Citizens! I have a pamphlet from the ACLU's national legislative director in hand and it reads as follows: "We seek to provide you a means by which to effect the peaceful overthrow of a tyranny. There should be no mistake about it, a usurper has acquired power in America. He seeks to make it absolute. He and his aides lie to us on television and berate us for our disbelief. He speaks to us flanked by a photograph of family and our flag which he wears on his lapel. He confesses to crimes against the Constitution and believes he speaks of exoneration. He invites all of you to participate in his crimes. He accepts responsibility, but not blame. He relies on Executive Privilege and the institution of the Presidency. He uses lawyers to subvert the law and patriotism to subvert the Constitution. Mr. Nixon asks us to rationalize his way to our own corruption."
Oh, what? Who did you think I was talking about? This insightful and poignant statement by Charles J. Morgan, Jr. accompanied an October 24, 1973 letter and pamphlet by the ACLU to the citizens of the U.S. urging the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon. In 2003,
Nixon's former chief counsel, John Dean himself declared the deeds of the Bush administration to be 'worse than Watergate,' so where is the ACLU today? We are told by David Swanson, cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org, a national impeachment coalition that on Friday, November 2, he expects Nicole Sandler of Supertalk940.com in Miami to ask ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero and ACLU Florida Executive Director Howard Simon on air why in the world the ACLU is not backing impeachment the way it did in 1973.
Until then, let us look at recent comments made by ACLU President, Nadine Strossen. Strossen argues that because the Democrats in Congress are, in part, responsible for allowing the President to go unchecked and in some cases actively approved his illegal actions, she is opposed to impeachment.
In a recent interview by David Shankbone for Wikinews, Strossen declared that, "it would be a terrible idea to impeach him." She went on to say that any attempt at impeachment would "deflect the responsibility from the Democrats. It makes it too much of a partisan issue. There is a bipartisan responsibility here. For that reason I strongly oppose it."
What Ms. Strossen fails to understand about the impeachment movement is that the people are not looking to impeach a President who is a Republican, but a President who has, in her words, "Lied to Congress, the American People, to the media . . . He's had a view that as Commander-in-Chief he can do whatever he wants, that he's above the law, that he doesn't have to abide by the laws that are duly passed by Congress." I don't recall in the six times that impeachment is mentioned in the Constitution, a disclaimer that despite strong grounds for impeachment if it even has the appearance of partisanship then it's a no-go. In fact, I don't recall 'party' being mentioned. In fact, I recall it reading that "Congress shall impeach."
Perhaps Strossen's concerns about it being a 'partisan' issue stem from a perceived image that the group has fought to stave off for years. The ACLUs decision in 1973 to take out full page ads demanding Nixon's impeachment resulted in an outpouring of financial support and temporarily increased their membership rolls by tens of thousands. But, they were, according to a publication by the New England School of Law, often accused of "privileging leftist politics over civil liberties."