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Honor, Trust or Profit

Gregory Matthews

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The New York Times has published an article, "Honor, Trust or Profit" that is informative about the Impeachment process.  I have extracted a part of that article that relates to disqualification from office when impeached.   My purpose here is to inform on that aspect, and not to suggest whether or not President Trump should be impeached.



What are the basics of disqualification?

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution says: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

The Constitution does not specify whether disqualification requires a two-thirds Senate vote, as conviction in an impeachment trial does, or only a majority vote. The Senate has previously used a majority vote.

The Senate has barred three people, all federal judges, from holding future office: West Humphreys (in 1862, for waging war against the U.S.), Robert Archbald (in 1913, for corruption) and Thomas Porteous (in 2010, for bribery and perjury).

The Senate has tried a former War Department secretary — William Belknap, in 1876 — after he resigned. Both the House and the Senate decided that Belknap could be tried after he had left office.

Disqualifying a president from future office, because of the stakes and lack of precedent, would probably come before the Supreme Court. History suggests that the court would be more likely to uphold a bipartisan congressional vote than a largely partisan one.

For more: “If an impeachment begins when an individual is in office, the process may surely continue after they resign or otherwise depart,” Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law writes in the online publication Just Security.



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