Comparing Impeachment Regimes

42 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 21 Oct 2020

Date Written: September 24, 2019


Impeachment, whether of presidents, judges, or other government officials, is increasingly common in political systems around the world, most importantly in presidential systems, where it can be used to remove heads of state who otherwise serve fixed terms. Despite this existence of a common and important legal tool in many jurisdictions, comparative scholarship on impeachment is rare, especially by legal scholars. This article responds to that scarcity by offering a methodological approach upon which future comparative impeachment scholarship can draw. The approach addresses many of the legal and political issues that impeachment raises, and incorporates insights from both law and political science, based on a belief that impeachment cannot be fully understood through either a purely legal or purely political lens. In order to construct this approach, this article draws on characteristics of the impeachment regimes of the United States and the Republic of Korea, which differ along several important dimensions, and can thus be used to highlight different approaches to common issues. The goal is to demonstrate the value of comparative impeachment scholarship to those who seek to understand impeachment more deeply, whether as scholars or as citizens.

Keywords: Impeachment, President, Constitution, Congress, Politics, Comparative Law, United States, Korea

JEL Classification: k1, k3, k4

Suggested Citation

Ohnesorge, John Karl Murat, Comparing Impeachment Regimes (September 24, 2019). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1468, Available at SSRN: or

John Karl Murat Ohnesorge (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-263-7603 (Phone)


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