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The Impeachment of the President of the USA

Uploaded by palma on Sep 11, 2000

Sam Vaknin's Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web Sites


In the hallways of the Smithsonian, two moralists are debating the impeachment of the President of the United States of America, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton. One is clearly Anti-Clinton (AC) the other, a Democrat (DC), is not so much for him as he is for the rational and pragmatic application of moral principles.

AC (expectedly): "The President should be impeached".

DC (no less expectedly) ; "But, surely, even you are not trying to imply that he has committed high crimes and misdemeanours, as the Constitution demands as grounds for the impeachment of a sitting President !"

AC : "But I do. Perjury is such a high crime because it undermines the very fabric of trust between fellow citizens and between the citizen and the system of justice, the courts."

DC : "A person is innocent until proven guilty. No sound proof of perjurious conduct on behalf of the President has been provided as yet. Perjurious statements have to be deliberate and material. Even if the President deliberately lied under oath - his lies were not material to a case, which was later dismissed on the grounds of a lack of legal merit. Legal hairsplitting and jousting are an integral part of the defence in most court cases, civil and criminal. It is a legitimate - and legal - component of any legal battle, especially one involving interpretations, ambiguous terminology and the substantiation of intentions. The President should not be denied the procedural and substantive rights available to all the other citizens of his country. Nor should he be subjected to a pre-judgment of his presumed guilt."

AC : "This, precisely, is why an impeachment trial by the Senate is called for. It is only there that the President can credibly and rigorously establish his innocence. All I am saying is that IF the President is found by the Senate to have committed perjury - he should be impeached. Wherever legal hairsplitting and jousting is permissible as a legal tactic - it should and will be made available to the President. As to the pre-judgment by the Press - I agree with you, there is no place for it but, then, in this the President has been treated no differently than others. The pertinent fact is that perjury is a high misdemeanour, in the least, that is, an impeachable offence."

DC : "It was clearly not the...

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Uploaded by:   palma

Date:   09/11/2000

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   23 pages (5,160 words)

Views:   1570

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