Street Law, Inc. and The Supreme Court Historical Society present

Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court

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Through the Years: Comparing Impeachments in U.S. History

Directions

Read the following excerpts from the Constitution and complete the graphic organizer.

Part I. Understanding the Impeachment Process

Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution says, in part, “The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of Impeachment.”

Article 1, Section 3 of the United States Constitution says, in part “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”

Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution says, “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."

Part II.

President Nixon was neither the first or last American president to be threatened with impeachment proceedings. In 1868, the United States House of Representatives issued eleven articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee produced three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Before the full House could vote, Nixon resigned. In 1998, the House Judiciary Committee introduced four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, two of which were approved by the entire House.

Directions
  1. Read the summaries from the articles of impeachment issued against each president.
    1. Articles of Impeachment against President Johnson, 1868
    2. Articles of Impeachment against President Nixon, 1974
    3. Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton, 1998
  2. In the chart provided, summarize the most serious accusations.
  3. Then, in the next column, determine if the accusations constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors" and warranted an impeachment.
  4. Your teacher will divide the class into the "House" and the "Senate", with approximately 2/3 of the class in the House and the remaining 1/3 in the Senate.
  5. The House will briefly debate the accusations against Johnson and decide whether or not to impeach him. If the House does impeach Johnson, then the Senate will vote on whether to convict him.
  6. Repeat Procedure #5 for Presidents Nixon and Clinton.
President Most serious accusations Do these accusations constitute high crimes and misdemeanors? Is there a valid reason to impeach? Why or why not?
Andrew Johnson    
Richard Nixon    

Bill Clinton

   
< United States v. Nixon