40th Anniversary of Vote on Articles of Impeachment
Today is the 40th anniversary of the vote on the First Articles of Impeachment against President Nixon which charged that
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his consitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:
On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.
After the vote, Judiciary Chairman Peter Rodino (D-NJ) retired to his chambers, called his wife, said “I hope we’ve done the right thing” and cried.
Clearly it was a different time and place.
THEN: Impeachment actually required a high-crime or misdemeanor.
NOW: Impeachment merely requires that you be African-American or a Democrat or both.
THEN: Impeachment is something taken very seriously.
THEN: Members understood they would be judged by history.
NOW: Nobody reads that stuff.