Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hopes to thwart Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton with a hard-hitting campaign. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange promises further nasty revelations that will break Clinton or at least dent her badly. American voters buy anti-Clinton merchandise like it’s going out of style, indicating an intense distrust.
But it looks like the U.S. Constitution might be the ideal weapon for derailing the candidacy of a former officeholder whose performance cast doubt on her fitness for higher office.
It turns out that impeachment isn’t just for current officeholders.
Writing for National Review on Sept. 6, Andrew C. McCarthy argued that impeachment was not just about removal from office but also about disqualification from future office.
Clinton, McCarthy said, could be impeached for abuses committed during her tenure as secretary of state.
“The Constitution does not say the impeached person must be a current officeholder,” McCarthy said. “The point of impeachment is to deny power to any person … whose high crimes and misdemeanors have demonstrated unfitness for a high public trust.”
The Constitution specified “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as impeachment-worthy offenses. McCarthy pointed out that one need not be in office to commit such deeds, but that anyone who did would be unsuitable for public office in the future:
Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 of the Constitution stipulated that the punishment resulting from impeachment may include “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.”
Citing Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 65, McCarthy explained that the Founders understood “high crimes and misdemeanors” to involve (in Hamilton’s words), “the abuse or violation of some public trust,” offenses that “relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”
Citing Clinton’s email scandal, her destruction of thousands of government records after Congress demanded to see them, her careless handling of classified documents, her repeated lies to Congress and the public, the shady doings of the Clinton Foundation and — summing it all up — “a legacy void of accomplishment but rich in the abuse of power,” McCarthy argued for impeachment as a judgment on Clinton’s record as secretary of state and as a means of keeping her out of office permanently.
So it looks like our old friend the Constitution might provide a way for the public to defend itself against an untrustworthy candidate who has largely been unchecked by any watchdog activity from the liberal media.
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