Having examined both the meaning of the key constitutional phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" and the morality as well as legality of President Clinton's conduct in the Lewinsky matter, I am ready to consider whether he should have been impeached for and convicted of those offenses, criminal or otherwise, that could have been proved with sufficient certitude on the basis of the public record. Later in the chapter, I consider alternative sanctions, such as censure.
The questions that give this chapter its title may be unanswerable, and this for two reasons. The first is the uncertainty of the constitutional standard. As with many vague legal standards, it has a definite core. A President who tried to betray the country to a foreign power or to establish a dictatorship, or who abandoned his office, or committed particularly heinous criminal offenses even if not ones related to (or committed with the aid of) his office, would be impeachable without the need for an elaborate inquiry into his motives or the motives or conduct of his opponents. Equally clearly, a President who merely took actions that Congress opposed on partisan political grounds should not be impeached. We may never have enough information to decide which of these poles President Clinton's obstructions of justice and related misdeeds are nearer to. The fact that obstructing justice is felonious is