Presidential impeachments are rare in American constitutional history: in the 230 years since ratification, only three presidents have faced serious attempts to remove them from office. Indispensable Remedy is a comprehensive primer on the purpose, history, and scope of the Constitution's impeachment provisions--and a corrective to myths that have grown up around the remedy. First among the myths is the notion that impeachment is reserved solely for criminal abuses of office.
"Perversely, as the power of the office has grown," writes author Gene Healy, "that misconception has ensured that the federal official with the greatest capacity to do harm now enjoys stronger job protection than virtually any other American." But the remedy James Madison described as "indispensable. . .for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the Chief Magistrate" isn't limited to violations of the law or abuses of official power. The power to impeach, writes Healy, "should never be involved lightly, but neither should Americans fear to wield it, should it become necessary."