There is no rule that prevents a United States senator from being impeached. While the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach, the impeachment process can be initiated by non-members or public petitions.
This is a procedure that the public has failed to exercise. Perhaps that is why Senator McConnell and other senators feel they are un-touchable and have failed to engage in their constitutional duties consistent with their public trust. Senator McConnell has stated the people should have a voice in the next appointment to the Supreme Court. He has dismissed the results of the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections. Since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 up to 2015, Senator McConnell and colleagues have attempted to nullify the voice of the American people by delegitimizing his presidency. Now, Senator McConnell and others have steadfastly refuse to consider the recent nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. He has reasoned that the people need to have a voice in the selection and should wait until the next president is elected. To justify his position, McConnell has cited the Biden rule. Even if there such a ruled existed, and it does not, it would not supersede Article II, Section 2. The role of the Senate is to provide advice and consent, not to obstruct presidential appointments.
McConnell and colleagues have never believed the elections of 2008 and 2012 represented the voice of the people because they elected Barack Obama President of the United States. For obvious politically reasons, they feel the election 2016 will be more representative of the voice of the people. Because he thinks he and his colleagues are untouchable and unaccountable to the American people, Senator McConnell and colleagues have dismissed the nomination to the Supreme Court of Chief Judge Garland by President Barack Obama as unacceptable because a political process is taking place and the appointment to the Court should be postponed until results are in from election of 2016. Important issues before the Supreme Court should not be deferred. A Gallup poll showed the Congress has a 16 percent approval rating. In the private and public sections, such a low rating for performance would not be rewarded. However, Senators reward themselves with extended vacations, short work weeks and collect full pay under the false pretense of working for the people. Perhaps, Senator McConnell and others should agree to not receive a salary for the next eleven months since they have refused to exercise their constitutional responsibilities.
More importantly, it is time for the American public to speak through the impeachment process. While only the House of Representatives has the exclusive power of impeachment, there is no rule to prevent a senator from being impeached. Historically, only one senator has been impeached, William Blount in 1798. Here is an interesting fact about the impeachment procedure, if the House fails to take action against a public official, we the people have the right to petition Congress to take action.
The right to petition is one of the fundamental guarantees of the 1st Amendment. The United States Senate is for the American people and each Senator should be held accountable for his or her actions. A justifiable case can be argued for the impeachment of Senator McConnell and colleagues since they have violated the public trust of the American people. If the American people petition the House to impeach McConnell and colleagues, it would be the constitutional obligation of the House of Representatives to respond to the will of the people. It is time for the American people to make McConnell and colleagues accountable through the impeachment process.
W. Sherman Jackson, Ph. D.
American Constitutional History and Law