By Elizabeth Holtzman
For the first time since the Bush administration took office, three members of the House Judiciary Committee, Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), are calling for hearings on the impeachment of Vice President Richard Cheney.
Their position, while courageous, is not surprising. What is surprising is that it took this long for members of Congress to invoke impeachment, and that even now, they do so against enormous political resistance and cyncial indifference from the media.
No serious student of the Constitution would question that sufficient grounds exist to impeach both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The Constitution provides that an Executive who puts himself above the law and abuses the powers of his office may be impeached, a point confirmed in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, for abuses such as illegal wiretapping.
There is little serious debate about whether Bush administration actions -- wiretapping without court approval (violating the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act), authorizing and facilitating mistreatment of detainees (violating US treaties and criminal laws), starting the Iraq war on a basis of lies, exaggerations and misstatements (an abuse of power) -- meet the constitutional standard.