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Reply #: Recall, Expulsion, Impeachment of Congress Members [View All]

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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-28-07 05:16 PM
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Recall, Expulsion, Impeachment of Congress Members
Edited on Wed Feb-28-07 05:18 PM by hlthe2b
Note: there are 1. no means for state voter recall; states do have the ability to decide the means by which a vacancy is filled, either by governor designation or special election. 2. Members of Congress are not susceptible to State action to expel them (other than criminal matters, of course), 3. or to executive branch efforts to expel; 4. they are only susceptible to possible expulsion by fellow members of Congress.

From Report for Congress: Order Code RL 30016: Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office ...

(requested by Senator Lugar, 3/20/03 and prepared by Legislative Attorney, Jack Maskell
Note, the document is in adobe acrobat pdf format)

Under the United States Constitution and congressional practice, Members of
Congress may have their services ended prior to the normal expiration of their
constitutionally established terms of office by their resignation or death, or by action
of the House of Congress in which they are a Member by way of an expulsion, or
by a finding that in accepting a subsequent public office deemed to be incompatible
with congressional office, the Member has vacated his congressional seat.
Under Article I, Section 5, clause 2, of the Constitution, a Member of Congress
may be removed from office before the normal expiration of his or her constitutional
term by an expulsion from the Senate (if a Senator) or from the House of
Representatives (if a Representative) upon a formal vote on a resolution agreed to by
two-thirds of the Members of the respective body present and voting.
While there
are no specific grounds for an expulsion expressed in the Constitution, expulsion
actions in both the House and the Senate have generally concerned cases of perceived
disloyalty to the United States, or the conviction of a criminal statutory offense which
involved abuse of ones official position. Each House has broad authority as to the
grounds, nature, timing, and procedure for an expulsion of a Member. However,
policy considerations, as opposed to questions of authority, have appeared to restrain
the Senate and House in the exercise of expulsion when it might be considered as
infringing on the electoral process, such as when the electorate knew of the past
misconduct under consideration and still elected or re-elected the Member.
As to removal by recall, the United States Constitution does not provide for nor
authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the
President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled
in the history of the United States. The recall of Members was considered during the
time of the drafting of the federal Constitution in 1787, but no such provisions were
included in the final version sent to the States for ratification, and the specific
drafting and ratifying debates indicate an express understanding of the Framers and
ratifiers that no right or power to recall a Senator or Representative from the United
States Congress exists under the Constitution.
Although the Supreme Court has not
needed to directly address the subject of recall of Members of Congress, other
Supreme Court decisions, as well as the weight of other judicial and administrative
decisions, rulings and opinions, indicate that: (1) the right to remove a Member of
Congress before the expiration of his or her constitutionally established term of office
is one which resides exclusively in each House of Congress as established in the
expulsion clause of the United States Constitution, and (2) the length and number of
the terms of office for federal officials, established and agreed upon by the States in
the Constitution creating that Federal Government, may not be unilaterally changed
by an individual State, such as through the enactment of a recall provision or a term
limitation for a United States Senator or Representative. Under Supreme Court
constitutional interpretation, since individual States never had the original sovereign
authority to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of service of federal
officials agreed to and established in the Constitution, such a power could not be
reserved under the 10th Amendment.

The full report is available at the link above. I hope we can finally put to rest the constant barrage of repeated "let's just recall" Lieberman posts with this. :shrug:
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