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E.A. Peterson: On The Necessity Of Impeachment

On The Necessity Of Impeachment:
All We Are Saying Is Give The Constitution A Chance


By Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
- Benjamin Franklin's motto in the "Historical Review Of Pennsylvania" (1759). [1]

2006 began with Mr. Bush brazenly insisting that he can unilaterally order wiretaps on American citizens without judicial oversight, even if warrantless domestic wiretaps are explicitly prohibited by federal law. Under what rationale? Mr. Bush claims the virtually unlimited presidential power to override any laws, and even to cancel our constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties, because the US is at war. According to his legal advisors, this imperial presidential power supposedly comes from: (a) an expansive interpretation of the Constitution's commander-in-chief clause; and (b) a post-9/11 Congressional resolution authorizing the use of armed force against terrorists. [29]

This raises a question: may the president abuse an ostensible state of war to curtail the people's civil liberties? And that raises a sub-question: is the nation, in actual point of law, at war right now, Congress having made no formal declaration of war?

Not surprisingly, 2006 also began with everybody talking about impeachment: politicians; journalists; scholars; and lawyers. Their illuminating articles and discussions have put six important questions before us:

I. Is the current talk about impeachment nothing more than quixotic tilting at windmills, or is it a substantively-serious constitutional crisis?

II. Do sufficient legal grounds exist to warrant Messrs. Bush and Cheney's impeachment by the House, conviction by the Senate, and removal from office?

III. If sufficient legal grounds exist, will our Democratic Congresspersons file formal articles of impeachment in 2006?

IV. If the Democrats file articles of impeachment, will the Republican majority leaders allow the House of Representatives to consider them in 2006?

V. If not in 2006, will Messrs. Bush and Cheney undergo the constitutional process of impeachment after this November's mid-term elections, in early 2007?

VI. If not in 2007, who will hold Messrs. Bush and Cheney accountable to the rule of law?

I. IMPEACHMENT: QUIXOTIC TILTING AT WINDMILLS OR A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?

A large volume of competent scholarly and journalistic articles about impeachment has been generated in the last month, which militates against the conclusion that it's merely quixotic tilting at windmills. For example, the author has found more than 70 recent articles addressing, and 14 websites advocating, the impeachment of Messrs. Bush and Cheney (see endnotes 2 through 90, below).

Even if the current discussion about impeachment isn't dismissible as nonsense, does it rise to the substantive level of a constitutional crisis? Many scholars and pundits think it does. For instance, former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts contends that we're immersed in a constitutional crisis: "Compared to Spygate, Watergate was a kindergarten picnic. The Bush administration's lies, felonies, and illegalities have revealed it to be a criminal administration with a police state mentality and police state methods. Now Bush and his attorney general have gone the final step and declared Bush to be above the law. Bush aggressively mimics Hitler's claim that defense of the realm entitles him to ignore the rule of law." [34]

Dean Lawrence Velvel of the U. Massachusetts Law School agrees: Mr. Bush is attempting to consolidate power in the executive branch through an intellectually-dishonest interpretation of the Constitution's commander-in-chief clause. Therefore, he correctly characterizes the Bush administration's power-grab as a constitutional crisis: "Almost daily it becomes ever more clear that we are faced with an attempted constitutional coup d'etat, an attempted constitutional revolution. ... Led by Cheney, protected on his flanks by Fawkesian legal outriders, the 'profoundly mediocre man' who is president seeks to become all-powerful in the name of protecting his subjects, the citizens of the United States." [12]

Any reader who still doubts that Mr. Bush's power-grabs are based on unconstitutional sophistry should consult UCSD constitutional scholar Peter Irons' book, "War Powers: How The Imperial Presidency Hijacked The Constitution" (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005). Professor Irons presents powerful historical and legal evidence which proves: (a) that the Framers drafted the commander-in-chief clause solely to rein in military authority by placing it under civilian control, and NOT to allow the president to gain additional powers during an "emergency"; and (b) that the commander-in-chief clause has been interpreted in accordance with the Framers' intent by every Supreme Court and every president, except the imperial presidents Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush (unlike them, the earlier imperials - Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Rooselvelt - were dealing with an ongoing civil war or a full-fledged world war).

Four decisions by the US Supreme Court imposed limits on presidents who'd invoked the commander-in-chief clause during wartime to expand their "emergency" powers:

(a) Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall. 2) (1866) [President may not invoke commander-in-chief powers during wartime to try civilians in military courts, if civil courts exist.];

(b) Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952) [President may not invoke commander-in-chief powers during wartime to nationalize the steel industry.];

(c) Rasul v. Bush, 124 S. Ct. 2686 (2004) [President may not invoke commander-in-chief powers during wartime to deny US courts the right to hear writs of habeus corpus from prisoners incarcerated overseas; however, the Senate recently passed the Graham-Levin Amendment to repudiate Bush v. Rasul, thus enabling Mr. Bush to ignore writs of habeus corpus and hold prisoners indefinitely, without a hearing, in his overseas gulags.];

(d) Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 597 (2004) [President may not invoke commande r-in-chief powers during wartime to claim the unchecked authority to imprison anyone he deems to be an "enemy combatant."].

Finally, juxtapose these excerpts from US Supreme Court opinions against Mr. Bush's notorious quest for unlimited presidential power during the undeclared "war on terror":

1) "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government." [Justice David Davis' majority opinion in Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866) at 120-121.]

2) "We have long since made clear that a state of war is not blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." [Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, (03-6696) 542 U.S. 547 (2004).]

Of course, Messrs. Bush and Cheney vehemently disagree with the aforementioned opinions. Hence, it should be clear that the USA is immersed in a constitutional crisis.

II. DO SUFFICIENT LEGAL GROUNDS EXIST TO SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT AND CONVICTION?

The short answer is "yes, sufficient legal grounds do exist." First, let's define the term "impeachment." When the Framers distributed the Constitution's checks and balances, they granted the legislative branch the right to conduct impeachment proceedings to remove members of the executive and judicial branches for egregious misconduct:

* Article II, Section 4, states who can be impeached, and on what grounds: "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." Legal commentators agree that impeachable misconduct need not necessarily be "criminal," in the sense of the criminal law. Nevertheless, they have identified intelligible categories of "high crimes and misdemeanors." [See Chapter II, pp. 67-78, in Harvard Law Professor Raoul Berger's outstanding book, "Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems" (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1973).]

* Article I, Section 2 assigns the impeachment power: "The House of Representatives shall ... have the sole power of impeachment." Members of the House must submit articles of impeachment, debate the merits of their charges, and then vote. A simple majority vote in favor of impeachment sends the case to the Senate for trial.

* Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 6, assigns the power to try impeachment cases and describes the trial: "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. ... 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." Today, the two-thirds majority vote is called a "supermajority."

* Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 7, states the consequences of a conviction by the Senate: "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 [future] indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law."

In the case of President George W. Bush, the narrow legal issue is: whether Mr. Bush acted within the law when he overrode a law passed by Congress, thus bypassing its clear-cut requirement of judicial oversight, so he could authorize the National Security Agency ("NSA") to conduct warrantless domestic wiretapping on American citizens?

The broader constitutional issue is: whether Mr. Bush committed an impeachable offense, such as abuse of executive power, attempting to subvert the fundamental laws and substitute arbitrary power, violating the constitutional system's separation of powers by encroaching on Congressional prerogatives, or violating its checks and balances by encroaching on the judiciary's prerogatives?

With all due respect to the many journalists who've already concluded, in their eloquent essays, that Mr. Bush has committed an impeachable offense, it nonetheless would be helpful to know what the legal experts are thinking. And the overwhelming consensus among constitutional scholars is that Mr. Bush has, indeed, committed serious felonies. For example, three distinguished law professors - U. Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, Georgetown U. Law Professor David Cole, and U. Massachusetts Law School Dean Lawrence Velvel - agree: "Some legal questions are hard. This one is not. Mr. Bush's authorizing of the NSA to spy on Americans is blatantly unlawful and unconstitutional." [12] [35]

But is it an impeachable offense? George Washington U. Law Professor Jonathan Turley is one of our foremost experts on national-security law, and he agrees with Stone, Cole and Velvel. Professor Turley hastens to add that: (1) Mr. Bush has committed an impeachable offense; (2) Mr. Bush is the first president ever to admit that he committed an impeachable offense; and (3) the opposite opinion - that Mr. Bush's warrantless domestic wiretapping program is legal, as contended by his lawyers - simply cannot be taken seriously. Indeed, it's so erroneous that "it's not even close." [57]

Moreover, federal judges and prosecutors reject Mr. Bush's chief defense - that the government must act quickly, without a warrant, in its pursuit of terrorists - because it's legally-meritless poppycock. Here's why: the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") is quite flexible about its requirement that a warrant must be obtained for domestic wiretaps; so much so that it allows the government to retroactively obtain a court warrant within 72 hours after commencing a domestic wiretap.

Did you get that? FISA already provides for exigent circumstances, like stopping a terrorist cell, by allowing the NSA to wiretap any suspected terrorist immediately, and then get a court warrant three days later. Hence, Mr. Bush's ulterior motive for the ongoing evasion of FISA's warrant requirement must be foreknowledge that the courts would deny the NSA's warrant requests because it isn't collecting foreign intelligence, but rather randomly spying on American citizens without adequate justification.

That's why US District Court Judge James Robertson - who, as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts ("FISC"), was responsible for adjudicating those domestic wiretap warrants - resigned last month in livid protest against Mr. Bush's four-year-long violation of the FISA warrant requirement. [67] And that's why AG Ashcroft's Justice Department refused to sign off on Bush's warrantless domestic spying program. [12]

Additionally, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean states that more-than-sufficient legal grounds exist for Bush's impeachment [39], and eminent New York trial attorney Martin Garbus agrees [46]. As does conservative AEI scholar Norman Ornstein, who recently argued on a radio talk-show that Mr. Bush should be impeached if he continues to defiantly contend that he can authorize warrantless domestic spying. [79]

Finally, former Reagan administration Deputy AG and constitutional scholar Bruce Fein recently warned us that: "President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. He cannot be trusted to conduct the war on terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses." [79] Therefore, Fein urges Americans to reject Bush's unconstitutional claim of "wartime omnipotence." [23]

These are only a few examples of the overwhelming consensus among legal experts that Mr. Bush has committed a highly-consequential and impeachable offense by defiantly violating a federal statute, and its underlying Fourth Amendment guarantee against warrantless searches. Furthermore, this is only the tip of the submerged evidentiary iceberg, because we haven't considered Mr. Bush's other impeachable offenses.

For instance, it's the overwhelming consensus among international law jurists and scholars that Mr. Bush committed:

(a) the supreme war crime when he ordered the commencement of his elective war of aggression against Iraq [31]; and

(b) additional war crimes by encouraging and condoning the torture of civilian detainees and prisoners of war by US personnel and, through "extraordinary rendition," by foreign personnel [21]. Although many Americans couldn't care less what the world's international law experts think, the author implores them to reconsider, as the law of nations and universal human rights are, quite rightly, held in high regard almost everywhere else on the globe.

Therefore, it's fair to conclude that sufficient legal grounds exist to support the impeachment and conviction of Mr. Bush (and the shadow president, Mr. Cheney). III. WILL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSPERSONS FILE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT IN 2006?

US Representative John Conyers (D-NY) has already filed an "impeachment resolution" (H.R. 635), plus two motions for censure (H.R. 636 and 637), in the House Judiciary Committee. [81] His impeachment resolution (H.R. 635) will create a select committee to investigate the Bush administration's potentially-impeachable offenses: intent to invade Iraq prior to Congressional authorization; manipulation of pre-war intelligence to create a casus belli under false pretenses; encouraging and countenancing torture; vindictive retaliation against the administration's critics; to which he should add Mr. Bush's authorization of the NSA's warrantless domestic spying program. Finally, the select committee will recommend grounds for possible impeachment.

Hence, the Conyers impeachment resolution lays the foundation for bipartisan impeachment proceedings, but should not be confused with formal articles of impeachment. One author contends that John Conyers' impeachment resolution and motions for censure are the WRONG constitutional remedies; instead, she recommends that the Democrats promptly file formal articles of impeachment. [73]

Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the Conyers impeachment resolution will embolden timid Congressional Minority Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) enough to file formal articles of impeachment. They appear to be reluctant to muddy the waters by commencing impeachment proceedings, perhaps because they believe the voters are poised to "throw the rascals out" in the 2006 mid-term elections.

IV. WILL THE REPUBLICANS ALLOW THE HOUSE TO CONSIDER IMPEACHMENT IN 2006?

The answer is "no, they won't," for two reasons. First, the House Republican Majority Leaders are Bush ideologues who've rubber-stamped every move he's made toward a police state. They'll never allow articles of impeachment to be taken up by the House, even if they know the charges rest on rock-solid legal grounds. Second, even if a minor miracle occurred and the articles were taken up, the lemming-like House Republican majority almost never breaks ranks to vote according to their conscience. So the Reps, unlike the Dems who voted for Bill Clinton's impeachment, cannot be persuaded on the merits to cast honest votes in favor of impeachment.

Therefore, Messrs. Bush and Cheney deserve to be impeached in 2006, but simply cannot be impeached this year for practical reasons - that is, UNLESS the national impeachment movement swiftly snowballs into a massive avalanche which buries the Republicans' misplaced Republican loyalty to Bush and Cheney over the Constitution.

V. WILL BUSH AND CHENEY UNDERGO THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS IN EARLY 2007?

Everyone knows that the impeachment process begins in the House of Representatives, which is under regressive Republican control. Therefore, the progressive Democrats cannot seriously hope to impeach Messrs. Bush and Cheney UNLESS they can retake majority control of the House. If the 2006 mid-term elections produce a Democratic House majority, its new leaders should be amenable to filing articles of impeachment, so Bush and Cheney could end up being impeached in 2007.

If Bush and Cheney are impeached by the House, they must undergo a trial by the Senate, and they must be convicted by a two-thirds "supermajority" before they can be removed from office. However, the same analysis applies: this GOP-controlled Senate will never convict them; so Bush and Cheney simply cannot be removed from office - that is, UNLESS the Democrats retake majority control after the 2006 mid-term elections.

Therefore, the prospects for impeachment depend on the will of the people: is it foreseeable that the voters will elect a Dem majority in the House and Senate?

Yes, it's foreseeable that the blue-state voters will elect a Democratic majority. They know that "Bush has deceived the public and Congress in order to invade Iraq, illegally detained Americans, illegally tortured detainees, and illegally spied on Americans. Bush has upheld neither the Constitution nor the law of the land. A majority of Americans disapprove of what Bush has done." [34] Yet they know the Democrats will be muted spectators so long as they're the minority party. And they know we're approaching the point of no return, where any minimally-diligent Congress already would have impeached this out-of-control president to defend our constitutional system's checks and balances, separation of powers, and inalienable rights.

What will the red-state voters do? On the one hand, red-staters might vote for a Democratic majority if they've finally realized that: (a) their supposedly "anti-Big Government" Republicans have cynically promoted the fearful overreaction to 9/11 as a pretext for granting the executive branch enormously expanded powers, like the intrusive power to secretly spy on the average American's e-mail and phone calls without judicial oversight; (b) even conservative scholars think the Republicans' domestic spying program is "blatantly unconstitutional" because it's a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against warrantless government searches [79]; and (c) Bush and Cheney are diametri cal opposites of freedom-loving Benjamin Franklin, for there is no freedom that they won't sacrifice on the altar of "national security" [82]. On the other hand, red-state voters might not vote for Democratic majority because they're cynical about the kind of defense the milquetoast Dem leaders can muster against the Rep's totalitarian encroachments on their civil liberties. Red-staters must be convinced that the Dem leaders are kindred spirits - which is to say, principled and vigorous civil libertarians who'll not only "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk." [17] [22]

Hence, the composition of Congress after the 2006 mid-term election cannot be foreseen with anything approaching clarity until the red-staters decide whether they want to reject one-party totalitarian rulership by voting in a Democratic majority, so they can impeach Bush and Cheney in 2007.

Meanwhile, the Dem leaders can help the red-staters to decide wisely by emphasizing: (a) that we shouldn't be squeamish about implementing the impeachment process, because it's neither too cumbersome nor too acrimonious, but is the Framers' intended remedy for precisely these circumstances; and (b) even if the Senate ultimately cannot achieve the requisite supermajority for conviction, a successful impeachment by the House will constrain this president's unconstitutional attempts to assume dictatorial powers.

VI. IF NOT US, WHO WILL HOLD BUSH-CHENEY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE RULE OF LAW?

It's certainly possible that we have a frightened Congress whose members will simply abdicate in this constitutional crisis, allowing the president to assume dictatorial "emergency" powers that are likely to be surrendered only in the distant future, when his undeclared "war on terror" has passed - or perhaps never wholly given up.

However, we can't blame Congress alone. The public has been inexcusably tolerant of the Bush administration's law-breaking. We don't need patience. It's time to call for impeachment. We should be disgusted by Bush and Cheney's deliberate lies, through which they got us to invade Iraq, allowed Osama Bin Laden to escape, keep our troops quagmired in a bloody guerrilla war, promulgate torture in our overseas prisons, strip the federal coffers of taxpayer monies for domestic programs, feed billions in cronyist payola to Cheney's Halliburton, illegally suspend the writ of habeus corpus for thousands of people, trash our civil liberties with the Orwellian "Patriot Act," and defiantly authorize warrantless domestic spying on ordinary American citizens.

When an imperial president intransigently asserts the legally-meritless claim that he can violate any clause in the Constitution because he holds dictatorial powers under the commander-in-chief clause, impeachment is the proper remedy. Just as Richard Milhous Nixon was forced to resign under the looming threat of impeachment for his Watergate felonies, so too is impeachment the most effective remedy for George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney's highly-consequential crimes in office.

Resorts to the finality of impeachment might seem harsh to some, but impeachment becomes necessary in circumstances like these, when the Constitution must be defended from a presidential usurper. We, the people, can either check this unrestrained imperial president now or continue our headlong tumble into fascist dictatorship. We're rapidly approaching the point of no return, but the choice is still ours to make, so we must promptly demand that Congress impeach, convict, and remove Messrs. Bush and Cheney. [90] ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE THE CONSTITUTION A CHANCE.

ENDNOTES

[1] The Framers - Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike - warned that a militarist president would try to use war, and the "emergency" excuse it provides, to expand his symbolic commander-in-chief power, thus transforming the republic into a monarchy.

The Framers' prescient admonitions are amply illustrated by Alexander Hamilton's comments in "The Federalist" No. 8: "Even the ardent lover of liberty will, after a time, give way to [war's] dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort, for repose and security, to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length are willing to run the risk of being less free."

"The institutions chiefly alluded to are STANDING ARMIES and ... They would, at the same time, be necessitated to strengthen the EXECUTIVE arm of government, in doing which, their constitution would acquire a progressive direction towards monarchy. It is the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority. ... Thus we should, in a little time, see established in every part of this country the same engines of despotism which have been the scourge of the Old World."

[2] Retired British Army General Michael Rose's 1-10-06 CD/Guardian essay, "Enough Of His Excuses: Blair Must Be Impeached Over Iraq" ["The only way Parliament can regain the trust of disaffected voters is to admit that it was wrong to support the war" by impeaching Blair. The same impeachment logic applies to Congress and Bush.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0110-35.htm

[3] Jim Ferlo's 1-10-06 ADS open letter, "State Senator Supports Bush's Impeachment" [Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo supports US Rep. John Conyers' (D-NY) impeachment resolution.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6626/print

[4] Brian Foley's 1-10-06 CP essay, "Congress And Executive Power: Playing With Fire" [Congress passed the unconscionable Graham-Levin Amendment, which should be unconstitutional because it gives the executive branch unchecked power to hold and torture prisoners, thus repudiating Rasul v. Bush and rendering the McCain Amendment dead letter.]: http://www.counterpunch.org/foley01102006.html

[5] Ivan Eland's 1-10-06 CD essay, "An Imperial Presidency Based On Constituti onal Quicksand" [Explains why it's unconstitutional for Bush to claim that he has unchecked presidential authority during "wartime" under an expansive interpretation of the commander-in-chief clause.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0110-40.htm

[6] Theodore Fuller's 1-9-06 Roanoke Times essay, "Bush Believes He Is Above The Law" [The author, a sociology professor sociology at Virginia Tech, concludes: "I urge both houses of Congress to immediately censure President Bush for abuse of power and further urge that the House of Representatives begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush."]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6604/print

[7] Dave Lindorff's 1-9-06 ADS essay, "What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us" ["There is a bill in Congress to investigate Bush for impeachable crimes. Did you know that?"]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6603/print

[8] Matthew Cardinale's 1-9-06 Atlanta Progressive News article, "Senators Kennedy, Feingold Keep Bush Impeachment On Table" [They won't rule out impeachment.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6574/print

[9] Martin Garbus' 1-9-06 CD/HP essay, "Angry And Furious At The Collaborationist Democrats" [Why? Because "collaborators" Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, and Jay Rockefeller knew about, but failed to check, Bush's warrantless domestic spying program.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0109-23.htm

[10] Dave Swanson's 1-9-06 WISCTV News (Wisconsin) article, "Madison Group Wants To Impeach Bush: Urging Citizens To Rise Up And Take Action" ["The group said if their move for impeachment fails, they plan to focus on helping to vote in more Democratic congressmen to take another go at it next year."]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6579/print

[11] Shay Totten and Kathryn Casa's 1-8-06 Vermont Guardian article, "Feingold Won't Rule Out Bush Impeachment" [Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) says impeachment's a possibility to hold Mr. Bush accountable for his warrantless domestic spying program.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6538/print

[12] Lawrence Velvel's 1-7-06 LR essay, "Congress And The Constitutional Coup D'Etat" [This is a must-read essay. Velvel is Dean of the U. Massachusetts School of Law.]: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/velvel2.html

[13] Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane's 1-7-06 CD/NYT article "Legal Basis For Spying In U.S. Is Doubted" [The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, issued an official report criticizing Mr. Bush's authorization of the NSA to spy on Americans without a court warrant because his rationale rests on shaky legal grounds.]: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0107-02.htm

[14] Lawrence Velvel's 1-7-06 ADS essay, "The NYT's Unconscionable Decision To Sit On The NSA Story For A Year" ["No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surv eillance Act. Bush...knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker."]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6508/print

[15] Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith's 1-6-06 TN essay, "The Limits Of Power: Questions For Alito" [Excellent questions expose Bush's impeachable offenses. Naively concludes that the Senate can resolve this constitutional crisis during Judge Alito's confirmation hearings, where the nominee will dodge the Senators' questions.]: http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20060123&s=questions_for_alito

[16] Kimberly Wear's 1-6-06 Eureka Times Standard article, "Arcata Calls For Impeachment" [The Arcata (California) City Council's impeachment resolution charges Bush and Cheney with four violations of international and constitutional law, then requests that their US Representative introduce articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6486/print

[17] Chris Elliott's 1-6-06 CD/OS essay, "Public Inexcusably Tolerant Of Bush's Law-Breaking" ["If only for his flouting of the Constitution, regardless of any other facts in the case, the president's impeachment should be considered."]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0106-27.htm

[18] Stirling Newberry's 1-6-06 Daily Kos essay, "Got Impeachment?": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6466

[19] Nick Turse's 1-6-06 CD/TomDispatch essay, "What Year Is This, Anyway: Rollback To 1214 AD?" [The strking historical analogy between the Magna Carta's history and current events reveals that the Bushites are, at bottom, monarchists who undermine the democratic rule of law so they can replace it with the despotic rule of men. The last paragraph's clear implication is that we should be demanding the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0106-20.htm

[20] Kagro X's 1-6-06 Daily Kos essay, "A Message To Impeachment Non-Believers" [Why the seemingly far-fetched national impeachment movement really does make sense.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6467

[21] Charlie Savage's 1-5-06 CD/BG article, "3 GOP Senators Blast Bush Bid To Bypass Torture Ban: Reject Assertion He Has Right To Waive Rules To Protect US Security" [Republican Sens. Warner, McCain and Graham issued statements rejecting Mr. Bush's assertion that he can override Congress' new law banning torture simply by exercising his "wartime powers," which Bush says are based in the Constitution's commander-in-chief clause. Congress could impeach Bush for unconstitutionally violating the separation of powers, but Mr. Savage deems that remedy "politically unlikely."]: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0105-01.htm

[22] Tim Wheeler's1-5-06 PWW article, "NSA Spy Plot Fuels Call To Censure Bush And Cheney" [The article's facts are accurate, even if the left-wing extremist publisher is questionable.]: http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/8329/1/302

[23] Bruce Fein's 1-4-06 Washington Times essay, "If Men Were Angels" [The analysis is good, even if the right-wing extremist publisher is questionable.]: http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/bfein.htm

[24] Don Simpson's 1-4-06 Toledo Blade essay, "Bush's Bugs Are An Abuse Of Executive Power" [Notes that impeachment cannot happen so long as the Republicans control Congress. However, "Mr. Bush cites war as his basis for breaking the law. The question is, war on whom? Could it not equally be argued that the most credible threat to Americans' liberties comes from its leaders who break its laws?"]: http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? AID=/20060104/OPINION04/601040383/-1/OPINION

[25] Tom Englehart's 1-4-06 TD essay, "A Cult Of Presidential Power: The Unrestrained President" [His closing remarks recommend impeachment by implication but not overtly.]: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=46791

[26] Russell Berman's 1-4-06 New York Sun article, "Activist Group Calls For Bush, Cheney Impeachment" [Reports on ImpeachPAC.org's efforts to create a national impeachment movement.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6333

[27] Bob Fertik's 1-4-06 ImpeachPAC.org open letter, "Hey Ken Mehlman, Why Not Debate Impeachment?": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6328

[28] Charlie Savage's 1-4-06 TO/BG article, "Bush Could Bypass New Torture Ban: Waiver Right Is Reserved" {Bush reserves the right, under his expansive interpretation of the commander-in-chief clause, to bypass the recently-passed McCain Amendment's clear-cut ban on torture.]: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010406A.shtml

[29] Tom Regan's 1-3-06 CSM article, "Debate Over Eavesdropping Grows: Bush Defends Program Again, But Critics In Senate Still Vow To Hold Hearings" [Mr. Bush contends that his warrantless domestic surveillance program is legal, but when the Senate holds hearing on this issue, it will discover that the top legal scholars disagree.]: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0103/dailyUpdate.html

[30] David Wallechinsky's 1-3-06 Huffington Post essay, "What Is The Bush Administration Trying To Hide?" [Raises serious questions about Mr. Bush's ulterior motives for conducting warrantless domestic spying in defiance of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA") and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts ("FISC"), which had been reviewing these activities for the past 24 years.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6303

[31] James McWilliams' 1-3-06 Register Guard (Oregon) essay, "Making The Case For A Bush Impeachment" [Rightly contends that the supreme war crime, for which Bush should be impeached, is misleading Congress and the public into an illegal aggressive war under the false pretense that the USA had to defend itself from an imminent WMD attack - "in the form of a mushroom cloud" - by Iraq. It's Bush's most consequential crime. Nevertheless, our complicit Congress won't impeach him solely on that war crime. Just as Al Capone, the murderous mafia boss, was convicted for the less consequential but more provable crime of income-tax evasion, so too will Bush, the bloodthirsty commander-in-chief, be impeached for the less consequential but more provable crime of warrantless domestic spying.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6306

[32] Greg Mitchell's 1-3-06 Editor & Publisher article, "Newspapers Urge President To Quit" [It's not taboo for an American newspaper to call for Mr. Bush's resignation before Congress moves to impeaches him. Afer all, there are precedents: when Bill Clinton was the subject, newspapers across the USA weren't shy in calling for his resignation.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6309

[33] Doug Thompson's 1-2-06 CHB column, "Time To Impeach A President" ["I've always felt impeachment is the nuclear option of politics; a drastic action we call in after all else fails. That's why I've been reluctant to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. No longer. The reckless, arrogant actions of the man leave me with no choice but to consider that final solution. Time to impeach the son of a bitch."]: http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7935.shtml

[34] Paul Craig Roberts' 1-2-06 CP essay, "A Gestapo Adminstration: Bush's Witch Hunt Against Truth-Tellers" ["Why is the Justice Department investigating the leak of Bush's illegal activity instead of the illegal activity committed by Bush?"]: http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts01022006.html

[35] Geoffrey Stone's 1-2-06 HuffingtonPost.com essay, "Bush's Spy Program And The Fourth Amendment" [The author, who is a U. Chicago law professor, states that Bush's warrantless domestic spying program is "blatantly unlawful and unconstitutional."]: http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20060102/cm_huffpost/013167

[36] ImpeachPAC.org's 1-2-06 IP article, "ImpeachPAC Forms Citizens Impeachment Commission" [A commission of scholars, lawyers, journalists, former government officials, and activists have dedicated themselves to the impeachment, conviction and removal of Messrs. Bush and Cheney.]: http://www.impeachpac.org/?q=node/192

[37] Matthew Cardinale's 1-1-06 Atlanta Progressive News article, "Bush Impeachment Inquiry Has 8 House Co-Sponsors": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6223

[38] Hazel Trice Edney's 12-31-05 Wilmington Journal article, "Domestic Spying Prompts Talk Of Impeachment": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/6208

[39] John Dean's must-read 12-30-05 CD/FL essay, "George W. Bush As The New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally And Impeachably" [Bush has underlined that his presidency cannot be checked because it is utterly beyond the law. Hence, there are disturbing parallels between the Bush and Nixon administrations: both claimed that a president may violate Congress' laws to protect national security; however, both were impeachably wrong.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1230-39.htm

[40] Madison Capital Times' 12-30-05 CD/MCT editorial, "Talking About Impeachment" [Calls for Congress to hold Mr. Bush accountable for his executive-branch wrongdoing.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1230-34.htm

[41] Rosa Brook's 12-30-05 CD/LAT essay, "Is Clinton's History In Bush's Future?" [What's wrong with this picture: Mr. Clinton was impeached for perjurious deposition testimony about a collateral sex scandal; contrastingly, Mr. Bush has not been impeached despite having committed multiple grave criminal offenses against the US Constitution, federal law, and international law?]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1230-30.htm

[42] Molly Ivin's 12-29-05 CD/WFC essay, "Big Brother Bush" [Especially see her last paragraph.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1229-20.htm

[43] ACLU's 12-29-05 New York Times ad, "The President Lied to The American People and Broke the Law" [Explains the strong historical analogy between the crimes committed by Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush under the pretext of "national security," then recommends that Congress appoint a special counsel to investigate the latter's warrantless domestic spying program.]: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/23271res20051229.html

[44] Brattleboro Reformer's 12-28-05 CD/BR editorial, "Beginning Of The End" [Mr. Bush's fall is imminent because he's overstepped constitutional bounds into executive-branch lawlessness.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1228-31.htm

[45] Geov Parrish's 12-28-05 WFC essay, "The Constitutional Crisis Of 2006" [Another must-read analysis.]: http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=20120

[46] Martin Garbus' 12-28-05 HP essay, "Impeachment Is Now Real" [New York trial lawyer explains why there are solid legal grounds for the impeachment of Mr. Bush.]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-garbus/impeachment-is-now-real_b_12972.html

[47] Doug Giebel's 12-28-05 Scoop essay, "Impeaching President Bush: A Game Of Ambiguity": http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00274.htm

[48] Katrina vanden Heuvel's 12-27-05 CD/TN essay, "The 'I' Word" [As 2005 closes, everybody's writing about the nation's duty to impeach George W. Bush.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1227-28.htm

[49] Ruth Conniff's 12-27-05 TP essay, "Impeachment Buzz" [Reports on impeachment efforts by various politicians and groups.]: http://progressive.org/mag_rcb122705

[50] John Nichol's 12-27-05 CD/CT essay, "Censuring Bush Requires Citizens' Help" [Rep. John Conyers (D-NY) is sponsoring two bills - HR 636 and HR 637 - in the House Judiciary Committee that will censure Bush and Cheney for illegal conduct, and which could lead to their impeachment.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1227-29.htm

[51] Thomas Donlan's 12-26-05 Barrons Online article, "Unwarranted Executive Power: The Pursuit Of Terrorism Does Not Authorize The President To Make Up New Laws" [Contends that Mr. Bush's four-year-long warrantless domestic spying activities are not only illegal but also a potentially impeachable offense.]: http://online.barrons.com/article_email/SB113538491760731012-lMyQjAxMDE1MzI1NDMyODQ0Wj.html

[52] Marty Luster's 12-26-05 CD/IJ essay, "On Bush: It's Time To Say 'Enough'" [A call for Messrs. Bush and Cheney's impeachment and removal from office.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1226-21.htm

[53] Elsy Fors' 12-26-05 Prensa Latina essay, "First Step To Impeachment": http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7B9BABC363-A14C-4F1B-9CBC-1903DBE6A887%7D&language=EN

[54] Dave Lindorff's 12-25-05 ThisCantBeHappening.net essay, "Time To Dump Keller And Bush" [Calls for the removal of NYT Editor Bill Keller and President Bush from their respective offices.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5993

[55] Ron Jacob's 12-25-05 CP essay, "When Impeachment Was Taken Seriously: Here's To The Land You've Torn The Heart Out Of": http://www.counterpunch.org/jacobs12242005.html

[56] James Carroll's 12-25-05 Louisville Courier-Journal essay, "A Few Democrats Say It's Now Time To Impeach Bush": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5991

[57] Ralph Nader's 12-24-05 CD essay, " Bush/Cheney Have Disgraced Their Office: They Should Resign" [An excellent overview of the case against Bush and Cheney.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1224-23.htm

[58] Andy Ostroy's 12-24-05 OpEdNews.com essay, "It's Time To Impeach Bush For These Blatant Violations Of The Law" [Lists nine grounds for impeachment.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5973/print

[59] The Rev. William McGinnis' 12-23-05 LoveAllPeople.org essay, "Bush Impeachment Process Will Begin Early January, 2006: Conservative Republicans Will Join Democrats To Remove The Dangerous, Out-Of-Control President-King Before He Does More Harm": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5949

[60] Stephen Crockett's 12-23-05 OpEdNews.com essay, "Impeach The Liar-In-Chief": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5948

[61] Nicholas Benton's 12-23-05 FCNP.com essay, "Impeachment As Imperative": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5937

[62] James Ridgeway's 12-22-05 CD/VV essay, "Bush Impeachment Not Out Of The Question: From Spying To Plame, Congress Riled Over Abuse Of Power": http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1222-29.htm

[63] Jonathan Schell's 12-22-05 CD/TN essay, "The Hidden State Steps Forward" [The "above-the-law" Bush administration is a dictatorship in embryonic form. Congress' only possible answer is to inform Mr. Bush forthwith that if he continues to defiantly ignore the Constitution and laws passed by Congress, he will be impeached.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1222-36.htm

[64] The Editor & Publisher Staff's 12-22-05 E&P article, "'Impeachment' Talk, Pro And Con, Appears In Media At Last": http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001736558

[65] Joe Conason's 12-22-05 New York Observer essay, "Bush's Abuse Of Power Deserves Impeachment": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5872

[66] William Rivers Pitt's 12-22-05 TruthOut.com essay. "The Breaking Strain" [Advocates impeachment.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5855/print

[67] Helen Thomas' 12-22-05 Salt Lake Tribune essay, "Bush Goes Too Far When He Bypasses Wiretap Court": http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3333762

[68] John Nichols' 12-21-05 CD/TN essay, "Raising The Issue Of Impeachment": http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1221-24.htm

[69] The Olympian's 12-21-05 CD/TO editorial, "Bush Must Be Held Accountable: George Bush Cannot Protect Democracy By Destroying It": http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1220-35.htm

[70] Santiago Times' 12-21-05 ST editorial, "Impeach Bush: No President Is Above The Law; Not In Chile, Not In The U.S." ["Bush's slippery slope leads to a police state, plain and simple."]: http://www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes/index.php?nav=story&story_id=10503&topic_id=1

[71] Mark Leno's 12-21-05 San Francisco Bay Guardian essay, "Horror, Lies, Deceit, Death And Destruction" [A California state legislator calls for Bush's impeachment and removal from office.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.com/?q=node/5897

[72] Jerry Mazza's 12-21-05 Online Journal essay, "Patience, Mr. Bush? How About Impeachment, Now?": http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_353.shtml

[73] Bev Conover's 12-21-05 OnlineJournal.com essay, "Here We Go Again With The Censure Nonsense" [Forget censure! It's the wrong remedy. Explains why impeachment is the correct constitutional remedy for the many serious felonies committed by President George W. Bush.]: http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_354.shtml

[74] Howard Fineman's 12-21-05 MSNBC.com essay, "Spying, The Constitution, And The 'I Word': 2006 Will Offer Up Nixon-Era Nastiness And A Chorus Of Calls To Impeach Bush": http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10561966/

[75] Amy Goodman's 12-21-05 Democracy Now article plus transcript, "First Steps Toward Impeachment: Conyers Introduces Bill To Censure Bush And Cheney": http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/21/1447240

[76] Bob Fertik's 12-21-05 blog article, "CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Jack McCafferty Discuss Impeachment": http://www.impeachpac.org/?q=node/101

[77] Jonathan Alter's 12-20-05 CD/Newsweek essay, "Bush's Snoopgate" ["If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced."]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1220-20.htm

[78] David Swanson's 12-20-05 CensureBush.org essay, "Censure And Impeachment" [Explains that censure and impeachment aren't mutually exclusive remedies, and why both are worth pursuing. But see Bev Conover's dissenting essay at endnote 62 above.]: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5782

[79] ThinkProgress.org's 12-20-05 essay, "Conservative Scholars Argue That Bush's Wiretapping Is An Impeachable Offense" [Conservative constitutional scholar Bruce Fein and AEI scholar Norman Ornstein argued, on the Diane Rehm Show, that Congress should impeach Mr. Bush if he defiantly continues the NSA's warrantless domestic spying program.]: http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/20/conservative-scholars-argue-bush’s-wiretapping-is-an-impeachable-offense

[80] Marie Cocco's 12-20-05 Newsday.com essay, "Bush Shows He Believes He's Above The Law" ["This is a president who believes no law applies to him. The president simply disregards the Constitution, save for the one clause he uses to justify his violation of so many others. He is, he says, commander-in-chief. This power trumps all."]: http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-opcoc204558361dec20,0,3978167.column?coll=ny-news-columnists

[81] US Rep. John Conyers' 12-20-05 The Nation essay, "A Motion For Censure": http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060109/motion_for_censure

[82] Doug Ireland's 12-19-05 CD/DI essay, "A Time To Impeach" ["And when a president commits a crime in violation of his oath of office swearing to uphold the Constitution, it's time to impeach."]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1219-34.htm

[83] Senator Barbara Boxer's 12-19-05 press release, "Boxer Asks Presidential Scholars About Former White House Counsel's Statement That Bush Admitted To An 'Impeachable Offense'": http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5739

[84] Associated Press' 12-19-05 AP Atlanta article, "Congressman Calls For Bush's Impeachment" [US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has called for Mr. Bush's impeachment.]: http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=69123

[85] Ron Hutcheson's 12-19-05 Knight-Ridder article, "Bush Says Spying Will Continue: Democrats Reject Rationale For Domestic Surveillance, Say President Has Abused His Power" [See GWU Law Professor Jonathan Turley's expert opinion in the fourth paragraph.]: http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?ID=5624

[86] David Savage's 12-17-05 LAT article, "'78 Law Sought To Close Spy Loophole: Congress Acted To Prohibit The Kind Of Domestic Surveillance That Is Now At Issue": http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-legal17dec17,1,6257251.story?coll=la-news-a_section

[87] Hilzoy's 12-16-05 Washington Monthly guest column, "Above The Law 2": http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_12/007789.php

[88] Doug Thompson's 12-9-05 CHB essay, "Bush On The Constitution: 'It's Just A God-Damned Piece Of Paper'" [Bush to GOP Congressmen lobbying him in the Oval Office: "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"]: http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/printer_7779.shtml

[89] Ralph Nader & Kevin Zeese's 8-31-05 Boston Globe essay, "The 'I' Word" [Ample grounds existed for Mr. Bush's impeachment well before the NY Times broke the story on 12-16-05 - which it had suppressed for one year - about his authorization of the NSA's warrantless domestic spying program.]: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/ 2005/05/31/the_i_word?mode=PF

[90] At least 14 websites advocate the prompt impeachment, conviction and removal from office of President George Walker Bush and Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney:

[a] http://impeachbushcoalition.blogspot.com

[b] http://www.impeachpac.org

[c] http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=taxonomy/term/17

[d] http://www.votetoimpeach.org

[e] http://www.impeachbush.org

[f] http://www.impeach-bush-now.org

[g] http://zzpat.tripod.com/cvb/

[h] http://www.thefourreasons.org/

[i] http://impeachbush.meetup.com/

[j] http://www.topplebush.com/

[k] http://elandslide.org/elandslide/petition.cfm?campaign=impeach&refer=home

[l] http://impeachthesonofabitch.com/

[m] http://www.impeachbush.tv/impeach/

[n] http://impeachcentral.com

*************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law ("ACIL"). His essays have been published worldwide by more than 30 websites. Editors, please feel free to publish this essay without activating its 90 URLs. Readers, please feel free to forward this essay to relatives, friends and colleagues.

© 2006 EAP III


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