The Federal Impeachment Process

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9780691032955: The Federal Impeachment Process


This is the first comprehensive analysis of the theory and practice of impeachment since the Watergate era. Litigation in the intervening period over the Senate's removal of three judges (most recently in connection with Walter Nixon v. United States) has raised doubts about Congress's interest in and capacity for conducting efficient, fair impeachment proceedings as well as about whether congressional judgments regarding the impeachability of federal judges are shielded from review by the other branches. Michael Gerhardt argues that impeachment is a far more effective process than commonly supposed and that it constitutes a special nonreviewable power confined solely to Congress for punishing certain executive and judicial misconduct.


Without ignoring the implications of such a view for future rulings in separation of powers disputes, the author seeks primarily to establish impeachment's uniqueness by conveying a sense of its constitutional, historical, and political dimensions. In particular, he provides in Part I a comprehensive historical analysis of the impeachment process. In Part II he traces the practical problems and most troubling administrative difficulties in actual impeachment proceedings conducted by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Part III resolves the most significant constitutional issues recurring in the federal impeachment process, and Part IV examines proposed constitutional amendments and statutory proposals for reforming the federal impeachment process.


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"Lucid and thoughtfully argued.... [This] is a timely and well-researched book that should be of great interest to a broad audience of political scientists, legal scholars, historians and students of the federal judicial process."--The Law and Politics Book Review

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Michael J. Gerhardt
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