Monday, May 18, 2015

Impeaching the POTUS

Clinton has as much contempt for the political process as does Obama
Do you even know what resources are available at your local county law library?  Do you?!  Most people think law libraries have a bunch of old, thick, dusty books filled with cases and codes about old, dusty people.  Fact is, 98.6% of the stuff we have on our shelves is not (all that) dusty and many of our books are not that old (OK, some of it is pretty ancient - but they're all useful) and many of them, while legally related, are actually an interesting read.  Today, as I was grazing through our collection, I found several resources tucked in the constitutional area that not only piqued my interest but were timely, as well. 

The first one called Presidential Power and the Constitution (Cornell University Press) caught my attention if only for the fact that recently, President Obama has, seemingly, overstepped the boundary's of his position as POTUS resulting in many calling for his impeachment.  The question is, has he overstepped?  Are the carnie barkers right or is Obama right in doing what he is doing?  While the book only covers incidents from Woodrow Wilson through Harry Turman, it does give insight into how POTUS's have dealt with congress over the years and, I suspect, have survived calls for impeachment.

This, of course, leads to the next book I found called Impeachment: A Handbook (Yale University Press).  Truly a handbook on the "how to do it," this resource walks the rookie electorate through the steps of impeaching a POTUS.  The most telling section of the book, I think, is the section under Chapter 3: The Impeachable Offense: Use of Tax System to Harass Opponents.  THIS IS BIG, folks!  I mean, does anyone remember a couple years back when the Tea Partiers claimed that the Obama administration sicced the IRS after them?  I sure do.  The question is if this is a basis for impeachment, why did no one go after Obama?  Of course, it could be argued that Obama was not personally responsible for what a few "rogue" IRS agents do - but where does the buck stop?  If not the POTUS, then who?!

The last resource I found is called Presidential Impeachment (Yale University Press) and is, basically, an examination of the Nixon impeachment process.  The two chapters that I found interesting were Chapters 3: Ground for Impeachment: The Nixon Inquiry, which dealt with all things Nixon and how congress worked to bolster the claim that they had, in fact, found a reason to impeach Nixon, and Chapter 5: The Sole Power of Impeachment which dealt with who has the power to push an impeachment through the system.  In particular, I was drawn to the subsection, "The Standard of Proof" that was used to impeach Nixon.  Long story short, there is no one standard that fits everyone - which is as it should be given that each impeachment is going to have a different set of facts and some cases have more damning evidence than others.  So, kudos to whomever figured out this one.

Bottom line, law libraries are not merely repositories for dusty books that no one has any interest in.  Fact is, law libraries are as vibrant any typical public library and they have resources which are critical to the understanding of the political process.  Anyone looking to expand their horizons and pull their noses away from their electronic devices are encouraged to check out their local county law library and see what all we have to offer.