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The central inquiry for this essay is the proper use of the impeachment tool in foreign relations contexts, including war powers. In Part I, the essay begins with a brief review of British impeachment practice (limited to war and foreign policy concerns) known to the Founding generation and reflected in certain fundamental texts of the Founding; this treatment does not betoken any originalist orientation on my part (au contraire) but will set the context for later developments. Part II then turns to the travails of President Andrew Johnson as seen through the eyes of Walter Bagehot, the author of the classic treatment of the nineteenth-century British Constitution, which remains a cogent starting point for comparisons between parliamentary and presidential systems, including on the issue of removal of the head of government. Finally, after an examination in Part III of aspects of the Nixon impeachment crisis relevant to war and national security and a brief look at why impeachment was not considered for the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan Administration, the essay concludes with some comparative reflections on parliamentary and presidential forms of governance and what such comparisons might portend for constitutional control of war and foreign affairs.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law | Law