Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Rendered Himself Obnoxious

History furnishes one example only of a first Magistrate being formally brought to public Justice.  Every body cried out against this as unconstitutional.  What was the practice before this in cases where the chief Magistrate rendered himself obnoxious?  Why recourse was had to assassination in which he was not only deprived of his life but of the opportunity of vindicating his character.  It would be the best way therefore to provide in the Constitution for the regular punishment of the Executive when his misconduct should deserve it, and for his honorable acquittal when he should be unjustly accused.

-- Benjamin Franklin, arguing in favor of an impeachment clause, Record of the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787, at 65, edited by Max Farrand (h/t John Dickerson)

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