Morehead City, N.C.
Jan. 22, 2020
TO THE EDITOR:
In the heat of the current political environment, this is a non-partisan matter that addresses the inappropriate and unfair use of the term “impeached.”
According to the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives’ action on impeachment does not equate to a conviction, but rather an inquiry, investigation and potential indictment.
Currently, the term “impeachment” of a president, judge, or other high government official who is indicted by a House of Representatives becomes permanently stained with the word “impeached” for life and even after death. This is irrevocable even if the accused is acquitted as not guilty by the Senate and allowed to continue to serve and remain in office. This is currently the procedure under Articles I & II of the Constitution.
I disagree with this description in the Constitution, in that it does not comport with the consistent practices in other courts of law involving persons who were acquitted or found “not guilty.” A regular person that is charged for alleged wrongdoing and is subsequently acquitted or deemed not guilty is no longer referred to as “indicted” or “impeached” (synonymous terms).
On the contrary, an acquitted U. S. president or official is treated differently and unfairly. The President or official must suffer a measure of embarrassment, humiliation and shame forever even if the offense is removed and becomes non-existent. The term “impeached” remains a cloud of perceived conviction, as if the person had “actually” been convicted of an offense.
Many persons in our country, who might be ill informed, seem to think that the term “impeached” signifies that the individual is officially guilty of some wrongdoing or crime.
In reality, the present terminology of impeachment merely refers to an action akin to a Grand Jury finding of probable cause that may lead to an indictment by House Prosecutors. Under the existing and flawed procedure this action changes from a noun “impeachment” to the past-tense verb “IMPEACHED”, and subsequently referred to the Senate for actual trial proceeding.
As I understand it, this is the sequence of events that deserves a serious review by lawmakers and the states to possibly ratify and amend the U. S. Constitution Articles I & II. Such an amendment would consider the terms “impeachment and conviction” as a combined action carried out only AFTER a conviction by the Senate. The role of the House of Representatives would remain as investigators and prosecutors - with no authority as “impeachers.”
The current arrangement is especially troubling when an opposition political party in the House has the unfettered voting power to impose the irrevocable term “impeached” on an individual prior to an actual trial by the upper chamber Senate.
This information has been sent to our Senator, Congressman and to The White House for consideration. Readers who agree with this opinion are encouraged to do likewise.