An Historical-Legal Analysis of the Impeachments of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and William Clinton

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Nominated for the Law and Society Association's 2011 James Willard Hurst Prize
A first time legal analysis of three Presidential impeachments: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and William Clinton. Leibowitz makes the case that the impeachment process is divisive to the cohesion of the United States. Leibowitz provides an historical analysis of the processes used by Congress during all three impeachments and presents a biographical sketch for each individual president in order to illustrate how they reached the presidency and how the attainment of that goal influenced their relationship with the public and Congress during the impeachment process. Leibowitz concludes by arguing that congressional censure may be a better option than impeachment.


“In this groundbreaking book, Mr. Leibowitz argues that presidential impeachments have exacted a very high price on the nation in divisiveness and distraction, and have done little good … Mr. Leibowitz has provided a comprehensive discussion of these difficult issues which deserves wide and careful attention.” – Prof. Herman Schwartz, American University

“The result is an acute and entertaining critique of impeachment process, and a persuasive argument that censure of erring presidents can be more just and less damaging to the country.” – Prof. Robert F. Rogers, University of Guam

Table of Contents





Chapter 1. Andrew Johnson

War's End: The Mood of the Country

Accession of Johnson

Johnson's Background and Political Rise

The Selection of Andrew Johnson as Vice President

The Lincoln Vision

States Rights and Slavery

Right of Secession

Abolition as a Union Goal

The Thirteenth Amendment Abolishing Slavery

Reconstruction: The Lincoln View

Reconstruction: The Radical Republican View

Reconstruction: The Johnson View

The Freedmen's Bureau

Congressional Action

Revocation of the Black Codes; Military Governance

Expansion of the Freedmen's Bureau

Civil Rights Act

The Fourteenth Amendment

Military Reconstruction

Congress v. President

The Tenure of Office Act

The Initial Impeachment Motions

The Johnson Dismissal of Secretary of War Stanton

The Impeachment Proceedings

Chapter 2. Richard M. Nixon


Early Life

Rise to Power

Nixon's Campaign for Vice President: The Checkers Speech

Nixon's Campaigns for President

The 1960 Campaign

The 1968 Campaign

The Re-Election Campaign

The Watergate Break-In

Reasons for the Break-In

Nixon's Reaction to the Break-In

Mitchell's Role in the Break-In

The Tell-All Option

Payments to the Watergate Seven

Congress and Nixon

The Trial of the Watergate Seven

The March 21, 1973, Nixon-Dean Meeting

The Sirica Sentences: McCord's Letter

The Roger's Option: Nixon's Speech of April 30, 1973

The Appointment of a Special Prosecutor

Nixon's May 22 Speech: The Senate Watergate Hearings

The Disclosure of the Tapes

Executive Privilege and the Tapes

The Resignation of Vice President Agnew

The Stennis Compromise

The Saturday Night Massacre

The Missing Tapes: The 18 ½ Minute Gap

The House Judiciary Committee

The House Procedures

The Question of Destroying the Tapes

The Vote

The Resignation

The House Vote

The Pardon: The Nixon Papers


Chapter 3. The Special Prosecutor

The Special Prosecutor Legislation

The Supreme Court Decision

The Special Prosecutor Experience

Chapter 4. William J. Clinton

Early Childhood and Young Adult Years


Clinton’s Gubernatorial Campaigns of 1982, ’84. And ’86: The Charge of Sexual Solicitation

Run for President in 1992: Whitewater Resurfaces

Presidency: The Early Days

The Vincent Foster Suicide

The Paula Jones Story

Whitewater: Redux

The Clinton Administration and the Special Prosecutor

Michael Espy

Henry Cisneros

Ronald Brown

Bruce Babbitt

Alexis Herman

The Appointment of an Independent Counsel

Paula Jones v. Clinton

The Early Starr Investigations

The McDougal Convictions

Monica Lewinsky

The Effort to Settle the Paula Jones Case

The Job Offer to Lewinsky

Discovery in the Paula Jones Case

Clinton's Deposition in the Paula Jones Case

Clinton's Denial Speech

Starr and the Grant of Immunity to Lewinsky

Clinton's Grand Jury Testimony

The Starr Report

Grounds for Impeachment

The Censure Option

Efforts to Settle the Paula Jones Case

The November 1998 Elections

The Settlement of the Paula Jones Case

The Administration Attack on Starr

The House Judiciary Committee Hearings

Clinton Responses to the House Judiciary Committee

House Judiciary Committee

The House Vote

The Senate Deliberations

The Senate Vote

Post-Impeachment Actions


Annotated Bibliography


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