lose all the BIG$$$$$, but have a consciense and go down, FINALLY DOING THE RIGHT THING!!..and have to go find a different job......OR!!??!!...just have enough BALLS to do the right thing..and people are so impressed, they vote you in again...AND YOU ACTUALLY DID YOUR JOB!!!!!!!!!!....TO THE GOP:DO YOUR DAMN JOB!!!!!!!!..OR GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE!!!!

JL A (282)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:12 pm
FactCheck: Typo perhaps (to be generous and make meaning conform with the economics, factual data and research on the subject from nonpartisan and unbiased sources)
-it is truly irresponsibility(remember that last time the GOP's games cost the country an estimated $1.6 billion in additional interest, growing with time, because the rating agencies dropped the rating because of GOP refusing to raise it in a timely fashion (according to the rating agencies themselves).
How much money? The 2011 argument about the debt ceiling--the most recent battle--cost the U.S. government about $1.3 billion in extra borrowing costs, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan congressional watchdog.

And that's just the costs that the GAO bothered to count. There are also probably extra borrowing costs that the government is still paying this year and in future years because of the debt-ceiling debacle, but the GAO's computer was too tired and/or depressed to try to figure those out.

Add It Up: Taxes Avoided By the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit
Giving tax breaks to the wealthy is among the least effective ways to create jobs. But, if we extend the middle-class portion of the Bush tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans and adjust the Alternative Minimum Tax so it doesn't affect middle-class households, that will create 1.6 million jobs, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and boost economic growth by 1.3 percentage points. (Congressional Budget Office)

Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945
The argument that lower rates for corporations and the top 2 percent of taxpayers accelerate economic growth is simply not borne out by the evidence. Reviewing the post World War II history, a peer-reviewed September 2012 Congressional Research Service study concluded, “There is not conclusive evidence … to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth.” Worse, previous tax reform has closed loopholes but not lobbies. The lobbies then build in new loopholes while the lower rates remain. Simplifying the tax code is a worthy and necessary goal, but tax “reform” that begins with lower top tax rates is likely to end by enriching the already rich and cutting off needed revenues."

These provide the unbiased research and data for how to make fiscally responsible economic decisions.

Restoring revenues to what worked during good economic times could eliminate the deficit and pay off the entire debt (off-shored corporate income tax revenues, returning capital gains and other rates to where they were are about all it would take).

Shelly Peterson (213)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:14 pm
TOM & YVONNE!!!!!!!!..............MAJOR KUDOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Past Member (0)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:16 pm

Shelly Peterson (213)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:17 pm
JL..YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aaron B (158)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:21 pm
Noted thanks for sharing

JL A (282)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 4:26 pm
Thanks Shelley!

John B (185)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 5:40 pm
Thanks Tom for the very informative post and video segment. The GOP just doesn't understand what good governance means. All the comments are a pleasure to read. Thanks again Tom. Read and noted.

. (0)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 6:15 pm
Frankly I think the fiscal cliff is the monster under the bed. I'm not going to reiterate or berate the six points I have stated on numerous occasions. Fiscal responsibility must prevail and these large corporations and financial institutions need to be brought ot heel.
Asking the tax payer for another bailout as Obama indicated prior to the election is not fiscal responsibility and neither is blocking changes that would put the onus on the aforementioned well offs to pay up.
I see both the Democrats and Republicans as becoming diminished political presences. The shift I'm hoping for is a government of independents who deal with the issues fairly and transparently rather than on a partisan level or in deference to the interests of the 10% at the top.

. (7)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 7:58 pm
Very scary times, but sounds like Obama is ready for the challenge.

Susanne R (234)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 9:30 pm
Re: "Obama wants authority to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling to continue deficit spending infinitely into the future. It's unconstitutional and it is irresponsible stewardship of the nation's future."

Legislation to increase the debt ceiling must be approved by the House and the Senate.

According to Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer, CNN Money:

"How many times has the ceiling been raised? Since March 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ten of those times have occurred since 2001." According to "President Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times and George W. Bush did it seven times."

Yet it's not "okay" for President Obama to request such legislation?
Debt ceiling: What you need to know. (Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer, CNN Money)

"If they have the political will, lawmakers can tackle any issue they want whenever they want. And mustering that political will may mean sacrificing popularity and accepting compromises. That's the price real leaders pay.

Of course, there is a growing bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill that the country's long-term fiscal situation is rather less than awesome and needs to be addressed.

But trying to force the discussion by holding the debt ceiling hostage to everyone's favorite fiscal demand -- no matter how smart the demand may be -- is a dysfunctional way to govern.

It's dysfunctional because it risks creating difficult situations that will make the debt situation worse, such as:

-- debt and cash management problems for Treasury, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office;

-- a rattled bond market, which can increase future borrowing costs;

-- draconian cuts or tax hikes if the ceiling isn't raised, $738 billion worth this year alone according to the Congressional Research Service.

And that would undermine the worthy goals of anyone who professes to worry about the country's fiscal course. "

Edith B (146)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 9:50 pm
I, and others are sick to death of the Republican efforts to control D.C. Do they not realize the Lost The Election? President Obama should not let them hold the American people hostage to this manufactured fiscal cliff.

jo M (3)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 10:04 pm
Uh, Edith, the Democrats kept the presidency, the Republicans still control half of congress. Tax increases without cuts are worthless. Hope the Republicans will be able to stand firm and get spending cuts now and not allow some vague promise (lie) to do it later.

Lynn S (235)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 11:42 pm
Republicans portray themselves as spending hawks, …

But only to get what they want! That is some increase in military spending, a pet Republican/Teabagger spending area. But when it comes to social programmes, slash and burn is the order of the day! What was the phrase used in one of yesterday's pieces — Steve Clemons layed it out well on the Rachel Maddow Show when he said "This is a branch of the GOP that doesn't represent all Republicans, but this is the pugnacious, obnoxious, nationalist wing that really resents any international deal making . . ." — and although this was in response to the UN treaty to protect the rights of people with disabilities, the attitude is prevalent in everything they do.

Very interesting listening to Chris Hayes. As he says, the money is spent. This is about paying the 'credit card debt'. And as you say TC,

In fact, Republican refusal to raise the debt limit is unconstitutional, because it clearly violates Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment. If Republicans do attempt to terrorize America again, Obama should claim emergency power to raise the debt limit over Congressional objection by executive order, because he is obligated by oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I wonder if Mr Obama does this, will this shut down Norquist and his suggestion to go month to month — talk about obstructionist ways. And the Republican/Teabaggers claim that Mr Obama is ignoring the constitution! Such malarkey! As Nancy Pelosi and some others have said, the debt ceiling has been around for about 100 years and only once has there been a problem — 2011. Perhaps given the pugnacious and obnoxious nature of the GOP, maybe it is time to work towards getting rid of the debt ceiling that the House imposed on itself. Trouble is, at this point in time, there aren't enough aye votes, but 2014 is coming!


Diane O (194)
Friday December 7, 2012, 2:35 am
You missed the point, Susanne, it is the Congress's job to raise it or not....never the president's job. This is a problem.

TomCat S (132)
Friday December 7, 2012, 6:00 am
Thanks too all but the usual one the point is this. "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,... shall not be questioned." Those are not my words. That is the Constitution. The debt limit is about paying the bill for the debt that was authorized by law when Congress spent the money. The time for fiscal responsibility is before Congress incurs debt, not when it's time to pay the bill.

JL A (282)
Friday December 7, 2012, 6:04 am
The problem is Congress, especially the House, not performing their duties required by law so the POTUS is having to explore unconventional ways to ensure that the law is followed so the country is not harmed.
The President has the responsibility to see that "the law is faithfully followed" and this one is pretty mild and shouldn't be considered a problem by those conversant with the relevant law and history:

Presidential Emergency Powers
Oxford Companion to the US Supreme Court:
Presidential Emergency Powers

Home > Library > Law & Legal Issues > US Supreme Court

Presidential emergency powers should be distinguished into two categories, even though the boundary between them is sometimes obscure: the power to act in a crisis based entirely on the president's own prerogative; and the power to act in accordance with laws that give the executive special powers in a declared emergency. The latter is a long‐standing feature of American law; the former is, from the standpoint of constitutional theory, more problematic.

There is no provision in the text of the Constitution that the president has special power to act on his or her own discretion in an emergency. It is sometimes argued that such power can be inferred from the Vesting Clause (“the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America”) and from the president's oath of office (“I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”)—the only oath that is constitutionally prescribed.

According to Clinton Rossiter, in his Constitutional Dictatorship (2d ed., 1963), however, the framers seem never to have considered that public officials in some future crisis might have to go outside the regular procedures for lawmaking and enforcement established by the Constitution. Indeed, the commitment always to govern in accordance with the laws is underlined by the admonition in Article II, section 3, that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The view that the Constitution is equal to any emergency is set forth in The Federalist, nos. 23 and 28, among others.

On the other hand, the philosophical tradition behind the idea of government by consent and by law has acknowledged that republican executives must have power to act in an emergency. In his Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Machiavelli wrote, “Those republics which in time of danger cannot resort to a dictatorship will generally be ruined when grave occasions occur” (book 1, chap. 34). In The Second Treatise of Government (1690), John Locke noted that, because it is “impossible to foresee, and so by laws to provide for, all accidents and necessities, … therefore there is a latitude left to the executive power, to do many things … which the laws do not prescribe.” This power Locke called “prerogative”; it is the power “to act according to discretion, for the public good, without the prescription of the law, and sometimes even against it” (Laslett, ed., 1988, p. 375).34

By Locke's definition (that is, executive action in the absence of law or against the law), prerogative has become a pattern of presidential action, even for limited periods of time, only rarely. Rossiter regarded only Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt as “constitutional dictators,” presidents who acted on their own discretion during crises for which the laws did not provide adequate authority.

Lincoln was the prime example. To meet the challenge of secession, he acted, before Congress convened in a special session, to suspend habeas corpus, impose a naval blockade, and provide unappropriated funds for the purchase of military equipment. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, sitting alone on circuit, declared in Ex parte Merryman (1861) that only Congress had power to provide for the suspension of habeas corpus, but his decision was not enforced. In the Prize Cases (1863), the Supreme Court by a 5‐to‐4 margin upheld the blockade and supported the president's determination to preserve the Constitution, if necessary by the use of armed force and without lawful authorization, against citizens engaging in rebellion.

Once the Civil War was over, the Supreme Court sought to restore the notion that the Constitution was “perfect,” that is, able on its own terms to meet any emergency. In Ex parte Milligan (1866), the Court unanimously voided the conviction of a civilian by a military tribunal. In his opinion (representing the views of five justices), Justice David Davis wrote, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace. … [T]he government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it which are necessary to preserve its existence” (p. 295). In the twentieth century Duncan v. Kahanamoku (1946), holding the wartime imposition of martial law in Hawaii unconstitutional, was a similar effort to restore constitutional protections after fighting stopped (see Military Trials and Martial Law). The same view was expressed even more emphatically by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, in Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell (1934): “The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government … were determined in the light of emergency and they are not altered by emergency” (p. 425).

The “perfection” of the Constitution was again sorely tested during the Great Depression of the 1930s. On the day following his inauguration, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a national emergency, decreed a “bank holiday” (thereby preventing people from withdrawing deposits or cashing checks), forbade the export of gold and silver, and prohibited transactions in foreign exchange. For authority he cited the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, empowering the president to “investigate, regulate, or prohibit, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, … any transactions in foreign exchange and the export, hoarding, melting, or earmarkings of gold or silver coin or bullion or currency.” This statute had been passed as a wartime measure. On the advice of his attorney general‐designate Thomas Walsh, Roosevelt based his actions on this dormant statute, rather than on his constitutional office and oath. Either way, the president's actions went beyond any precedent save Lincoln's and took the government, for the first time in peacetime, into the realm where constitutional legitimacy is maintained, if at all, by statutes that delegate discretion to the executive.

Another severe test of the constitutional basis of presidential emergency powers came in 1952 when President Harry S. Truman seized the steel mills. The Court, finding no basis for the president's action either in the Constitution or in statutes, ordered him to return the mills to their owners (Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 1952).

In a concurring opinion, Justice Robert Jackson classified the constitutional authority of the president in a situation he or she deems to be an emergency. If he can find legislation authorizing his action, his powers are virtually unassailable. If he acts in the absence of a statute, he must rely on his own independent powers. In that event his authority “is likely to depend on the imperatives of events and contemporary imponderables rather than abstract theories of law” (p. 637). But if he takes action incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, “his power is at its lowest ebb,” wrote Jackson. The Court could sustain his action “only by disabling the Congress from acting upon the subject” (pp. 637–638).

Jackson thought Truman's seizure of the steel mills fell into the third category, and he concurred in the Court's decision not to permit it. He went on to note, however, that the preservation of the balance ordained by the Constitution depended in part on the willingness of Congress to meet the challenges presented by events. Control over emergency powers ought to be lodged elsewhere than in the executive who exercises them, he wrote, but if Congress refuses to respond adequately to crises, government by law cannot survive. Quoting a maxim attributed to Napoleon (“The tools belong to the man who can use them”), Jackson warned that “only Congress itself can prevent power from slipping through its fingers” (p. 654).

The seizure of the mills “represents an exercise of authority without law,” wrote Jackson, and “men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations” (p. 655).

The other sources of presidential emergency powers are statutes that grant power to be exercised in the event of a declared emergency. Normally it is the executive who discerns and declares an emergency. When the executive does, he or she quickens many powers. According to a report issued by the Senate Special Committee on National Emergencies and Delegated Emergency Powers in 1973, there were at that time 470 provisions of federal law that delegated powers to the president in the event of a declared emergency. (Some of them contained legislative vetoes, a device declared unconstitutional in Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] v. Chadha, 1983. The status of powers linked to legislative vetoes is not clear in the wake of this decision.)

In the mid‐1970s, Congress became concerned about the possible abuse of these powers, especially because some declarations of emergency contain no termination date. In fact, the Senate study found that the nation had legally been in a continuous state of emergency since Roosevelt's declaration of 1933.

To correct this situation, Congress in 1976 passed the National Emergencies Act, which declared that any and all existing states of emergency would be terminated two years from the bill's enactment and that future presidential declarations would be subject to congressional review every six months. An example of the use of presidential emergency powers since the enactment of this statute came when President Jimmy Carter in November 1979 declared that the taking of American hostages in Iran created a national emergency and froze Iranian assets held in America. In January 1980, at the end of his term, he reached an agreement with the government of Iran to release the hostages in exchange for the transfer of the frozen assets to Iran and the extinguishing of any American claims to those assets. The Supreme Court, in Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981), found statutory authority for the transfer of the assets, but for the extinguishing of claims, the Court relied on “the general tenor of Congress' legislation in this area,” which, it said, could be viewed as an invitation to exercise independent presidential authority (p. 678).

See also Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy; Inherent Powers; Separation of Powers; War Powers.


Louis Fisher, Constitutional Conflicts between Congress and the President (1985).
Christopher H. Pyle and Richard Pious, The President, Congress, and the Constitution (1984).
U.S. Congress, The National Emergencies Act (Public Law 94–412). Source Book: Legislative History, Texts, and Other Documents (1976)

Read more:


TomCat S (132)
Friday December 7, 2012, 6:11 am
Thanks and Kudos, JL.

JL A (282)
Friday December 7, 2012, 6:58 am
You are welcome TomCat...a quote that seems fitting to finish it off:
"The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion."
Psychologist, Arnold Glasgow

TomCat S (132)
Friday December 7, 2012, 7:45 am
Also well said!

Hartson Doak (39)
Friday December 7, 2012, 9:51 am
Wow! Lots of response to this one. Fire them all. Install the Warren Buffet rules for politicians.

Dorothy N (63)
Friday December 7, 2012, 11:14 am
Re Norquist - if members of Congress are on the record as taking orders from an unelected, outside power???

I fail to understand how this and so many other issues where orders come from outsiders - not the people, not the government - outside, interested powers issuing orders to public servants to behave as they are told, in these power's interests, and against the interests of the people and country they're sworn to serve, are not illegal... traitorous, in fact.

JL A (282)
Friday December 7, 2012, 11:40 am
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

Dorothy N (63)
Friday December 7, 2012, 1:14 pm
Since others have asked if it's possible to impeach various corrupt holders of public office in the US, and since I've been wondering about this myself, I Googled, lol.

mpeachment in the United States is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office. The actual trial on those charges, and subsequent removal of an official on conviction on those charges, is separate from the act of impeachment itself.

Impeachment is analogous to indictment in regular court proceedings, while trial by the other house is analogous to the trial before judge and jury in regular courts. Typically, the lower house of the legislature will impeach the official and the upper house will conduct the trial.

At the federal level, Article II of the United States Constitution (Section 4) states that "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate. In Nixon v. United States (1993), the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary cannot review such proceedings.

Impeachment can also occur at the state level; state legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors, according to their respective state constitutions.

At the Philadelphia Convention, Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of “obnoxious” chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal — impeachment — would be preferable.[1] ...

(Content list) ...

The House of Representatives
Depiction of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, in 1868, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding.

Impeachment proceedings may be commenced by a member of the House of Representatives on their own initiative, either by presenting a listing of the charges under oath, or by asking for referral to the appropriate committee. The impeachment process may be triggered by non-members. For example, when the Judicial Conference of the United States suggests a federal judge be impeached, a charge of what actions constitute grounds for impeachment may come from a special prosecutor, the President, a state or territorial legislature, grand jury, or by petition.

The type of impeachment resolution determines to which committee it will be referred. A resolution impeaching a particular individual is typically referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A resolution to authorize an investigation regarding impeachable conduct is referred to the House Committee on Rules, and then referred to the Judiciary Committee. The House Committee on the Judiciary, by majority vote, will determine whether grounds for impeachment exist. If the Committee finds grounds for impeachment they will set forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment. The Impeachment Resolution, or Article(s) of Impeachment, are then reported to the full House with the committee's recommendations.

The House debates the resolution and may at the conclusion consider the resolution as a whole or vote on each article of impeachment individually. A simple majority of those present and voting is required for each article or the resolution as a whole to pass. If the House votes to impeach, managers (typically referred to as "House managers", with a "lead House manager") are selected to present the case to the Senate. Recently, managers have been selected by resolution, while historically the House would occasionally elect the managers or pass a resolution allowing the appointment of managers at the discretion of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. These managers are roughly the equivalent of the prosecution/district attorney in a standard criminal trial.

Also, the House will adopt a resolution in order to notify the Senate of its action. After receiving the notice, the Senate will adopt an order notifying the House that it is ready to receive the managers. The House managers then appear before the bar of the Senate and exhibit the articles of impeachment. After the reading of the charges, the managers return and make a verbal report to the House.


The proceedings unfold in the form of a trial, with each side having the right to call witnesses and perform cross-examinations. The House members, who are given the collective title of managers during the course of the trial, present the prosecution case and the impeached official has the right to mount a defense with his own attorneys as well. Senators must also take an oath or affirmation that they will perform their duties honestly and with due diligence (as opposed to the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, who vote upon their honor). After hearing the charges, the Senate usually deliberates in private. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority.

The Senate enters judgment on its decision, whether that be to convict or acquit, and a copy of the judgment is filed with the Secretary of State.[2] Upon conviction, the official is automatically removed from office and may also be barred from holding future office. The removed official is also liable to criminal prosecution. The President may not grant a pardon in the impeachment case, but may in any resulting criminal case.

Beginning in the 1980s, the Senate began using "Impeachment Trial Committees" pursuant to Senate Rule XII. These committees presided over the evidentiary phase of the trials, hearing the evidence and supervising the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. The committees would then compile the evidentiary record and present it to the Senate; all senators would then have the opportunity to review the evidence before the chamber voted to convict or acquit. The purpose of the committees was to streamline impeachment trials, which otherwise would have taken up a great deal of the chamber's time. Defendants challenged the use of these committees, claiming them to be a violation of their fair trial rights as well as the Senate's constitutional mandate, as a body, to have "sole power to try all impeachments." Several impeached judges sought court intervention in their impeachment proceedings on these grounds, but the courts refused to become involved due to the Constitution's granting of impeachment and removal power solely to the legislative branch, making it a political question. ...

... Impeachment in the states

State legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors. The court for the trial of impeachments may differ somewhat from the federal model — in New York, for instance, the Assembly (lower house) impeaches, and the State Senate tries the case, but the members of the seven-judge New York State Court of Appeals (the state's highest, constitutional court) sit with the senators as jurors as well.[19] Impeachment and removal of governors has happened occasionally throughout the history of the United States, usually for corruption charges. A total of at least eleven U.S. state governors have faced an impeachment trial; a twelfth, Governor Lee Cruce of Oklahoma, escaped impeachment conviction by a single vote in 1912. Several others, most recently Connecticut's John G. Rowland, have resigned rather than face impeachment, when events seemed to make it inevitable.[20] The most recent impeachment of a governor occurred on January 14, 2009, when the Illinois House of Representatives voted 117-1 to impeach Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges;[21] he was subsequently removed from office and barred from holding future office by the Illinois Senate on January 29. He was the eighth state governor in American history to be removed from office.

The procedure for impeachment, or removal, of local officials varies widely. For instance, in New York a mayor is removed directly by the governor "upon being heard" on charges — the law makes no further specification of what charges are necessary or what the governor must find in order to remove a mayor. ...

So, it seems to me that. according to the information in 'The House of Representatives' section, a PETITION may be used to initiate an impeachment; it states that:
'The impeachment process may be triggered by non-members ... of the House of Representatives ...

which one hopes would include large numbers of citizens, especially a million or so signatories were obtained.

It would also be nice if global citizens were able to sign any such petition, as the entire world is potentially adversely affected by such corrupt decisions by the US Supreme Court Judiciary; although the White House Petition system may otherwise seem ideal or the purpose

Although if one wanted to impeach judges for something like the 'Citizen's United' decision, it seems that one would have to go through the The Judicial Conference of the United States, so that results would depend on whether the judges involved were corrupt or not.

udicial Conference of the United States
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The Judicial Conference of the United States, formerly known as Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, was created by the United States Congress in 1922 with the principal objective of framing policy guidelines for administration of judicial courts in the United States. The Conference derives its authority from 28 U.S.C. § 331, which states it is headed by the Chief Justice of the United States and consists of the Chief Justice, the chief judge of each court of appeals, a district court judge from each regional judicial circuit, and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade.[1] ...

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Dorothy N (63)
Friday December 7, 2012, 1:22 pm
Wow, it all fit, lol.

The problem here, of course, is that in each case, the entire House involved may be controlled by a corrupt majority - but there's enough disgust within multiple branches where power has been grossly abused, and the interests/Constitutional rights of the citizens have been trampled that, at the least, rather a lot of attention could be drawn to these abuses and it could be made clear via a VERY large petition signed by millions that a large number of the population are not prepared to any longer overlook or tolerate such, or further such, abuse.

Dorothy N (63)
Friday December 7, 2012, 1:26 pm
This may not be the sort of petition intended, but it might make a splash and possibly trigger reforms in number of areas, if these were addressed in various petitions with millions of signatories, including in areas of voter suppression, blatant Gerry-mandering and outright electoral cheating.

JL A (282)
Friday December 7, 2012, 3:26 pm
Thanks for doing the research to enlighten us all Dorothy!

Susanne R (234)
Friday December 7, 2012, 8:02 pm
Diane: These are your words, copied and pasted from your comment: "Obama wants authority to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling to continue deficit spending infinitely into the future. It's unconstitutional and it is irresponsible stewardship of the nation's future." You specifically used the words "unilaterally" and "unconstitutional."

According to, the definition of "unilateral" is as follows:

1. relating to, occurring on, or involving one side only: unilateral development; a unilateral approach.

2. undertaken or done by or on behalf of one side, party, or faction only; not mutual: a unilateral decision; unilateral disarmament.

My reply to your statement was, "Legislation to increase the debt ceiling must be approved by the House and the Senate."

Your reply to was, "You missed the point, Susanne, it is the Congress's job to raise it or not....never the president's job. This is a problem."

I fail to understand what point you were trying to make by repeating something I had already stated, and I think you need to explain what you meant when you used the word "unilaterally." It would also be helpful if you explained why you stated that raising the debt ceiling is "unconstitutional."

According to the Christian Science Monitor:

"In the wake of the Civil War, the government wanted to make clear that loans to the US government were still good (while Confederate debt would not be honored). Accordingly, the 14th Amendment includes the following provision: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned.”

In a 1935 case (Perry v. US) the Supreme Court determined that Congress does not have the authority to renege on its obligations to its lenders. The president, then, could declare as unconstitutional the current debt-ceiling law – which requires congressional approval to raise the limit – or at least use such a threat as leverage.

The law goes back to the amended Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917. Its intent was to facilitate the financing of WWI through the issuance of long-term bonds. Until last year, when it became a political issue, Congress routinely raised the statutory debt limit as needed – always with bipartisan support.

What is different now is the willingness of House conservatives to use the debt ceiling as an instrument to force spending cuts by threats of government shutdown and credit downgrades if their demands are not met. Such political gamesmanship is beyond the intent of the law. It poses a current and serious danger to our democracy.

It is one thing to put a legal limit on spending or to try to control spending through talks such as the fiscal-cliff negotiations. But it is quite another to establish a retroactive process for refusing to pay debts already owed. Such a process was relatively harmless when both parties treated debt-ceiling increases as simply necessary when the limits were approached. Not so in today’s acerbic climate of congressional gridlock and winner-take-all mentality."

That is why the Democrats believe that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. I think you're the one who missed the point...

JL A (282)
Friday December 7, 2012, 8:06 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Susanne because you have done so within the last week.

Lynn S (235)
Friday December 7, 2012, 9:25 pm
Excellent piece Suzanne. I wish I could give you another star.

When you consider that the Congress imposed the debt ceiling on itself but there was never a problem before 2011, it just goes to show how corrupt and uncaring the Republican/Teabaggers can be, and just how unconstitutional their actions can be.

God help the US if these rabid elephants ever gain control of the WH.

Diane O (194)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 6:54 am
No, Susanne, I didn't miss the point. It's the congress that votes on raising the debt limit. Obama and Pelosi are having temper tantrums because they can't control congress.

P A (117)
Monday December 10, 2012, 4:06 am
Brilliant posts - except for the Trolly one! Wonderful posts - tried to give stars but succeeded only with TC (hooray) and Edith! Lovely riposte Kit - shame the computer won't let me give you a star!

Beverly T (82)
Monday December 10, 2012, 12:32 pm
Oooooo I have run out of stars.
This is great stuff.
The research by ALL is impressive and enlightening.

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