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Move To Impeach Hillary Raises Difficult Constitutional Questions

News Nots Written by Timons Esaias


Once various Congressional investigations finally uncover whatever heinous and despicable crimes Hillary Clinton has committed, impeachment hearings are inevitable. Legal scholars admit that this will bring the country into some uncertain Constitutional ground.

"There isn't any specific provision in the Constitution regarding the impeachment of First Ladies," explains Dr. Jesu Mi, an attorney and a research fellow at the Pinkocrusher Institute, a noted Washington think tank. "Rather, there is an over-arching penumbra throughout the document that clearly assumes it. The penumbra is a little hazy on some of the procedural details, though."

Dr. Mi says that most scholars agree that the procedures will probably mirror those used in impeaching the President or a Federal jurist. "This would mean that the House would impeach and the Senate would hear the case and vote, with the Chief Justice on the bench. Some of those close to the Speaker are of the opinion that impeachment and trial can both be carried out by a committee of House Committee Chairmen meeting under the direction of the Majority Whip, but this is generally thought to be somewhat irregular."

Legally, the First Lady can only be impeached for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", but observers note that the enormous sums that Congress and the Whitewater special prosecutor have spent investigating Hillary can only indicate crimes of the most vile, most disgusting, most horrible sort. "It has to be worse than murder because they've spent more than was spent on the O.J. trial," noted one acutely crapulent journalist. "It has to be worse than treason because it's gotten far more attention than Irangate. I tremble to think what it must be."

That being the case, it can be assumed that Hillary Rodham Clinton will soon be our ex-First Lady. But this raises a more important question: who succeeds a First Lady in the case of her removal? "History doesn't give us a clear guideline here," Mi explains. "Because previously when the First Lady died in office the post was left vacant unless the President chose to remarry. That was before the ratification of the XXV Amendment in 1967, though, which made significant changes in the procedures for Presidential succession. We haven't lost a First Lady since then, so the problem hasn't come up."

Supporters of Paula Jones immediately assumed that she would be considered the heiress apparent, but a close look at her testimony indicates that, "Ms Jones was merely offered a suggestion, which she declined; thereby losing all chance of qualifying as a First Lady-in- Waiting." Her lawyers have nonetheless added "loss of possible prestige" to their list of damages in her sexual harrassment suit.

Many experts insist that Jennifer Flowers may have the most obvious claim to the Ladyship, but though she published a book she has failed to make the "kind of legal representation that would establish her position."

Strict constructionist interpreters of the Constitution lean toward the position that the Vice President's wife, Tipper Gore, must become First Lady once Hillary is deposed. "But having the first Rock & Roll President tied to Miss Music Censorship just won't work," said a spokesman for the CD/industrial complex. "It's just too ironic to even be considered."

Congress has already foreseen the problem, and several versions of a Presidential Spouse Succession Act of 1996 are circulating in committee. Phil Gramm has proposed one which his aides indicate "would allow the appointment of a prominent feminine figure, like Cindy Crawford, Heather Locklear or Pamela Lee." But Congressional factions are decisive about the matter. It seems that some Congresspersons will not support such a bill if they aren't guaranteed a Gloria Estefan First Ladyship, while the Christian Right is holding out for Amy Grant.

And there's always the problem of a Presidential veto if Clinton doesn't like the way the Succession Act is set up.

Of course there's still the off chance that Hillary will manage to ride out the storm, though her chances aren't very impressive.


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