When is an Officer Impeached? V
During the first impeachment I wrote a series of posts trying to answer the question of when exactly an officer is impeached. (Just to address a common terminological confusion, recall that an “impeachment” is what the House does, and an “impeachment trial” is what the Senate does.) The question seemed relevant because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to sit on the articles of impeachment adopted by the House and delay delivering them to the Senate. But as I emphasized then, the question of the official timing of the impeachment was entirely academic since there is no constitutional or legal consequence to an impeachment except that the Senate may then hold an impeachment trial (unlike in some state systems where the officer is immediately suspended from his office at the moment of impeachment). The delay did have political and rhetorical consequences, however, undermining the House’s claim that the president was a clear and present danger to the republic who needed to be removed immediately.
Pelosi is doing it again. The House has voted to impeach and has approved an article of impeachment, and Pelosi has even named a team of managers to prosecute the impeachment case. But Pelosi has once again decided to sit on the articles and to not formally notify the Senate that the president has been impeached. This time it might have more substantial consequences.
On the upside, the delay does provide an opportunity for the House to improve its case. The House could adopt additional articles of impeachment or rewrite the one it has already improved. The Speaker could appoint additional managers or remove some who have already been named. The House can spend the time preparing for its prosecution, time that might be particularly valuable since the impeachment itself proceeded on an expedited schedule without hearings.
On the downside, the House’s slow process has weakened its own rhetorical framing of the need f
Article from Latest – Reason.com