Impeachment is becoming weaponized

Some trivia for you: Do you know the first federal official to ever be impeached? His name was William Blount, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, who was impeached July 7, 1797 on charges he conspired to assist Britain in capturing Spanish territory. The House approved articles of impeachment, but the Senate voted it did not have jurisdiction. All told, 21 men have been federally impeached over the years, or roughly one every 12 years of our country’s existence.
As partisan politics become more bitter, however, impeachment, a tool intended to be used rarely, has now been deployed four times in five years—for two presidents and a cabinet secretary. Former President Donald Trump is the only person to have been impeached twice federally—once for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and once for incitement of insurrection. He was acquitted both times.
Most recently, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was impeached by one vote in the House of Representatives, with a decision pending in the Senate. The charge is failure to enforce the country’s immigration laws.
We wrote in this space last week how immigration should be a bipartisan issue that the two parties work together to solve. Whether or not that actually happens is anybody’s guess. In today’s political climate, we won’t hold our breath. When it comes to impeachments, though, it appears both parties are moving toward using it as a tool to remove somebody they don’t like or when they don’t get their own way. A formal impeachments inquiry has even been launched against President Joe Biden.
If impeachment is supposed to be reserved for treason, bribery, and “other high crimes and misdemeanors,” does Mayorkas’ failures at the border reach that threshold? Not likely. You could argue Trump’s first impeachment didn’t rise to that level, either. The point is, impeachments are being thrown around like candy largely because of the vitriol in politics. Check your Facebook feed sometime. Those political fanatics on your feed want to impeach everybody in the entire other party for no good reason other than they don’t like them.
It is our belief that impeachment, which was designed to be a rarely-used constitutional instrument, should not be weaponized in this continual partisan warfare, as Jaqueline Alemany wrote in the Washington Post.
This constant impeachment will, if it hasn’t already, open the door to a never-ending stream of partisan impeachments on both sides of the aisle.

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