A blog posted here back on June 26, 2014 (see “Impeachment Lite”) sketched out Speaker John Boehner’s use of a law suit against President Obama as a means of forestalling a move to impeachment our Commander-in-Chief. Reference was made therein (see footnote #3) to House Republicans convening of a panel of legal experts who advised them on how best to proceed in building their court case, short of impeachment.

Prominent among those called to testify was Jonathon Turley, law professor at Georgetown University. Snippets of what he had to say got their fair share of “play” on the evening news; in particular, his remarks on impeaching Obama. Perhaps because those excerpts may have misled viewers into believing that impeachment was a viable option, Turley has more recently authored an op-ed the contents of which make it abundantly clear as to where he stands on the legal grounds for removing the president from office. His statement is linked in the footnote below (1) and is the “Useful ‘Read’ ” cited in this blog’s title.

In his lengthy remarks, Turley lays out in detail, the Constitutional and legal bases for impeachment. He then proceeds to examine Obama’s behavior vis a vis those criteria as found in our founding document and the law. From there, Turley goes straight away to his conclusion that as of the date of his op-ed, the president has yet to commit what would legally qualify as an impeachable offense.

Given the finality of Turley’s conclusion, one might think that impeachment is definitely off the table. But, he has said nothing of the hyperpartisan political context in which impeachment might still take place. In that regard, there is no question that a larger percentage (57%) of self-identified Republicans believe that Obama should be removed from office. They are joined by 50-odd (2) members of the House Republican Tea Party Caucus who have already openly called for that drastic action.

In contrast, Republicans’ House leadership – notably Speaker Boehner – have flatly stated that there are “no plans” to allow such a movement to go forward. Of course, “plans” do change and so do House Speakers. If Boehner cannot get the Obama-haters under control, he is going to be hard-pressed to stop a movement to impeach. If he stands strong against that “tide”, he can summarily be voted out of the Speaker’s position with the job handed to someone who is more “impeachment friendly”.

The final point to be made here is that Turley’s scholarly conclusion notwithstanding, this matter of impeachment is far from a dead issue. At the very least, watch for it to surface again as a topic that will divide the GOP and quite possibly lead to an all-out intra-party war that will claim some casualties. One might be Speaker Boehner; another, prominent members of the aforementioned Tea Party Caucus.

As recommended in previous blogs – Stay tuned!!!

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1. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-impeach-president-Obama-0805-jm-2014-0805.html

2. Using the word “odd” to refer to the House Tea Party Caucus is mostly assuredly a double entrende.

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