Carroll County Times Opinion

Blatchford: Constitution makes clear impeachment not meant for private citizens | COMMENTARY

Let’s start with a shout-out to Patricia B, who wrote me with objections to my most recent column. Patricia, displeased with my responses to the comments of other writers on national subjects, urged “Write something pertaining to Carroll County or the State of Maryland…”

Clearly, she doesn’t care for my thoughts on national issues. I just did a quick survey of Times opinion writers whose views regularly vary with mine. (Insert winky face.) Since my column on Feb. 2, I found six such items. All dealt with national issues. I wondered if Patricia, who clearly is politically positioned somewhere left of me, sent similar advice (to write locally) to the left leaning writers? I’ll take the leap and guess that she did not.


Does Patricia want to silence me on national issues? Could Patricia be making the suggestion as a means of quietly canceling me? I wonder what I say that so bothers them.

Anyway, Patricia (and others with similar thoughts), my last column was largely in response to comments made by some of our more left-leaning columnists. If they can start examining Biden as closely as they still examine Trump, I’ll consider your suggestion. By the way, Patricia, if you write to the other guys, you could remind them that they can lay off Trump. He’s gone now. It’s time to move on and let go. Get over it. Perhaps their intent is to keep our attention turned to Trump and away from Biden. Come on, man!


OK, that was fun. Moving on.

Let’s briefly discuss the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3, Clause 7. By now, anyone not living under a rock surely knows the words “Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States …” Got it.

Now let’s concentrate on three words — “removal from office.” That clearly indicates that some “office” must be occupied. That alone makes the issue moot — even before we consider punishment or even guilt or innocence. The error (by the left) is to even discuss impeaching, let alone trying, Trump.

The fact that Congress even began these proceedings makes me wonder if English is a second language for too many members. I’ve been aware for years that many leftists intentionally misuse words or attempt to twist their meanings. Remember Bill Clinton’s “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Seriously? Yes, he was — and so it began.

What follows are three definitions of “impeachment” found on Google. This list is not cherry-picked. Impeachment is: (1) “To charge with a crime or misdemeanor specifically: to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office.” (Merriam-Webster) (2) “In common law, a proceeding instituted by a legislative body to address serious misconduct by a public official.” (Britannica) (3) “Impeachment is a fundamental constitutional power belonging to Congress. This safeguard against corruption can be initiated against federal officeholders from the lowest cabinet member, all the way up to the president and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.” (The Free Dictionary)

I looked at numerous definitions. Try as I might, I could find not one authority that did not use words such as “a public official,” “a holder of a public office,” “any federal officer,” or “a government official” when addressing the subject of any impeachment. The question is, does Trump meet any of those descriptions? Answer? Not since Jan. 20 he hasn’t. Trump is a private citizen. No private citizen may be impeached. Period.

Regardless of what those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome say or believe, regardless of what they’ll tell you what words mean, impeachment is for office holders. It does not apply to private citizens. Political parties or individuals do not define words. Only history, usage and general acceptance does.

Our own “brilliant” Congressman Jamie Raskin and his crew, likely guided by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have chosen the wrong mechanism. Question: How can they fulfill their oath to uphold the Constitution when they’ve shown they don’t understand it? They can sue Trump in a court of law, but they cannot impeach or try him.


By now, surely everyone knows that Trump is the first president to defeat the opposition in not one, but two impeachment attempts. Not surprising when considering that most of what Raskin and company had to offer was emotion, hearsay and speculation — even contrived evidence.

Rick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy. His column appears every other Tuesday. Contact him at