I got this on sale and it turned out to be better than I thought it would. I suppose I got it because of my interest in the case of our current president, but it really goes much deeper into the legal aspects and opinions of what the Constitution actually says and why, as well as briefly framing the historical context. It’s so worth thinking about and I enjoyed it immensely.
Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide
by Cass R. Sunstein
2019 / 286 pages
read by Joe Barrett – 4 h 33m
rating – 8 / US history / law
both read and listened
The thrust of the narrative as a whole, is not whether or not Donald Trump should be impeached, but to show various aspects of other impeachments like those of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and some presidents who were not actually impeached by the House of Representatives. What constitutes an impeachable offense? That’s more complicated than it sounds.
Relatedly, what does “high crimes and misdemeanors” mean? Yes, there is a reason those words were used. And what about the phrase, “unable to discharge the powers and duties” phrase in the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. This book answers lots of questions but not whether or not Mr Trump should be impeached.
For such a slim volume, only 286 pages, it’s well researched, highly informative, nicely readable. And it’s neither “about Trump” nor boring and grimly told.
Cass Robert SunsteinFBA (born September 21, 1954) is an American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and law and behavioral economics, who was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012. Earlier, as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School for 27 years, he wrote influential works on among other topics, regulatory and constitutional law. Since leaving the White House, Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School.
“With insight, wisdom, affection, and concern, Sunstein has written the story of impeachment every citizen needs to know. This is a remarkable, essential book.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Sunstein’s goal was to lay out a legal and historical framework for thinking about impeachment, independent of any specific president. I’ve been thinking about the topic a lot since finishing the book, and I want to recommend [it]… [It’s a] careful history of impeachment—of when the founders believed it was appropriate and necessary.”—David Leonhardt, The New York Times