THE BLOG

What Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairs Said About the Importance of Impeaching President Clinton

12/13/2006 01:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Republican Representative from Illinois, Henry Hyde, who had been the chair of the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton said: "We fulfilled our oath of office to discharge our duty according to the Constitution and when elected officials do that, democracy works." Hyde also intoned as the final inquiry into Clinton's affairs commenced: "Have you seen Auschwitz? Do you see what happens when the rule of law doesn't prevail? Lying poisons justice." Hyde also concluded at the end of Clinton's impeachment trial: "I wonder if, after this culture war is over, this one we are engaged in, an America will survive that is worth fighting for to defend."

The Republican Representative from Wisconsin, James Sensenbrenner, Jr., who most recently chaired the House Judiciary Committee in the Republican-dominated Congress, and will now be its ranking member, said of the necessity of impeaching President Clinton: "What's at stake here is the rule of law. Even the president of the United States has no right to break the law. If the House votes down this inquiry . . . nothing will happen. The result will be a return to the imperial presidency of the Nixon era, where the White House felt the laws did not apply to them, since they never would be punished. That would be a national tragedy of immense consequences."

To avoid another "national tragedy with immense consequences," the incoming Judiciary Committee chair, the Democratic Representative from Michigan, John Conyers, should immediately begin the preliminary moves toward the possible impeachment of President George W. Bush. The out-going Representative from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney, who in her farewell address on the House floor called for impeaching Bush is only following in the footsteps of her Republican counterparts, such as Hyde, Sensenbrenner, Lyndsey Graham, Trent Lott, and others, in wishing to ensure that the rule of law continues to protect the American people from potential abuses by the Chief Executive. The Democrats must step up and become as vigilant against the abuse of Executive Power as were their Republican colleagues.