Painful Duty

The Senate tries a judge

In drafting the Constitution, the Founding Fathers wrote a complex impeachment procedure for the removal of federal officials guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors." The House was given the power to impeach and the Senate the power to try these cases. So much for the theory. In practice, Congress has never liked all the folderol, hoping the accused would be dealt with in some other way. Up to this year, the House has impeached only 13 men, not including Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 before his impeachment was acted on by the full House. Not since 1936, when the Senate...

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