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Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. It does not mean removal from office; it is only a statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction by a legislative vote, which judgment entails removal from office.
An indictment is a criminal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the felonies concept often use that of an indictable offence, an offence that requires an indictment.
Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one's self. Most criminal law is established by statute, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law includes the punishment and rehabilitation of people who violate such laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation, rather than on punishment or rehabilitation. Criminal procedure is a formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive or rehabilitative treatment of the offender.
Because impeachment and conviction of officials involve an overturning of the normal constitutional procedures by which individuals achieve high office (election, ratification, or appointment) and because it generally requires a supermajority, they are usually reserved for those deemed to have committed serious abuses of their office. In the United States, for example, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed "Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".
A supermajority or supra-majority or a qualified majority, is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for majority.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct by officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, refusal to obey a lawful order, chronic intoxication, and tax evasion. Offenses by officials also include ordinary crimes, but perhaps with different standards of proof and punishment than for nonofficials, on the grounds that more is expected of officials by their oaths of office.
Impeachment exists under constitutional law in many countries around the world, including Brazil, the Republic of Ireland, India, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, France and the United States.
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.
Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.8 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
The word "impeachment" derives from Old French empeechier from Latin word impedīre expressing the idea of catching or ensnaring by the 'foot' (pes, pedis), and has analogues in the modern French verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English impede. Medieval popular etymology also associated it (wrongly) with derivations from the Latin impetere (to attack). (In its more frequent and more technical usage, impeachment of a witness means challenging the honesty or credibility of that person.)
Witness impeachment, in the law of evidence of the United States, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual testifying in a trial. The Federal Rules of Evidence contain the rules governing impeachment in US federal courts.
Impeachment was first used in the English political system.[ citation needed ] Specifically, the process was first used by the English "Good Parliament" against Baron Latimer in the second half of the 14th century. Following the British example, the constitutions of Virginia (1776), Massachusetts (1780) and other states thereafter adopted the impeachment mechanism, but they restricted the punishment to removal of the official from office. As well, in private organizations, a motion to impeach can be used to prefer charges.
The Good Parliament is the name traditionally given to the English Parliament of 1376. Sitting in London from April 28 to July 10, it was the longest Parliament up until that time.
William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer, KG was an English noble, soldier and diplomat. After serving in France and for the household of Edward III, he was impeached during the Good Parliament of 1376, the earliest recorded impeachment in the Parliament of England.
The Austrian Federal President can be impeached by the Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) before the Constitutional Court. The constitution also provides for the recall of the president by a referendum. Neither of these courses has ever been taken. This is likely because while the President is vested with considerable powers on paper, they act as a largely ceremonial figurehead in practice, and are thus hardly in a position to abuse their powers.
The President of Austria is the head of state of the Austrian Republic. Though theoretically entrusted with broad executive powers by the Constitution, in practice the President is largely a ceremonial and symbolic figurehead.
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.
The President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, state governors and municipal mayors may be impeached by the Chamber of Deputies and tried and removed by the Federal Senate. Upon conviction, the officeholder has his political rights revoked for eight years—which has the effect of barring him from running for any office.
Fernando Collor de Mello, the 32nd President of Brazil, resigned in 1992 amidst impeachment proceedings. Despite his resignation, the Senate nonetheless voted to convict him and bar him from holding any office for eight years, due to evidence of bribery and misappropriation.
In 2016, the Chamber of Deputies initiated an impeachment case against President Dilma Rousseff on allegations of budgetary mismanagement.Following her conviction, she was replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, who had served as acting president while Rousseff's case was pending.
The President of Bulgaria can be removed only for high treason or violation of the constitution. The process is started by a two-thirds majority vote of the Parliament to impeach the President, whereupon the Constitutional Court decides whether the President is guilty of the crime of which he is charged. If he is found guilty, he is removed from power. No Bulgarian President has ever been impeached. The same procedure can be used to remove the Vice President of Bulgaria, which has also never happened.
The process of impeaching the President of Croatia can be initiated by a two-thirds majority vote in favor in the Sabor and is thereafter referred to the Constitutional Court, which must accept such a proposal with a two-thirds majority vote in favor in order for the president to be removed from office. This has never occurred in the history of the Republic of Croatia. In case of a successful impeachment motion a president's constitutional term of five years would be terminated and an election called within 60 days of the vacancy occurring. During the period of vacancy the presidential powers and duties would be carried out by the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament in his/her capacity as Acting President of the Republic.
Prior to 2013 the President of the Czech Republic could be impeached only for an act of high treason (which is not defined in the Constitution of the Czech Republic itself). The process has to start in the Senate of the Czech Republic which only has the right to impeach the president, this passes the case to the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic which has to decide whether the President is guilty or not. If the Court decides that the President is guilty then the President loses his office and the ability to be elected President of the Czech Republic ever again.No Czech president has ever been impeached, though members of the Senate sought to impeach President Vaclav Klaus in 2013. This case was dismissed by the court reasoning that his mandate has expired.
In 2013 the constitution changed; now the process can be started by at least three-fifths of present senators and must be approved by at least three-fifths of all members of Parliament. Also, the President can be impeached not only for high treason (newly defined in the Constitution) but also for a serious infringement of the Constitution.
The President of France can be impeached by the French Parliament for willfully violating the Constitution or the national laws. The process of impeachment is written in the 68th article of the French Constitution.A group of senators or a group of members of the National Assembly can begin the process. Then, Both the French National Assembly and the French Senate have to acknowledge the impeachment. After the upper house and the lower house's agreement, both the two houses unite to form the High Court. Finally, the High Court must decide to declare the impeachment of the President of France or not.
The Federal President of Germany can be impeached both by the Bundestag and by the Bundesrat for willfully violating Federal law. Once the Bundestag or the Bundesrat impeaches the president, the Federal Constitutional Court decides whether the President is guilty as charged and, if this is the case, whether to remove him or her from office. The Federal Constitutional Court also has the power to remove federal judges from office for willfully violating core principles of the federal constitution or a state constitution. The impeachment procedure is regulated in Article 61 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong can be impeached by the Legislative Council. A motion for investigation, initiated jointly by at least one-fourth of all the legislators charging the Chief Executive with "serious breach of law or dereliction of duty" and refusing to resign, shall first be passed by the Council. An independent investigation committee, chaired by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, will then carry out the investigation and report back to the Council. If the Council find the evidence sufficient to substantiate the charges, it may pass a motion of impeachment by a two-thirds majority. Article 73(9):
However, the Legislative Council does not have the power actually to remove the Chief Executive from office, as the Chief Executive is appointed by the Central People's Government. The Council can only report the result to the Central People's Government for its decision. Article 45:
The president and judges, including the chief justice of the supreme court and high courts, can be impeached by the parliament before the expiry of the term for violation of the Constitution. Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to a president in position for the violation of the Constitution under Article 361 of the constitution. However a president after his term/removal can be punished for his already proven unlawful activity under disrespecting the constitution, etc.No president has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the provisions for impeachment have never been tested. The sitting president cannot be charged and needs to step down in order for that to happen.
The Assembly of Experts can impeach the Supreme Leader of Iran and appoint a new one.
The President of Iran can be impeached jointly by the members of the Assembly (Majlis) and the Supreme Leader. A new presidential election is then triggered. Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran's first president, was impeached in June 1981 and removed from the office. Mohammad-Ali Rajai was elected as the new president.
Cabinet ministers can be impeached by the members of the Assembly. Presidential appointment of a new minister is subject to a parliamentary vote of confidence. Impeachment of ministers has been a fairly commonly used tactic in the power struggle between the president and the assembly during the last several governments.
In the Republic of Ireland formal impeachment only applies to the Irish president. Article 12 of the Irish Constitution provides that, unless judged to be "permanently incapacitated" by the Supreme Court, the president can only be removed from office by the houses of the Oireachtas (parliament) and only for the commission of "stated misbehaviour". Either house of the Oireachtas may impeach the president, but only by a resolution approved by a majority of at least two-thirds of its total number of members; and a house may not consider a proposal for impeachment unless requested to do so by at least thirty of its number.
Where one house impeaches the president, the remaining house either investigates the charge or commissions another body or committee to do so. The investigating house can remove the president if it decides, by at least a two-thirds majority of its members, both that the president is guilty of the charge, and that the charge is sufficiently serious as to warrant the president's removal. To date no impeachment of an Irish president has ever taken place. The president holds a largely ceremonial office, the dignity of which is considered important, so it is likely that a president would resign from office long before undergoing formal conviction or impeachment.
The Republic's Constitution and law also provide that only a joint resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas may remove a judge. Although often referred to as the "impeachment" of a judge, this procedure does not technically involve impeachment.
In Italy, according to Article 90 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic can be impeached through a majority vote of the Parliament in joint session for high treason and for attempting to overthrow the Constitution. If impeached, the President of the Republic is then tried by the Constitutional Court integrated with sixteen citizens older than forty chosen by lot from a list compiled by the Parliament every nine years.
Italian press and political forces made use of the term "impeachment" for the attempt by some members of parliamentary opposition to initiate the procedure provided for in Article 90 against Presidents Francesco Cossiga (1991), [ better source needed ] Giorgio Napolitano (2014) [ better source needed ] and Sergio Mattarella (2018). [ better source needed ]
Members of the Liechtenstein Government can be impeached before the State Court for breaches of the Constitution or of other laws. Article 62 As a hereditary monarchy the Sovereign Prince can not be impeached as he "is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts and does not have legal responsibility". :Article 7 The same is true of any member of the Princely House who exercises the function of head of state should the Prince be temporarily prevented or in preparation for the Succession. :Article 7:
In the Republic of Lithuania, the President may be impeached by a three-fifths majority in the Seimas.President Rolandas Paksas was removed from office by impeachment on April 6, 2004 after the Constitutional Court of Lithuania found him guilty of having violated his oath and the constitution. He was the first European head of state to have been impeached.
Members of government, representatives of the national assembly (Stortinget) and Supreme Court judges can be impeached for criminal offenses tied to their duties and committed in office, according to the Constitution of 1814, §§ 86 and 87. The procedural rules were modeled after the US rules and are quite similar to them. Impeachment has been used eight times since 1814, last in 1927. Many argue that impeachment has fallen into desuetude. In cases of impeachment, an appointed court (Riksrett) takes effect.
The country's ruling coalition said on August 7, 2008, that it would seek the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf, alleging the U.S.-backed former general had "eroded the trust of the nation" and increasing pressure on him to resign. He resigned on August 18, 2008. Another kind of impeachment in Pakistan is known as the vote of less-confidence or vote of mis-understanding and has been practiced by provincial assemblies to weaken the national assembly.
Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority support of lawmakers in a joint session of both houses of Parliament.
Impeachment in the Philippines follows procedures similar to the United States. Under Sections 2 and 3, Article XI, Constitution of the Philippines, the House of Representatives of the Philippines has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment against the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Commissions (Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Audit), and the Ombudsman. When a third of its membership has endorsed the impeachment articles, it is then transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines which tries and decide, as impeachment tribunal, the impeachment case.
A main difference from US proceedings however is that only one third of House members are required to approve the motion to impeach the President (as opposed to a simple majority of those present and voting in their US counterpart). In the Senate, selected members of the House of Representatives act as the prosecutors and the Senators act as judges with the Senate President presiding over the proceedings (the Chief Justice jointly presides with the Senate President if the President is on trial). Like the United States, to convict the official in question requires that a minimum of two thirds (i.e. 16 of 24 members) of all the Members of the Senate vote in favor of conviction. If an impeachment attempt is unsuccessful or the official is acquitted, no new cases can be filed against that impeachable official for at least one full year.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution says the grounds for impeachment include culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust. These offenses are considered "high crimes and misdemeanors" under the Philippine Constitution.
The President, Vice President, Supreme Court justices, and members of the Constitutional Commission and Ombudsman are all considered impeachable officials under the Constitution.
President Joseph Estrada was the first official impeached by the House in 2000, but the trial ended prematurely due to outrage over a vote to open an envelope where that motion was narrowly defeated by his allies. Estrada was deposed days later during the 2001 EDSA Revolution.
In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, impeachment complaints were filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but none of the cases reached the required endorsement of 1⁄3 of the members for transmittal to, and trial by, the Senate.
In March 2011, the House of Representatives impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, becoming the second person to be impeached. In April, Gutierrez resigned prior to the Senate's convening as an impeachment court.
In December 2011, in what was described as "blitzkrieg fashion", 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives voted to transmit the 56-page Articles of Impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
To date, three officials had been successfully impeached by the House of Representatives, and two were not convicted. The latter, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, was convicted on May 29, 2012 by the Senate under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment (for betraying public trust), with 20–3 votes from the Senator Judges.
In Polish law there is no impeachment procedure defined, as it is present in the other countries. Infringements of the law can be investigated only by special Parliament's Committee or (if accusations involve people holding the highest offices of state) by the State Tribunal. The State Tribunal is empowered to rule for the removal of individuals from public office but it is not a common practice.
The President can be impeached by Parliament and is then suspended. A referendum then follows to determine whether the suspended President should be removed from office. President Traian Băsescu was impeached twice by the Parliament: in 2007 and more recently in July 2012. A referendum was held on May 19, 2007 and a large majority of the electorate voted against removing the president from office. For the most recent suspension a referendum was held on July 29, 2012; the results were heavily against the president, but the referendum was invalidated due to low turnout. [ circular reference ]
The President of Russia can be impeached if both the State Duma (which initiates the impeachment process through the formation of a special investigation committee) and the Federation Council of Russia vote by a two-thirds majority in favor of impeachment and, additionally, the Supreme Court finds the President guilty of treason or a similarly heavy crime against the nation and the Constitutional Court confirms that the constitutional procedure of the impeachment process was correctly observed. In 1995–1999, the Duma made several attempts to impeach then-President Boris Yeltsin, but they never had a sufficient number of votes for the process to reach the Federation Council.
According to the Article 65 Clause 1 of Constitution of South Korea, if President, Prime Minister, or other state council members including Supreme Court and Constitutional court members, violate the Constitution or other laws of official duty, the National Assembly can impeach them. Clause 2 states the impeachment bill may be proposed by one third or more of the total members of the National Assembly, and shall require majority voting and approved by two thirds or more of the total members of the National Assembly. This article also states that any person against whom a motion for impeachment has been passed shall be suspended from exercising his power until the impeachment has been adjudicated and shall not extend further than removal from public office. Provided, That it shall not exempt the person impeached from civil or criminal liability.
Two presidents have been impeached since the foundation of the Sixth Republic of Korea and adoption of the new Constitution of South Korea in 1987. Roh Moo-hyun in 2004 was impeached by the National Assembly but was overturned by the Constitutional Court. Park Geun-hye in 2016 was impeached by the National Assembly, and the impeachment was confirmed by the Constitutional Court on March 10, 2017.
In Taiwan, according to the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, impeachment of the president or the vice president by the Legislative Yuan shall be initiated upon the proposal of more than one-half of the total members of the Legislative Yuan and passed by more than two-thirds of the total members of the Legislative Yuan, whereupon it shall be presented to the grand justices of the Judicial Yuan for adjudication.
In Turkey, according to the Constitution, the Grand National Assembly may initiate an investigation of the President, the Vice President or any member of the Cabinet upon the proposal of simple majority of its total members, and within a period less than a month, the approval of three-fifth of the total members.The investigation would be carried out by a commission of fifteen members of the Assembly, each nominated by the political parties in proportion to their representation therein. The Commission would submit its report indicating the outcome of the investigation to the Speaker within two months. If the investigation is not completed within this period, the Commission's time renewed for another month. Within ten days of its submission to the Speaker, the report would be distributed to all members of the Assembly, and ten days after its distribution, the report would be discussed on the floor. Upon the approval of two thirds of the total number of the Assembly by secret vote, the person or persons, about whom the investigation was conducted, may be tried before the Constitutional Court. The trial would be finalized within three months, and if not, a one-time additional period of three months shall be granted. The President, about whom an investigation has been initiated, may not call for an election. The President, who is convicted by the Court, would be removed from office.
The provision of this article shall also apply to the offenses for which the President allegedly worked during his term of office.
During the crisis which started in November 2013, the increasing political stress of the face-down between the protestors occupying Independence Square in Kiev and the State Security forces under the control of President Yanukovych led to deadly armed force being used on the protestors. Following the negotiated return of Kiev's City Hall on February 16, 2014, occupied by the protesters since November 2013, the security forces thought they could also retake "Maidan", Independence Square. The ensuing fighting from 17 through 21 February 2014 resulted in a considerable number of deaths and a more generalised alienation of the population, and the withdrawal of President Yanukovych to his support area in the East of Ukraine.
In the wake of the President's departure, Parliament convened on February 22; it reinstated the 2004 Constitution, which reduced Presidential authority, and voted impeachment of President Yanukovych as de facto recognition of his departure from office as President of an integrated Ukraine. The President riposted that Parliament's acts were illegal as they could pass into law only by Presidential signature.
In the United Kingdom, in principle anybody may be prosecuted and tried by the two Houses of Parliament for any crime.The first recorded impeachment is that of William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer during the Good Parliament of 1376. The last was that of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville in 1806. Over the centuries, the procedure has been supplemented by other forms of oversight including select committees, confidence motions, and judicial review, while the privilege of peers to trial only in the House of Lords was abolished in 1948, and thus impeachment, which has not kept up with modern norms of democracy or procedural fairness, is generally considered obsolete.
The House of Commons holds the power to impeach. Any member may make an accusation of any crime. The member must support the charge with evidence and move for impeachment. If the Commons carries the motion, the mover receives orders to go to the bar at the House of Lords and to impeach the accused "in the name of the House of Commons, and all the commons of the United Kingdom".
The mover must tell the Lords that the House of Commons will, in due time, exhibit particular articles against the accused, and make good the same. The Commons then usually selects a committee to draw up the charges and create an "Article of Impeachment" for each. (In the case of Warren Hastings, however, the drawing up of the articles preceded the formal impeachment.) Once the committee has delivered the articles to the Lords, replies go between the accused and the Commons via the Lords. If the Commons have impeached a peer, the Lords take custody of the accused; otherwise, custody goes to Black Rod. The accused remains in custody unless the Lords allow bail. The Lords set a date for the trial while the Commons appoints managers, who act as prosecutors in the trial. The accused may defend by counsel.
The House of Lords hears the case. The procedure used to be that the Lord Chancellor presided (or the Lord High Steward if the defendant was a peer); but this was when the Lord Chancellor was both the Lords' presiding officer and head of the judiciary of England and Wales. Since both these roles were removed from that office by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which created the Lord Speaker to preside over the Lords and made the Lord Chief Justice head of the judiciary, it is not certain who would preside over an impeachment trial today. If Parliament is not in session, then the trial is conducted by a "Court of the Lord High Steward" instead of the House of Lords (even if the defendant is not a peer). The differences between this court and the House of Lords are that in the House all of the peers are judges of both law and fact, whereas in the Court the Lord High Steward is the sole judge of law and the peers decide the facts only; and the bishops are not entitled to sit and vote in the Court.Traditionally, peers would wear their parliamentary robes during the hearings.
The hearing resembles an ordinary trial: both sides may call witnesses and present evidence. At the end of the hearing the lords vote on the verdict, which is decided by a simple majority, one charge at a time. Upon being called, a peer must rise and declare "guilty, upon my honour" or "not guilty, upon my honour". After voting on all of the articles has taken place, and if the Lords find the defendant guilty, the Commons may move for judgment; the Lords may not declare the punishment until the Commons have so moved. The Lords may then decide whatever punishment they find fit, within the law. A royal pardon cannot excuse the defendant from trial, but a pardon may reprieve a convicted defendant. However, a pardon cannot override a decision to remove the defendant from the public office they hold.
Parliament has held the power of impeachment since medieval times. Originally, the House of Lords held that impeachment could apply only to members of the peerage, as the nobility (the Lords) would try their own peers, while commoners ought to try their peers (other commoners) in a jury. However, in 1681, the Commons declared that they had the right to impeach anyone, and the Lords have respected this resolution. Offices held "during good behaviour" are terminable by the writ of either quo warrantoor scire facias , which has even been employed by and against well-placed judges.
After the reign of Edward IV, impeachment fell into disuse, the bill of attainder becoming the preferred form of dealing with undesirable subjects of the Crown. However, during the reign of James I and thereafter, impeachments became more popular, as they did not require the assent of the Crown, while bills of attainder did, thus allowing Parliament to resist royal attempts to dominate Parliament. The most recent cases of impeachment dealt with Warren Hastings, Governor-General of India between 1773 and 1786 (impeached in 1788; the Lords found him not guilty in 1795), and Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1806 (acquitted). The last attempted impeachment occurred in 1848, when David Urquhart accused Lord Palmerston of having signed a secret treaty with Imperial Russia and of receiving monies from the Tsar. Palmerston survived the vote in the Commons; the Lords did not hear the case.
Queen Caroline, consort of King George IV, was tried by the House of Commons and acquitted. The process began as impeachment proceedings, but then became a different procedure as a bill of pains and penalties.
The procedure has, over time, become rarely used and some legal authorities (such as Halsbury's Laws of England) consider it to be probably obsolete. The principles of "responsible government" require that the Prime Minister and other executive officers answer to Parliament, rather than to the Sovereign. Thus the Commons can remove such an officer through a motion of no confidence without a long, drawn-out impeachment. However, it is argued by some that the remedy of impeachment remains as part of British constitutional law, and that legislation would be required to abolish it. Furthermore, impeachment as a means of punishment for wrongdoing, as distinct from being a means of removing a minister, remains a valid reason for accepting that it continues to be available, at least in theory.
The Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in 1967 recommended "that the right to impeach, which has long been in disuse, be now formally abandoned".Their recommendation not having been implemented in the meantime, the Select Committee on Privileges in 1977 declared it "to be of continuing validity" and again urged that it be adopted. Shortly before this report was issued, in April 1977 the Young Liberals' annual conference unanimously passed a motion calling on Liberal Party leader David Steel to move for the impeachment of Ronald King Murray QC, the Lord Advocate, over his handling of the Patrick Meehan miscarriage of justice affair. Steel did not move any such motion but Murray (who later became Lord Murray, a Senator of the College of Justice of Scotland) agreed that the power still existed.
The Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in 1999 noted the previous recommendations to formally abandon the power impeachment, and stated that "The circumstances in which impeachment has taken place are now so remote from the present that the procedure may be considered obsolete".Notwithstanding, on August 25, 2004, Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price announced his intention to move for the impeachment of Tony Blair for his role in involving Britain in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He asked the Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain whether he would confirm that the power to impeach was still available, reminding Hain that as President of the Young Liberals he had supported the attempted impeachment of Murray. Hain responded by quoting the 1999 Joint Committee's report, and the advice of the Clerk of the House of Commons that impeachment "effectively died with the advent of full responsible Parliamentary government".
The election court has some of the powers associated with impeachment cases in other countries, and can remove elected officials from office in the case of electoral fraud. Lutfur Rahman was the directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, in London until he was removed from office for breaching electoral rules.
Similar to the British system, Article One of the United States Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of officers of the U.S. federal government. (Various state constitutions include similar measures, allowing the state legislature to impeach the governor or other officials of the state government.) In contrast to the British system, in the United States impeachment is only the first of two stages, and conviction during the second stage requires "the concurrence of two thirds of the members present".Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment. Most constitutions require a supermajority to convict. Although the subject of the charge is criminal action, it does not constitute a criminal trial; the only question under consideration is the removal of the individual from office, and the possibility of a subsequent vote preventing the removed official from ever again holding political office in the jurisdiction where he or she was removed.
Impeachment with respect to political office should not be confused with witness impeachment.
The article on Impeachment in the United States discusses the following topics:
Two presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. There were efforts to impeach John Tyler, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the President of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, and establishes the president's powers and responsibilities.
The Government of Italy is a democratic republic established by a 1946 constitution. It consists of legislative, executive, and judicial subdivisions, as well as a Head of State, or President.
The House of Lords of the United Kingdom, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. In the latter case the House's jurisdiction was essentially limited to the hearing of appeals from the lower courts. Appeals were technically not to the House of Lords, but rather to the Queen-in-Parliament. By constitutional convention, only those lords who were legally qualified heard the appeals, since World War II usually in what was known as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords rather than in the chamber of the House.
The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution of a polity, organization or other type of entity. Amendments are often interwoven into the relevant sections of an existing constitution, directly altering the text. Conversely, they can be appended to the constitution as supplemental additions (codicils), thus changing the frame of government without altering the existing text of the document.
The Parliament of Pakistan is the federal and supreme legislative body of Pakistan. It is a bicameral federal legislature that consists of the Senate as the upper house and the National Assembly, as the lower house. According to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President of Pakistan is also a component of the Parliament. The National Assembly is elected for a five-year term on the basis of adult franchise and one-man one-vote. The tenure of a Member of the National Assembly is for the duration of the house, or sooner, in case the Member dies or resigns. The tenure of the National Assembly also comes to an end if dissolved on the advice of the Prime Minister or by the president in his discretion under the Constitution.
The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate (Sénat) and the National Assembly. Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate and the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.
The Constitution of Austria is the body of all constitutional law of the Republic of Austria on the federal level. It is split up over many different acts. Its centerpiece is the Federal Constitutional Law (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz), which includes the most important federal constitutional provisions.
The impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was initiated in December 1998 by the House of Representatives and led to a trial in the Senate on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.
The Italian Parliament is the national parliament of the Italian Republic. It is the representative body of Italian citizens and is the successor to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1848–1861) and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946). It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members and a small number of unelected members (parlamentari). The Italian Parliament is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic. The two houses are independent from one another and never meet jointly except under circumstances specified by the Constitution of Italy.
The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 15 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947. The Constituent Assembly was elected by universal suffrage on 2 June 1946, at the same time as a referendum on the abolition of the monarchy. The Constitution came into force on 1 January 1948, one century after the Statuto Albertino had been enacted. Although the latter remained in force after Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, it had become devoid of substantive value.
The presidential line of succession defines who may become or act as President of the Federative Republic of Brazil upon the death, resignation, incapacity or removal from office of the elected President, and also when the President is out of the country or is suspended due to impeachment proceedings.
A joint session or joint convention is, most broadly, when two normally separate decision-making groups meet together, often in a special session or other extraordinary meeting, for a specific purpose.
Impeachment in the Philippines is an expressed power of the Congress of the Philippines to formally charge a serving government official with an impeachable offense. After being impeached by the House of Representatives, the official is then tried in the Senate. If convicted, the official is either removed from office or censured.
As opposed to the majority of countries in the world, the United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one. These texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution. The British constitution primarily draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, and works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it also concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.
The politics of France take place with the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic". The constitution provides for a separation of powers and proclaims France's "attachment to the Rights of Man and the principles of national sovereignty as defined by the Declaration of 1789."
The President of Armenia is the head of state and the guarantor of independence and territorial integrity of Armenia elected to a single seven year term by the National Assembly of Armenia. Under Armenia's parliamentary system, the President is simply a figurehead and holds ceremonial duties, with most of the political power vested in the Parliament and Prime Minister.
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