Re: James Madison - "Impeach Bush Over Purgegate!"
Posted by: Carbon Criminal Polluters
On Apr 17, 7:24 pm, Flush the Exxon Turds
> James Madison - "Impeach Bush Over Purgegate!"
> by Thom Hartmann
> Madison was prescient. The remedy for this High Crime against American
> democracy is impeachment.
> According to James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," if a
> President were to order or allow the "wanton removal of meritorious
> officers" such as US attorneys, such an action "would subject the
> President to impeachment and removal from his own high trust."
> The issue of the firing of people within the Executive branch for
> political purposes came up during a debate in 1789 about how to create
> agencies within the Executive branch that would be consistent with
> Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, which says that the
> President can appoint people (like US Attorneys/prosecutors), but they
> couldn't take office unless the Senate votes to confirm each
> individual appointment:
> He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and
> Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the
> Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the
> Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other
> public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all
> other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein
> otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the
> Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as
> they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in
> the Heads of Departments.
> But if the President can nominate, and the Senate confirm somebody
> like a federal prosecutor, who can fire one? And what if they're fired
> for politcal purposes?
> Madison's logic was straightforward, and came about in one of his
> first major speeches before the House of Representatives, on 17 June
> 1789, just a few months into his first term as a Congressman (he would
> later become Secretary of State and President). A bill was put forward
> to create what is today known as the State Department in a more formal
> fashion than had existed when George Washington had become the new
> nation's first President just three months before and appointed Thomas
> Jefferson as his Secretary of State Affairs.
> As with other agencies brought into law by Congress, this new
> Department of Foreign Affairs being debated would have to exist under
> the oversight and supervision of the Executive Branch of government,
> led by the President. And, as such, how, Congress wanted to know,
> could they make sure that no President would ever allow good members
> of his various departments ("meritorious officers") to be fired for
> purely political purposes ("wanton removal")?
> The Congressional Register from that day lays out Madison's entire
> speech. Because it's thorough and detailed, and offers a brilliant
> insight into the thinking of the most important of the Framers of our
> Constitution (Madison), I reproduce it in its entirety below. Because
> it's rather long, however, I've also bolded and italicized those parts
> that get right to the nub of the matter so you can skim it first, and
> then go back and read the entire thing in context.
> The essence of the debate is over whether Congress or the President
> would have the power to fire people employed below the level of a
> Cabinet officer in the George Washington and future administrations.
> The conclusion of the majority - and thus the way the law is today -
> is that Congress felt that the Senate's approval of the hiring of
> federal officers was critical (a power the Patriot Act took away, and
> the Senate voted last week to restore), and that when it comes to
> firing them, the President has the power. However, if the President
> were to abuse that power to fire federal officials through the "wanton
> removal of meritorious officers," he should be immediately impeached.
> This was particularly relevant since, in 1789, there were no federal
> crimes that had yet been defined. So when the Constitution said that a
> President could be impeached for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" there
> were none specified at the time. (The first federal crime was
> specified in 1790.) So Congress, at this point, was in the process of
> both creating new executive offices and of defining impeachable
> "crimes." They were establishing precedents, and this was a grave
> matter. It would echo forward for centuries.
> The Congressional Register 17 June 1789
> The house went into a committee of the whole on the bill for
> establishing the department of foreign affairs, and resumed the
> consideration of the clause "to be removable by the president."
> Mr. Madison [is called upon to speak].
> However various the opinions which exist upon the point now before
> us, it seems agreed on all sides, that it demands a careful
> investigation and full discussion. I feel the importance of the
> question, and know that our decision will involve the decision of all
> similar cases. The decision that is at this time made will become the
> permanent exposition of the constitution; and on a permanent
> exposition of the constitution will depend the genius and character of
> the whole government. It will depend, perhaps, on this decision,
> whether the government shall retain that equilibrium which the
> constitution intended, or take a direction toward aristocracy, or
> anarchy among the members of the government. Hence how careful ought
> we to be to give a true direction to a power so critically
> circumstanced. It is incumbent on us to weigh with particular
> attention the arguments which have been advanced in support of the
> various opinions with cautious deliberation.
> I own to you, Mr. chairman, that I feel great anxiety upon this
> question; I feel an anxiety, because I am called upon to give a
> decision in a case that may affect the fundamental principles of the
> government under which we act, and liberty itself. But all that I can
> do on such an occasion is to weigh well every thing advanced on both
> sides, with the purest desire to find out the true meaning of the
> constitution, and to be guided by that, and an attachment to the true
> spirit of liberty, whose influence I believe strongly predominates
> Several constructions have been put upon the constitution relative
> to the point in question. The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Sherman)
> has advanced a doctrine which was not touched upon before. He seems to
> think (if I understood him right), that the power of displacing from
> office is subject to legislative discretion; because it having a right
> to create, it may limit or modify as is thought proper. I shall not
> say but at first view this doctrine may seem to have some
> plausibility: But when I consider, that the constitution clearly
> intended to maintain a marked distinction between the legislative,
> executive, and judicial powers of government; and when I consider,
> that if the legislature has a power, such as contended for, they may
> subject, and transfer at discretion, powers from one department of
> government to another; they may, on that principle, exclude the
> president altogether from exercising any authority in the removal of
> officers; they may give it to the senate alone, or the president and
> senate combined; they may vest it in the whole congress, or they may
> reserve it to be exercised by this house. When I consider the
> consequences of this doctrine, and compare them with the true
> principles of the constitution, I own that I cannot subscribe to it.
> Another doctrine which has found very respectable friends, has
> been particularly advocated by the gentleman from South-Carolina (Mr.
> Smith). It is this; when an officer is appointed by the president and
> senate, he can only be displaced from malfeasance in his office by
> impeachment: I think this would give a stability to the executive
> department so far as it may be described by the heads of departments,
> which is more incompatible with the genius of republican governments
> in general, and this constitution in particular, than any doctrine
> which has yet been proposed. The danger to liberty, the danger of mal-
> administration has not yet been found to lay so much in the facility
> of introducing improper persons into office, as in the difficulty of
> displacing those who are unworthy of the public trust. If it is said
> that an officer once appointed shall not be displaced without the
> formality required by impeachment, I shall be glad to know what
> security we have for the faithful administration of the government.
> Every individual in the long chain which extends from the highest to
> the lowest link of the executive magistracy, would find a security in
> his situation which would relax his fidelity and promptitude in the
> discharge of his duty.
> The doctrine, however, which seems to stand most in opposition to
> the principles I contend for, is that the power to annul an
> appointment is in the nature of things incidental to the power which
> makes the appointment [e.g. the President]. I agree that if nothing
> more was said in the constitution than that the president, by and with
> the advice and consent of the senate, should appoint to office, there
> would be great force in saying that the power of removal resulted by a
> natural implication from the power of appointing. But there is another
> part of the constitution no less explicit than the one on which the
> gentleman's doctrine is founded, it is that part which declares, that
> the executive power shall be vested in a president of the United
> States. The association of the senate with the president in exercising
> that particular function, is an exception to this general ru