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  • Sydney Umstead

Beyond the Dome: Impending impeachment case

By: Sydney Umstead, News Editor 


Following the articles of impeachment charged against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary, the Senate leader hopes to close the impeachment case swiftly. 


The New York Times wrote that House majority leader and Senator Chuck Schumer is allegedly “aiming for quick action, beginning on Feb. 28, the day the House is expected to deliver the charges, that could be over in just a couple of days.” Some feel that impeachment is necessary and accuse Mayorkas of “refusing to enforce immigration laws and breaching the public trust regarding the state of the U.S. border with Mexico,” which declares “President Biden’s immigration policies a constitutional crime.” 


The Times reported that the House “narrowly approved” the articles of impeachment. Many senators are “betting that there is enough Democratic anger and Republican exasperation at the precedent-breaking nature of the charges.” This could mean an opportunity to “swiftly exonerate him, either by throwing out the charges entirely or by moving to bring the proceedings to an early close.” 


While the House has two weeks to deliver the articles, “a trial of some sort, with senators sworn in as jurors, is unavoidable once the articles are delivered,” given that the Constitution states that “Senate must consider impeachment charges approved by the House.” However, “House Republicans have clamored for a full trial.” 


It is notable that only one other cabinet secretary has previously been impeached. Secretary William Belknap “resigned before the House approved the charges against him in 1876, [and he] was also acquitted.” By today's standards, there is a chance “for any senator to move to dismiss the charges and a simple-majority threshold for doing so.” In recent cases, such as Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, “Senator Robert C. Byrd filed such a motion right after the prosecutors and the defense presented their evidence.” The motion was “defeated mostly along party lines, and the trial lasted a total of about five weeks before Mr. Clinton was acquitted.” 


In the case against Mayorkas, “such a motion would be all but certain to succeed, given that Democrats would be highly likely to hold together to push it through.”


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