December 21, 2014
Could Obama be impeached?
Over the past months, a question seems to have taken media spotlight in the United States: could Barack Obama be impeached? Could the “leader of the free world” become the first president to be removed from the Oval office?
There, in the United States of America an impeachment needs a simple Lower House majority to approve an article against the president for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” It is then that the constitutional option gets to the Senate’s hands which still have to work to get two-thirds of the votes to convict him. Problem for the Barack Obama administration looming on the horizon seems to be two: the November elections and a GOP win that could lead to Republicans controlling the chamber.
Amid increasing “impeachment” chatter and Republicans – some ratifying (ex Alaska Governor Sarah Palin), some denying (House of Representatives speaker John Boehner) calls to have the first black president in that country’s history impeached-, Obama's opponents have been put on the defensive just as he prepares to loosen immigration rules in a way they say violates his constitutional powers.
Three months ahead of the November vote, Obama is struggling not only with immigration reform that Republicans in the House have halted but also with a flood of child migrants from Central American countries who have crossed the Texas border from Mexico.
The White House says Obama wants to go big: to do as much by executive fiat as his constitutional authority allows to help many of the millions of people who have entered the United States illegally.
If Obama grants work permits to those millions, Republican leaders say it will poison the well and end any chance of passing comprehensive immigration legislation for the rest of Obama's presidency.
The first time in the US history that the House impeached a president was in 1868, in the aftermath of the Civil War, with representatives voting 11 articles of impeachment against Democrat Andrew Johnson. The Senate, however, run short of the two-third majority and he was acquitted later that year.
The last effort to impeach a president came in 1998 and 1999, when Republicans attempted to remove President Bill Clinton from office on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in connection with his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The Senate failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to remove Clinton, and the episode caused enough negative fallout to allow Democrats to win back five Senate seats in the 2000 election, wiping out a Republican majority.
Republican Richard Nixon resigned under an impeachment cloud during the Watergate scandal in 1974.
BuenosAiresHerald.com staff with agencies.