Impeachment-Course of Proceeding

February 25, 1868


Following Johnson's impeachment, the Chief Justice will manage the impeachment trial. Luckily for Johnson if he is convicted his only punishment will be removal from office and further disqualification. Since no previous President has been impeached this process will be new to everyone involved.


Impeachment-Course of Proceeding. The House of Representatives having on yesterday passed a resolution impeaching the President of the United States of high crimes and misdemeanors, the public will naturally wish to have their recollections refreshed as to the mode of proceeding in the Senate. The Chief Justice of the United States will preside upon the trial, just as in the British House of Lords the Lord Chancellor of England presides upon similar occasions. All the senators are required to take an oath (or to affirm) that they will "well and truly try and true deliverance make," &c. The case will be conducted on the part of the prosecution by managers to be appointed by the House of Representatives, and on the part of the President by counsel of his own choosing. Mr. Stanberry, Mr. O'Conor, and Judge Black, are said to have been engaged by the President. The House of Representatives will select as many managers as it pleases, and will probably, as a compliment, select Mr. Stevens as their chief manager. The number will probably be less than half a dozen. The Constitution provides that punishment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the Government. It requires the concurrence of two thirds of the senators present to do even this. It has been asked whether Senator Edmunds bill to suspend the President during the trial has been passed. It has not, and cannot now, since the President has the right to keep the bill in his possession ten days before returning it. But the Senate sits as a court, and may as a court make some order which will virtually suspend the President during trial. The Senate deliberates with closed doors, but the judgment is given with open doors. In the last impeachment case-that of Judge Peck, of Missouri,-Mr. Buchanan was the chief manager on the part of the House of Representatives. No President of the United States has ever before been impeached, and therefore the Chief Justice has never before presided over the Senate, since he does so only in such case. It may require weeks or months to complete the trial. All depends upon the temper of the Senate.
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Mallory Haskins




“Impeachment-Course of Proceeding,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 24, 2022,