Republican Versus Democrat represented by two boxing gloves with the elephant and donkey symbol stitched fighting/Deposit Photo

Is It Time for Another Constitutional Amendment?

By Scott McIntyre

The U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788.  Three years later, when the Bill of Rights was confirmed, 10 amendments were added.  In the more than 220 years that followed, the count has increased by 17.  Is it time for another?

Article III of our Constitution says, “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury…” and regarding impeachment, Article I states “The House of Representatives…shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

In a little over 20 years, our country has seen two impeachments involving the president. Both political parties have been ‘targeted’ with similar looking results.

According to my research, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 19, 1998 on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (Article 1) by a 228–206 vote, and obstruction of justice (Article 2) by a 221–212 vote. Only five Democrats voted to impeach on both Articles while just five Republicans voted against Article 1 and 8 against Article 2.

When it came to the trail in the Senate, controlled by Republicans 55 to 45, not one Democrat voted guilty and only five Republicans found the president innocent on Article 1 while 10 non guilty votes were cast for Article 2.  With the same facts being interpreted so differently, and apparently along party lines, wouldn’t our elected officials recognize the lack of true justice?

Fast forward to the current impeachment process involving President Trump. Membership in the house, according to one source, stood at 233 Democrats and 197 Republicans.  When it came to making its impeachment inquiry formal on Oct. 31 of this year, the measure, according to NPR.org, passed 232 to 196 with no Republican support. Two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the impeachment inquiry.

Seems likely that the House will impeach President Trump, but then what? If the result is at all like the vote during President Clinton’s trial, there won’t be a guilty verdict. Even if all 45 current Democrats and one Independent found the President guilty, 21 of the 53 Republicans would have to join them to reach the necessary two-thirds level needed for conviction.

If we review these facts without considering our own party affiliation, and be brutally honest with our findings, could a large majority of American citizens feel confident that justice is being served? I fear not and that brings me to the new, proposed Constitutional amendment.

Let it be that the United States government shall create a unit of salaried employees, who, instead of officials voted into office that might act in accordance with their parties wishes and not the facts presented, will be sworn to do the job they are assigned, which will be to oversee the performance of all Federal officials eligible for impeachment, or face losing their position.  And, that upon discovery of activities deemed suspect, will report their findings to the supervisor in charge of them, and may that individual then be responsible for verifying their findings and, if warranted, filing charges of impeachable nature, which will be judged by another, as yet, unformed and unnamed Government unit that will be non-partisan in nature and fair in all matters pertaining to the finding of innocence or guilt.

OK…that’s not going to work either.  Looks like I don’t know how to fix the dilemma we’re in, but I think I’m right about the problem at hand.

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[…] FāVS Columnist Scott McIntyre who wrote, “Is It Time for Another Constitutional Amendment?“ […]

[…] December of 2019, Spokane FāVS posted my article, Is It Time for Another Constitutional Amendment, which looked at the votes, for and against impeachment of President’s Bill Clinton and Donald […]

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