The First Impeachment: from a Comparative Study of its British Historical Roots to a Contextual Analysis

By Dr Justin Orlando Frosini and Alexis Keys

Justin O. Frosini is Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development and an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is also Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law at Bocconi University. 

Alexis Keys is a MAIA candidate at SAIS Europe and plans to study diplomacy, policy analysis and the conditions serving the proliferation of peace and self-determination in Africa and the Middle East. She is a research assistant at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development.

House of Representatives votes to impeach President Donald J. Trump (Source: Wikipedia)

Combining the areas of expertise of the two authors the paper starts by providing the contemporary context to the first Trump impeachment then it goes on to compare today’s legal instrument with the British historical roots of impeachment by making reference to the Framers’ records from the late 18th century during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and subsequent debates for ratification. The third section of the paper then addresses the actual case that brought about the approval of articles of impeachment against President Trump and offers a critique of the Senate Trial. At this point, the paper turns to the past so as to make a comparison between all previous cases of impeachment with the first Trump impeachment and then, having in mind public trust, the paper offers some predictions for the future combined with an intricate use of counterfactuals. The paper ends by encouraging concerned parties to look beyond political polarization because the current dynamics at work in shaping American political parties and partisan moods are also shaping electoral oversight, constitutional interpretation by the legislature, and the scope of executive authority. In the final analysis, the paper underlines the fact that one should never forget that impeachment exists to uphold democratic constitutionalism.

Read the entire article on DPCE on line:

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