Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment: Defining the Processes
What is a constitutional crisis? How does the process of impeachment work? The U.S. Constitution was designed with a system of checks and balances to share power among the president, Congress, and the courts, as well as between the federal government and states. Although rare, the most serious constitutional crises happen when our foundational democratic institutions are rendered ineffectual and, in some cases, perceived as illegitimate.
Impeachment, on the other hand, is when a legislative body decides to charge a government official with a crime. It is very similar to an indictment in our criminal law system. The Constitution states that a president can be impeached for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." According to Article One of the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives has the right to impeach a president, and the Senate has the right to try impeachment cases and remove the president from office. The Senate's vote is final. Help your students understand the processes, ramifications and history of this legislative process in the United States in this curated collection of impeachment lesson plans. Explore a sample of what we offer below:
Constitutional Crisis and Understanding History
Historically, the United States House has only impeached three presidents, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump; however, no presidents have been removed from office by the Senate. Learn more about the history of impeachment and how the process works with Classroom Lawand the video below.