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Los Angeles Moves to Forefront of National Impeachment Movement

by twirl Wednesday, Jul. 04, 2007 at 2:07 AM

Leaders of the Westside Greens, the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Greens, and the Santa Monica Democratic Club have established the Impeachment Center to provide a facility for phonebanking, letterwriting, and the distribution of lawn signs, bumper stickers and a full range of impeachment action items and related literature.

Published on (


By Stephen Rohde and Peter Thottam, Daily Journal

Stephen Rohde is a constitutional lawyer and author of American Words of Freedom and Freedom of Assembly. Peter Thottam is an attorney and peace activist, 2006 Green Party candidate for CA Assembly, who works closely with the Green Party and Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

As our nation celebrates the Fourth of July, many Americans are asking whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have committed "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," justifying their impeachment and removal from office

Have Bush and Cheney abused their powers of office by using information they knew to be false as justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq; condoning and authorizing the torture of prisoners of war and rendering detainees to foreign countries know to torture; maintaining secret prisons and other detention facilities in violation of the Geneva Conventions; authorizing warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens; disclosing the name of an undercover CIA operative contrary to law in retaliation for her husband's opposition to the Iraq War; and suspending and denying the historic Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention of so-called "enemy combatants" without charge and without access to legal counsel?

In the history of the United States, two presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, and Richard Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment. No President has (yet) been removed from office. The process of impeachment is secured by the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 4, provides that "the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Removing an official from office requires two steps: a formal accusation, or impeachment, approved by a simple majority in the House of Representatives, and a trial and conviction by two-thirds in the Senate. Nothing in the Constitution prevents a President and Vice President from being impeached and removed from office in the same proceeding, in which case the Speaker of the House would become President.

In 1974, Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan gripped the country during the Nixon impeachment hearings when she declared "My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."

Today, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who voted to impeach Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, publicly supports the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. "President Bush has committed a great many grave and dangerous offenses, and subverted the Constitution. The evidence is clear and strong. Congress cannot shirk its responsibility to protect the nation from tyranny."

Last April, a group of prominent Americans gathered at the U.S. Capitol to speak in support of beginning impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney. Among them were Mayors Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City and Mayor John Shields of Nyack, NY; state legislators including Washington State Senator Eric Oemig; city council members, including Dave Meserve of Arcata, CA; and former government officials, including Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers; David MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, a career diplomat who quit in protest the day the war began.

Also participating were authors, journalists, poets, and playwrights, including Chris Hedges, Justin Frank, Mark Kurlansky, John Nichols, David Lindorff, Gerald Stern, and Ann Marie Macari; actors, producers, and photographers , including Eunice Wong, and Kathy Chalfant, leading anti-war voices, including Andy Shallal, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Richards, Medea Benjamin, Bob Fertik, David Swanson, Debra Sweet, Kevin Zeese, Michael Berg, Carlos Arredondo, and Elaine Brower.

Eight members of the House of Representatives are actively calling for Bush's impeachment with growing Democratic and Republican support. The Vermont Senate adopted an Impeachment Resolution and similar resolutions are pending in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. At least 22 statewide and national political committees and 80 cities and towns around the country have passed resolutions supporting impeachment.

The Los Angeles movement to impeach Bush and Cheney is quickly gathering steam. Public sentiment for impeachment is becoming more vocal and organized. On Wednesday morning July 4th, Los Angeles will witness a major step in the growing national impeachment movement with Congresswoman Maxine Waters delivering the inaugural address opening the new Los Angeles Impeachment Center ( [1]) , together with former Democratic State Assemblyman Paul Koretz and Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

Leaders of the Westside Greens, the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Greens, and the Santa Monica Democratic Club have established the Impeachment Center to provide a facility for phonebanking, letterwriting, and the distribution of lawn signs, bumper stickers and a full range of impeachment action items and related literature.

The Center will also serve as an organizing center for volunteers to plan lobbying sessions with local politicians. Five members of the powerful House Judiciary Committee are from Los Angeles including Maxine Waters, Howard Berman Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman and Linda Sanchez. The Center will focus on urging the cities of Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles to adopt resolutions supporting the convening of public hearings into impeachment.

Accordingly to Alexander Hamilton, impeachable offenses arose "from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated Political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to society itself."

As we celebrate Independence Day, we need to mourn how far our country has strayed from its founding principles if the people themselves fail to take action to remove from office leaders who have so arrogantly abused their powers, failed to fulfill their duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and have willfully violated their oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."


Stephen Rohde is a constitutional lawyer and author of American Words of Freedom and Freedom of Assembly. Peter Thottam is an attorney and peace activist who works closely with the Green Party and Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles.

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