Impeachment of public officials is one of the most important ways to hold them accountable. The possibility of impeachment forces the officials to stay on the right path and follow all the rules, which is the most critical thing in a democracy.
When corrupt politicians, public officials, bureaucrats, and military officials are subject to impeachment, they perform their duties responsibly, which protects democracy. Furthermore, impeachment is the most basic form of accountability for these officials, ensuring that high-level officials are treated in accordance with the rule of law.
Apart from that, abuse of power, such as a judge taking a bribe, takes away the necessary balance of power, and the fairness of our judiciary is critical for what we call “democracy,” so impeachment is the only way to bring them under justice.
When public officials have a fear of impeachment, they do their jobs as described by the law, which protects democratic institutions and hence democracy. Fear of impeachment also encourages corrupt officials to course-correct or be ready to leave their offices. But impeachment can also be used as a political tool, which should be avoided.
How can the fear of impeachment create deterrence in corrupt public officials?
The fear of impeachment can create deterrence in corrupt public officials by making them realize that they are not immune to punishment for their actions. Furthermore, the threat of impeachment can help to ensure that these officials are held accountable for their actions and that they follow the rules set forth by the government.
Doing so helps to protect democracy and ensures that the rights of the people are stable and guaranteed. In addition, the fear of impeachment can also help to prevent the abuse of power by these officials. When officials know that they can be impeached for their actions, they are less likely to engage in activities that would abuse their power.
Therefore, impeachment is an important tool to protect democracy and ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions.
Impeachment is not applicable to presidents only. In fact, all public officials in the United States can be impeached for bribery, misdemeanor, and other high treason crimes, to be determined by Congress.
When a public official knows that he or she can be impeached for misconduct, it acts as a deterrent against engaging in any actions that could potentially be construed as illegal or unethical. The threat of impeachment can help to keep public officials honest and prevent them from abusing their power.
Impeachment Can Reduce Corruption and Save Democracy
Corruption among public officials is a serious problem in any democracy. When public officials are corrupt, it leads to impunity, which undermines the rule of law and democracy.
In addition, corruption can also lead to human rights abuses and long-term systematic flaws. So, corrupt officials should be held accountable for their actions through impeachment. This will reduce corruption in public institutions.
Need for Impeachment in Democracy
There are five key features of any democracy:
- Free elections
- Participation of people in the public life
- Human rights protection
- Rule of Law
- Working of democratic institutions
These features are essential to ensure that democracy works properly and is able to protect the rights of all citizens.
As a matter of fact, democracy is only as good as the people who are serving in different democratic institutions.
For example, all federal and state government agencies are led by public officials. As long as those public officials are doing their jobs well, they will serve the best interests of the masses. But when these people are derelict in their duties, they end up maligning democratic institutions.
Eventually, democracy suffers under the nose of incompetent people who can’t do their jobs well. In such a case, impeaching those officials is the only option that could save the democratic institutions and hence the democracy in the country.
How can impeachment of public officials protect the rule of law?
When public officials break the law, they threaten the very foundation of democracy. The rule of law is what ensures that everyone is equal before the law and that no one is above it. When public officials flout the law, they undermine this fundamental principle and erode trust in government.
Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism for holding public officials accountable for their actions. By removing public officials who have committed serious crimes from office, impeachment can help preserve the rule of law and protect democracy.
What would happen if public officials remained unchecked in their duties?
Certainly, there would be abuses of power. The officials might make decisions that benefit themselves instead of the people they are supposed to serve. They might line their pockets with public money. They might use their position to give an unfair advantage to their friends and allies.
But if public officials know that they can be impeached for such misconduct, it serves as a check on their power. It helps to preserve democracy because it ensures that officials are accountable to the people.
Impeachment and Accountability
Impeachment can also preserve democracy by ensuring that those who hold public office are accountable to the people they serve. When public officials know that they can be removed from office if they violate the trust of the people, they are more likely to act in the best interests of the country. Impeachment can help to ensure that public officials are accountable to the people and act in ways that protect democracy.
Does Impeachment Always Save Democracy?
But impeachment is not always used to preserve democracy. Most often, impeachment also becomes a political tool, so political parties use it against their rivals. For example, consider the case of the United States, where impeachment has to be done by the state legislature or US Congress, as defined by the type of the case.
But these legislatures are occupied by politicians, who mostly vote along partisan lines in any impeachment trial. Even if the impeachment is successful, the conviction of the accused people typically requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which is even more difficult in the United States.
For instance, Donald Trump was impeached twice, but he was not convicted even once, which helped him in occupying the office. Obviously, he had political ties in Congress, which enabled him to avoid the Senate conviction.
Public officials subject to impeachment proceedings may be more likely to follow the law as they know that they can be held accountable for their actions. Impeachment can also help to ensure that democracy is preserved, as it allows for the removal of officials who are not acting in the best interests of the people. Additionally, impeachment can serve as a warning to other public officials, reminding them that they are accountable to the people.
Constitutional violations by military officials should be impeachable to save democracy
While military officials cannot be impeached in the US through Congress, there are many countries where this is a possibility, and for a good reason.
See this case, for instance.
When military officials engage in activities that violate the Constitution, it can lead to their impeachment. This is because these activities undermine the rule of law and democracy. In addition, when military officials abuse their power, it can lead to serious human rights abuses.
Military officials can violate the Constitution in a number of ways, such as engaging in activities that are unconstitutional, abusing their power, and violating the human rights of civilians. When military officials engage in unconstitutional activities, it undermines the rule of law and democracy.
Therefore, it is important to hold these officials accountable for their actions through impeachment. By doing so, it helps to protect democracy and ensure that the rights of the people are protected.
The engagement of the military in politics is also an unconstitutional act in most countries. But in the countries where these officials are saved from impeachment, they end up involved in political activities. Military rules end up in a dictatorship, which is the antithesis of democracy. But when military officials know that they can be impeached, they are unlikely to engage in political activities, which saves democracy.
How do presidents break laws, and how can impeachment hold them accountable?
There are a number of ways in which presidents can break laws. One way is by using their executive power to issue executive orders that circumvent Congress or the will of the people. Another way is through signing statements, in which a president can declare that they do not intend to follow certain laws.
Additionally, presidents can use their foreign policy powers to skirt domestic law, as happened in the Iran-Contra scandal under President Reagan. The abuse of power that occurred in the Watergate scandal or the propagation of violence in the January 6 attacks are other examples.
This is where impeachment comes into play, as it helps Congress to hold them accountable.
If presidents are not impeached for abusing their powers, this is a sheer abuse of democracy which is equivalent to one-man rule in the country.
While impeachment is a powerful tool, it should only be used in cases of clear wrongdoing. Impeaching a public official should never be seen as a political vendetta or an attempt to settle the scores. This way, incompetent officials will be purged from public institutions.
Eli is a Political Data Scientist with over thirty years of experience in Data Engineering, Analytics, and Digital Marketing. Eli uses his expertise to give the latest information and distinctive analysis on US Political News, US Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Racial Justice equipping readers with the inequivalent knowledge.