I have not reached this decision lightly. I have done my share of soul searching, I have listened carefully to the views of my constituents, and I've reviewed the evidence in excruciating detail. And much of it wasn't particularly pleasant, I can assure you. And I've been guided by our Constitution.
When we cast our votes, we are not voting as Republicans or Democrats, we are voting as Americans. Our allegiance does not lie with any one president but with our country. Our charge is not handed down from any one political party but from the Constitution. Every member of this body is duty-bound to put politics aside, follow our conscience, and uphold our oath of office.
We are at a defining moment in our history. What we do here will set the standard for what is acceptable for this and future presidents.
I believe profoundly that the behavior of this president is unacceptable because I agree with John Jay, one of our Founding Fathers, who said, "When oaths cease to be sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights become insecure."
[Quoting President John F. Kennedy], "I think you gentlemen should recognize the responsibility of the president of the United States. His responsibility is different from what your responsibility may be. In this country, I carry out and execute the laws of the United States. I also have the obligation of implementing the orders of the courts of the United States. And I can assure you that who's ever president of the United States, he will do the same, because if he did not, he would begin to unwind this most extraordinary constitutional system of ours. So I believe strongly in fulfilling my oath in that regard." And that regard means if he didn't fulfill his oath, the system would begin to unwind. It's inexorable.
I submit that in the spirit of our Founding Fathers and John F. Kennedy, that our first duty is to provide for the security of the fundamental rights of Americans.
To properly perform that duty, we must vote to impeach the president. Thank you.
The statements above are excerpts from transcripts of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings. December 10-11, 1998. Each congressman is a current member of the House Judiciary Committee.
[writer's note: a question mark was added to the title after the original posting so that the reader might slow down and read the entire piece to understand the context before forwarding to others.]