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Constitutional Cliffhangers$
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Brian C. Kalt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300123517

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300123517.001.0001

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Impeaching an Ex-President

Impeaching an Ex-President

Chapter:
(p.106) 5 Impeaching an Ex-President
Source:
Constitutional Cliffhangers
Author(s):

Brian C. Kalt

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300123517.003.0006

This chapter asks the question: Can presidents be impeached even after they have left office? Scholarly opinion on the question is divided, and there is no simple constitutional answer. Contemplating late impeachment gives us insight into the deeper meaning of impeachment in general. As leading impeachment scholar Michael Gerhardt put it, “[i]mpeachment proceedings test every institution with which they come into contact.” The House of Representatives has “the sole Power” to impeach federal executive and judicial officers. The Senate has “the sole Power” to try them, with a two-thirds majority needed to convict, and with the chief justice presiding when the president is on trial. Two sitting presidents—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton—have already been impeached. Both were acquitted by the Senate.

Keywords:   constitutional answer, late impeachment, Michael Gerhardt, House of Representatives, chief justice, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton

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