Impeachment Overturn Elections?

September 24, 1998
Over the last few weeks there are been lots of arguments offered against impeachment. Some worry whether an impeachment or second resignation in the last 30 years of the presidency would turn the republic into a parliamentary system. Some believe that the alleged crimes don't match the punishment. I like what Democratic Congressman James Traficant said the other day. "Today's debate is about America's greatness. The founding fathers fully recognized that by setting a much loftier and higher standard for the chief executive. They didn't write high crimes and other felonies, they wrote high crimes and misdemeanors."

Well, we can debate some of the points made against impeachment. But one argument offered against impeachment doesn't ring true. The president's defenders argue that removing him from office would overturn the decision of the American people in the 1996 election.

Please. Impeaching a president would not overturn the previous election. If Congress had voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson in 1868, it would not have made the previous election invalid. If President Nixon had not resigned and was impeached, it would not have made the 1992 election invalid. Impeaching this president will not overturn the 1996 election.

If that were the case, then the president would be Bob Dole and the vice-president would be Jack Kemp. If President Clinton is impeached, the next president would be Al Gore. And the policies of a President Gore wouldn't be all that different from the policies of President Clinton.

The Constitution provided Congress with the power of impeachment not as a way to invalidate an election but as a way to remove a president from office who did not uphold his oath of office.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International