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âSunstein has written the story of impeachment every citizen needs to know. This is a remarkable, essential book.ââDoris Kearns Goodwin
As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the publicâs responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that dutyâa route rarely traveledâis impeachment.
Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizenâs guide to an essential tool of self-government. He illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the peopleâs role in holding presidents accountable. Despite intense interest in the subject, impeachment is widely misunderstood. Sunstein identifies and corrects a number of misconceptions. For example, he shows that the Constitution, not the House of Representatives, establishes grounds for impeachment, and that the president can be impeached for abuses of power that do not violate the law. Even neglect of duty counts among the âhigh crimes and misdemeanorsâ delineated in the republicâs foundational document. Sunstein describes how impeachment helps make sense of our constitutional order, particularly the framersâ controversial decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings.
With an eye toward the past and the future, Impeachment: A Citizenâs Guide considers a host of actual and imaginable arguments for a presidentâs removal, explaining why some cases are easy and others hard, why some arguments for impeachment have been judicious and others not. In direct and approachable terms, it dispels the fog surrounding impeachment so that Americans of all political convictions may use their ultimate civic authority wisely.
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