Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi


Pelosi Votes Against Articles of Impeachment
Argues in Favor of Censure

December 19, 1998


(Also see Congresswoman Pelosi's Floor Statement in Opposition to the Articles of Impeachment.)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today voted against the impeachment of President Clinton. Two of the four articles of impeachment, however, passed the House of Representatives along partisan lines. Republicans did not allow a motion to censure the President to come to the floor. Rep. Pelosi argued that the House should be allowed to consider a motion to censure the President because it is germane to the proceedings. Rep. Pelosi's statement was entered into the record.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Statement For Consideration of Censure
December 19, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the point of order. Our Republican colleagues have argued that censure is not constitutional. Censure is, indeed, a constitutional option.

In 1800, Representative Ed Livingston of New York introduced a censure motion against President John Adams. The President was successfully represented by Congressman John Marshall of Virginia. Representative Marshall argued the case on the merits and never once argued that censure was unconstitutional.

John Marshall went on to become the Chief Justice of the United States and was the father of much of our constitutional law. Indeed, in the landmark 1819 decision in McCulloch v. Maryland, the court ruled that "there is no phrase in the Constitution which excludes incidental or implied powers." The power of Congress to censure is an obvious corollary of the legislature's inherent power as a deliberative body to speak its mind.

It is therefore clear that censure is not prohibited by the Constitution and is, indeed, a germane penalty. I urge the Chair to rule the censure motion in order.


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