When a new president
is elected to office, he or she takes an oath that lists many heavy
responsibilities. Abuse of power or failure to uphold these responsibilities
cannot be tolerated. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives
the right to impeach the president. Impeachment means that a charge
of misconduct is filed against the president. A majority of the
members of the House must vote for these charges in order to impeach
After the charges
of misconduct are filed, the Senate has the power to try impeachment
cases like a court. Two-thirds of the senators must vote for conviction.
The president may be removed from office and never allowed to hold
a government position again if he is found guilty.
Our 17th president,
Andrew Johnson, was impeached while in office. Thirty-five senators
found him guilty -- just one vote short of the two-thirds vote necessary
to convict him.
Nixon resigned from office rather than face impeachment charges
in the Watergate scandal in 1974. President Bill Clinton became
the second president to be impeached by the House in 1998. Later,
the Senate found him not guilty.
Show What You Know