impeachment

impeachment.

1. The act (by a legislature) of calling for the removal from office of a public official, accomplished by presenting a written charge of the official’s alleged misconduct; esp., the initiation of a proceeding in the U.S. House of Representatives against a federal official, such as the President or a judge. • Congress’s authority to remove a federal official stems from art. II, § 4 of the Constitution, which authorizes the removal of an official for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The grounds upon which an official can be removed do not, however, have to be criminal in nature. They usu. involve some type of abuse of power or breach of the public trust. Articles of impeachment — which can be approved by a simple majority in the House — serve as the charging instrument for the later trial in the Senate. If the President is impeached, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial. The defendant can be removed from office by a two-thirds majority of the senators who are present. In the United Kingdom, impeachment is by the House of Commons and trial by the House of Lords. But no case has arisen there since 1801, and many British scholars consider impeachment obsolete. [Cases: United States 35. C.J.S. United States §§ 23, 53, 56–57.]

2. The act of discrediting a witness, as by catching the witness in a lie or by demonstrating that the witness has been convicted of a criminal offense. [Cases: Witnesses 311–409. C.J.S. Witnesses §§ 559–775.]

3. The act of challenging the accuracy or authenticity of evidence.


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