'You've Got Your Crook, I've Got Mine': Why the Disqualification Clause Doesn't (Always) Disqualify
102 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2014 Last revised: 26 Mar 2015
Date Written: 2014
Alcee Hastings was impeached, convicted, and removed from the federal bench. He later ran for Congress, won, and was seated without controversy. But what if the Senate had instead imposed the ultimate political death sentence for a federal officer: "disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States"? Had Hastings been impeached, convicted, AND disqualified, would he still have been able to take his seat in the House? Should he have been able to do so?
This Article argues that, for reasons of history, structure, and institutional practice, the Disqualification Clause should not be read to apply to legislative seats. While an impeached, convicted, and disqualified President, department head, or judge may be disqualified from ever again serving in the executive or judicial branches, he cannot be barred from serving in the House or the Senate after his voters have knowingly pardoned him.
Keywords: constitutional law, disqualification, Alcee Hastings, William Blount, impeachment, John Wilkes, Senate, house, Congress, expulsion, Powell, Mccormack, president, officer, executive
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