Google+
Close

Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

A Footnote



Text  



Over on the Corner, Andy McCarthy and Peter Kirsanow have both weighed in on the Logan Act issue I discussed this morning.  Peter asks in passing “whether the House has the authority under Article II to impeach a senator.”  The answer is no–but strangely enough, that wasn’t immediately obvious to everyone in the founding generation.  The first impeachment case under the Constitution was in fact that of a senator, William Blount of Tennessee, in 1797.  Blount was impeached by the House for, ahem, behavior not too dissimilar from what is alleged of Obama.  The very next day, in a proceeding formally unrelated to that House action but on the same grounds, Blount was expelled by an almost unanimous vote of the Senate.  More than a year later, the Senate undertook to try the House’s impeachment charges, but dropped the matter.  Ever since then, it has been (correctly) understood that the impeachment power mentioned in Articles I and II applies only to the executive and judicial branches, and that members of the House and Senate are not among the “officers” subject to the power.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review