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The Great Recall Debate – the Gop and the Future of Mitt Romney

Updated on February 6, 2020
RJ Schwartz profile image

I'm on the right side of politics and enjoy a good debate on government, the economy, common sense, and the rights of the people.

The impeachment trial of President Trump mercilessly ended on Wednesday, February 5th one day after the President delivered a historic State of the Union address. His acquittal was expected by both members of the two major Parties, as the Republicans were in the majority. Earlier in the proceedings, the possibility of bringing in more witnesses and adding additional days of testimony were hotly debated. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) pressed the issue repeatedly, hoping to sway a small group of Senate Republicans to side with the Democrat demands.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and freshman Senator Willard “Mitt” Romney (R-UT) were the targeted group, based on their historical voting records and stance on the issues. The final vote for witnesses was 51-49, with two Republican senators, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, going against their Party and siding with Democrats. Many pundits expected some Republican Senators would defect, but still felt that the GOP would correctly carry the day.

After the conclusion of the vote, House Managers continued to press for the President to be removed and closed their arguments with a series of inflammatory speeches on the Senate floor. The final votes of the two Articles took place on Wednesday afternoon. The first Article, Abuse of Power, vote came as a shock to many Americans; especially members of the Republican Party, when Senator Romney made history as the first Senator in American history to vote against his Party in an impeachment trial. Romney did vote against the second Article, Obstruction of Congress, and the final vote was 53-47, along Party lines.

The GOP Reacts to Senator Romney's Vote Against the President

The Republican response to Senator Romney’s vote was as expected; anger, frustration, and a call for him to be expelled from the GOP were the most common reactions. In his adopted state of Utah, one state lawmaker has already drafted legislation for him to be recalled. For those not familiar with the term, a recall is a procedure in which voters can remove a previously elected official from office by using the power of the ballot box. It has been used sparingly over time but only within the boundaries of state contests. Most of the recall elections were for lower level elected officials such as mayors or state representatives, but in a few instances it went as high as recalling a state governor. Since Senators and Congress members are considered Federal positions, the laws of individual states were not sufficient to recall a sitting House member.

Recall Elections on the Federal Level

The United States Constitution does not have a mechanism in place for the recall or removal of a member of Congress. The concept had been debated from the earliest beginnings of the United States, dating back to the laws of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. It was again looked at during the American Revolution, with the Articles of Confederation stipulating that state legislatures might recall delegates from the Continental Congress, but the power was never exercised. During the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, a proposal was presented to tie recall with rotation in office and to apply these dual principles to the lower house of the national legislature. The recall proposal was rejected by the Constitutional Convention. Furthermore, several states proposed adopting a recall for US senators in the years immediately following the adoption of the Constitution. However, it did not pass.

Despite the lack of legislation at the Federal level, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to recall House members. In 1967, Frank Church, a Senator from Idaho was subjected to a possible recall that was heavily influenced by the Victory in Vietnam committee. Opposition to this recall was strong from both Parties in the state and it ended up in the court system, which set precedent by stating that Federal officials were not subjected to state recall laws. It happened again in 2009, when Joseph Cao U.S. representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, was determined to be not subject to recall because of his status as a Federal office holder.

Former Idaho Senator, Frank Church
Former Idaho Senator, Frank Church

Expulsion by the Legislative Bodies

Based on precedent and the lack of direct legislation, Senators and Congress members seem to be insulated from recall. Even though regular citizens cannot recall a member of Congress through the ballot box, both the Senate and the House can expel members with at least two-thirds of the members supporting it by vote. There does not need to be a reason for expulsion, and throughout time it has been used sparingly to expel members who have committed criminal acts, abuse of power, or crimes deemed detrimental to the United States in general. In our nation’s history, only twenty members of Congress have been expelled.

To date, only five members of Congress have been expelled. Three were expelled in 1861 for “taking up arms against the United States” in their role in the American Civil War. Democrat Michael Meyers of Pennsylvania was expelled in 1980 after being convicted of bribery and Democrat James Traficant of Ohio was expelled for a lengthy list of criminal activities. Likewise, fourteen members of the Senate were expelled during the Civil War for supporting the Confederacy and taking up arms against the United States. The remaining Senator to be expelled came in 1797, when William Blount (TN) was expelled for treason.

Conclusion

The current system leaves many Americans feeling helpless, especially when it comes to elected Senators. House members serve much smaller, two-year terms, and those who go against the wishes of their constituents usually are voted out in the following election cycle. Senators on the other hand, present a larger problem for voters as they are elected for six year terms. In the case of Senator Romney, he was just put into office in 2018 by the voters of Utah and will be in office until 2024. The Party is considering other options at the moment, such as expelling him from the Party, but unless he’s convicted of a crime, it’s highly likely he will be around until his term ends.

© 2020 Ralph Schwartz

Comments

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  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    I have no idea why “ in the America’s way.“ appeared there. I don’t even remember what I could have typed to trigger that correction lol.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    Sure they use people and discard them. This is a tactic that the Democrats use. They will go out and purposely find disabled people, they will make of them prominent political figures, and when they do that they are converting them into a political figure like Greta Thunberg.

    They not only use people they use issues in the America’s way. Causes they champion are nothing but a ruse to achieve hidden agendas.

  • RJ Schwartz profile imageAUTHOR

    Ralph Schwartz 

    16 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Seems like a lot of Democrats who hated on Romney the entire time he was running against Mr. Obama - now they love him. Bolton is getting the same treatment. Democrats use people and then discard them.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    AB Simple Denial, let him cope!

  • abwilliams profile image

    A B Williams 

    16 months ago from Central Florida

    Really Randy, "only Republican to vote his conscience"?Romney has been hating on Trump, with the rest of you, since Trump's escalator ride!

    Trump is that new kid in class who got the project done, on time and received a perfect score, while the rest of the class complained; there wasn't enough time, it was too difficult, the dog ate it....you know, the feet dragging, excuse makers!

    Ya'll were also equally hating on Romney when he had his pathetic run against Obama. Now he is the man?

    Ya'll deserve each other.

    You can have him!

  • Ken Burgess profile image

    Ken Burgess 

    16 months ago from Florida

    We will never really know Randy, the House Democrats sent to the Senate an incomplete, unsupported, Impeachment.

    The Senators who voted for acquittal did what should have been done.

    It was up to the House to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

    They did not.

    Its that simple.

  • Randy Godwin profile image

    Randy Godwin 

    16 months ago from Southern Georgia

    Sadly, Romney was the only Republican to vote his conscience. The rest of them are terrified of the cretin.

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Suzie 

    16 months ago from Carson City

    I have always had a huge aversion to Romney and everything about him. He's very phony and deceitful and simply "USES" his bullcrap about being "deeply religious" as a damned cover for his evil nature.

    Do not like him never did, never will and I certainly wouldn't trust him. He's proven himself a TRAITOR. Have no use for him!

  • Ken Burgess profile image

    Ken Burgess 

    16 months ago from Florida

    Sadly Romney has picked the wrong time, and the wrong opponent to get down and dirty to try and win his battles.

    He should have been more willing to get into the mix back in 2012... it might have made a difference.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    I thought the same thing. What he said:

    “As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise ‘impartial justice,'”

    “I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.”

    implied, no, actually means that everyone who took that oath and voted to acquit was not impartial and cannot be profoundly religious while being oblivious to the consequences of taking an oath before God!

    This is nothing but self righteous condemnation of everyone who voted to acquit! Not just them but of all the electorate who sees this for what it is, a sham.

    He might as well have said anyone who supports Trump is going to hell!

    While only God knows who is actually going to hell I guarantee you Mormon Mitt will not become a god and create his own planet when he dies which begs the question, before which “god” did he take that oath?

  • abwilliams profile image

    A B Williams 

    16 months ago from Central Florida

    When Romney made his speech about his faith, his oath and having to vote guilty on impeachment, I turned to my husband and said, what is he saying about everyone else? They aren't as woke as him? Their faith is lacking? Only he understands the struggle?

    He would have been better off to vote guilty and not say another word, because we all know....he is STILL very bitter!

  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    Romney, whose NeverTrump attitude is now affecting his work as a senator, even had his invitation to speak at the massive conservative Conservative Political Action Conference pulled.

    https://www.westernjournal.com/cpac-pulls-romneys-...

  • tsadjatko profile image

    The Logician 

    16 months ago from now on

    I think it’s very easy to get rid of Romney. Just keep reminding people of what a hypocrite he was praising Trump to get his money and then this

    https://youtu.be/PpZGR_eTbAI

    Which shows he’ll say anything to get a political advantage and how dead wrong he is about everything. Humiliate him with his own record. He is a spineless wimp who doesn’t have the guts that Trump has to withstand ridicule.

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