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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 18, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The Lethbridge Herald Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, May 18, 1973 Pages 27 to 32 Impeachment awesome, but ill-defined, weapon WILLIAM MILLINSHIP London Observer WASHINGTON Despite the uncovering of a mass of inter- locking political scandals known collectively as "Water- t h e r e is a deep reluc- tance to believe that Congress could use its ultimate weapon against President Nixon im- peachment. But that possibility, unthinkable only a few weeks ago, is now being discussed publicly, and the Library of Congress reports a spate of in- quiries about the conduct of past impeachment proceedings. There is no large body of precedent to refer to. Impeach- ment is the power that Con- gress has used least through history. Proceedings were statted in some 50 cases (33 against federal judges, appoint- ed for life, who cannot be re- moved in any other way) but only 12 reached the trial stage. Two of these dozen cases were dismissed, six resulted in ac- quittal and only four in convic- tions. The four were all judges. Only one of the 36 American presidents who preceded Mr. Nixon was tried on impeach- ment. He was Andrew Johnson, who assumed office when Pres- ident Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. His trial before the Senate opened on March 30, 1868. He was acquitted by a single vote on one charge on May 16 and by an identical vote on a sec- ond charge on May 26. The Sen- ate then voted to adjourn sine die, and the trial came to an abrupt halt. The basic law on impeach- ment is scattered through the first three articles of the Uni- ted States Constitution. This places responsibility for begin- ning impeachment proceedings on the House of Representa- tives, in the role of prosecutor. The initial impeachrrent res- olution may be introduced by an individual member of the House, but in the present cen- tury the tendency has been to act on resolutions from the House Judiciary Committee. A simple majority is enough to pass the resolution to the Sen- ate, which acts as judge and jury in the ease. The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of Senators present for a conviction, and specifies that, when a pres- ident is on trial, the Chief Jus- tice of the Supreme Court must preside. This provision was in- serted to avoid a conflict of in- terest situation, since the nor- mal president of the Senate is the vice president of the Uni- ted States. The only punishment is "re- moval from office, and disquali- fication to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." But, oace impeached, the person is liable to "indictment, trial, judgment and punishment'1 as an ordinary citizen in the nor- mal courts of law. There can be no appeal against an im- peachment conviction. The Constitution is some- what vague about the kind of wrong-doing that would justify impeachment proceedings. Article 2, Section 4 of the Con- stitution says: "The President, Vice-President and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and con- viction of, treason, bribery or other high crimes and mis- demeanors." But it is generally agreed that the interpretation of that section is a poltical rather than a legal matter. An im- peachable offence has been fairly described as "whatever a majority of the House of Rep- resentatives considers it to be a given moment in history." Politics certainly dominated the impeachment of President Johnson. As a Southerner him- self, from North Carolina, he advocated lenient treatment of the Confederate states in the aftermath of the Civil War. The radical Republicans in Con- gress favored repression. In February 1868, Johnson dismissed his secretary of war, Edwin Stan ton, who sympa- thized with radical Republican policies. This action, it was claimed, was a "high crime and misdemeanor" in the terms of the Constitution, since it contravened a law (the Ten- ure of Office Act) passed the previous year, requiring Sen- ate agreement to the removal as well as the appointment of certain Government officials. Nine of the 11 articles of im- peachment passed by the House of Representatives' against Johnson concerned al- leged violations of the Tenure of Office Act. The two other articles sought to impeach him for publicly criticizing the Cos- gress. President Johnson, said Arti- cle 10, "did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach the Congress of the United States and the several branches there- of and did "make and de- liver with a loud voice certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues and did therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces as well against Congress as the law's of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled and within hearing The impeachment was an es- sentially p o 1 i t i cal operation. Johnson was not accused of bribery, graft, nor of complic- ity in such common-law crimes as burglary, perjury or ob- struction of justice. The opera- tion failed, but only just. Thirty-five Senators voted for impeachment, when the two- thirds majority required was thirty-six. But the rules drawn up by the Senate in March 1868 for the trial of President Johnson have remained largely un- changed. Essentially they lay down a procedure that closely follows practice for a criminal trial in court. Both prosecution and defence may present evi- dence and witnesses. The de- fendant has the right to legal counsel and to cross examina- tion of witnesses for the prosecution. On paper, it looks neat, tidy and a reasonable way of going about things. But even the most lethargic imagination must be shaken at the prospect of set- ting this awesome machinery in motion against thejnost pow- erful man in the nuclear-age world who, only a few months ago, won re-election by an his- toric landslide. The consequences not only for the United States but for the world would be incalcul- able. It is a measure of the gravity of the Watergate crisis that such a catastrophe should be considered even remote possibility. Store goes up This bare skeleton of cement blocks is an early in the construction of the largest Safeway store in Leth- bridge, which will be located on the former Hull Block site and adjacent properties. The building will occupy the entire block between 2nd and 3rd Ave. and between 7th and 8th St. S. The store will be completed in mid-September, hopefully in for the store to open in mid-October. beer of Copenhagen POLLUTION: Development threatens Africa By LARRY HEINZERLING LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) Af- rica's drive for development is polluting its waters, eroding its jungles and killing its wld ani- mals. A Ittle zoo in Ghana recently bad to import lions from Eng- lanl. Monkeys have become vic- tims of insecticides. Environmentalists estimate that the population of lions, ze- bras, gazelles, leopards and other animals in East Africa has been reduced to one-tenth of what it was 50 years ago be- cause of poachers' seeking hides and the loss of thousands of acres of wild grazing lands to farmers and land developers Few statistics on pollution in Africa are available. A recent study in Kenya shows that humans in that East African country are retaining residues of three different types of agricultural podson, including DDT. Water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis have plagued many Africans MAGNUS THE TRAPPER. In the Northern Ontario woods, some 45 miles from the nearest town, the only human tracks for miles around are those of a 67-year-old trapper who has lived alone in the wilderness for 40 years. In end Magazine this Saturday, Ernest Hillen writes about Magnus Nyman after going with him on the trapline to find out what the life of a trapper is all about. IN YOUR LETHBRIDGE HERALD WEEKEND MAGAZINE because rivers and ponds are polluted. The possibility of a major oil spill in Nigeria's booming off- shore petroleum fields threatens the coastal swamplands of Af- rea's most populous country. As far as is known, Nigeria only requires petroleum com- panies to "adopt all practical precautions to prevent pollu- tion" and mentions no penal- ties, BEACHES SPOILED West Africa's beaches already are being spoiled by giant ell tankers carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States and Europe via the Cape of Good Hope. The ships' oil tanks are cleaned off the West African coast, disgorging an oily film that hardens into a tar-like sub- stance when it reaches the palm-fringed beaches. In Sierra Leone, the country's major industry of dismfcnd min- ing is leaving scars on the earth as prospectors move from one site to another. Peasant farmers, who make up 80 per cent of black Africa's population, are eroding soil with bush fires, improper rotation of crops and indiscrimnate cut- tng of trees. Officials in Ivory Coast and Gabon, two former French colo- nies, express concern about un- restrained exploitation of their vast timber resources for ex- port. Growing populations across Africa are threatening age-old sanctuaries for wildlife as new towns expand and pavel roads cut across the countryside. Fishing experts in West Af- rica are alarmed at the pace of exploitation of fish beds along the coast. "Eco-catastrophes are much more likely to occur in devel- oping countries than in the in- dustrialized countries that have far more resources to deal with says Maurice F. Strong, the Canadian secretary-general of the United Nations Confer- ence on the Human Environ- ment. AT REGULAR PRICES Now brewed in Alberta Carlsberghas longteen the world's most exported Lager beer. Now Carlsberg, this glorious beer of Copenhagen, is brewed right here in Alberta. And because it's now brewed here, you can enjoy Carlsberg at regular prices. Carlsberg... brewed with all the skill and tradition of Denmark to the taste of Canadian beer drinkers. Discover Carlsberg for yourself. Canadian Breweries Alberta COPENHAGEN city of beautiful i h ff ;