On Tuesday, July 16, the Forum: Is Impeachment Inevitable or Avoidable? was held in Delaware County at the Quest Conference Center to explore and debate the proposition of whether or not to impeach President Trump. DelaDem Mindy Hedges was instrumental in organizing the event along with sponsors: indivisible: Ohio District 12 and indivisible: Delaware Ohio.
Experts on the panel focused their presentations on key issues such as: when is it time to remove a leader and what must Congress do to oversee the Executive branch? The Forum was moderated by Mike Larsen, a nationally known political satirist who has written for Real Time with Bill Maher, The Drew Carey Show, Ellen, and many other programs. The panel for this Forum included the following professionals:
- Dr. Anthony DeStefanis — Associate professor of history, Otterbein University, with expertise in U.S. history, labor, and the working class
- Major General Dennis Laich — Retired Major General (Army) and government specialist on foreign security and the Mueller Report
- Dr. Michael Les Benedict — Emeritus professor of history, The Ohio State University, with expertise in constitutional law and impeachment
- Dr. Tony Mughan — Professor of political science, history, and government, The Ohio State University, with expertise in political parties, the mass media, elections, and political behavior
Mike Larsen’s moderation kept the discussion flowing and allowed for members of the panel to speak freely as they addressed each question and added their own perspectives. While some of the information provided by the panelists covered elements of what people have commonly come to understand about the impeachment process, there was considerable information shared that many were not aware of. For example, media coverage of the impeachment process appears to concentrate on the following way to process impeachment:
- The first way is for a congressperson to propose an impeachment resolution, as Congressman Al Green (D-Texas) did. Such a resolution may be laid on the table, referred to a committee, or taken up by special consent and acted on. A committee may propose an impeachment resolution, almost certainly after having held hearings, as part of its report. That might be after a resolution submitted as above was referred to it.
All of the above bring an impeachment resolution directly to the House. But an impeachment proposal may be brought to the House in several other ways.
- A proposal can be brought to the House by the report of a special or independent counsel, as the Clinton impeachment was by the Starr report. Or as Robert Mueller might have done, but chose not to, in his report. While that does not bring the resolution directly to the House, it is not conceivable that the House would simply ignore such a recommendation.
- A call for impeachment could be brought by a formal resolution addressed to Congress by a state legislature. A grand jury could recommend to Congress that an office-holding offender be impeached, especially if the offender were not liable to indictment, which may be the case of the president. The indictment of a government official might very well lead to impeachment if the official did not resign.
- Ordinary citizens can petition Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings, especially through hearings. Individual citizens can petition Congress on any subject. In the 19th century tens if not hundreds of thousands of Americans petitioned Congress for the abolition of slavery in Washington, D.C., where Congress had the power to do it, and for the abolition of slavery generally, where it didn’t. There were big woman-suffrage petition drives after the Civil War and until the reform was achieved. These were organized petition drives. They were not petitions asking Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, but there is nothing to stop petitions to Congress for that purpose.
The Forum was sponsored by Indivisible: Ohio District 12 and Indivisible: Delaware Ohio, both non-partisan organizations. Indivisible strongly believes in delivering non-partisan information to Ohio District 12, which includes Delaware County. So constituents can become more aware and make up their own minds on important national issues such as impeachment issue.
– Written by Mindy Hedges, Edited by Brian Jaffe